Updated: 29th June 2017
Giant’s Dirt-E+ electric mountain bike is a hardtail MTB with 27.5” wheels and a fully integrated electric motor system. We take a look at Giant’s electric cross country offering, reviewing the model range. ALUXX SL alloy frames house a battery in the downtube and the motor in the bottom bracket area, and use a Yamaha motor with Giant’s own battery.
The Dirt-E+ range has Shimano drivetrains throughout, and an array of Giant’s in-house components, along with Schwalbe tyres and either Suntour or Fox forks. It’s made for those who want to ride further and start enjoying climbing up steep ascents. It’s also great for riders who are back from injury but still need some assistance, or for older riders who still want to enjoy trails as much as the next person.
The Dirt-E+ is a cross country and trail oriented electric bike and so has geometry to suit, with a stable, yet nimble head tube angle and roomy cockpit. The frame is made from Giant’s ALUXX SL aluminium alloy, which has an excellent strength to weight ratio. All Dirt-E+ frames feature internal cable routing, keeping the looks tidy and cables free from damage, and Giant’s OverDrive headtubes, which are oversized and tapered to increase stiffness and strength in the frame.
The battery is fully integrated into the downtube of the frame to form a sleek shape, with minimal bulk or changes from a normal mountain bike's appearance. The motor helps form this continuous shape with its integration into the bottom bracket area, while on the bottom of the downtube a plastic plate protects the motor from any debris on the trails.
The Dirt-E+ 0 has quite a roomy riding position, making it super-comfortable and well suited to long rides. The handling is also very quick and precise, showing a great balance of agility and smoothness. - E-Mountainbike
The 120mm travel forks strike a great balance between bump absorption and efficiency.
Every model in the Dirt-E+ range has 120mm forks. The amount of travel means i'st great for cross country trails yet doesn’t make it overwhelming for canal paths and forest roads, which shows the versatile of the Dirt-E+. To match up to the OverDrive tapered headtube, the steerer tubes are tapered too, increasing stiffness and helping with steering accuracy.
For the Dirt-E+ 1 and 2, Suntour forks are offered, with a XCR 32 RL-R on the 2 and a Raidon RL-R Air on the 1. The Dirt-E+ 0 gets a Fox 34 Performance fork with Grip damper and 2-position remote lever. Both the 1 and 2 also get remote levers to activate the lockout functions of the forks. All the Dirt-E+ forks have 15mm thru-axles on their forks, creating a stiffer and stronger fork.
Giant’s SyncDrive Sport is a complete system developed with the help of Yamaha. The Yamaha motors use a custom tune just for Giant and produce 250W of power and 80Nm of torque. It uses Giant RideControl – a handlebar mounted LCD display and controller – to choose the mode of power and to see the details of the system, including battery level, speed and mode.
The Giant EnergyPak battery comes in two different sizes, with the Dirt-E+2 getting the 400Wh battery and the 1 and 0 getting a larger 500Wh battery. This means that the 1 and 0 have slightly larger ranges. For the EnergyPak 400, Giant says the ranges on the different modes are: Eco: 50-100km, Normal: 30-60km, Sport: 15-40km. The EnergyPak500 has ranges of: Eco: 65-130km, Normal: 40-75km, Sport: 20-50km.
Giant partnered with Yamaha to develop a custom motor tune for their e-bikes, creating their SyncDrive system.
With a wide range of gears, Shimano 2x drivetrains offer the ability to take on a large variety of terrain.
To cater to a wide variety of inclines and terrain, Shimano 2x drivetrains adorn every Dirt-E+ model. Starting with the Dirt-E+2, there is a 2x9 speed Deore/Acera drivetrain and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors. The Dirt-E+1 gets a XT/Deore 2x10 speed drivetrain and more powerful Shimano disc brakes, also with 180mm rotors front and rear.
The range-topping Dirt-E+0 gets a 2x11 speed XT drivetrain, with matching XT disc brakes and a 200mm rotor up front for even greater stopping power. Giant in-house components adorn the rest of the bike, with Giant Connect handlebars and stem, and on the Dirt-E+0 a Giant Connect SL Switch Trail dropper seatpost makes climbing and descending even more convenient.
The wheel size of choice for the Dirt-E+ was 27.5” because they balance rolling speed, strength and agility so well. Giant’s in-house wheels offer excellent value for money and are what all of the Dirt-E+ models roll on. Both the Dirt-E+ 2 and 1 gave GX03 rims, while the 0 gets Giant XC 1 TL ready rims. The hubs on all models feature sealed cartridge bearings for long term durability and smooth rolling.
The XC 1 TL rims on the 0 are tubeless ready, meaning they are made to be able to run without a tube, which improves traction and helps prevents punctures. Schwalbe tyres adorn all the wheels on the Dirt-E+ range. The 2 gets a Tough Tom up front in 2.35” and a Rapid Rob out back in 2.25”. The 1 and 0 models get higher performing, Dual Compound Nobby Nics in front with Snakeskin casings, which are stiffer and further help avoid punctures and Rocket Ron tyres out back that are fast rolling to balance out the grippy front tyres.
Grippy Schwalbe tyres combine with Giant wheels to provide fast rolling and great traction off road.
The Giant Dirt-E+ range was created to make mountain biking easy and accessible for a greater amount of people. It’s friendly geometry, drivetrains and forks don’t complicate the riding experience, while the powerful motor and large battery assists in climbing efforts, meaning that previously unattainable ascents are now easy.
People with previous injuries, those who struggle with their fitness, or older riders would benefit from the Dirt-E+, and will find that they can now tackle those rides that were otherwise not possible. The range of ebikes is often looked at as a potential problem, but the with the various modes on offer from the SyncDrive system, the Dirt-E+ is capable of going as far as 130km, depending the rider, mode and manner of riding.