The last few years have seen eMTBs split into two dominant segments: heavy, full-power e-bikes with large ranges and lightweight e-bikes with less powerful motors and smaller battery sizes. With different anatomy comes distinct ride characteristics, forcing riders to choose what experience they desire from their eMTB: power, distance, and stability; or lightweight maneuverability with limited power and range.
Insert Giant's all-new Trance X Advanced E+ Elite. Pulling attributes from both e-categories, the new model weighs 41 pounds and is equipped with an 85Nm motor and a 20-cell battery featuring breakthrough cell technology developed by Panasonic. Dubbed "lightweight meets full power," the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite is a first-of-its-kind e-bike, creating new expectations for eMTBs with small batteries.
- Giant's Advanced-grade composite frame
- Mixed wheel setup
- 140mm ( 5.5-inches) of rear wheel travel // 150mm (5.9-inches) fork travel
- Maestro suspension design
- 400Wh Giant EnergyPak Smart battery (200Wh Energy Pak+ range extender available)
- 85Nm Giant SyncDrive Pro2 motor
- Integrated top tube display
- RideControl Ergo 3 grip integrated remote
- Five customizable assist modes via RideControl App
- Headset or frame internal cable routing
- Flip chip geometry adjustment
- 65.5/65.7 head tube angle
- 447mm chain stay length
- Four build kits
- Sizes: S - XL
- Claimed weight (size medium, Elite 0 build): 41.4 pounds (18.8kg)
- MSRP: $6,000 - $14,000 USD
Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite Overview
The Trance X Advanced E+ Elite marks Giant's first dive into the lightweight e-bike segment. Developed with the goal of creating a nimble, efficient, and agile bike with uncompromised power, the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite shaves 9 pounds (4kg) off the full-size Trance X Advance E+. How did Giant strike such a low weight with full-power motor assistance? At the bike's core is all-new, lighter battery cell technology from Panasonic, combined with a new compact motor from Yamaha. The frame is also made from Giant's Advanced-grade composite material, and all builds feature components that prioritize lightweight performance. At 41.4 pounds (18.8 kg), the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite is not the lightest e-bike out there. However, it is the lightest e-bike compared to models with 85Nm motors, giving riders a power-to-weight ratio that no other e-bike has achieved.
The carbon frame uses Giant's long-standing Maestro suspension design with 140mm of rear wheel travel, paired with a 150mm fork and a mixed wheel setup. Giant says mixed wheels were chosen to maximize the stability capabilities of a 29-inch front wheel with the snappy and fast handling attributes of a 27.5-inch rear wheel. The smaller rear wheel also helped keep the chainstays short, further improving maneuverability. When we asked Giant why they chose 140mm of travel for their first lightweight e-bike instead of doing an enduro or cross-country model, they shot back a vague answer, alluding that future lightweight, full-power models at other travel amounts are very likely. So if you were hoping for a lightweight enduro eMTB like we were, you will have to keep waiting.
We will get into all the e-tech below that separates the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite, but other frame details include an unobstructed seat tube allowing for full-length dropper insertion, a flip chip in the rocker link that provides two geometry configurations, FOX Live Valve integration, an adjustable one-peice handlebar/stem unit, and mounts for a full-size water bottle.
Cockpit Integration Without Compromise
Hopefully, some people will stop and read this section before scrolling to the bottom to light up the comments about the one-piece handlebar with headset-routed cables. Luckily, Giant realizes not everyone is on board with the industry trend to generalize cockpit setup or stuff cables through bearings and equipped the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite with two cable routing options and a pretty trick one-piece adjustable handlebar/stem unit (only specced on the Elite 0 build). For those who would prefer the ease of maintenance over visual simplicity, the frame features three cable ports, allowing riders to pick and choose how cables are routed. If you choose to leave the cables routed through the headset, Giant did put a lot of R&D into the seals of the upper headset cap to ensure the elements don't work their way into the headset bearings.
As for the cockpit, Giant's all-new Contact SLR Trail unit gives riders similar adjustability to that of a standard two-piece cockpit, including stem length (40mm, 45mm, 50mm), back sweep (7, 8, or 9 degrees), and width (800mm with a 760mm width minimum). Stem length is adjusted by swapping out wedges that fit between the steerer tube and the ovalized stem. Backsweep comes set at 8 degrees and is adjusted by changing out the headset spacer that sits below the handlebars, and spacers are labeled by the adjustment they provide. The only adjustment not available is handlebar rise, as the Contact SLR Trail is only available with a 20mm rise.
On top of its unique adjustability, the Contact SLR Trail unit also uses a proprietary continuous carbon fiber layup with a slimmer profile near the center of the handlebar intended to boost compliance and reduce weight. At only 225 grams, it's undeniably a light setup that cuts 100-200 grams from a conventional two-piece cockpit. Compliance is a hot word these days, but Giant claims the Contact SLR Trail offers 16% more vertical compliance than their non-integrated Contact SLR Trail carbon handlebar. Final details include a top cap cover that can be replaced with a mount for computer units, action cameras, or lights.
SyncDrive Pro2 Motor
The SyncDrive Pro2 is a brand-new, compact motor that was co-developed with Yamaha for the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite. Delivering the same 85Nm of torque with a 400% support ratio as Giant's SyncDrive Pro motor used on their previous E+ e-bikes, the Pro2 motor is significantly lighter, weighing only 5.9 pounds (2.7kgs). It also boasts a 37mm increased ground clearance with a narrower Q factor. Compared to other lightweight e-bikes, the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite provides the most power. For example, Specialized's SL 1.1 motor offers 35Nm, Orbea's RS-tuned Shimano EP8 motor offers 60Nm, and Trek's Fuel EXe with TQ's HPR50 motor offers 50Nm.
The SyncDrive Pro2 motor uses Giant's Smart Assist technology, which uses sensors and algorithms to determine the exact amount of assistance needed at any given moment, creating near-instant power delivered with a natural feel. There are five assist modes that can be adjusted in the RideControl App to meet rider preferences or different terrain. Riders can adjust torque between 20-85Nm, the support ratio from 50-400%, and the acceleration rate from 2 seconds to 200 milliseconds. Since our time on the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite was brief, we didn't adjust modes in the App but found the stock settings offered a gradual change in assistance that was easy to hop on and ride. Here is how the stock modes breakdown: Mode 1: 50% / 20Nm / .5s; Mode 2: 125% / 40Nm / .5s; Mode 3: 175% / 50Nm / .5s; Mode 4: 250% / 60Nm / .5s; Mode 5: 400% / 85Nm / 200m
EnergyPak Smart 400 Battery
The magic sauce that allows the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite to pack a full-power motor in a lightweight e-bike is Giant's brand-new EnergyPak Smart 400Wh battery, co-developed with Panasonic specifically for e-bikes. The battery features an all-new, larger, yet lighter 22700 lithium-ion cell type. These new cells offer a higher max discharge capacity, making it possible to deliver 85Nm of torque from a battery that is half the size of previous batteries. By increasing the density and size of each cell, the battery can run cooler and sustain a longer total life cycle, improving durability and performance and increasing the amperage of each cell, equating to higher torque.
Battery cell technology might not be a super gripping topic, but up to this point, most full-size e-bike batteries have used 21700 cells to maximize torque, while smaller output motors have used 18650 cells to maximize weight. Now, Giant is stepping into a new realm, offering riders cell technology that can provide max torque in a lightweight package. The EnergyPak Smart 400 also marks the launch of Giant's new CO2-neutral battery production. And as e-bikes become increasingly popular, it's initiatives like that that we tip our hats to. Bravo, Giant.
As most riders know, battery range varies significantly based on numerous factors, such as rider weight, wind, terrain, temperature, and tire choice. With the EnergyPak Smart 400 battery, Giant estimates that riders can expect to reach 28 to 93 miles depending on conditions and an additional 15 to 46 miles out of the EnergyPak+ extender. We can't really weigh in on the range of the EnergyPak Smart 400 since our two rides on the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite were short and at a moderate effort that didn't require much battery. That said, we finished both rides with three out of five bars, which was neither surprising nor concerning.
For riders looking to knock out big rides that require maximum range, Giant will offer a 200Wh Energy Pak+ range extender for the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite with the same 22700 cell technology. And as a bonus, the range extender has a USB-C power bank that can be used to charge devices. Charging is handled by Giant's EnergyPak 4A Smart Charger, which continuously communicates between the charger and battery to optimize charging conditions and extend the battery's life. It also features a storage mode that will charge the battery to 60%, which Giant says is the ideal capacity for long-term storage. Finally, the EnergyPak Smart 400 is not easily removable for charging for mid-ride battery swapping.
RideControl Go and Ergo 3 Remote
There are two control centers on the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite. First, the RideControl Go button in the top tube allows riders to turn the system on and off, switch between power modes, and indicates the battery level and support mode with colored LEDs.
The second is the RideControl Ergo 3 handlebar remote. Integrated into the grip and mountable on either side, the remote has three configurable buttons to control power assist modes. Giant offers frame size-specific grips (different lengths and diameters) with a tapered profile, but the Ergo 3 remote can be used with any replacement grips. Riders also have the option to run two remotes on each side to control features such as walk-assist or lights.
The lack of a more elaborate integrated display might seem like a miss to some riders, with other brands offering units that clearly display battery percent, cadence, range, our watts. Giant's approach was to give riders a simple interface with key information needed mid-ride without being distracting or confusing.
The Trance X Advanced E+ Elite has a geometry package that we would label modestly progressive. And for a 140mm travel bike that prioritizes being lightweight, maneuverable, and efficient, Giant nailed it. The Trance X isn't excessively long or slack but successfully balances being descent-focused enough to provide safety and stability, matched with a comfortable pedaling position and manageable wheelbase.
One aspect of the geometry that Giant really focused on was achieving a short chain stay length to make the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite as nimble as possible. Often, the bottom bracket of an e-bike becomes congested with the motor and suspension links fighting for real estate, causing the rear center to grow. By designing their new SyncDrive Pro2 motor in conjunction with their Maestro suspension platform, Giant was able to fit the lower link around the motor without compromising suspension kinematics and achieve a 447mm chain stay length. Short chainstays were also the driving force behind the mixed-wheel setup.
The Trance X Advanced E+ Elite is available in four build kits ranging from $6,000 - $14,000 USD. Skimming through the build spec of any model will highlight that Giant didn't skimp out on components to strike the lowest weight possible. The only semi-questionable spec is the Maxxis' EXO casing tires, which could be deemed too light even on a lightweight e-bike. For us, extra sidewall support and rim protection are always welcomed, especially on a trail e-bike.
Some noteworthy build spec takeaways are that all models feature the same SyncDrive Pro2 Motor, EnergyPak 400Wh battery, and RideControl Ergo 3 remote. The top three models have a full Advanced-grade composite frame, while the cheapest Elite 3 model pairs its carbon front triangle with an aluminum rear end. The top two Elite 0 and Elite 1 models also come with FOX Live Valve.
On The Trail
Last November, I joined Giant for a press camp in St. George, Utah. Although I only squeaked in two rides during that time, the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite left a memorable impression and challenged how I categorize eMTBs.
The riding in Virgin mirrored what I assume riding on the moon would be like. Both days were spent sampling pedal-heavy trails on undulating terrain split up with brief, rocky descents. Relentlessly technical is the best way to describe the iconic Zen Trail and Gooseberry Mesa. Luckily, breathtaking views of the vast desert landscape are endless when you need a break from muscling up rock ledges or sprinting up the tenth consecutive rock roller. While the trails didn't help me test the battery life of the new EnergyPak 400 battery or push the descending limits of the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite, it did give me a good sense of the bike's quick handling and instant motor assistance. For a bike designed to be lightweight, responsive, and easy to move around, Utah proved to be an ideal testing zone, even though it wasn't my preferred riding flavor.
I rode a size large Trance X Advanced E+ Elite that fit me perfectly at 6 feet. Outside of setting sag and adjusting my cockpit controls, I was able to hop on the bike and feel comfortable right off the bat. Since the option was there, I opted to adjust the Contact SLR Trail unit to provide a 7-degree back sweep and a 50m stem length. I admittingly stood there while someone from Giant got me squared away, but the whole process took maybe 5 mins. On the trail, the handlebar/stem combo was comfortable, but I wouldn't go as far as to say the feeling was extraordinarily new or unique. The feel of a bike is always the sum of its components, which made it difficult to pinpoint the handlebars as the primary source of why the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite rode incredibly smooth.
I'm not going to dive super heavily into how FOX's Live Valve performed. Between focusing on how the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite performed, getting familiar with a new-to-me e-bike system, and navigating some mentally draining trails, I didn't spend much time dialing in the system. Does the bike need Live Valve? No. I've always enjoyed the suppleness and efficiency of Giant's Maestro suspension, and Giant executed the application of the design on the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite flawlessly. Did Live Valve enhance the performance of the suspension? Undeniably. I made a point to ride with the system off and in a more extreme setting (Firm mode, Bump Sensitivity 4), which produced a likely verdict. With Live Valve off, the suspension was a tad more active, cycling through more travel over bumps. With Live Valve set firmer, the suspension was stiffer more often, making the bike feel responsive and fast, but it took away some traction and comfort climbing. After the first day of riding, I settled on the Sport Mode with a Bump Sensitivity of 3, which was a little softer than the stock setup and balanced comfort and responsiveness over the endlessly rocky terrain. For riders who can afford the Elite 0 or Elite 1 build with Live Valve, the tunability is endless to match suspension setup to specific trials or create an exact ride characteristic. However, the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite does provide an exceptionally efficient platform without the system.
Dare I say it, but the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite rode kind of like a mountain bike. Even though descents were brief and hard to come by in Utah, when the opportunity presented itself to let off the brakes, the bike was incredibly light on its feet. 41 pounds might not be as light as some e-bikes out there, but with the weight of a FOX 36 fork under my arms, getting the bike to react to my input did not feel laborious or forced. I could change directions and ride lines as I would on an enduro bike, and I never had to adjust my braking points to accommodate the bike's extra weight. On full-size e-bikes, one of my favorite descending characteristics has always been the added stability of the low-hung motor weight. Even though the new SnycDrive Pro2 motor is light, I still found the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite offered extra grip and control through loose corners and remained settled through chunky rock gardens.
The trails we rode meandered over rolling terrain, requiring constant pedal strokes to keep up speed and clean sections. Having never ridden Giant's SyncDrive motor system, I was impressed by its smooth and natural power delivery. I've ridden other very cadence-dependent systems, while others only require you to turn the pedals to receive unfiltered assistance. The SyncDrive Pro2 motor landed right in between, offering plenty of power at a moment's notice but required an aggressive pedaling approach to maintain assistance. The Trance X Advanced E+ Elite also accelerated faster than most e-bikes I've ridden, likely due to its lightweight and full-size 85Nm motor.
The difference between the five assist modes was small, making it easy to find the ideal mode to match my cadence. Unlike three-mode systems that seem to only offer one usable assist mode for most trails, I found myself switching between modes on the SyncDrive Pro2 motor at almost the same rate as I was shifting gears. Unfortunately, the minimalistic buttons on the RideControl Ergo 3 control were difficult to distinguish, forcing me to constantly look down at the RideControl Go unit to confirm what mode I was in. At first, I assumed I would become familiar with the remote's tactic function and avoid having to double-check the unit. But after a few hours and a couple hundred glances at my top tube, I began to wish for a better remote or a more easily visible display.
I test rode the uber-fancy Elite 0 build, and with that came parts, namely the wheels and tires, that anchored the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite in the trail category. Sure, if going fast and riding gnarly, demanding trails is your cup of tea, you could swap a few parts, and the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite would be a very capable 140mm travel bike. However, that doesn't feel like the goal Giant was after when they set out to develop the bike. The way I see it, the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite wants to be ridden far on mixed terrain while providing a light, responsive ride quality that mirrors (as closely as possible) a regular mountain bike. But with the added benefit of having instant power at the pedals to take you further.
What's The Bottom Line?
The Trance X Advanced E+ Elite truly blurs the line between existing e-bike categories, offering riders a bike with unfiltered power at a manageable weight. It might not be the lightest e-bike ever developed, but it is still incredibly nimble, making it easy to glide up challenging climbs or carelessly float down descents. Giant has come out swinging with their new battery technology and motor package. And moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite influences what is expected from a lightweight e-bike since you no longer have to choose between power or weight. Now, you can have your cake and eat it too.
For more information, please visit giant-bicycles.com
View key specs, compare bikes, and rate the new Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite in the Vital MTB Product Guide.
About The Tester
Jason Schroeder - Age: 28 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Height: 6' (1.8m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.3kg)
A once-upon-a-time World Cup downhill racer turned desk jockey, Jason has spent years within the bicycle industry from both sides of the tape. A fan of all-day adventures in the saddle or flowing around a bowl at the skatepark, he doesn't discriminate from any form of two-wheeled riding. A SoCal native who doesn't spend too much time in any single place, you can find Jason camped out in his van most weekends somewhere on the West Coast.