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Giant Quick-E+ electric bike review

10 Oct 2018
Verdict:

A fully equipped e-bike with engaging handling and a great parts list

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,999
For 
• Great looking and with every conceivable extra • Big range and quality motor
Against 
• A little slow off the mark • Heavy to lift

About the bike

This innovative e-bike lets you move fast in urban environments. Or so says its maker Giant. Letting you shed minutes off the time it takes you to get to work, it also helps tackle longer distances than you can with a traditional bicycle.

With an ALUXX SL aluminium frame and a powerful SyncDrive Sport motor that produces 80Nm of torque, traffic jams and parking hassles should be a thing of the past.

The ride

I’ve slowly come around to e-bikes, and it’s models like the Giant Quick-E+ that have won me over. With a central motor, there’s zero additional resistance other than that added by the extra weight.

The power comes on smoothly, and the range is huge. In the UK speed is limited to 25kmph, which is a little slower than most of the traffic on London’s Cycle Superhighways, but, crucially, much quicker than most people can get up even moderate inclines.

With the motor providing the extra push, there’s no reason not to load up on extras and the Quick-E+ sports a rack, mudguard, lights and kickstand.

The flat handlebar and upright position make sense on a bike where motor and legs combine to provide the drive. I’m going to go out on a limb and say if you’re thinking of getting an e-bike with drop bars you’re probably going to be disappointed.

To my mind, this style of fully-equipped hybrid is pretty much the most sensible e-bike configuration. The downside is that it’s a bit of a lump.

If you find yourself in the Greenwich foot tunnel and the lift is broken you’re going to need strong arms, as I found out. The same goes for anyone who doesn’t live on the ground floor.

Still, bikes are for riding not carrying.

On the road

Employing a geometry that will be familiar to users of faster hybrids, the Giant is at the more aggressive end of the e-bike spectrum.

Handling on the Quick-E+ is therefore surprisingly whippy, despite its sizable weight. Able to weave in and out of stationary traffic, unless you do something very silly with it you’re still unlikely to have any mishaps.

With the assistance of the motor, I found myself grabbing the Giant for journeys I’d otherwise have undertaken by bus or train.

This facet was enhanced by the integrated lighting and mudguards, the latter ensuring I arrived not only sweat-free but unbespattered by rain or other muck.

With its limited top speed the bike is most fun to ride on mixed terrain when, like on the uphills, it’s capable of going faster than you might otherwise ride.

Its very wide tyres help here, keeping progress even and adding grip on loose surfaces. On road, the effect is a bit like cruise control on a car.

I tended to stick it in the middle assistance mode and spin the pedals, leaving the motor to take it up to 25kmph. Above this the motor instantly cuts out.

Given the bike’s heft, when this happens it feels as if you’re being held back, making attempting to push on alone a frustrating experience.

If you want to go faster you should probably consider if an e-bike is right for you, but if you're happy to pootle you’ll likely never notice.

With 250 watts and 80Nm of torque the Giant won’t be stumped by any hill, however, I feel it could be a little quicker off the line.

The power comes on in a very controlled way, but the downside to this is that you won’t be getting the jump on traffic at the lights.

A boost button would have been welcome.

Ride: 24/30

Frame

Buried in the downtube is the sizable Giant EnergyPak 500 watt-hour lithium-ion battery. Lockable with a key so it won’t get swiped, it’s chunky, but still neatly integrated. So too is the Yamaha made SyncDrive Sport mid-motor.

All in, the bike is one of the more normal looking e-bikes, especially considering its sizable battery capacity.

Both frame and fork use standard 9mm quick releases. These make popping the wheels off easy, while any lack of stiffness versus a bolt-through alternative is pretty much unnoticeable.

Frame: 25/30

Groupset

Shimano’s latest Deore hydraulic disc brakes are very good. So good it’s hard to justify spending much more. Similarly, its 10-speed Deore derailleur comes with the same chain-retaining clutch mechanism as its more expensive siblings.

Found here in single-chainring guise, the groupset’s 11-36t cassette could prove a little narrow, although when coupled to the motor assistance it provides ample range.

I ended up mostly leaving it in a gear that gave a comfortable cadence and then spun away. Just make sure you don’t find yourself at the bottom of a hill with a flat battery.

Giant’s proprietary display is a bit of a slab, but this at least makes it easy to read. With readily accessible info on speed, battery remaining, and estimated remaining range, it can be navigated using the handlebar remote.

Pleasingly tactile, this can also be used to activate the lights, which is handy for signalling to oncoming traffic.

Groupset: 10/12

Finishing kit

The cushy, yet well-formed saddle is likely to prove popular with most riders. At 690mm wide I liked the broad stance imparted by the handlebars, and anyone less keen can always take recourse with a hacksaw.

Powered directly by the battery, the Axa BlueLine 50 Lux front light and Spanninga Vena rear tail lamp keep you visible, and provide some forward illumination.

Equally practical are the included mudguards and subtle pannier rack. Its neat carrier frame is a particularly clever design.

Finishing kit: 8/8

Wheels

With the motor counteracting any increase in rolling resistance, the Giant is free to use smaller and more manoeuvrable 650b wheels.

These are also stronger and should stay true even with the bike's weight and motor acting upon them.

Wrapped up in 50mm wide Schwalbe Big Ben tyres, these are almost as large in circumference as most 700c options anyway, while providing far more squish and grip.

Very puncture resistant, they can't be set-up tubeless. However, if you wish to go down that route the wheels themselves are more amenable, being just a set of valves and a squirt of sealant away from ditching their tubes.

Wheels: 18/20

Conclusion

I liked the Giant. It’s well put together, features everything you might need for getting around town, and isn’t too expensive. Currently, on sale at £2,000, it’s great value.

The usual drawbacks of e-bikes in the UK apply, namely the 25kmph limit, which is slower on the flats than some speedy commuters dash about at.

The motor is not the peppiest either, which is noticeable when pulling away from the lights in traffic.

On the plus side, the componentry is excellent, especially the brakes and derailleurs. Quiet and low maintenance, they help make the Quick-E+ an ideal modern city runaround.

Also, it’s got a funny name. So it gets at least one extra mark for that.

Overall score: 85/100  
Cyclist rating: 4.25/5

Specification

Giant-E+
Frame SL-Grade Aluminum, integrated battery and mid-motor
Motor Giant SyncDrive Sport, 250W, 80Nm
Battery Samsung 500 Watt-hour
Groupset Shimano Deore 10-speed
Brakes Shimano BR-MT500 Hydraulic Disc
Chainset FSA forged crankset, 42T
Cassette Shimano HG50-10 11-36T
Bars Giant Connect Trail 690mm
Stem Giant Connect 31.8
Seatpost Giant Connect
Saddle Giant Contact Comfort upright
Wheels Giant eX 2, Tubeless Ready
Tyres Schwalbe Big Ben, 27.5x2”
Weight 23kg
Contact giant-bicycles.com

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