April 27, 2017

Giant Quick-E+ Review

  1. A highly-polished electric city bike with sleek battery integration, full-protection fenders, premium LED lights running off the main battery and a minimalist pannier rack for hauling gear
  2. Available in four frame sizes but only one traditional high-step diamond style, the bike is extremely efficient with a rigid alloy fork and slick hybrid tires, 20 speed Shimano Deore drivetrain
  3. The Yamaha motor is extremely quiet but offers some of the highest torque output, this is a speed model that can reach 28 mph assisted, beautiful display and button pad with USB charging port for portable electronics
  4. The display is not removable, the battery can be charged on or off the bike but is heavier and doesn't have a handle so be careful, great price and leading warranty with lots of dealers offering good support

While traveling through Southern California I visited Fullerton Bicycles and met Trevor, the owner of the Quick-E+ electric bike you see here. He’s a 128 lb road biker who loves distance rides on the weekend but also commutes ~35 miles daily to his job. Trevor bought this bike to use as a recovery tool and make his commutes a little faster and had some great things to share about it in the video review above. One of my favorite aspects of mainstream electric bicycles like the Quick-E+ is that they tend to come in more sizes and be available to touch and demo at shops. This is truly a mainstream e-bike priced at $3k delivering a 20 speed drivetrain, perfectly integrated motor and battery pack. The thing looks amazing and comes with a two-year warranty that is honored on-site with expert bike technicians. Yes, there are less expensive ebikes on the market but with the Quick-E+ you’re getting a high capacity battery, fast charger, reliable motor from Yamaha, integrated LED lights, full-length fenders that don’t rattle… and a minimalist rack for hauling panniers. It’s an awesome product and it’s fast, topping out at ~28 mph in the highest levels of assist using the higher gears. There are a few compromises like the heavy battery that wasn’t designed with a handle or ridge to make it easier to carry and the fixed display that might get faded and scratched at racks… but the biggest consideration is the lack of suspension. When you’re going faster and further, an all-Aluminum frame and rigid fork transmit bumps and vibration more directly into your back and arms. One way to address this to ride on only the smoothest streets, and even if they take you way out of the way, that’s fine because you can go super far with battery support. Another possible solution is to wear padded cycling pants and gloves and perhaps the biggest improvement would be a 30.9 mm BodyFloat suspension seat post (or other less-expensive suspension post). This is an ebike that blends in, positions weight low and center for excellent handling, uses mid to high level components, like the Shimano hydraulic brakes, and really brings electric bikes into the mainstream into the USA which has historicaly lagged behind Europe and Asia in this industry. It’s exciting.
Driving the Quick-E is a 250 watt nominally rated Yamaha mid-drive motor. It’s branded as SyncDrive through Giant and has a nice skid plate on the bottom for protection. To me, it’s one of the cleanest most hidden looking systems around and it delivers a lot of power… Don’t let the 250 watt rating fool you, it peaks around 500 watts and delivers 80 Newton meters of torque vs. 40 Nm for a lot of hub motors and 63 Nm for the Bosch Performance line motor. What it does not have is shift sensing or the range of RPM output that Bosch does. That means you have to shift more frequently to get those higher speeds and you have to do it with a bit more care. The motor controller is measuring rear wheel speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque rapidly as you ride and if you simply reduce pedal pressure as you go to shift the motor will naturally back off and reduce the potential for mashing. It works a lot like a normal bicycle and is compatible with two front sprockets vs. just one on Bosch… the Quick-E+ takes full advantage of this with a 10×2 setup and Shimano Deore derailleurs on both. One of the Yamaha marketing highlights is “zero cadence start” which means you don’t have to pedal very far before the motor kicks in. In my experience “zero” is a bit misleading because the bike won’t go if you’re standing still but putting pressure on the pedal (and that’s a good thing), I’d say it’s more like “very fast start” and that’s just what you need going from rest at a traffic light, stop sign or heading up a hill.
Powering the motor, backlit display panel and integrated lights is a 36 volt 13.8 amp hour above-average sized battery pack. On an efficient city bike like this, expect 50 to 100 miles per charge depending on your weight, the terrain, wind conditions and most importantly, the level of pedal assist chosen. There are three levels to choose from and as you get to the highest and switch gears to reach 20+ mph speeds your efficiency will drop significantly. It’s fun to ride fast but I really loved how detailed the battery readout was (with percentage) along with the dynamic range estimator readout because it’s no fun getting stuck way out on a 50 lb bicycle. Yes, the bike still pedals fine unpowered, it’s actually not that bad, but climbing with it would be a chore… especially after knowing what the assist felt like. You could always get some clip-on panniers and bring the 1.7 lb charger along. It puts out 3 Amps for faster than average fills and has a nice metal end piece that fits into the battery pack on or off the bike. I just want to say, the plug interface on the battery is very nice, I like that the rubber flap seats easily and that the battery has an LED readout on it (for a quick look if you haven’t ridden for a while). The bit area of opportunity with this battery is how you’d hold and carry it. The pack is heavier than competing products at ~7.5 lbs and the exterior is slick and rounded… dropping it would be a $700+ mistake and even scratching it would be sad given the beautiful paint matched exterior. I think I’d probably leave mine on the bike and use the awesome kickstand to keep the whole thing secure while charging.

Operating the bike is a breeze with just one step on/off button at the control pad (near the left grip). The display panel is large enough to read but not so large that it dominates the cockpit which already has the brake levers and two sets of trigger shifters, a bell and the button pad. The display lights up when you press the light button on that pad along with the headlight and tail light. Both components are nicer than average and I LOVE that the headlight has little windows on the sides so you will be seen more easily. It’s not shown in my photos or the video but the standard Schwalbe Big Ben tires have reflective sidewall stripes to further increase your visual footprint. As mentioned earlier, this bike is pretty stiff and the larger high-quality tires are the one big comfort compromise. They aren’t as efficient or light as slimmer tires but I’d make the trade any day. So back to the display panel, it lists your speed, a bunch of trip stats including pedal cadence and the level of assist chosen. Arrowing up and down through the levels is easy with a few minutes of practice, it can be done by touch even without looking down once you get how it works.
Clearly I’m impressed with this bike, for the price (even if it sounds high to non-ebikers) you’re getting a LOT of value. The local dealer support cannot be overstated, Giant shops in the US are probably staffed by some reluctant service techs who think ebikes are cheating… but if Trevor is any indication, they are opening their minds and recognizing how useful the technology can be and that’s awesome because they know bicycles better than most. I love that Trevor found his own uses for this bike and was enjoying it. He still rides a normal unpowered bike but can have in-between days to recover without doing nothing and his commute got a lot more tolerable. Yes, I personally would swap the seat post for something more forgiving (and maybe even the stem) but I ride all over and have a sensitive back and neck to start. For most people, this will just be a blast to ride and it looks SO good. It blends in and uses components that will hold up for the long term… even if you don’t shift perfectly. It’s great to go fast without producing a lot of noise or compromising much on handling. Big thanks to Giant for partnering with me on this post and Fullerton Bicycles for having me into their shop all day getting in their way :P thanks for your patience and help Trevor!


  • The bike looks beautiful, comes in four frame sizes for a good fit and rides solid, I’m glad they opted for larger tires to help smooth out some of the bumps given that it’s a speed pedelec capable of 28 mph assisted riding
  • Clean tight fenders extend way down and mostly stay out of your way, when turning sharp the front fender could collide with your toes if you have large feet, I like that the rear fender is secured by the pannier rack
  • Front and rear integrated LED lights keep you visible from all sides (notice the side windows on the headlight) and don’t require the hassle of being taking off to charge separately or keep secured when parking… they’re more permanently affixed to the frame, the bike also comes with reflective tires standard
  • Great kickstand, it’s adjustable length and positioned towards the rear of the bike so it won’t collide with your pedals, I like to move the cranks around when cleaning the bike and usually have my bike held up with the kickstand so it’s a nice little convenience to be able to do that without issue here
  • Nice extras including the rack, a flick bell and bottle cage bosses for bringing liquid, a folding lock or mini pump
  • Since Giant is using the Yamaha motor, they were able to custom design their battery and display… I think they did well because both are user-friendly and blend in, the remote button pad for the display is easy to reach and intuitive to use
  • The battery charger is very nice, way better than the huge and heavy charger that Haibike uses for their Yamaha powered models in years past, it’s small, light and faster than average at 3 Amp output, also, the plug interface is metal so it won’t crack as easily
  • At the bottom bracket you’ve got two cogs vs. just one on a lot of mid-drive electric bikes and that means more pedal cadence options and gearing range, I love that they created a shield to protect the motor down there
  • All of the shift cables and wiring are internally routed so the frame looks super clean and you shouldn’t have as many snags lifting or putting it on a rack
  • The pannier rack in the rear has protrusions along the inner top section of the tube to keep bags from sliding forward and back, it also keeps panniers lower to improve handling vs. lifting them way up high like regular aftermarket bolt-on racks
  • The rear wheel has thicker spokes to support the weight of panniers and cargo, both rims use reinforcement eyelets to keep them from cracking… just a good sturdy build overall that can handle higher speeds and more force from electric assist
  • I’m a big fan of hydraulic disc brakes, especially for ebikes, the added weight of the bike (this one is ~50 lbs) combined with assisted speed means that braking is important and hydraulic is just easier to pull and the Quick-E+ uses Shimano with adjustable-reach levers that would work better if you’ve got gloves on or have smaller hands
  • Awesome charge port cover… the rubber flap is large but easy to stick in and it’s mounted left to right so it closes in the direction of your bikes forward movement, you can charge this pack on or off the bike and I like that the battery has an LED charge level indicator on top where you can use it anytime for a quick update on how full it is
  • Considering how much power the battery offers, it’s awesome to have a USB charging port on the right side of the display to fill your phone (useful if you ride with Strava or other GPS apps)
  • To me, this electric bike offers amazing value because it comes frome one of the major manufacturers with a wide network of experienced dealers, comes in a range of sizes, has a two-year warranty and is using quality motor, battery and drivetrain systems
  • The display shows battery percentage and range estimation that dynamically changes as you arrow up or down through different levels of assist, you should never struggle to plan trips with this ebike because it gives you such great feedback… with the rigid frame and efficient tires the bike gets excellent range
  • The button pad is easy to reach and use while riding, even without looking down it’s possible to change assist levels, the rubberized top seemed well sealed against water, this bike should hold up very well in wet environments with the fenders and protected display sytems
  • I like that the bike has a functioning walk mode, it’s a bit heavier and might have bags on the rack so this feature is cool (just hold the walk button while in any of the three assist levels)

  •  The battery looks nice and works well enough but is heavier than average due to the high capacity and there isn’t a handle built in so just be careful when taking it off and carrying it around
  • All-Aluminum frame is sturdy and light but less forgiving than if the rigid fork were Carbon fiber or Steel… or had some sort of suspension, consider a 30.9 mm Thudbuster or BodyFloat to enhance your comfort (you might need a shim to fit the seat post diameter depending on which product you buy)
  • Both wheels are secured with nuts instead of quick release which requires tools… but also keeps them safer when locking in public, this isn’t a huge con, just something to consider if you have to do maintenance or like to transport the bike in the back of a car
  • The Quick-E+ only comes in one frame style, a very traditional high-step that looks good and feels solid but isn’t as easy to stand over for petite or inexperienced riders, you might have to use tippie toes if you get the wrong size frame but the upside is that it hangs on racks easier and has room for the bottle cage bosses
  • The motor is quiet, efficient and powerful (putting out 80 Nm of peak torque) but doesn’t offer shift sensing technology and has a more limited RPM output range so you have to shift frequently, if you’re not thoughtful about how you do it (ease off when shifting) it could wear the chain, sprockets and derailleur more quickly
  • The charge port on the battery is mostly out of the way but if you had the charger plugged in there’s a chance that it could get bumped by the left crank arm so be careful