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Giant and Liv rewrite lightweight eMTB with full-power Elite lines

New lines promise trail bike feel with e-bike power

Giant Trance X advanced E+ 0

The promise of lightweight eMTBs is always that they feel more like traditional (non-motorized) mountain bikes. The drawback is that pedalling them also feels more like traditional mountain bikes. As in, there’s not as much assist. That’s because most brands cut weight by using smaller, less powerful motors and smaller batteries. Giant and Liv are promising to redefine the lightweight eMTB category with the introduction of the svelt, but powerful Trance X Advanced E+ Elite and Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite ranges.

The two new ranges, Giant’s unisex and Liv’s women’s specific line, offer weights on par with the top current lightweight eMTBs, but with a motor capable of delivering a whopping 85Nm of torque. As we’ve found in our first impressions of both options, the combination of a big motor, a light bike and excellent trail-bike design makes for a thrilling combination.

If you’re interested in what we think of the bikes, read our first impressions of the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0 and the women’s-specific Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1. If you want to know how Giant and Liv managed to create a pair of lightweight eMTBs without sacrificing power, read on for all the nitty-gritty details of these two genre-re-defining bikes.

Giant Trance X advanced E+ 0. Photo: Sterling Lorence

Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite: World’s lightest full-power eMTB

At the heart of this new eMTB line is the traditional Giant Trance X design, but tweaked for the needs of electric riding. The frame offers 140mm of Maestro suspension out back. That’s paired with a 150-mm Fox 36 Factory fork, with the wider-diameter stanchions offering added extra stability. At the top end, Giant taps Fox’ Live Valve electronic system controls the suspension.

The tweaks to the Trance X design start with a 27.5″ rear wheel with a 29″ wheel up front. The smaller rear wheel helps Giant keep the rear end nice and short, 447mm, for a more playful feel, while the 29″ front keeps the Trance X E+ Elite rolling fast.

All of this is contained in Giant’s Advanced Composite carbon fibre frame. A flip-chip allows riders to further fine-tune how the Trance X E+ Elite handles, offering a “low” and “high” geometry setting. It changes bottom bracket height by 10mm and head angle from 65.7 ad 66.5-degrees

Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite

Liv’s new lightweight eMTB is, like most Liv bikes, very similar to its Giant counterpart. There are women’s-specific touches to set it apart, and different paint (in a twist, this time it’s the Giant that’s purple). But the basics are the same. Like the Intrigue X, the “E+” version is a 140mm rear travel trail bike with a 150mm fork. Like the Trance, the Intrigue X E+ Elite also uses a 27.5″ rear wheel matched with a 29″ front wheel.

The differences between “universal” designs and women’s specific designs are shrinking. On the Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite, there are two main differences. Geometry and sizing.

Geometry is very similar to the Trance X E+ Elite, but with slight tweaks to each size that Liv says are “custom-designed using only women’s body dimension data and riding experience.” That design process resulted in shorter reach per size and, as a result, shorter wheelbase. There’s also slightly more stand-over clearance than the Trance X E+ Elite (and significantly more than the Intrigue E+ non-Elite). Small changes, but ones that our reviewer found immediately comfortable.

Liv also offers a different size range, running from XS to Large instead of S-XL on the Trance. For the XS and S sizes, Liv specs a narrower 760mm version of the Contact SLR Trail carbon fibre bars.

Giant Trance X advanced E+ 0. Photo: Sterling Lorence
SyncDrive Pro and the Trance X Elite’s deceptively skinny downtube. Photo: Sterling Lorence

SyncDrive Pro 2.0 and Ride Control

Of course, the biggest change from the Trance X to the Trance X E+ Elite is the addition of a SyncDrive motor, battery and Ride Control system. This is where the Elite line really starts to turn heads. Why? Well, the new SyncDrive motor is not only lighter, at 2.7kg, but offers up to a range from 20Nm to a maximum of 85Nm of torque. That allows Giant to claim this is the world’s lightest full-power eMTB available. Not the absolute lightest but, at 18.8kg (41lbs – size medium), it’s on par with bikes that half far less kick than the Trance X E+ Elite.

Gaint’s RideControl app lets you tune support ratio, torque settings and how quickly that all kicks in. There’s also a Smart Assist mode that Giant says uses an array of six sensors to maximize efficiency while still providing the necessary support.

RideControl uses two rows of coloured LED lights integrated into the top tube to indicate support mode and battery level. Support mode is controlled by the diminutive RideControl Ergo 3 remote which can be mounted on either side of the handlebars.

Giant Trance X advanced E+ 0. Photo: Sterling Lorence
Giant Trance X uses two lines of bars to indicate assist level and battery level. Photo: Sterling Lorence

EnergyPak Smart 400: eMTB-specific battery design

While the new motor drops some weight, it’s Giant’s EnergyPak 400 battery that makes the big difference. The 400 Wh battery weighs just 2.3kg. More importantly, Giant claims it’s the first battery designed specifically for use with eMTBs. How? The new 22700 cell type, co-developed with Panasonic, makes it possible to use the full-power motor with the lightweight battery. The system uses 20 cells, similar to other lightweight eMTB, but the larger diameter cells have a higher discharge capacity compared to the existing 21700 and 18650 cells used by other bands.

Why is that important? higher torque requires higher discharge (amperage) from the battery. Smaller batteries use fewer cells, requiring more discharge per cell for the same torque. New larger cells allow for more efficient discharge. Giant says this allows the cells to stay cooler, stressing the system less and leading to a longer total lifecycle.

EnergyPak Smart 400 has a 3h 55-min charge-time to 100 per cent. After 1:45, you’re at 60 per cent. 2:30 gets you 80 per cent.

As a bonus, Giant manufactures the EnergyPak Smart 400 batteries in its new carbon-neutral facility.

Pricing and availability: 2023 Giant and Liv Intrigue E+ Elite eMTB

Giant is celebrating 25 years of making e-bikes, and 50 years as a company. A new take on the rapidly evolving lightweight eMTB category is a suitably big release for the brand, especially with the new EnergyPak 400 battery. While battery technology might not be the most exciting topic to talk about, the result, these two lightweight full-power eMTBs, speak for themselves.

With the E+ Elite versions of the Trance X and Intrigue X, Giant makes a trail eMTB that promises to feel like a normal mountain bike without giving up or compromising the promised power of going electric. That is a big change for the lightweight eMTB category which has, up until this point, been defined as much by reduced power as it has by the closer-to-real mountain bike weights.

We’ve had time on both bikes to put Giant and Liv’s claims. Read our first impressions of the Trance and Intrigue.

Giant offers four versions of the Trance X Advanced E+ Elite. The Elite 0 and Elite 1 come with Fox Live Valve electronic suspension control integrated into the frame while the Elite 0 ups the ante further with SRAM AXS wireless shifting and Zipp Moto carbon fibre wheels.

Liv offers three versions of the Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite. The top-end Elite 1 uses Fox Live Valve integrated and SRAM AXS wireless shifting. The Elite 2 and Elite 3 use standard Fox suspension.

Both models are only available in carbon fibre frames, and only in the mixed 27.5″/29″ wheel design.

Bikes are available starting in March directly through Giant and Liv and through retailers in Canada.


  • Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0           $17,500
  • Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 1           $13,000
  • Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 2           $8,700
  • Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 3           $7,700
  • Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1           $13,000
  • Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 2           $8,700
  • Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 3           $7,700