The bike industry is in full e-swing, with new e-bikes releasing faster than iPhones or GoPros. While Trek might have been a little late to the party – with their first pedal assist mountain bike released just in 2016 – their new 2019 models, however, send a strong message. A lot of resources have been thrown behind their electric bike program, and it certainly will pay off, the new Powerfly is a very well considered package.
Hear our first impressions in the video below.
- Three models available with the addition of a new LT (long travel dual suspension model) with 160mm travel forks, 150mm travel in the rear.
- A new OCLV carbon frame version of the Powerfly LT (ooooh yeah!).
- All three models; hardtail, FS, LT use a new fully integrated Bosch battery inside the downtube.
- New Bosch e-MTB mode equipped.
- E-bike specific forks, more robust and tuned specifically.
- Four-piston brakes on all LT models, and sintered brake pads across the range.
- SRAM Eagle on higher models with the new steel Eagle NX cassette.
- 2.8″ Bontrager XR4 tyres with reinforced sidewalls.
- The integrated battery allows for water bottle and tool storage mounts.
- New and improved Bontrager Line dropper post.
- Same frame geometry as 2018 FS and hardtail models.
Long travel Powerfly, where have you been all this time?
Previously only available from select overseas markets, the LT is finally coming Down Under. The Powerfly we reviewed last year was the FS model, with 130mm travel front and back. Certainly a great bike, but it didn’t take much for it to feel a little under-gunned when we took it to more technical trails or descents.
It’s as if the venerable Trek Slash got struck by lightning, or fell into the cauldron of magic potion, this is a long travel bike with superpowers! The suspension felt like what we’d expect from Trek; balanced, consistent and well suited to the cause.
We spent a big day riding big mountains on the Powerfly LT 7 Plus – a non-Australian spec model – we will see two models of the LT, the LT 9 and carbon LT 9.7 pictured below.
It’s as if the venerable Trek Slash got struck by lightning, or fell into the cauldron of magic potion, this is a long travel bike with superpowers!
A long travel model, however, is just the ticket to unlocking the Powefly’s true potential. We often don’t see the point in an e-MTB with less than 150mm of travel, with so much power at your disposal, lugging a larger bike around is no big deal. When you need a little more cushion for the push’n, a 160mm travel fork is just what you need to let the brakes off and push it.
Bosch’s new e-MTB mode.
While it’s simply just a mode setting, it makes the world of difference to how the bike rides. Selecting e-MTB mode on the display unit is like putting your camera into auto-mode, no, much better than that.
The whole idea of the e-MTB mode is to naturalise the feeling of power delivery, so the response feels much more like a normal mountain bike under pedalling forces – it delivers a less aggressive power output if you’re pedalling slowly and gently, ramping up the juice when you’re hammering at the pedals.
The whole idea of e-MTB mode is to naturalise the feeling of power delivery, so the response feels much more like a normal mountain bike under pedalling forces
Read more about Bosch’s e-MTB mode and how it works here: Bosch e-MTB mode explained.
We tried riding in the three other modes – Eco, Tour, Turbo – and kept returning to e-MTB, it’s ideal.
Same geometry as 2018 models.
While it wasn’t music to our ears, news that the Powerfly’s frame geometry remained the same as last year, we do agree that Trek has made their decision after much consideration.
When reviewing the Powerfly FS 7 last year, we had criticisms of the long chainstays making it harder to muscle what are already heavy bikes around on the trails. At 475mm it’s one of the longest out there, what does that mean?
See our review of the 2018 model Powerfly FS here.
Well, with so much bike behind you, lifting the front end up by the bars requires a whole lot of effort, and on the trails that translates to a bike that you become a bit of a passenger on, steering it through the trails rather than hopping or manualling around. We’ve ridden plenty of e-bikes with shorter stays and despite the inherent weight of a motorised bike, you can still ride them like a regular bike.
On the flipside, a longer rear centre makes the Powerfly the best climbing e-bike we’ve ridden, hands down. Even with a tall 160mm fork, we took it up the nastiest inclines on the slipperiest surface with very little effort, the front end never lifted or wandered side to side. Their climbing manners are first rate.
Their climbing manners are first rate.
Climbs vs descents, stability vs agility, Toyota Landcruiser Troopy vs Suzuki Vitari? Everybody is different, we understand that. Though a middle-ground to build a more agile bike even at the sacrifice of climbing ability would be our preference.
E-Bike spec in the bag.
With the component manufactures sorting out their end of the deal and producing more parts that meet the demands of e-bikes, Trek has more to choose from. The 2019 range will have more four-piston brakes specced, tougher tyres, steel Eagle NX 12-speed cassettes and more robust forks that are tuned specifically for the heavier bikes.
While our opinions on the frame geometry remain, we appreciate that we might approach e-bikes different to others. The new bikes are very dialled, the new integrated battery will fool anyone from afar thinking it’s a regular bike, it is so aesthetically clean. And the addition of Bosch’s e-MTB mode is really clever, the bike rides very naturally.
We’re hoping to score a ride on the Powerfly 9.7 LT, to see how the OCLV carbon frame changes things, so keep your eyes out for more.
For more on the Australian range of Powerfly models head to Trek’s site here. Yiew, Powerfly!