SETUP | More electronics and gadgets mean more setup time and more apps to download. While we know we may sound a bit contrarian since we are big fans of ebikes, sometimes less is more. That said, this is the top-of-the-line model and those who are tech-hounds will love all the integrations, customizations and features the Trance X Elite offers.
With all the apps downloaded we went through the setup and registration process, which we’ll admit was fairly painless once we accepted it. The Fox Live Valve setup is likely the most crucial to get right. It’s also the one that’s easiest to mess up, and could negatively affect your ride. We took the extra time to ensure we had everything dialed in for calibration, measured sag to the mm and it paid off as our first ride on the bike delivered that “at home” feeling.
One thing that we couldn’t quite gel with however is the one-piece bar and stem combo. For some reason it’s a trend we keep seeing more of in the mountain bike world and we haven’t yet figured out why that is with so many different size and styled riders out there. Although this Giant cockpit offers five positions to choose from, we’d still rather see a bar we can roll to our liking and a stem we can easily swap for something shorter or longer. Some may appreciate the cleaner looks, but we’d still opt to run separate units.
ELECTRONICS & INTEGRATION | As mentioned above, the Giant Trance X Advanced Elite E+ 0 is the top-of-the-line offering, which means even more electronics than some of the more affordable models. Even with all the extras on board, the Trance X Elite does a good job of keeping the clutter organized. Fox’s Live Valve wiring is the only real eye sore when you look at the fork. Beyond that, Giant have done a great job with keeping the Ergo controller slim and the LED top tube display discreet. Giant’s app was one of our group’s favorites when it came to tracking rides and data.
One thing to note on the electronics is that we had two instances where the LED hub in the top tube seemingly froze, rendering our bike powerless until it timed out and shut off. We could not get power from the drive unit, change modes, turn it off manually or do anything besides hope that it would time out and shut down quickly and come back online after the restart.
MOTOR POWER & RANGE | During our testing we sent all the bikes out on an established 10.5-mile test loop that had just under 1,500 feet of climbing. The Giant was absolutely the fastest if we kept the hammer down and tried to “race” the rest. We were a bit uncertain of how the exclusive new battery cell technology would offset the full power 85Nm drive unit and its thirst for lithium ion Watt hours. Much like when you bury your foot in the gas pedal vs keeping your vehicle at 55MPH on the highway, we found our mileage could vary quite a bit on the Trance X. Full power mode was tempting us all the time, but it did use more battery than Giant’s Smart Mode or a lower power selection, which was still capable of hanging with other bikes.
Overall, we were impressed by how the battery held up to the powerful drive unit and depending on your mentality for the day, you could Boost your way through the battery with sprints and vertical self-shuttles or stretch out the mileage for a large epic. Combine that with the optional range extender and you’ve got a bike that could really do it all from a power to range perspective.
CLIMBING | When it came to get up the mountain, there wasn’t a bike in the roundup that could hang with the Trance X Elite. Of course, it’s a bit of a sandbagger considering it’s got an extra 25Nm to 35Nm of torque in its belly. The 85Nm drive unit means you’ll drop the competition when it comes to other SL or lightweight eBikes.
Power aside, the climbing position, pedaling efficiency and general handling of the Trance X Elite are equally impressive. It is a very capable, comfortable and well-rounded eMTB.
DESCENDING | Unlike Giant’s full power Trance X Advanced E+, yes, we know it’s a confusing naming structure, the Trance X Advanced E+ “ELITE” is a blast to ride everywhere. It’s a comfortably planted bike that can be slammed, snapped and pushed around much easier than their full fat eMTB.
Some of our riders thought the steeper head tube angle would be more of an issue than it was, nevertheless, we’d love to see it slacken up by ½ or even 1 degree. Although we’d likely just up the travel if it were our personal bike, by equipping a 160mm fork up front instead of the 150mm. This would give us that ½ degree and make the bike even more capable for heavy duty sending. Even without the fork swap however, our entire crew felt beyond confident pushing this bike hard at speeds well over 30mph.
The suspension, handling and general sense of confidence combined with playful geometry makes the Trance X Advanced Elite E+ 0 a very awesome bike.
FINISH AND VALUE | While some riders loved the purple hues and marbled looking paint, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No matter what your color palette is, however, the paint is unique and has held up to some solid abuse. The hardware has remained tight, Giant took the extra time to spec oil slick hardware on the brakes, which complement the colors of the frame, and offer that little extra touch of care. It’s hard to say $14,000 is a value, but considering what other bikes in the market are going for and what technology is coming on this bike, then we’d have to say it is in line with others, if not a touch better. If you look at bikes like the S-Works Levo SL which do not have the costly Fox Live Valve upgrade, whether we like it or not, then it seems you’re getting a lot of top tier offerings for a relatively competitive market price.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Even with the electrical issues we had over the course of our testing, the Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0 was a pleasure to review. It absolutely stands out amidst a sea of very capable eMTBs and a growing eBike Light category. The full power drive unit gives it a major advantage in the speed and climbing departments but it’s more than just the powerful drive unit that makes the bike stand out. It’s a very well-rounded and capable all mountain eMTB that will take the challenges of your trails in stride. Whether you’re going super-fast on moto trails with braking bumps and chatter, or dodging it up in tight, twisty corners, this thing is a blast. We’d love to see Giant change what we consider to be the most confusing and unnecessarily long naming convention in the bicycle world, but outside of that this is a bike we’d certainly recommend to riders looking to cover ground and have fun.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Riders who don’t need the slackest, lightest or most aggressive 140/150mm eMTB. If you want a bike that mix it up with full power, full fat eBikes with the addition of their range extender, or drop the weight and simply run the 400Wh internal battery and have a lighter, more playful bike to hit the trail with the SL/ eBike Light riders, this could be the best of both worlds. Well-rounded and ready for a wide variety of trails and riders.
Price: $14,000 (EL 0)
Weight: 44.5 lbs (large)