Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro eMTB downhill

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro eMTB Review

Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Dusten Ryen

Last year we flew out to the Alps and took part in the Giant Reign E+ launch. Aimed at aggressive riders looking for something capable of tackling rowdy descents while still being able to climb back up for maximum laps, we had a great time riding the bike and looked forward to adding it to our roster for the 2020 eMTB Roundup. After some riding on our home trails to break in the new bike it was time to take the Giant Reign E+ to Palm Springs for ten days of head-to-head testing with some of the best bikes in the game.

Built around Giant’s tried and true Maestro twin-link suspension system, this ALUXX SL aluminum frame packs 160mm of rear wheel travel and a 170mm fork. The Reign E+ 0 Pro is Giant’s top of the line build retailing for $8,500. The price tag is up there for an alloy frame however the bike comes with full Fox Factory suspension and a SRAM AXS electronic drivetrain and dropper. The latter is not worth the investment in our opinion. The Reign E+ 1 retails for $6,000 and still comes with an XT level build and Fox Float Performance suspension, this would be the build we’d pick for reliability and maximum value, although we really love the paint job on the 0.

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro eMTB Review

SRAM X01 Eagle AXS and Eagle Tap AXS shifter and derailleur worked nicely during our test, but we never quite fell in love with the ergonomics of the shifter. We did enjoy the snappiness of the SRAM Reverb AXS dropper post, however our battery life was not great at all. Not a fault of Giant’s, however on more than one occasion we had to swap batteries between the derailleur and dropper post to complete our rides. And yes, they were recently charged.

Brake spec features SRAM Code R calipers with a 220mm front rotor and a 200mm rear. We liked having that larger front rotor, and props to Giant for that, although we would have liked RSC brakes on the bike for over eight grand. Giant in-house components make up much of the rest with e-TRX wheels and hubs and cockpit. As with all our roundup test bikes, we removed the OE-spec’d Maxxis Minion 27.5 x 2.6” foldable tires and replaced them with our official tire sponsor’s ebike specific rubber – the Schwalbe Eddy Currrent.

The Giant Reign E+ is unique in that it was the only bike in the shootout with the Yamaha SyncDrive Pro motor. With 80Nm of torque, up to 360% of tunable support, the Yamaha/Giant motor packs some serious power. It is a bit finicky and takes a while to learn however. The torque sensors are much different and can result in the bike shooting out from under you if you take your hands off the bar to turn around and talk to a friend while keeping a foot on the pedal. Or if you’re lucky and engage the torque sensor just enough while waiting for your crew, it will vibrate the cranks and give quite a nice foot massage. We applaud Giant’s PedalPlus 6-sensor efforts but feel they still need some refinement. Giant however does have a very easy to use App to customize settings and control your motor tune. The RideControl selector is also very nicely illuminated and easy to use on the trail.

Giant also uses a custom EnergyPak Smart 500Wh battery, which is a bit small for the category and especially when considering the weight of the bike. A 250Wh range extender battery is available from Giant and mounts to the frame.

At the Reign E+ launch we were lucky enough to ride a size large test frame, which much better fit our 5’11” to 6-foot riders. Unfortunately at the time of our eMTB Roundup, we were only able to secure an XL-sized frame, which did not offer the best on trail experience. Since our other bikes were mostly larges, we’ll list those numbers next to the numbers of the XL for reference. Reach on our XL frame is 497mm (475mm Large) with a massive 1,303mm wheelbase (1,276mm Large). Chainstay length on the Reign E+ is a long 470mm. The head tube angle is 64.5 degrees with a 76-degree seat tube angle.

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro eMTB in action

As you could imagine based on the numbers above, the Reign E+ is a very planted machine. It does not change directions very quickly and is certainly not a lively, manual machine. Instead, the bike excels on the steepest of climbs, navigating up hills with ease. The long rear end helps keep the front end down and also drives power into the trail for impressive traction where other bikes were spinning or looping out.

On the down hills, the Giant was equally glued to the ground. The 55.10-pound weight certainly aided in the Reign’s planted feel, but we believe the geometry plays a large factor in the bike’s ground-hugging feel. Although the reach on our XL was too long for our testers, the 470mm chainstays remain unchanged across all size frames. The dimension is significantly longer than most of the bikes we tested and while it helped on steep climbs, it has drawbacks elsewhere. Navigating around switchbacks, tighter trail obstacles or trying to manual the Reign were challenges all of our testers reported. If you are a large rider and want a long, stable bike, the Reign could be a great option for you.

Our testers also felt that finding the ideal suspension setup was a bit of a challenge. There were some struggles when it came to trying to balance steep downhill performance with improving the liveliness of the bike on flatter, more playful terrain. The bike just didn’t quite feel balanced as the rear typically felt a bit dull. Perhaps the rear wheel being so far behind us had something to do with it, but we just never quite found the ideal settings to maximize performance over a wide variety of terrain.

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro eMTB on trail

The Wolf’s Last Word

We were all a bit disappointed in where the Giant Reign E+ ended up after our roundup. The bike in and of itself isn’t bad, however when put head to head against so many other bikes on the market, it’s pretty apparent that Giant has some work to do. Almost all of our testers loved the color of the bike, enjoyed the power of the Yamaha motor and couldn’t wait to tuck into an aero position and just let the bike pick up speed. It was also a very strong climber and the bike could scramble up the steepest pitches with ease, no doubt the 470mm chainstays had a lot to do with that.

If you are a lighter, playful and active rider, sadly this bike is just not one we’d recommend. Also, if you have lots of tight trails to navigate or switchbacks on your local loops, the long rear end will be a hindrance. Giant has done some good things with their RideControl App and SyncDrive Pro motor with Yamaha, but it still needs some refinement as it has some quirky behavior. It delivers solid power, climbs well and has a decent range for a smaller 500Wh battery. If you’re looking for bigger rides the 250Wh EnergyPak range extender battery is a nice option. Although the Giant does have some great qualities and is totally competent on the trail, it’s just a hard recommendation when so many other bikes offer a lot more on the trail and to your wallet.

Price: $8,500
Weight: 55.10lbs

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro eMTB Specs

Frame: ALUXX SL-grade aluminum, 160mm Maestro suspension system
Fork: Fox 36 Float Factory GRIP2, 170mm
Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory EVOL

Battery: Giant EnergyPak Smart 500
Drive Unit: Giant SyncDrive Pro Powered by Yamaha

Brakes: SRAM Code R; 220mm (f), 200mm (r)
Handlebar: Giant Contact SL 35 Trail, 35x800mm
Saddle: Giant Contact SL
Seatpost: SRAM Reverb AXS, 170mm
Shifter: SRAM XO1 Eagle eTap AXS
Stem: Giant Contact SL 35

Rims: Giant e-TRX 27.5, 30mm inner width
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHF 27.5×2.6″ foldable, EXO+, 3c MaxxTerra
Rear Tire: Maxxis High Roller II 27.5×2.6″ foldable, DoubleDown, 3C MaxxTerra

Cassette: SRAM PG-1230, 11-50T, 12-Speed
Cranks: Praxis e-Carbon custom, 165mm
Derailleur:SRAM XO1 Eagle AXS

Giant Reign E+ 0 Pro

We Dig

Paint Job
Holds Speed

We Don’t

Long Chainstays
Rides Heavy
Hard to Dial in Suspension
Motor Quirks
SRAM AXS Battery Issues

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