01 Feb 2018

Built on the bones of the legendary Fuel series, the Trek Powerfly 7 FS is the top-of-the-line e-bike for Trek in Australia. It's got great pedigree, but we didn't love every aspect of its performance. Oh, and if you're one of those people still bagging out e-bikes, without ever having given one a proper ride, then please give it a rest - no one's listening! Moving on now....

The not-so-minor details

Product

Trek Powerfly 7 FS

Contact

Trek Bikes Australia

https://www.trekbikes.com/au/en_AU/

Price

6499

Weight

23300

Positives

Top notch build quality.

Frame feels indestructible.
Great rear suspension.
Torquey motor with plenty of range.
Will climb anything you point it at.

Negatives

RockShox Recon fork isn't up to scratch.
Long rear end makes for sedate feel.

Who does the Trek Powerfly 7 FS suit?

The Trek Powerfly 7 FS isn’t one of those e-bikes designed to replace a shuttle van or chairlift. With 130mm travel at both ends, this bike is built as more of an all-rounder, rather than a pedal-assisted downhill weapon. Its forte is long cross-country rides, letting the generous range supplied by the Bosch motor system take you to places you’d normally avoid or put in the too-hard-too-far basket.

Trek powerfly
The Bosch Performance CX motor has plenty of grunt.

We knocked out rides well over 50km long and always finished with plenty of power left in the battery. Of the four modes you can run the bike in, we spent most of our time in the Tour mode, which gave plenty of assistance for a lightweight rider, though heavier riders will probably use the Sport mode more. The Turbo mode is off-the-charts powerful, and for us was more of a novelty than anything else.

Unlike the Trek Fuel, which rolls on 29er wheels, the Powerfly uses the 27.5+ format, with 2.8″ Schwalbe Nobby Nics on 40mm-wide rims. With great power comes great traction responsibility.

Trek powerfly
23.3kg of go-anywhere machine.
Trek powerfly
We set the Schwalbe tyres up tubeless and they were great.

Here I am!

Hard to miss it, hey? Subtly is not this bike’s caper – it’s got all the impact of a fire engine, in its bold red livery and with that massive down tube. The size of the tube isn’t just a product of fitting in the battery, it also provides a tremendously stiff core to the frame as well, a hallmark of the recent generation of Trek dual suspension bikes.

Trek powerfly
Look at that girth.

Look more closely and there’s a lot of finer detail to appreciate too. The smooth integration of the motor, battery and cabling is superb, and the build quality is typical Trek – top shelf.  A small amount of geometry adjustment is available via the Mino Link (we ran it in the slack setting).

Trek powerfly
The Mino Link offers a small amount of BB and head angle adjustment.
Trek powerfly
Attention to detail – 10/10.

About that fork…

Our bone of contention with the Powerfly is the fork this bike comes with, a basic RockShox Recon Silver. It’s just not up to scratch. We get it; building an e-bike is expensive, pricepoints need to be hit. But compromising in an area like the fork doesn’t make sense to us, particularly when you’ve got the weight and momentum of an e-bike to grapple with. We ultimately fitted one of the new FOX e-bike optimised 34 forks, which let us ride the bike to its full capacity.

We swapped out the RockShox Recon for a FOX 34 in order to get the most out of the bike.
We’d have liked a more bitey set of brakes, but at least the lever feel is light and consistent.

Buttery supportiveness

Trek always deliver in the rear suspension department, and the Powerfly nails it once again. We’ve ridden many an e-bike where the rear end seems to struggle a little (the extra weight of the bike, coupled with the mass of the heavy wheels perhaps), but the Powerfly is on top of the game. The rear end has a brilliant progressiveness to it, staying up in its travel nicely, saving the last 20% for the truly nasty hits.

Trek powerfly
The rear suspension performance is a real highlight.

Let’s torque about it

Bosch provide the grunty motor. There’s a tonne of low-down power here, and when you combine it with the climbing gears offered by the 46-tooth Shimano cassette, even the heaviest riders on the steepest climbs aren’t going to be left wanting for more power or gear range. Our only criticism of the Bosch system is the bulky display unit. It doesn’t need to be so big, surely, and it looks ripe for destruction sitting up there!

Trek powerfly
Note both the down tube and motor protection.
Go fast buttons.
We rode for 3hrs plus and still had plenty of juice left in the tank.

Longer than a wet weekend

When it comes to the handling of the Powerfly, the bike’s long chain stay play a big role. At 474mm, the Powerfly’s rear-centre measurement is one of the longest on the market, and this has both positive and negatives implications in our mind.

E-bikes all have pretty lengthy rear ends – you’ve got to fit the motor in somehow – but the Trek is at the longer end of the spectrum.

Climbs like Bitcoin

The biggest upside of the Powerfly’s long chain stay is the way it climbs, particularly when it’s steep and loose. Keep your butt in the saddle and the traction is exceptional, you’ll climb things that you’d never have dreamed of.

But not a playful ride

If you’re looking for an e-bike that handles just like a regular mountain bike, then this isn’t it. Getting the front wheel into the air takes plenty of body language, it prefers to stay on the ground. And when descending steep, technical terrain the long stays push your centre of gravity forward when compared to a bike with a shorter rear end.

Trek powerfly
The ABP suspension system is Trek’s answer to reducing the impact of braking forces on the suspension.

All up then?

There’s a lot to like about this bike, so it’s a downer that the fork is below par. Finger crossed Trek take this feedback on board for future versions of this bike. While the Powerfly didn’t blow us away on tricky, technical descents, that’s not really what this bike is aimed at. It excels at exploration, long cross country rides, or hooning flat-out up and down fireroads and smooth singletrack, so if that sounds like your bag, give it a look.