My new Giant Lite electric bike, first impressions

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My new Giant Lite electric bike, first impressions

This Giant Lite electric bike is a great idea. It rides like a ordinary quality bike. There are no extra controls; just peddle, and whatever effort you put into it, the electric motor matches. Gear changes are via a 5 speed internal hub that allows you to change gears while standing still. The electric motor drives the rear wheel, so power from the motor doesn't change the way the bike handles or steers. It's as if your own legs just got 100% stronger. The Giant electric bike has 3 assist settings: no assist, 50% assist, and 30% assist.

The range and speed of the Lite electric bike are great, partly because you put in at least half the effort, doubling or tripling the range the battery would have alone. The better shape you get into, the more speed and power come out of the electric bike. I wanted to commute by bike to work, but wasn't sure I could cover the 7 mile distance and steep hills along the way. The worst part of the ride is the 150' high Gold Star bridge with a 3' wide walk path with high barriers on either side. Touch the side, and you wipe out. Walk, and lose another 15 minutes. Best case would have been a 40 minute commute, arrive at work sweaty, and have to change from bike clothes into work clothes. Time wasted each day changing and showering, more time wasted doing laundry. With the Giant Lite, my first commute took 28 minutes (only 9 minutes longer than the drive), I wear ordinary clothes and shoes (apart from a helmet), and get to work relaxed and ready to go. And that's after not having ridden a bike for 25 years. When I want to peddle harder to get more exercise, I also end up going faster, so the sweat blows off. The Giant electric bike doesn't even compare to sitting on a stationary bike at home or in the gym. And getting an hour's worth of exercise at the gym takes me at least 90 minutes, when you figure travel, locker room, change, shower. I'd recommend the Giant Lite to anyone looking for a fun way to include daily exercise into their routine, or looking to use their car less and simplify their lives.

The light weight is a benefit too. At 48 pounds I'm able to carry it up and down the stairs to my 3rd floor apartment without too much trouble. (The easiest way is to put the crossbar under my arm, and grab the horizontal fork with that hand, using the other on the hand rail.) The next lightest electric bikes start at around 60 pounds. I'm 6'5", so I got the 20" slope frame which fits riders to 6'7", but in hindsight, it might have been better getting the step through frame with extended seat post and raised handle bars, so that my 5'4" girl friend could ride it as well.

Other uses of the Giant: leaving the car at home and taking a bike on the ferry to Orient Point, LI, saves $56 on each round trip. Getting a trailer to bring the nephews to the beach, along with all the beach stuff, and save on beach parking permits. An electric bike is the best way to get around Block Island's hills and strong winds.

Negatives: all minor. You can shift gears at a standstill, but not while there's pressure on the peddle. Actually, you can shift, but the gear won't change until peddle pressure is released. Easy to get used to. Having to take the battery out to charge was annoying at first, easier after a while.

Improvements: sure it would nice if it were 10 pounds lighter, and 30% cheaper, and had a built in charger so that it could charged along the way, but its already the lightest, and is one of the least expensive, and best built pedelecs. It was even competitive with a good ebike conversion kit. There will probably be a better bike available a few years down the road, but this one does everything I need, and I'd rather get the health benefits from using it, now, than waiting for improvements.

Benefits: Great confidence builder. With the motor assist, I know I can make it up any hill that comes along. I'm able to avoid sitting in traffic for a commute, while getting an hour's worth of cardio in a cooling breeze, and then have more time in the day for other things. The Giant Lite electric bike truly is a wonderful machine.

Goran P. New York

The Giant Lite electric bike is no longer available. Please check out our selection of current electric bikes