Get back on the saddle and conquer hills with the all new Fantic Passo Giau electric bike. I had the opportunity to test out the Fantic road ebike with the new Fazua mid-mount motor and found out just how much fun this bike can be. Although it is a Class 1 road ebike, it does not assist you up to 20 mph/32 kph like most Class 1 ebikes. Rather, this version limits you to 16 mph/25 kph of assist. This, however, is not necessarily a negative point. The Fantic Passo Giau powers up hills and handles well at higher speeds. Let’s dive into some details of the bike to see if this road ebike is right for you.
The Fazua Motor and Battery
It’s all in its name: Passo Giau, or Giau Pass, is a high-elevation pass in the Dolomites with an average grade of 9.1%. This ebike can handle the climb with ease. The Passo Giau is one of two road bikes offered by Fantic, but they both share the same Fazua mid-mount motor and battery. The other model is the Passo Giau WE, which offers the FSA K-Force WE groupset and Vision carbon wheelset. The bike we rode has the SRAM Force groupset and Vision aluminium wheelset, but we’ll get into component details later.
The Fazua mid-mount motor is a 250 Watt (nominal) motor capable of 60Nm of torque, which is more powerful than the Bosch Active Line Plus motor by 18%. You can definitely feel the assist when you begin a steep climb.
The 36V battery is made of lithium ion cells that offer 250Wh of energy. I know what you’re thinking, “250Wh isn’t enough to get me across town.” Fortunately, it is plenty to get around the city, climb hills, and get you home with plenty of juice left to let you roll into your local coffee shop. How, you ask? Well, the motor is limited to 16 mph, which means on steady climbs or flat roads where you can pedal above 16 mph, the motor will shut off and let you continue to higher speeds without using battery energy. It’s not turning on and off over the course of your ride if you consistently stay above 16 mph, like other Class 1 road ebikes.
Let’s say that you have an injury, like me, and can’t easily get above 16 mph. The Passo Giau gives you three power options to choose from so you can request the amount of power you need for the hill you’re about to climb or road you’re going to cruise. Breeze (green) mode offers 125 Watts, which is great for flat roads or short rolling hills. River (blue) mode offers 250 Watts and helps you get over shorter, steep hills. Finally, Rocket (purple) mode offers up to 400 Watts, which is plenty of assist to get you rolling up long, steep hills. On my first test ride, I used the Rocket mode to climb Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks, which has an average of 10% grade for about half a mile and there are steeper segments that I know I wouldn’t be able to climb on a conventional road bike.
Fantic Frame and SRAM Components
The frame of the Fantic Passo Giau is made of carbon fiber along with the rigid fork. It comes in three sizes: Small, Medium and Large (see Geometry Chart below). It comes standard with SRAM Force 22 groupset with hydraulic brakes. Why does this matter? Because this lightweight frame and groupset offers a reliable system for years of enjoyment. Powerful hydraulic brakes keep you safe when descending the mountains that you may have never climbed before. The drivetrain is crisp and reliable under higher torque when the Fazua motor is engaged. Below are further details of the Fantic Passo Giau standard components.
|PASSO GIAU||TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS|
|Motor||Fazua Midmount 36 Volt, Power: 250 Watt, coppia 60 Nm|
|Battery||Lithium Ion, 36 Volt, 250 Wh|
|Display||Push-assistance selection unit|
|Frame||Carbon frame. Sizes:S – M – L|
|Fork||Carbon fork thru axle 12 mm|
|Groupset||Sram Force 22v|
|Crankset||Aluminium FSA 36-52|
|Cassette||Sram Force PG1170 (32-11)|
|Front brake||Sram Force Hydraulic Disc Brake, 160mm disc|
|Rear brake||Sram Force Hydraulic Disc Brake, 160mm disc|
|Tires||Vittoria – Rubino Pro G+ 700 x 28c|
|Wheels||Vision Alu 40mm|
|Front hub||100mm trough axle 15mm|
|Rear hub||142mm trough axle 12mm|
|Handlebar||FSA Energy Compact 420mm (size S-M) 440mm (size L)|
|Stem||FSA Energy 80mm (size S-M) 100mm (size L)|
|Seatpost||FSA Energy 27.2mm|
I have to be honest, initially I was skeptical of the utility of this road ebike and how the Fazua motor was going to hold up under load on long climbs. There was a point where I was climbing a steady hill just above 16 mph and I could feel the weight of the bike when there was no more assist compared to my aluminum frame, non-electric road bike. A couple gears down and I was able to get back to my comfortable cadence. Once I arrived at a steeper climb, the motor kicked in as I dropped below 16 mph. I was able to pedal comfortably on flat roads at an average 16.3 mph without assistance. I’m not a fast road cyclist and the Passo Giau was able to help me on the climbs when I sorely needed the assistance.
The main question that needs to be answered of course: is the weight penalty worth it? When the battery and motor are mounted this bike weighs 30 pounds. This is significantly heavier than most aluminum road bikes, but much lighter than any drop-bar ebike on the market. The short answer: it depends. If you really struggle with climbing and it hinders the performance you are able to give for the rest of your ride, it just might be. I would also argue that it is very easy to get used to the extra weight. If this is going to be your dedicated road bike, you will likely enjoy the feel of the ride.
I can see this bike is most useful for road cyclists that want to keep up with faster riders, cyclists who have injuries that prevent them from climbing or pedaling further distances, or cyclists who just want to ride further without having to completely exhaust himself or herself while exploring new roads. This bike is not for the speed-junky who wants to criminally attack on climbs and pull the weekend group ride to exhaustion. It’s a fun, stable and powerful electric bike that empowers the true road cyclist to ride more.