More travel, more fun: Giant is extending its 2020 E-bike range with the new Reign E+ enduro models. 170mm of travel up front and 160mm in the rear, coupled with the Giant SyncDrive Pro motor powered by Yamaha and 27.5+ wheels are setting the course for tackling gnarly trails, big jumps and massive drops with an electric motor underneath.
Based on Giant’s proprietary Maestro suspension system, a virtual linkage design, the ALUXX SL aluminum frame has been inspired by its non-motorized brother, the Reign. During its two-year development process, riders like Giant Factory Off-Road team rider Josh Carlson gave some vital input, to turn the e-bike version of the 2020 Reign into what it is today.
Reign E+ 0 Pro Details
• Intended use: enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• ALUXX SL aluminum frame
• 64.5° head angle
• 469.5mm chainstays
• Weight ( w/o pedals): 24.2kg
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Sizes: S-XL
• Price: €7.499
• Colors: Chameleon green/gold
When it comes to the electronic part of the bike, Giant’s Reign E+ is housing an updated SyncDrive Pro motor powered by Yamaha with 80 Nm of power output, improved torque and a support ratio of 360 percent, being able to add 360 percent of pedalling power to your input.
A new cover for the engine keeps the dirt out and in combination with the rubber protector, which is connected to the battery, the system shouldn't be bothered by adverse weather conditions.
Giant’s handlebar-mounted RideControl ONE unit is now featuring ANT+ compatibility. Many models like Garmin can show the battery level, some even information like remaining range. Also, it lets you connect to the Giant e-bike app on your smartphone easily for additional information such as navigation or health and fitness functionalities.
Small LEDs show what mode is being used and remaining battery level (both five steps each). Since the RideControl ONE unit is angled toward the thumb for easier accessibility, the lights are angled upwards for better visibility when sitting in the saddle.
The motor now also features six sensors (four before), enabling the Smart Assist technology that calculates the amount of torque, pedaling cadence, slope and speed while riding. Based on those calculations, it determines the amount of power needed to provide a smooth, natural riding experience. The motor engages instantly when power is applied to the pedals.
Next to the five levels of support modes, this new selectable Smart Assist mode automatically regulates the power according to the need and helps to improve battery range. Basically, the idea is to give you the option to run that mode all day long, without having to give mode-selection a second thought. To activate the Smart Assist mode, you have to cycle into the opposite direction of the regular modes via the thumb buttons on the RideControl unit, past the off mode.
A higher cadence support now reaches all the way up to 170 rpm, meaning that it tapers off much later than the old version, which lost power around 80 to 90 rpm. With full power up to 130 rpm, the mechanical range is now much bigger for full support. Also, the motor noise could be reduced considerably. Official numbers are communicated at a reduction of roughly 15%, although it’s hard to put into percentage numbers and it can easily be argued that it comes down to much more than that.
While the motor hardware is delivered by Yamaha, Giant is using their own design for batteries, as well as their own Giant app and motor settings. A new lock system for the battery is using a T25 torx bolt to lock or unlock a secondary latch mechanism that secures or releases the battery. Space has been added for connectors and cables, with an optimized cable routing for derailleur and the speed sensor (tucked away in dropout) through the lower link of the suspension, eliminating previously used zip ties.
Known from other Giant models is the EnergyPak Smart 500 battery, which ensures that by meeting the EN5064 quality standard they provide a higher safety standard compared to many other models, resulting in a safer battery setup. The battery's aluminum casing and honeycomb structure inside the bike's aluminum frame improve heat management and therefore elongate the time a battery can deliver optimum power, especially in heat. The EnergyPak 6A Fast Charger can charge the battery to 80 percent in just 60 minutes.
Brand new is the EnergyPak Plus 250 range extender. A small 250Wh external battery with same power output as its in tube-colleague can be attached to a rail that mounts in the bottle cage area (obviously, you can’t mount both at the same time) and connects to the regular charging port on the side of the bike. What you basically get is a 750Wh battery in the end, by adding an extra 2.5kg of weight from the range extender.
A USB-C charging port on the range extender can be useful on longer trips for filling up some electronic toys. The range extender itself can be charged by the regular charger by attaching an adapter (female to female) to the connection cable.Frame Details
Built from ALUXX SL aluminum tubing, the frame is full of details to integrate the engine as cleanly as possible. That starts with situating the Maestro suspension system around the engine without hampering its function (pedaling efficiency, full-time active suspension movement and brake independence) and ends with a clean cable routing throughout the entire frame.
Running on 27.5" wheels, the E+ range has been equipped with 2.6" wide tires that provide more steering precision than their bigger plus-sized brothers.
As mentioned before, there's room for a water bottle inside the main triangle, but only if you don't consider running the range extender battery.
While weight has not been a major design factor for the Reign E+, the total weight for the Reign E+ 0 comes to a solid 24.2kg, especially considering its intended big hit usability.
Giant has been working closely with Fox on setting up the suspension, creating a full custom tune for the e-Reign. During their tests they realized that the Reign E+ worked best with an air shock configuration, even though their first instinct was to try and equip the bike with a coil shock.
The leverage ratio starts out at about 3:1 for higher sensitivity, and drops considerably down to 2.38:1 for plenty of bottom out resistance. With a shock stroke of 62.5mm, the average leverage ratio comes to a low 2.56:1.Geometry
There are four sizes (S, M, L, XL) to choose from, with a reach ranging from 430mm to 497mm.
A rather slack 64.5-degree head angle out front and a steep 76 degree seat angle (luckily, a big departure from the regular Reign's incredibly slack angle) are two main pillars of the design and play along nicely with a long wheelbase, 469.5mm chainstays, low bottom bracket height and solid reach. In order to be able to run the bottom bracket as low as possible, S and M size models come with 160mm crank arms, L and XL with 165mm versions.
It would generally be nice if seat tube lengths were a bit shorter, to allow for longer dropper posts along the entire spectrum and give smaller riders more choice in stepping up a frame size if they wish to do so. Overall, the geometry is oriented along the lines of modern standards, but isn’t getting too crazy with any of the values.Specifications
Three models of the Reign E+ are available, with 0 representing the top build, followed by 1 and then 2. All models utilize the same battery and motor.
We had a chance to test the Reign E+ 0 Pro, which is decked out with Giant’s E-TRX carbon wheels (in-house built, 32 mm inside rim width, DT Swiss internals inside the hubs), SRAM’s electronic X01 AXS drivetrain and Code R disc brakes, for a price of €7.499.
The Reign E+ 1 Pro model is equipped with Shimano's new XT 12-speed drivetrain including 4-piston brakes and Giant's E-TR1 Premium Alloy 27.5" E-bike optimized wheelset. A Fox 36 Float Performance fork and X2 Performance rear shock take over suspension duties at a retail price of €5.499.
No change in terms of travel or frame build, the Reign E+ 2 Pro is available for €4.799 and features a Fox 36 Rhythm fork and DPX2 Performance rear shock. NX Eagle is responsible for shifting performance, with SRAM's Guide RE brakes slowing the bike down.
Helpful detail: all models come with tire plugs installed inside Giant’s 800 mm wide handlebar, to always be available in case of a puncture too big to be sealed by tubeless tire sealant.
With Giant’s latest update of the SyncDrive motor, it has closed the gap in some areas to its biggest competitors. Noise level is down considerably and easily less than the claimed 15 percent, having ridden next to an older model and perceived the difference. And with full power being delivered up to a cadence of 130 rpm, you can pedal your little heart out without the engine support cutting out early.
It’s really the Smart Assist mode though, that is a very valuable addition to Giant’s package. It took the engineers a long time to figure out a good mix of all the various inputs, but I’d say that they’ve succeeded in finding an adapting setting that should cater to most riders’ preferences, without having to constantly change between power modes manually. Only a direct comparison to other manufacturer’s comparable modes can offer a full verdict of how effective the new setting is, but it’s safe to say that most of the time you could run that mode all day long without feeling underpowered or get the idea that the bike would misinterpret the power output you need for various situations, including technical finessing through rough sections up and down the hill.
Power delivery felt instantaneous and natural in any situation, and I didn't need to to put much effort into thinking about what mode would work best for the situation. In Smart Assist mode, power output is still pretty high when needed, although the maximum power delivery feels closer to level four than the maximum level five.
The only reason I found myself wanting to switch from Smart Assist into the highest support mode was when encountering extremely steep ascents or running into trial-like obstacles where I wanted to achieve a maximum push from the bike. Unfortunately, in its current state, it takes a while to cycle from Smart Assist all the way into full power mode and even cuts out the engine for a second, since you have to move past the off-setting. However, the engineers are already aware that some riders might want to switch quickly from one to the other - if for example a very steep incline would build up right after a tight corner - and are already considering some options for a quick switch feature, that might be implemented in a future firmware update.
The small LEDs on the RideControl unit are sometimes a bit harder to see in the bright sunlight. In terms of running mode that’s not a big deal if you should end up mostly using the Smart Assist mode anyway. Reading the battery level might feel like more of a necessity though, and if no trees or any other form of green shrubbery can provide shade, cupping the hand over the display will solve the issue if dire need should really arise and the lighting should really not end up being enough. Other than that, it would generally be nice to see 10% steps to display the battery charging level, but most manufacturers don’t deliver that feature either.
Either way, Smart Assist seems to be doing a really fine job of getting a decent amount of range out of the 500Wh battery.
Having said that, I can’t deliver any numbers at this point of what distance you can really cover, or cover in comparison to any of the other power modes or even other manufacturers. A capacity of 500Wh is what it is after all. Also, we didn’t have any chance to test the 250Wh range extender. Without wanting to play the guessing game, adding another 2.5kg to the center of the frame triangle is probably going to affect the bike’s handling somewhat.
Taking the battery out of the frame turned out to be a simple task. Just unbolt the T25 bolt located at the downtube upper side, release the latch on the underside and pull the battery out of the frame.
In terms of handling, there’s no real need to get used to the new Reign E+: just open up the brakes and let the bike roll and rip. With its intuitive and stable geometry, it’s easy to point the bike and let the suspension do its thing.
Geometry is a fickle beast, and each value has to play along with each other to form a well-behaving package. There’s not really a single value on the Reign E+ that stands out negatively, with a low bottom bracket and longer chainstays that center the rider better with generally longer front-centers. Thanks in part to the short crank arms, I never had any issues with unwanted ground contact, although I can’t say that I ever really have any problems with that.
At a height of 168cm, I felt right at home on the size M model, appreciating the higher stability of longer bikes lately, and having been enabled to ride them at all, thanks to steeper seat angles, shorter stems and shorter seat tubes (although Giant’s measurements are still on the more conservative side, in that last area, and it wouldn't hurt to cut a few centimeters throughout the range to allow for longer dropper posts, especially for smaller riders).
I didn’t have to think much about the bike’s suspension, it just does its job, even with a wide array of obstacles thrown at it. Sensitive over smaller chatter, with ample mid-support and a nice amount of progression to keep from bottoming out unnecessarily. The Fox X2’s stock setup comes with one volume spacer pre-installed, leaving plenty of room to add more progression to the rear end, if required.
Pushing the bike into corners came pretty easily, although I felt the need to drop the bar somewhat, to keep the front end from washing out on loose gravel. I ended up lowering the stem as low as possible, which added a lot of pressure to the front wheel, but I might have overdone it a bit for some of the ridiculously steep and loose sections we encountered on our ride. One spacer underneath the stem would have probably ended up being my sweetspot, if there would have been more time for tinkering around.
Kudos on the choice of tires. Maxxis Minion DHF in the front and DHR II in the rear, both in 2.6” width, is a smart choice to begin with, using an EXO+ casing at the front and DoubleDown casing at the rear makes a hell of a lot of sense for an e-bike of this genre.
Weight might not have been a deciding design aspect, and just over 24 kilos (about 24.6kg with flats) is quite all right for a bike of this class, but nevertheless, with carbon wheels and AXS shifting, there’s not much potential for weight savings on the top model, except if you want to downsize the tires, which isn’t recommendable.
Just like any e-bike beyond a certain weight range, the Reing E+ does push into corners somewhat, although the nice overall balance of the bike does its best to limit that sensation. Talking about balance, the Reign E+ feels quite at home in the air and although we didn’t encounter any considerable drops during our test ride, I’m pretty certain that it would handle those equally well.
It’s nice to see a 220mm rotor size out front with OEM spec, although to be honest, I would have expected an even higher boost to the braking performance. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the extra size on some of the gnarlier trails.
Overall, the new long-travel addition to Giant’s lineup is most likely going to appeal to riders who want to experience the roughest trails without compromise. Maybe the Reign E+ will even speak to people looking for a well balanced comfortable ride without ever feeling the need to take it into super technical terrain - it never made much sense to me why so many e-bikes out there were skimping on travel to begin with. An excellent suspension setup and features like the new Smart Assist mode should be a considerable benefit to your ride, no matter what.
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