RELEASE & FIRST RIDE
GIANT LAUNCHES REIGN E+
AN ALL-NEW E-BIKE RANGE FOR AGGRESSIVE TRAIL AND ENDURO RIDING
Words Cole Gregg; Photos Courtesy of Giant Bikes
When Giant Bikes reached out about an upcoming media camp unveiling their brand new Reign E+, we knew it was going to be a good time. Giant always puts on amazing media camps and when we found out we’d be exploring the trails around Les Gets France, we started playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for who got to attend. As it worked out, we were all booked so the last minute invite meant one of our Patron supporters and faithful fans who has contributed and helped us review products would be the one riding the new Giant Reign E+. Cole Gregg’s first media camp was a success and his experience and report can be read below.
Days before the trip Giant emailed me a jam packed itinerary for the three day event. There was very little down time and I knew it was going to be a lot of work and fun. Arriving in Les Gets after an easy trip across the pond I was greeted with a “giant” (pun intended) plate of cheese, warm bread, meat and more than enough coffee to cure my jet lag. Little did I know the one hour wait for my room to be ready was the last bit of down time I would have for the next few days. After dropping my bags off and changing into riding gear I headed back behind the hotel. When I rounded the corner I felt like a full factory racer with an impressive Giant Off Road tent set up.
I was greeted by more of the Giant staff and a long line of 2020 Giant Reign E+ bikes. One of them stood out among the pack. What made it special? Well, it literally had my name on it. How freaking cool is that?
Immediately I was drawn to the bikes flowing color scheme of green and black. Upon closer inspection I saw that within the greens was a slight hint of gold that really stood out in the late morning sun. It is not often you see a classy two-tone bike paint job, and this one instantly won me over.
Keeping in tune with Giant’s Reign line of pedal bikes, the Reign E+ packs 160mm of Maestro suspension out back. The supple yet supportive travel of my E+ 0 Pro is managed by a custom tuned Fox Float X2 Factory shock. Up front sits a 170mm Fox 36 Float Factory with the Grip2 damper specially optimized for the extra weight an e-bike brings down the trail.
Giant aims the bike squarely at riders looking for a burly, all mountain e-bike. The 469.5mm chainstays and 64.5 degree head tube angle give the bike confident feel. My size large sports a 475mm reach which was both comfortably and urged me to let off the brakes and charge therough stuff. While the bike is definitely on the longer end of the spectrum with a wheelbase of 1,267mm it felt very active and lively thanks to the bulk of the weight being very low and centered on the frame. During our 35 mile loop I never found the length to be an issue on the trail however if you love to manual, be prepared to yank ‘er extra hard.
While the bike may look similar to the non electric version, the suspension layout has been completely overhauled to make room for the power plant. The Reign E+ uses the SyncDrive Pro motor, powered by Yamaha. The motor puts out a whopping 360% of tunable pedal assistance with a crank twisting 80Nm of torque. With the bike in the two top levels of assistance (Sport and Power) this motor can make you feel like a super hero with no power loss up to 170rpms. What does this really mean? It means 100% of the time you have 100% of the power ready to deploy. Those long chain stays are now your new best friend when it comes to hill climbing challenges with the crew.
Selecting power settings is easy thanks to Giant’s RideControl ONE system. RideControl ONE has a seamless, easy to use and see, (even in direct sunlight) thumb pad that can be connected with Giant’s e-bike app to control motor tuning, fitness data and navigation. There are two large buttons that control the power output of the motor. There is also a navigation button that doubles as your headlight switch when combined with Giant’s range of riding lights if you’re a commuter or finish your favorite trail rides after dark.
While having full power ready to go may sound like a great idea, on a long ride you really do not need to have all 80Nm of torque boosting you down the trail. Not only will this leave your fingers glued to the brakes, it’ll also eat up your battery. Giant’s solution is Smart Assist. Smart Assist is a 6-sensor technology adapting power output based on real time automatic calculations to help deliver the power you need. The system takes torque, pedaling cadence, slope and speed into account so riders get all the power they need and none of the boost they don’t.
I kept the bike in Smart Assist mode 95% of the time we were on the trail. It was seamless, the computer did all the thinking for me and I could really just focus on riding the bike. This was by far my favorite feature on the bike and took the worry out of the next hill climb or steep decent. I did have a play around with the highest level “Power Mode” on some of the fire roads just to see what the bike’s full unleashed potential really was. Let’s just say, I’ll never look at fire roads the same.
The E+ 0 Pro model we were given for this test featured Giant’s EnergyPak Smart 500Wh, 36V, 13.4Ah battery. The battery gives you the confidence to head out all day and still have juice left for a beer run. The 6A fast charging system gives you 80% power in just 1.45 hours. If that is not enough for you the Smart 500 is also compatible with the EnergyPak Plus, a 250wh add on, giving you an additional 50% extra battery capacity.
Housing the battery and Yamaha power plant is Giant’s ALUXX SL frame. The battery is integrated into the frame, which allows for very easy removal and a tight fit to ensure it does not pop out on the trail. The battery is locked in place with an all new system that uses a T25 Torx key, a staple ingredient in any trailside tool kit. We did take a gondola that required the removal of the battery, within 90 seconds I had the locking mechanism undone and the battery in my hand ready to go. Installing the battery back on the bike was just as simple. I found that because of the heavy duty weather seal it was easiest to get down on one knee and use both hands to guide it back into place. With a secure click the connectors were engaged and all that was left was to tighten the Torx locking bolt back up.
Giant’s frame design separates the one piece battery cell from the frame in its own housing. Not only does this insure a secure, rattle free fit it also works extremely well at regulating the heat generated from the battery. This allows you to stay under full power on the steepest of climbs with zero worries of power loss due to overheating. My first 20 minutes on this bike were spent in Power Mode unleashing all 80Nm of torque while pointed straight up the Les Gets bike park. We climbed up the slope directly under the chairlift, and it was STEEP. There were no issues of overheating or any loss of power during this time. I actually got to thinking about racing a friend from the bottom of the lift line to the peak.
Giant is offering three build kits at the time of this launch. The bike I was testing was their top of the line Reign E+ 0 Pro coming in at a fair price of $8,500. Next in line is the Reign E+ 1 Pro priced at $6,000 followed by the Reign E+ 2 Pro, priced at $5,500. While each model gives you the same power numbers, frame material, battery life and overall good times you are getting a noted difference in parts for the build kit.
The E+ 0 Pro features all the latest and greatest from SRAM. Handling your gear changes was SRAM’s XO1 Eagle AXS wireless system that did not hiccup once, even under full power gear changes. It was also my first time on the new wireless 150mm Rock Shox Reverb. There was zero delay from the time you pushed the button to when you were in climbing position, it was a thing of beauty.
To get this beast of a bike to slow down Giant opted to spec SRAM’s Code R brakes paired with a 220mm front rotor and 200mm rear. Even on the steepest of trails there was never a doubt in my mind that I would be composed by the time that catch berm came up. The 11-50t cassette proved a perfect range for all types of riding, even though first gear was never used, it was nice to know there was a little something extra if you needed it.
Giant’s 27.5” E-TRX carbon wheelset paired with a 2.6” Maxxis DHF up front and a 2.6” High Roller II outback was a familiar combo. At first I was skeptical that the foldable EXO casing would be sufficient to handle the extra weight and aggressive intentions of the bike. However I was surprised that even at a low pressure off 23psi held up pretty well. The Plus size tire and a 30mm wide rim proved to be a very reliable combo even for all the hard cutting catch berms we found in Les Gets.
THE WOLF’S LAST WORD
If you’re looking for a hard charging 53.35 pound mini-DH bike that can get you down any trail you have the balls to drop into and then right back up to the top again, and again, then the Reign E+ is the bike your after. With long chain stays, a slack head angle and a burly build, this bike is ready to shred. Although the aggressive stance, an aggressive numbers may have you putting this bike in a box, don’t let this bike’s well-rounded capabilities sneak past. Tight switchbacks, technical climbs and bike park laps are not out of line for this capable all mountain machine. We are really excited to get one of these bikes in our garage for a long term review in the near future.
Visit the Giant website for more info.