GIANT FATHOM E+ 3 29 (2020)
This Fathom E+ 3 29 (2020) Buyer’s Guide explains, in detail, everything you need to know about the new electric mountain bike.
But first a quick overview. The Giant Fathom E+ 3 29 is the most affordable electric mountain bike in Giant’s 2020 Product range.
It’s designed for riders who want to not only ride on bike paths and rail trails, and also ride entry-level mountain Bike trails (such as Lysterfield Mountain Bike Park or the Kurrajong side of the You Yangs).
The Fathom E isn’t a Race Bike. It’s been engineered for weekend enthusiasts; so it’s easy to ride because it delivers stable handling and a relaxed riding position.
THE FATHOM E+ FRAME
Giant are masters at manipulating aluminium. That’s why they not only make frames for themselves but other well-known brands in the industry. And the Fathom E+ 3 gets the same level of engineering.
ALUXX SL is the name of the technology that Giant employs for the Fathom E’s frame. It’s a single-butted aluminium that delivers strength and durability (it’s an E-Bike after all).
The Fathom E+ 3 is all about integration and clean lines. To achieve this internal cable routing is used. All the electrical cables, hydraulic lines and derailleur cable are housed inside the frame. This minimises maintenance and the chance for damage.
Another change for 2020 is 29-inch wheels. Previous generation Fathom E’s have all used 27.5-inch wheels.
Larger diameter wheels make it easier to roll over stuff. Imagine riding over some tree roots or rocks. A larger diameter wheel is much less likely to get ’stuck’; delivering a smoother ride, less impact, better control and greater confidence.
They are also more efficient.
So on long-distance Bikes rides, you’re covering more distance for every wheel rotation.
THE ELECTRONICS AND MOTOR
Yamaha powers the Fathom E+ 3 29.
Giant has worked with Yamaha to deliver a drive unit to their specifications. In this case, the Giant SyncDrive Sport motor is the choice for the Fathom E+.
SyncDrive Sport is the middle-option in Giant’s motor range and it’s designed to deliver 80Nm of torque.
The reason why it’s used on the Fathom E+ 3 is that it’s the perfect all-rounder. It’s designed for commuting, everyday or leisure rides - the gentle stuff - but if you want to go mountain biking, it has the power to make it an enjoyable experience.
Power transmission is smooth and instant (it responds in 500 milliseconds or 0.5 seconds), delivering a sensation that’s very close to nature.
The assistance level (or power) is adjusted using a controller mounted on the handlebar (Giant call this Ride Control One). This unit displays the battery range and assist-mode. Speaking of assist modes, there are 5 to choose from with different support levels (%):
Auto (50%-350% support) / Eco (50%) / Eco+ (100%) / Normal (175%) / Sport (250%) / Sport+ (350%)
As you can see, Giant has mounted the motor at the lowest part of the Fathom E+ 3. It’s to keep the centre-of-gravity at the lowest possible point for excellent stability and handling. Lastly, for 2020, there has been a 10% reduction in noise level across all SynDrive Sport motors.
PEDALPLUS 6-SENSOR TECHNOLOGY
New for 2020 is an additional 2 sensors (it use to be 4 sensors). The 2 additional sensors are an accelerometer and an incline sensor.
The accelerometer measures the amount of acceleration and deceleration and automatically adjusts the motor output to suit.
The inline sensor measures the gradient or steepness of the slope (up or down) and also adjusts motor output to suit. For example, you don’t want more power when you’re going downhill.
Other sensors include speed, pedal rotation, torque and motor.
Giant call all their batteries EnergyPak. The Fathom E+ 29 uses the EnergyPak 400. It’s a 400Wh 36 Volt Lithium-Ion battery.
The battery can be charged on the Bike or removed from the Fathom E and charged inside the house. The Removal Process takes seconds and there is a lock on the frame too. At purchase, you receive 2 spare keys.
FATHOM E+ 3 29 BUILD KIT
The Fathom E+ 3 29 represents superb value.
It’s an upper-end recreational level build. It delivers on all the important basics such as a Shimano drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, quality Maxxis tyres and suspension fork that’s designed for an E-Bike.
First, the Shimano drivetrain. There’s a single chainring on the front that’s paired to 9 gears on the back (called a ’1 by 9’ drivetrain). The rear derailleur is part of the Deore family. It’s also a Shadow derailleur. This means it’s designed to sit in the shadow of the Fathom E’s frame and its position reduces any chance of impact. Completing the drivetrain is a high performance, anti-rust E-Bike specific chain, the KMC E9.
Tektro HDM285 hydraulic disc brakes are perfect for the Fathom E+ 3’s intended use. The setup uses a larger 180mm diameter rotor on the front and smaller 160mm disc brake rotor rear. It’s quite a normal setup with nothing out of the ordinary. The Tektro’s are easy to service, get spare parts for and very reliable.
Maxxis is known for making the best mountain bike tyres. The Ardent is a great all-rounder. Its low Profile tread is ideal for smooth dirt and gravel surfaces, and some bitumen. For mountain biking, it has enough grip and traction for hardpack and loose-over-hardpack surfaces.
It’s also worth noting that both wheels and tyres are tubeless. There is no tube, and instead, a sealant is used. The sealant will help seal most punctures, as long as they are no more than 3mm. It also has to be replaced every 6 to 9 months because it will dry out and turn into a light foam.
There are certainly advantages though. Puncture Protection from pinch flats, obviously. And also because the supple tyre has no interference from the tube and is allowed to mould itself to the terrain; delivering more grip and better traction.
|Frame||ALUXX grade aluminium|
|Fork||SR Suntour XCM 32 NLO, OverDrive steerer, 120mm travel|
|Handlebar||Giant Connect trail rise, 31.8mm|
|Stem||Giant Contact, 8 degree|
|Seatpost||Giant Alloy, 30.9mm|
|Shifter||Shimano Altus, 9 speed|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Deore, shadow|
|Brakes||Tektro HDM285 hydraulic disc, Fr:180mm, Rr:160mm|
|Brake Levers||Tektro HDM285 hydraulic|
|Cassette||Shimano HG200, 11-36T, 9 speed|
|Chain||KMC e9 Sport|
|Crankset||Forged Alloy, 36T|
|Rims||Giant XCT alloy|
|Hubs||Giant alloy disc, Fr: 28H, Rr: 32H|
|Tyres||Maxxis Ardent EXO, 29x2.4”|
|Extras||Giant EnergyPak 4A fast charger|
|Motor||Giant SyncDrive Sport, powered by YAMAHA|
|Sensors||Giant PedalPlus 6-sensor technology|
|Display||Giant RideControl ONE, Remote button|
|Battery||Giant EnergyPak 400, 36V integrated Lithium-Ion|