FLX Trail Review

2019 Flx Trail Electric Bike Review
2019 Flx Trail
2019 Flx Trail Bafang M600 Mid Drive
2019 Flx Trail Frame Integrated Battery
2019 Flx Trail Cockpit View
2019 Flx Trail Display Controls Flat Grips
2019 Flx Trail Front View
2019 Flx Trail Sr Suntour Suspension Fork Hydraulic Disc Brakes
2019 Flx Trail Kickstad Hard Tail
2019 Flx Trail Shimano Alivio Derailleur
2019 Flx Trail Ebike Charger
2019 Flx Trail Stock High Step Black
2019 Flx Trail Electric Bike Review
2019 Flx Trail
2019 Flx Trail Bafang M600 Mid Drive
2019 Flx Trail Frame Integrated Battery
2019 Flx Trail Cockpit View
2019 Flx Trail Display Controls Flat Grips
2019 Flx Trail Front View
2019 Flx Trail Sr Suntour Suspension Fork Hydraulic Disc Brakes
2019 Flx Trail Kickstad Hard Tail
2019 Flx Trail Shimano Alivio Derailleur
2019 Flx Trail Ebike Charger
2019 Flx Trail Stock High Step Black

Summary

  • A high speed hard tail electric mountain bike with a lot of capability, lightweight, all while remaining value priced at the same time
  • Great 9 speed Shimano Alivio setup as well as hydraulic brakes, optional throttle, powerful Bafang mid-drive motor, and a strong 48v 10.4ah battery
  • A lot of nice features like the front suspension fork, kickstand mounted away from the pedals, protected display, haptic feedback, efficient tires, and bottle cage bosses
  • Motor can be loud, haptic feedback can be loud too (can be turned off though), not a lot of comfort but most comfort extras are available, you just have to pay more for them
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

FLX

Model:

Trail

Price:

$2,699

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Mountain, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedelec (Class 3), Moped or Motorcycle (Class 4)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Canada, Worldwide

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

44.5 lbs (20.18 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.5 lbs (2.49 kg)

Motor Weight:

8.15 lbs (3.69 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

19" Seat Tube, 25" Reach, 29" Stand Over Height, 34" Minimum Saddle Height, 31" Width, 72"

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

White Lightning, Carbon Black

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour XCR Spring Suspension with 120mm Travel, 1-1/8" x 1-1/2" Tapered Steerer, Lockout, Preload Adjust, Quick Release M15 x 100mm Thru Axle

Frame Rear Details:

M12 x 148mm Quick Release Thru Axle

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

9 Speed 1 x 9 Shimano Alivio Derailleur, 11-34 Tooth Freewheel

Shifter Details:

Shimano Alivio Trigger Shifters on Right

Cranks:

Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Length, 44 Tooth Chainring

Pedals:

Wellgo Aluminum Alloy Platform with Reflectors, CrMo Axle, Black

Headset:

Threadless, Internal Cups, Tapered, Sealed Bearings

Stem:

Aluminum Alloy, 90mm Length, Two 10mm Risers, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy, 700mm Width, Low-Rise

Brake Details:

Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc with 180mm Rotors, Dual Piston Calipers, Tektro Three-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Velo Flat Rubber with Lock Rings

Saddle:

FLX Branded Velo

Seat Post:

Promax, Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

300 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

31.6 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Walled, 25.6mm Width, 32 Hole, Reinforcement Eyelets

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Maxxis Crossmark, 27.5" x 2.1" (54-584)

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

65 PSI, 4.5 BAR, 60 TPI

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Battery Operated Front and Tail Light Included, Battery Watt Hour Upgrade $300 (500Wh to 650Wh), Thumb Throttle Upgrade $55

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube-Mounted Battery Pack, 1.1lb 2 Amp Charger

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Motor Peak Output:

850 watts

Motor Torque:

120 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

500 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium ION

Charge Time:

2 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Bafang C240, Fixed, Adjustable-Angle, Backlit, Grayscale LCD, Integrated 5 Volt 1 Amp USB Type-A Port Below Display

Readouts:

Battery Indicator (Percentage and Graph), Trip Meter, Odometer, Current Speed, Average Speed, Max Speed, Pedal Assist Level (0-5), Calories, Light Icon, Motor Power Watts

Display Accessories:

Independent Control Pad on Left, Buttons: Up, Power, Down, (Lights: Press Power, Settings: Hold Up and Down, Walk Mode: Hold Down)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)

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Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by FLX. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of FLX products.

FLX is a bike company that has been around for a while now so when we heard there was some updates for 2019, we were excited to check out their lineup. Today, we are looking at the Trail, a high speed electric hard-tail mountain bike that is also value priced at the same time. Typically, the faster mountain bikes are pretty high priced, but the FLX keeps a tight budget by coming in at just $2,699. No bad considering it has a mid-drive with both torque and cadence measured pedal assist as well as an optional throttle. More on that later, for now, let’s look at the features of this bike. The bike comes in white and black and just 1 frame size (19”) and 1 frame style… but the lack of fluff also makes this bike surprising lightweight, I was shocked to find out it weighs about 44.5lbs which is not bad for an electric mountain bike at all. The top tube is nice and sloped so it has nice approachability for a high-step. Assisting in that controlled feeling are these shorter length handle bars and this low rise stem which give the body geometry a more aggressive feel. It is nice to have a bit of both speed and comfort, with the Trail, you get this great SR SunTour XCR front suspension. This has an extremely comfortable 120mm of travel as well as both lockout and preload adjust. Also, you can opt for the touring package FLX sells which costs about $170 more but comes with rack, fenders, suspension seat post, a different saddle, and integrated lights. The one I am testing today is the base model, so instead of battery integrated lights, they included a couple of cheaper little independent lights to tack on myself on the front and back. It looks like they may have gone cost savings on the pedals too. These are Wellgo pedals, but one of the more affordable ones they offer. I do love the rugged and capable Maxxis 27.5” x 2.1” tires, these are a standard size and have great grip but unfortunately are lacking reflective sidewalls and puncture protection. Other great features include internally routed cables, a kickstand mounted back to eliminate pedal lock (an annoying occurrence when striking the pedals against the kickstand while reversing the bike), bottle cage bosses, and an integrated bell.

Driving the bike is the Bafang M600 mid-drive motor. I think this is a great choice for the active and engaging style of riding that FLX is going for. Bafang has made a name for themselves in the industry with its ubiquitous conversion system; the BBS02, which uses only a cadence sensor to engage pedal assist. Cadence only systems like the BBS02 offer a very “easy-going” sort of ride in which rotating the cranks, at any level of tension, spars the pedal assist. The M600 operates principally using an integrated torque sensor built into the motor housing, and even employ’s Bafang’s own particular set of cranks for precise torque input from the rider. Torque based systems read the amount of torque the rider is putting into the pedals, and delivers pedal assist based on those readings. The riding position of the FLX Trail really makes use of the M600 motor, allowing the torque sensor to really get a lot of positive engagement from the rider. The system kicks in very, very quickly when tension on the pedals is expressed, but it’s not so instant that it feels as though it should be tamed. The high top speed is greatly appreciated too. I felt right at home building speed on this platform. At a higher speed, the system seamlessly fades from relying on the torque sensor, to relying more on the cadence sensor (as the mechanical gearing begins to cap out). This torque based system would definitely be the choice for cycling enthusiasts or super commuters alike, looking to utilize the bicycle for the sake of cycling as well. For riders who wish to sit back and let the motor do the work, the throttle option is accessible from FLX. For an additional $50, you can order your bike to include a throttle that will expressly engage the motor without the need for pedaling at all.  Since the FLX Trail is using a mid-drive motor, the rider will need to change mechanical gears as the bike gains momentum, in order to maintain a steady build of speed. This is one of the surprising features of the motor; and active shift detection. While I’m not certain the methodology, the M600 cuts power to the motor during shifting which relieves excess tension on the chain and allows the rider to shift gears at full throttle without stressing the drivetrain. Mechanically, the bike is rounded off with a nice 9 speed Shimano Alivio system with trigger shifters. It has an 11-34 tooth cassette and a 44 tooth chain ring up front with a metal guard. Stopping the Trail is this great set of 180mm rotor Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. These have 3 finger levers as well as dual pistons and really offers great stopping power for such a speedy bike.

Powering the bike is a frame integrated lithium ion battery at 48v 10.4ah. This makes for 500 watt hours and I am told that they also offer an upgraded 13.6ah 650 watt hour battery for $300 extra. The battery is easy to get in and out of the housing and is protected by lock and key. It also has an LED light on it that flashes blue, green, and red, for respective power levels if you are wondering how much juice is left without needing to turn on the bike. The battery here weighs about 6.8lbs and comes with a portable charger that can get it full in about 3 hours. To really care for this and other lithium-ion packs, I have heard that storing in a cool dry location vs. extreme heat or cold will extend the life and try to keep it about 50% full when not using for long periods so you won’t stress the cells. Try not to let it run down to zero, because that’s really hard on the cell chemistry.

Operating the bike fairly easy and is done through this protected backlit grayscale display. I say protected because of the placement between the handlebar and the stem, this surrounds it a bit better if the bike takes a spill, a lot more so than if it were mounted out in the open in the middle like other displays. It shows the speed clearly and in the top right it has a battery info graphic as well as battery percentage. I love this since it leaves the guessing work of how much battery you have. For example, some bikes just show 4 ticks on a battery icon, so when you get down to the last tick, you don’t know if you have 25% battery left, or 1%… really quite a difference, so I am glad they included the percentage here. The buttons also provide vibration when you touch them, AKA ‘haptic feedback’, much like a cell phone would. This is a nice feature, but to be honest, I found the vibration a little loud and annoying, so I turned it off. The controls are on the left and are navigated with a +, -, and power button. To turn the power on, simply hold the power button with the battery in place. While + and – will cycle through the 0-5 modes of pedal assist, pressing the power button will change the status on the on screen display. You will start out showing speed in MPH, but pressing that power button each time will take you through trip, odometer, max speed, calorie counter, range estimator, average speed, ride time, and power output. If you press and hold + and – for a couple seconds, you get a deep dive menu. Here you can adjust some finer settings as well as turn off that haptic feedback if you wish as I did.

The FLX Trail was a lot of fun to ride since it offers speed and capability while staying lightweight and centered. I think this bike will be great for a lot of people and you can even upgrade it to the touring package if you want something similar with a more commuter friendly orientation, as there are some commuters that prefer a mountain bike type setup. However, I should mention some of the tradeoffs here. The motor is powerful, yes, but is is definitely on the louder side for an ebike, likely from that 120nm of torque rating. It has a winding noise to it in the higher levels and that could bug some people. Similarly, I found the haptic feedback on the buttons also loud, but you can turn that off. But probably the biggest trade off is paying for the extras. Since the bike is value priced, it is missing a lot of features, so for some riders, they will be adding a suspension seat post, or integrated lights, or a more comfy saddle, or fenders, or rack… all of this comes at an extra cost, even the optional throttle is an extra $55. But this may not all be bad since the al a carte option will appeal to some that want to personally configure it, and even others out there will be happy with a minimalist fast road bike so the can feel the road better. I had a lot of fun taking this bike around and I want to thank FLX for the opportunity to do so.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own a previous version of the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the FLX ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • A high speed hard tail electric mountain bike with a lot of capability, lightweight, all while remaining value priced at the same time
  • Not only does it have a high top speed (28mph), but the acceleration is great too, thanks to the Bafang M600 mid-drive with 120nm of torque
  • Able to measure both pedal torque and pedal cadence, and you can even get an optional trigger throttle for $55
  • The electrical system is quite refined and streamlined, so much so that you can even shift gears without pedaling in the middle of full throttle
  • Features an SR SunTour XCR front suspension, this has an extremely comfortable 120mm of travel as well as both lockout and preload adjust
  • Assisting in a controlled feeling are these shorter length handle bars and this low rise stem which give the body geometry a more aggressive feel
  • This bike surprising lightweight, I was shocked to find out it weighs about 44.5lbs with the battery in place which is not bad for an electric bike at all
  • If you are looking for more comfort, they sell a touring version for $170 extra that comes with rack, fenders, suspension seat post, a different saddle, and integrated lights
  • A nice 9 speed Shimano Alivio system with trigger shifters, 11-34 tooth cassette, and a 44 tooth chain ring up front with a metal guard
  • A fast bike like this should be easy to stop for both safety and performance, luckily, they added a great set of 180mm rotor Tektro hydraulic disc brakes to handle the job
  • The kickstand is mounted away from the crank arm, this is great since it reduces pedal lock, an occurrence where the pedals strike the kickstand when reversing
  • The 48v 10.4ah battery is great and looks good too in the integrated frame, it can be upgraded to a 13.6ah for an additional $300
  • I love that the display is mounted in a more protected area in case you drop the bike, it also has a battery percentage instead of a limited graphic bar, and is backlit

Cons:

  • A hard tail mountain bike like this is great for bumpy terrain, but I noticed it lacks both a slap guard and a chain ring guide, this means that chain can bounce and nick your pant while the teeth could chew up your pants if you’re not careful
  • This bike checks a lot of the right boxes, but there are some cost saving measures here and there, for example, the basic pedals and independent little clip lights
  • The motor can get loud in the higher levels of assist, this may not be a big deal to some, but I wouldn’t say this is a quiet bike
  • The haptic feedback on the buttons is a nice little feature, however, I found it annoying and loud, so I turned it off in the display menu
  • The seat was narrow and not the most comfortable, you can upgrade through the touring package, but the one I tried out is on the basic side
  • If you are looking to make this a commuter it is missing some elements like rack, fenders, suspension seat post, a different saddle, and integrated lights can be added to the bike which is great, but it comes at a cost, their package is an additional $170

Resources:

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Comments (4) YouTube Comments

George
3 months ago

Nice review! I think you intend $2699 here: Typically, the faster mountain bikes are pretty high priced, but the FLX keeps a tight budget by coming in at just $2,199.

George

  Reply
Court
3 months ago

Thanks for the feedback, George! I think there was a little mixup between the two FLX reviews and I really appreciate your eye for detail, catching this. I’ve just updated the review. Thanks again :)

  Reply
Calvin
3 months ago

Hi, I’m a bit torn between this bike and the Raleigh Lore iE. Seems like here I get a stronger motor and larger battery for roughly 700-1000 dollars less. The downside being that FLX is a small company and support is limited. For a first time ebike owner, do you have any immediate suggestions?

  Reply
Court
3 months ago

Hmm… I really like the way the Raleigh Lore iE looks and trust the Bosch drive system. It’s true that you’re spending less, get a faster ride, and have a throttle with FLX… and I’m sure that they will do their best to support you. I mean, they’ve been around for several years now and keep coming back to review with us. Perhaps it comes down to actually having a Raleigh dealer nearby vs. ordering both online? The Raleigh would be my personal pick, in part because I do like to ride on mountain bike trails and I try to abide by the Class 1 rules that are setup in many states now. I hope this helps, and I’d love to hear what you pick and how you like it :)

  Reply

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