Giant Road-E bike helping riders stay forever young

Bike making giant rolls out its first performance oriented electric bike

E-bike Sea Otter Classic

2016 Sea Otter Classic

Total weight: 45 pounds for a size medium. Cost is $3400.

Total weight: 45 pounds for a size medium. Cost is $3400 (click to enlarge).

Imagine showing up to the next group ride with an extra couple hundred watts at your disposal. And no, we’re not talking the “performance enhanced” variety. But you could expect a similar boost if your next bike is the Giant Road-E, an electric pedal-assist two-wheeler that was on display at the annual Sea Otter Classic at the Laguna Seca Raceway outside Monterey, California.

Squint your eyes and the Road-E looks like a traditional drop bar steed, albeit one with a very oversized downtube (that’s where the 6-pound removable rechargeable battery lives). Geometry is in line with Giant’s endurance-oriented Defy platform, meaning a long wheelbase and slack headtube for increased stability.

The handlebar mounted display helps you track key metrics, including battery level.

The handlebar mounted display helps you track key metrics, including battery level (click to enlarge).

Claimed weight is around 45 pounds, size medium with battery. And in case you’re wondering, the brakes are standard Shimano hydraulic road disc with 160mm rotors. The rest of the bike, says Giant PR man Andrew Juskaitis, is “beefed up” without a lot of carryover from their standard road bikes. That means stouter chain, chunkier fork legs and chainstays. Even the Giant housebrand wheels wrapped with 32mm tires are more robust.

The bike, which as it reads on the frame, is powered by Yamaha, has three assist modes, eco, normal, and sport, each delivering successively more go-go juice. The more torque you put in the pedals, the more help you get out of the motor. A Garmin-like handlebar computer helps keep you abreast of battery level and other key metrics. Battery life varies depending on mode and usage, but Juskaitis figures you’re looking at about 2 hours between charge times. “You’re not doing a century on this thing,” he added.

So what are you doing?

Now that is a massive downtube.

Now that is a massive downtube (click to enlarge).

“The target market is that person who used to ride a lot, but has gotten older, or just isn’t as fit as they used to be,” Juskaitis explained of a bike that for now comes in just one model and four sizes with a retail of $3400 in the U.S. “Now that person can experience that feeling of going fast again. It really opens up a whole new world for that 72-year-old that wants to be 22 for a day.”

Of course there are some differences, especially when going down hill. This e-bike is more than double the weight of a normal road bike, so you obviously have to choose your lines differently — and brake a little earlier.

The SyncDrive Yamaha X94 central motor is compact, producing 80Nm of torque which gives you an instant and even amount of power.

The SyncDrive Yamaha X94 central motor is compact, producing 80Nm of torque which gives you an instant and even amount of power (click to enlarge).

Giant’s adamant that the bike’s release is not a case of chasing the hot (and polarizing) trend in cycling right now. “We’ve been doing variations of e-bikes for 15 years and everything you see here is made in house,” said Juskaitis, noting that Giant has a stand alone factory (dubbed GEV or Giant E Vehicle). “It’s not a bunch of off-the-shelf parts made by someone else and then cobbled together.”

“We’ve been dedicated to this for a long time, and it’s a really big seller in Asia and Europe, especially Holland,” he added. “But this is the first time we’ve done it at a performance level and not just for commuters.”

Now the question is what to do the first time someone shows up to your group ride on one of these. I say roll out the welcome mat — and make them pull all day (or at least as long as his battery lasts).

For more information visit

This article is part of RoadBikeReview’s coverage of the 2016 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. For more from Sea Otter CLICK HERE.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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  • DrSmile says:

    Anyone showing up for a club ride on this would be laughed at and teased mercilessly, even by me. If you’re older, ride slower. No one gives a hoot!

  • redzone77 says:

    You make also bring a cane and a de-fibulator.

  • Happy Bill says:

    Actuallly the real utility of these bikes IMHO is in supplementing a car in a family. 3400 is nothing to sneeze at, but is very low compared to the cost of a car.
    Besides, this bike is completely obvious on a club ride, and everyone would know if you won a KOM on it that you had help.
    All in all these are the future in a variety of fields. I have a feeling you wont see many on real club rides, but on organized tours and centuries? Sure why not.

  • John says:

    “You’re not doing a century on this thing”
    I cycled 68 miles with lots of hills and could drop my two friends which were on carbon road bikes on eco up hill.
    I turned the motor off when on the flat I was on the Dirt mountain e bike 2016, I have time trail bars fitted to the bike and semi slick tyres,when I finished I had 45% battery

    • Mike L says:

      I don’t know that “most bicyclists” hate e-bikes. I have lots of great conversations with other cyclists about my electric bike. And on long rides, a pull from an ebike is welcome from tired riders.

      The only negativity I’ve found is from a select few cyclists who imagine I’m racing them. These cyclists appear to hallucinate that they are on ESPN racing the other commuters and recreational cyclists around them for prize money. Obviously ebikes don’t fit in their imaginary rule book for their imaginary race. This is especially humorous when I’m carting around my two boys on my heavy steel ebike next to their 240 ounce carbon bike. These few cyclists may also be jealous that their electric powered counterparts don’t have to wear lycra or shave their legs. But they also do not represent “most cyclists

  • John says:

    The old school dinosaurs are very angry I wonder why.

  • Steve says:

    I have a Stromer ST1and ride with a lot of cyclist in the area. I never get negative comments but I’m often stopped to discuss the bike. I’m 59 and never really was into cycling until recently. Best investment I’ve made as far as health and exercise. I average 20-25 miles and get a good workout. The main thing is that where all out riding.

  • Stan says:

    I just bought one of these and it is absolutely fantastic! I am an older guy with a few injuries from a previous sports carrear. The bike is superb I love riding it and so ride it more. I have a very hilly 15 mile commute and it is a god send. My cycling buddy is aan ironman level athelete and I don’t feel I ma holding him back anymore. If these bikes get people into cycling or keep people cycling what is the problem? Don’t knock it till you have tried it.

  • Stan Szczotka says:

    I am buying a road E+1. Been riding for many years despite having had a heart problem most of them but now my angina has been making my rides unenjoyable as well as potentially dangerous due to the stress on my heart. My riding mates are looking forward as much as me to my keeping up with them again on the hills and mountains of Costa Blanca, Spain. No racing, just guys out enjoying themselves on bikes and still able to talk.

  • supermikeb says:

    I have the Haibike Race, which is very similar to this. I put 2,500 miles on it the last 9 months and love it. I think it’s hilarious how much faster I go than everyone else when I want. I suspect some don’t realize it’s an electric assist bike. It’s great to go on long rides on the lower power settings and just save the battery for when you need it, or if you decide to do another 40 miles before going home.

  • John says:

    I’m one of the carbon-riding, spandex-wearing crowd, but I’m also getting older (52). Those 10%+ grades get tougher every year.

    I look forward to the day when a “true” bicycle hybrid is released, one that charges the battery when pedaling without assist, while coasting, and through regenerative braking. Then there will be no need to re-charge the battery, and you CAN do a brutally hilly century on one.

    I figure by the time they come around, the weight will be less, and I’ll be in the market for one. If I can still wear my spandex, I will, however 🙂

  • Mark says:

    I retired at 51 and rode 8 to 10,000 miles a year for 10 years. I am now 63 and the last couple of years it has not been as much fun, I don’t have the same mental drive to work so hard, I have slowed down but it just has not been as much fun for me. I bought a Trek 700+ and now I am riding 200+ miles a week and loving it! I carry an extra battery and charger with me in a nice bag on a seatpost floating rack.

  • Roger Cerfontyne says:

    I find the ethics remarks rather amusing. I am 69 and only started serious cycling about 5 years ago. 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with asthma and now probably have half the lung capacity of most serious riders making climbs and distance problematic. I have the choice of an ebike or putting my feet up in front of the TV while my mates continue to enjoy themselves. What would you do?

  • Rated E says:

    Faster, Father, and Higher, just rode 50 miles and climbed 6000 Feet, most intense workout ever, rode most of it without power, climbing with a 45 pound bike was no joke, 40% battery left. All done in 2.5 hours!!!!

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