Giant's Explore E+ 1 Is Class 3 and Adventurous Fun, but Its Price May Push Riders Away

Most folks thought that the e-bike wave was one that was bound to crash. Well, guess what? It isn't! On the contrary, things seem to be stabilizing, and with that, some of the world's biggest cycling names continue to focus their attention on the two-wheeling, urban-ready EV.
Explore E+ 1 10 photos
Photo: Giant Bicycles
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One such brand is Giant, and this time around, they're showcasing an e-bike that's designed to do a bit more than just have you riding around town without burning calories; the Explore E+ 1, as it's called, is designed to break down the barriers set by city limits and really give you a taste for adventure.

To understand exactly what's going on here and why Giant is asking us to drop at least $3,600 (€3,400 at current exchange rates) on one of these babies, let's dive a bit deeper. Just be warned; by the time we're done here, you may find yourself picking up the phone or heading down to a local shop in search of an E+ 1.

Now, $3,600 is one of those price tags that the average Joe doesn't seem to like; most people aren't willing to spend more than $2,000 on an e-bike. It's not that folks don't have the cash, but the tradeoff for them just doesn't seem to be what the doctor ordered. The E +, on the other hand, has plenty of reasons as to why you should consider it for your next, possibly even first, e-bike purchase.

Explore E\+ 1
Photo: Giant Bicycles
Let's start with the frame design. Overall, Giant is offering us two styles, a step-over, and a step-through bike, but it won't matter much which one you choose because they're both rocking mostly the same gear. One major difference between the two styles is that step-through frames tend to be more comfortable and safe, especially when mounting and dismounting or, god forbid, during an emergency stop or evasion.

One aspect I love about these frames and what Giant has achieved is that they're ready for anything you can think of. From throwing on countless water bottles to a rear cargo rack and fenders, all of the E+ 1 screams, "Take me out to play!" Play we shall, my pretty, play we shall.

One of the aspects we need to consider is how Giant integrates the motor and battery into your future EV. One of the beauties of the battery pack is that it's a removable one and has been integrated into the down tube of each E+ 1.

Why is this a big deal? Well, not only does this setup let you disengage the 625 Wh battery to take with you to charge and not the bike, but if you happen to need more range, just grab yourself another pack and double it. If another pack is too much, price-wise or weight-wise, try the 250 Wh range extender Giant places at our disposal.

Explore E\+ 1 \(Step\-Over\)
Photo: Giant Bicycles
Part two of this story has to do with the powerhouse behind all this electrified magic, the motor. Like most other e-bikes to come out from under the Giant umbrella, it's Yamaha that's furnishing a Syncdrive Sport 2 motor with a torque output of 75 Nm (55 lb-ft). That's almost up to par with e-MTBs, so there's more than enough power to tackle everything that pops up in your path.

But what does all this mean in terms of speed and range? Number one on this list is the top speed you can hit with an E+ 1, no less than a whopping 28 mph (45 kph), so it's a class 3 e-bike. Quite the speed and powerful motor, so we can expect the range to be rather shoddy... wrong! According to the manufacturer's website, this battery and motor configuration is reported to last up to 111 mi (179 km).

That's an impressive range and one reason why this bugger may come across as worth the cash! But, the cold, hard truth that real-world riding will bring to light is that this number is sure to drop by around 30% due to road conditions and all that.

Don't get me wrong, 111 mi is a real number but obtained in a perfect test setting, and the real world is anything but perfect. As a rule of thumb, Giant states that "good" road conditions will let you ride for around 62 mi (100 km), "extreme" conditions only 31 (50 km), but "ideal" is where we can attain that 111 mi.

Explore E\+ 1 \(Step\-Through\)
Photo: Giant Bicycles
Now, I'm going to skip over the features like that 10-speed Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic brakes we see and jump right into the final and most important aspect of this bike: its wheels and tires. Why is this feature so important? For the same reasons as it is on every other wheeled vehicle,

Not only are the wheels and tires responsible for making this contraption a viable means of transportation, but it's also the first buffer we have between the road and our bodies. So, it's my pleasure to point out that a pair of 700x57c tires will be responsible for your plush and far-reaching rides. Oh, and those rims are even tubeless-ready, so go nuts with the kind of slicks, or lack thereof, that you want. The suspension fork spotted at the front will only make everything smoother.

From here, I leave you to weigh your options and explore whether or not this machine is for you. Better yet, keep an eye out for one to pop up in a local dealership, take it out for a spin, and go from there.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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