Giant Entour E+ 2
The Giant Entour E+ 2 is a good quality mid motor city bike with a solid spec. It has plenty of power for the hills and enough range for most people’s city riding. It’s not without its niggles and won’t appeal if you’re looking for a longer-range bike, but it’s a good package for the £1,699 asking price.
The Entour E+ 2 is available in two frame designs, both made from Giant’s ALUXX-Grade Aluminum: tested the diamond frame version in for testing and there’s a step-through option too. The Entour E+ 1, at £100 more, gets a Shimano Nexus hub gear and full chain case in place of the 8-speed Shimano Tourney transmission.
The bike has a full city-friendly build, with full mudguards and a half chainguard. Spanninga Galeo front and Spanninga Solo rear lights get you seen about town and there’s a good quality kickstand too, mounted on the back of the chainstay so it’s out of the way of the pedals. The bike has a stem that’s adjustable for both height and angle, and the swept bars give a comfortable and upright position for good visibility.
Giant has specced Kenda Kwest 622×37 anti-puncture tyres on the Entour, and there’s a Suntour NEX suspension fork up front to further smooth out the bumps. The bike also sports Tektro hydraulic disc brakes for easy and composed stopping.
Performance: the updated motor is a leap forward
Giant’s SyncDrive Life motor system is based on Yamaha’s PW motor, but using their own firmware and battery and control hardware. It’s capable of 60Nm of torque, which isn’t far off Bosch’s Performance Line motor, and it’s certainly an eager unit. The assistance starts at 80% assistance, so if you’re putting 100W through the pedals then the bike will add 80W of its own. There’s often a 50% option on Yamaha systems but Giant don’t use that; they reckon it’s good for massaging range figures but not really much cop for actually helping you around. The RideControl LED bar-mounted remote gives you access to all the bike’s controls: it’s basic but it works very well and is easy to read.
Maximum assistance is 300%, and set to Sport mode the Entour makes mincemeat of Bath’s hills. The gearing is well-matched to the motor: the 8-speed derailleur doesn’t have the widest range, but it’s in exactly the right place. That means you don’t run out of gears on the climbs, and there’s plenty for flat cruising too. I’ve found that the motor assistance on Yamaha-equipped bikes tends to favour torque over cadence more than other systems, meaning that the bike rewards you more when you’re doing more work. That’s the case here too with Giant’s system, but maybe not as much. I still found that if I backed off the effort in high assistance mode then the bike would tend to slow more than you’d get with a Bosch or Shimano system, which in those circumstances give you pretty much full gas so long as you’re turning the pedals, especially Bosch.
Range: okay for most city riding
This bike is specced with a 300Wh battery. That’s small for a good quality bike, and it’s allowed Giant to hit quite a low price point and keep a good level of equipment. You might think that it’ll mean the bike is compromised on range, and that’s sort of true, although you need to weigh that up against what you’ll be doing. The bike will still give you plenty of range for most of the likely usage it’ll see.
My commute is down to the city centre and then back, up a big hill; my house is 130m above my office so the ride home is basically all uphill. The round trip is only about 9km, but most city bikes with a 400Wh battery will only be able to manage four goes at the hill (I don’t tend to hold back on the assistance) before it’s time to plug them in. The Giant managed three, with a little bit of judicious level choice on the last one. Some high-capacity bikes will do more, as you’d expect, but given the reduced capacity the Giant does about what you’d expect. I never really worried about the range of the Entour: if you’re using it for a commute of 10km or less then a day’s riding isn’t ever going to run it down, and I was plugging it in twice a week. If you’re looking for a bike for longer leisure rides then range might come into play, but it’s not really designed for that. The battery depletion is a little bit non-linear, with the last couple of bars of charge falling away pretty quickly if you’re in a high mode. I managed to run the bike flat on the climb once because of that; it’s a perfectly rideable bike without assistance, although obviously it’s heavy on the hills. There really isn’t much drag from the motor though.
The ride: composed, the fork is surplus to requirements
Generally speaking the spec is very sensible. The Tektro hydraulic brakes do a great job of stopping the bike even on steep descents, and the chain guard is a bit rattly but gets the job done; I’d prefer a static chainguard to the Chainglider one that Giant use here. I’m not a big fan of the Suntour NEX fork: on an upright bike such as this the need for a suspension fork is pretty minimal anyway, because your weight is over the back of the bike. The fork just feels a bit clunky, topping out over speed humps and generally not doing a brilliant job. The bike would be better without it.
For the most part though, the Entour is nice and easy to pilot. The swept bars and upright position give it a relaxed feel, and put you nice and high up for a good view of your surroundings. The Kenda tyres aren’t brilliant in terms of their feel but they offer plenty of grip, and they’re big enough to handle the intermittent tarmac that passes for city streets round here; they’re sturdy enough to handle graded trails such as towpaths and fire roads too, if your riding takes you off the beaten path a bit.
Overall: good performance and a sensible package
Under £2,000 you’re always going to get a few compromises if you want a quality mid motor. This bike has a few corners cut, and specs a lower-capacity battery than you’d normally find, but overall it works well as a package and the range won’t be an issue unless your commute is fairly epic. The ride position is good for urban use and it’s fully specced for all-weather, all-year commuting. The upated SyncDrive Life motor is very good, and a good fit for the bike. As an off-the-shelf solution for city riding, it’s a well-considered bike and pleasant to ride.