In the world of ebikes, it’s tough to find a mountain bike under $5000. The Giant Stance E+ 1 sneaks in at a retail price of $4950. There’s nothing blingy about it, but it is a full-suspension eMTB with, modern standards, a dropper post, and name-brand suspension for a reasonable price. It’s the cheapest bike in our test, but is it the best bang for your buck? Stick around to find out.
Stance E+ 1 GEO AND DETAILS
The Stance E+ is the shortest travel bike in our test at 120mm rear travel and 130mm up front. It also has the steepest head tube angle (67°) and shortest reach (465mm XL) and wheelbase (1240mm XL). For being the most “XC” bike in the test you’d expect it to go uphill the best. We’ll get into it later in the review, but that may not be the case.
The Stance utilizes a single-pivot suspension design with some flex in the stays in lieu of a rear pivot or more complex linkage like Maestro. It rolls on 29” wheels front and back which means the chainstays are on the longer side at 475mm. That means the chainstays are longer than the reach in every size, even extra-large. Personally, I’d love to see those chainstays tucked in a bit, even if that means the back wheel has to be 27.5”.
The Stance’s geometry is more on par with what we’d see from older bikes. As you’ll see that becomes a defining characteristic of this bike.
The Stance E+ uses Giant’s SyncDrive Sport motor. It’s by far the best thing about this bike. Even not being the top-tier Giant drivesystem. It performs remarkably well. It offers enough power, smooth delivery, and decent battery life. I’ve always been a fan of the SyncDrive system for its quiet, smooth, and natural feel.
The sport version of the SyncDrive system offers a bit less power at 70Nm of peak torque. It’s still enough to hang with the big dogs on the climbs. I never once felt underpowered on this bike. In fact, the amount of torque on offer is more than enough when paired with the bike’s geometry. Any more, and you’d be doing non-stop wheelies.
The SyncDrive Sport runs on a 625Wh battery. Considering the reduced motor power, the battery offers pretty close to the same range as some of the bigger bikes. It’s going to be plenty for your weeknight rides and will be enough for some bigger weekend missions.
Giant Stance E+ 1 Review
The Stance E+ is the most XC bike in the test, but is it the best climber? It has the steepest head tube angle, and shortest wheelbase so on paper it should be one of the better bikes on the climbs. There are a couple of reasons I don’t think it takes the top honors. The suspension design and geometry are the biggest factors.
Let’s kick things off with the suspension. The FlexPoint suspension design relies on flex in the stays in lieu of a rear pivot. I’d argue on an alloy bike, it’s tough to dial in that flex how you’d like. In reality, the Stance behaves more like a single-pivot bike. That ends up giving the bike a fair amount of pedal bob. Pedal bob isn’t the worst thing on an ebike, as you have a motor to overcome any lack of efficiency. The problem arises in how much the bike sags into its travel under pedaling forces. The seat tube angle is slack enough to begin with. Once you’ve sagged into your travel, your weight ends up pretty far back on the bike. It leads to a lack of control over the front end. I found myself wandering on the trail and having a tough time keeping the front end down. I will say the suspension remained pretty active which did a good job of providing traction. The tires specced on the bike aren’t the grippiest, but if you were to swap for some more aggressive tires, the bike would be great in the traction department.
The seat tube angle is the biggest issue for me on the descents. I had a tough time controlling the front end. Granted, our test trail was as steep as they get which is never going to help with keeping the front wheel down. Still, I found the front wheel lifting more than I liked. I struggled in the technical sections especially. In fact, I almost went over the bars on a climb, which is a new experience for me.
The Drivesystem was the standout feature on the climbs. It performed as well as the more expensive bikes. It was the redeeming quality for me. SyncDrive is consistently a top performer for me. Overall the geometry and suspension design hold the bike back a bit on the climbs, especially the steep and technical ones.
Here’s where things turn more positive. I struggled less with the Stance E+ on the descents than I did on the climbs. It surprised me with how well it handled our test trail. It has the least travel and steepest geometry, but I was able to go much faster than I thought I could.
While the suspension isn’t the most refined, it does a good job of staying active throughout the entire range. The Stance E+ did a good enough job smoothing out our high-speed, rough trails. I dropped in thinking it was going to be a sketchy ride. While it wasn’t nearly as composed as the other bikes, I found myself pleasantly surprised that I was able to focus on riding a bike rather than purely surviving. The back end tended to bounce around a little bit, especially while on the brakes, a characteristic of single-pivot suspension platforms.
The geometry didn’t offer as much composure as some of the more modern bikes, but again, it performed better than I expected. The steeper angles and shorter wheelbase helped quite a bit in the corners, especially the tighter ones. The handling is on the quicker side, offering a lot of responsiveness. I’d try some wider bars to slow down the steering just a bit if your fit and preference would allow it. A shorter stem could be nice to bring your weight further back while standing, but I think it would make the climbing situation even worse. The quick handling is great for the easier trails, however. It makes smoother trails more fun and exciting.
Overall on the descent, I was fairly surprised with how well the Stance E+ performed. It exceeded expectations. It’s far from the most capable descender, but it does ok on rougher trails while handling the easier trails very well.
Giant Stance E+ 1 VALUE Score
Even though the Stance E+ is the cheapest bike in the test, I don’t think it offers the most value. I’d give it a ⅖. The be blunt if you can afford the extra $500-$600, get the Giant Reign E+ or the Orbea Rise. There’s no doubt those are better bikes. If your absolute max is $5000, then get the Stance E+. It’s better than no ebike at all.
I don’t really have too many complaints about components, to be honest. The drivetrain is perfectly fine, the brakes do their job, and the dropper post is reliable. The suspension isn’t the nicest I’ve ever ridden, but it moves up and down smoothly without feeling like a pogo stick. Where I find the lack of value is in the suspension platform and geometry.
The drivesystem adds a point or two to the value score in my book. Again, it’s the standout feature on the bike.
WHO IS the Giant Stance E+ 1 for?
This is where I’d like to spend quite a bit of time explaining the previous part of the review. While the Stance E+ isn’t the highest-performing bike, it does have a place. Let’s not write it off.
The Stance is the cheapest bike in this test. If your budget is exactly $5000 dollars, you don’t have a ton of options. This bike is a decent option for the price. Most other ebikes under $5k, don’t offer dropper posts or RockShox suspension, let alone a combination of both. You won’t get the highest-performing bike, but you will get a good eMTB to get you started off in your ebike journey.
Not everyone is about pushing the limits or trying to ride the toughest terrain. The Stance E+ is the perfect bike for these folks. You’ll get a bike you’re more than happy with without breaking the bank. The Drivesystem is frankly amazing and the bike will be more than enough for you. It’s the perfect bike for leisure riding, easy greens, and spending some quality time outside.
If you’re wanting to progress in the sport or want a bike that’s going to grow with you, I’d suggest saving your hard-earned pennies a little longer and getting something like the Reign or Rise.
ONE LINE REVIEW
A solid option at a low price