Bike Review: FANTIC PASSO GIAU
FANTIC PASSO GIAU
The bike is named after the beautiful Giau Pass in the Dolomites in the province of Belluno in Italy, where the average grade is 9.4 percent, even going as steep as 14 percent. There are 922 meters of climbing and 29 hairpin turns over 10 kilometers.
This seems the perfect name, then, for an electric road bike from an Italian company. Fantic has been using mostly Brose motors for their bikes, but starting with this bike, they’re also using the Fazua Evation motor.
The Fantic name first entered the world of two wheels in 1968 as a popular brand of lightweight two-stroke motorcycles. In the years since, they have continued producing motorcycles, now alongside their line of e-bikes at the Fantic factory located in Treviso, Italy.
The Passo Giau is made in Asia and shipped to Italy for assembly. The bike features a traditional carbon diamond frame and fork with internal cable routing and two bottle mounts. The German Fazua battery/moto unit clicks into the downtube, and there is an optional “dummy” downtube that can be used in place of the battery to maintain the completed profile.
The 40mm-deep aluminum Vision rims are mounted with Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ 700x 28mm tires. They’ve gone with an FSA aluminum crank instead of carbon.
SRAM components abound, including the SRAM Force 22V groupset and SRAM Force hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm discs. This bike is geared like a traditional bike with mid-compact chainrings (52/36) mated to a 11-32 cassette, which offers a much smoother jump and more natural feel than the big jumps usually found in 1x drivetrains.
WHO THIS BIKE IS FOR
The Passo Giau is a good road bike for anyone looking for a bike that can help equalize climbing abilities, or for someone who trains heavy on some days, but wants a mellower ride on recovery days. This is not the ideal commuter bike for those who don’t like to arrive at work sweaty.
This is one of the first bikes we’ve tested with the Fazua Evation motor. With the battery and motor unit attaching inside the downtube, it is one of the smallest and stealthiest motors on the market. When we first got the bike, it was so new that it came with a European-spec motor (cutoff at 15.5 mph). The advantage here was that when there were certified, U.S.-spec (20 mph) motors available, we could simply drop it into the bike and take off!
The compact controls consist of a handlebar-mounted display with a string of 10 small LED lights, each which represent 10 percent of battery usage. The power modes can be broken down as follows: White/No Support where the motor is switched off. Green/Breeze has low but efficient support to maximize the range. Up to 75 percent of rider input with a max of 125 watts. Blue/River has solid support suitable for most riding conditions with up to 150 percent of rider input with a max of 250 watts. Pink/Rocket equals maximum support with up to 240 percent of rider input with a max of 400 watts.
And, of course, let’s not forget that the Fantic can also be ridden as a normal, non-assist bicycle.
The Passo Giau feels like you’re riding any other non-assisted endurance road bike as the geometry, and spec is on par with the current trends of non-assist bikes. The weight of the battery and motor are noticeable if you’re out of the saddle and leveraging the bike under you, but when seated, the weight goes nearly unnoticed.
On flat roads the motor did very little for us and was really only benefited when we were starting from a complete stop. This was nice, because the added weight of the drive system at slower speeds is where it was most noticeable.
When the road tilts up or a headwind starts blowing, the Passo Giau comes alive. Depending on the assistance level you choose will dictate how aggressive the motor helps your effort. We spent most of the time in the green mode, which meant we had the least amount of assistance and still got a solid workout. This offered just enough power to override the weight of the system and then some allowing us to climb about as fast as we would have if we were going all out on a non-assisted bike but with much less effort.
When we would switch to a higher level we were able to maintain the max speed of the system on hills, but since the system responds to the rider’s input, it is difficult to maintain that pace for too long and requires a large rider effort. In the higher setting on relatively flat ground, the motor will kick in as you slip under the max speed, but it is subtle and sometimes hard to tell if you are riding under your power or the motors.
From a road bike riders’ perspective, many of our miles on non-assisted bikes are spent over the Fantic’s maximum speed, so we are really just lugging around a heavier bike. But with that said, there are some huge benefits, especially if you are on a training plan or have a hard time taking rest days. We did a few sets of hill intervals with no assistance, and as soon as our timed efforts were finished, we were able to switch on the assistance and soft pedal even when the climb hadn’t ended.
The other place that we noticed huge benefits is when it comes to recovery days. Since the weather here at HQ is almost always perfect, it can be mentally tough to take a day off the bike, so instead we go out and tell ourselves we won’t do any efforts or push it, but it never works that way. With the Passo Giau we are able to still get out on the road and feel the wind in our faces, but keep the efforts minimal to truly take advantage of active recovery, finally.
The controller is simple and just delivers you the ability to see how much battery is remaining, as well as what mode you are in. This is all done with 11 LEDs. The bottom 10 indicate battery level in 10-percent increments, while the top LED indicates status of the system and whether it is Bluetooth connected to your phone. This was nice for us since as road riders we have a specific GPS computer that we rely on for riding.
All in all, the Passo Giau is a perfect match for the cyclist that rides with friends but struggles to hold pace on the climbs. We like how the drive system has such minimal resistance/drag when it is not powered up; it pedals like a non-assist bike. Still, since the top assisted speed is lower than many road riders would normally maintain, there is no shortage of a workout potential. If you’re looking for an e-bike that is neither bulky or overpowered, and still allows for a workout, this is a solid option.
FANTIC PASSO GIAU
Motor: Fazua mid-mount Evation 250-watt
Battery: Fazua 36-volt, 250-Wh lithium-ion
Charge time: 100% in 3.5 hours
Top speed: 20 mph (with assist)
Range: Up to 20 miles
Drive: SRAM Force, 2×11
Brakes: SRAM Force hydro disc
Controls: Fazua Evation Remote
Fork: Fantic carbon fork with 12mm thru-axle
Frame: Fantic carbon with 12mm thru-axle
Tires: Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ 700×28
Weight: 30.5 lb. (medium)
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