Powerfly 5 FS - Any opinions

Discussion in 'Trek Forum' started by Alexis Hadjisoteriou, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    So far I've only been on hilly streets around Cheyenne Mountain (former home of NORAD). What kind of range estimate is your bike giving you in all 4 modes?

    After todays ride and then a full charge, for my next ride it's estimating 12/15/20/40 (from Turbo/Sport/Tour/Eco). Every time I ride in my neighborhood this estimate for range on the next ride gets smaller, because there's so many hills.

    But I still believe that I'll have enough juice for that 32 mile ride I mentioned above, for which I will only use OFF, ECO, and TOUR on the 16 mile ride out out, and then on the way back I'll only need some pedal assist on two small hills. On previous rides we'd just get off and walk the bikes for those two small hills, but I'd have my oxygen with me (while getting a shuttle ride for the 16 miles uphill to the mid-point, skipping the uphill bike ride).

    In any case, it would be easier for me to put a 5lb spare 500WH battery in my Camelback than a 10lb oxygen tank. So it looks like a spare battery may be in the cards for me.
  2. CurryMonsterCA

    CurryMonsterCA New Member

    so you are clearly at much more hilly terrain and elevation than me--I'm near the coast. Off hand on a full battery the range estimate I see for eco and tour is about 60 mi and 30 mi. I can check when I get on the bike--I didn't ride into work today as I have some errands to do in the evening.

    My bike dealer told me there is a 600 WH battery coming out soon, if you are going to buy a spare you may wish to check into that option. It is pretty sweet that with the pedal assist you can now power up those two hills instead of walking the bike.
    Larry Ganz likes this.
  3. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Thanks, I'm looking forward to your next report. We plan to take a long but relatively flat ride along the river bike path in town this Sunday, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the range estimate will show after that easier ride. Then I'll have an idea of my bike's best range under better conditions, and I hope that the range will double over what I'd get in the steep hills.

    The following weekend we plan to do the same ride at Garden of the Gods that I did with the Dual Sport+ two weeks ago. On that 10 mile ride I used up 22% of the Dual Sport+ battery, and I estimated that I'd get a total 45 miles on the battery at that discharge rate - which matched the avg estimate from the bike's computer. So we'll see how the PF7 compares under those conditions.

    Unfortunately, based on a 5-bars battery meter, I wont be able to see actual % used like you can with the dual sport - when the first bar goes away I know I'm at 80%, and when the second bar goes away I know I'm down to 60%, with no way to know when I'm at 90% or 70%, etc. They should offer a flash ROM update for s better battery gauge.

    NOTE - When I first picked up the bike last Saturday it had been ridden by the shop mechanic on flat ground to test it after assembly, and it was showing 27/34/45/88 miles on the display at the different power levels. When I got home I gave it a full charge, and it was showing 29/36/48/94 before I took it out on the hills for the first time. Then I rode it 6 miles to the bottom of the hill and back home with my son twice, plus a shorter 4 mile ride by myself. After those 16 miles on the hills, and topping it off each time, I get the current 12/15/20/40 estimate.
  4. CurryMonsterCA

    CurryMonsterCA New Member

    I think there is definitely a sophisticated algorithm in the computer to determine range. It's not just a simple "how much time is left at the current draw" kinda thing. Right now I'm showing 15/18/24/47 on the range and that is with 4 of 5 bars on the battery. Like you said, we only get bars so you can only see so deep into what it's telling you, other systems that give a percentage may or may not be accurate but you can project out a bit better than the 20% chunks allow.

    How do you like the 29 inch wheels? They are taking a bit of time for me to get used to--I'm old school and had only ridden the 26 inch wheels in my older bikes. I'm not mountain biking with this yet so I'm not getting much of the benefit, just the occasional drag across the pant leg/shin at stoplights.

    One cool thing: the more I ride the bike the less I notice the noise of the motor. It was never really loud but now I have to pay attention to it to notice when it's operating. Of course, I can certainly feel it.

    It's really been fun taking this to work. I get in and am in a better mood than with the car ride, and the same thing when I get home. While the bike was an expensive buy for me, I have to say it's really living up to the hype. One of the rare times that seems to occur today with the constant marketing everywhere you look.

  5. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Thanks for the info. My bike shop has a meeting with the Trek representative on Monday, and they'll ask him about the 600WH battery. Some guys did a youtube video of a rented PowerFly 8FS+ and a Specialized Turbo Levo eBike in Salida Colorado, and they did some hard riding, and pausing the video shows BKXC was getting twice the range that I'm getting - and he still had juice when the Specialized was empty (he pushed his friend, The Singletrack Sampler, up the highway for a ways to get back to the bike shop and return them).

    I went for a another ride in our hilly neighborhood with my wife today - we went up and down our streets for 7.65 miles, and afterwards my trip estimate said I still had enough juice for another 7/8/11/21 miles in addition to this ride. But it was still showing 4 bars, and on the charger only one green LED was blinking, so I must have been at 80% or more battery left. That and the remaining range estimate confuses me, because I should have been at 3 bars if the remaining estimate was correct. At 4 bars I have half the range that you have.

    This time I did more pedaling in OFF and ECO than on previous rides, and spent less time in TOUR and SPORT than before (no turbo), so this is the first time that I'm now quite sore after riding my new eBike. Too much lactic acidosis since I didn't use an oxygen tank and I pushed myself too hard. But I was trying to stretch the battery farther, and was disappointed that I could have only ridden a total of 15/16/19/29 today before running totally dry, if the estimate was correct.

    We'll see how it looks after a long ride on fairly flat terrain with mild hills this Sunday, which I should be able to do in OFF and ECO only. But in our neighborhood I could not manage the hills without at least getting into TOUR mode part of the time (going slower if I avoid SPORT/TURBO). So the way I see it my real life range right now is about 20 miles avg with all the hills using OFF, ECO and TOUR.

    I also think maybe the 29x2.2" tires are why I can hop up curbs without a lot of trouble despite the weight, and I haven't noticed any sense that they are taller than the 26x2.1" on my lighter Kona Nunu mountain bike. I did fail to notice that my rear tire pressure seemed down until near the end of the ride, but I couldn't get my pressure gauge with adapter to give me a reading. I removed the valve adapter and it removed the presta core and I lost all air pressure, so I'll never know how low it had gotten during the ride.

    I was able to use a CO2 cartridge to put air back in to what felt like enough pressure, but then my big pump at home said I only had 20lbs. So, hopefully with the tires at max pressure this Sunday's ride will have better range. NOTE - I have aftermarket innertubes with green slime added to prevent flats, and my stock tubes are now my spares.

    I also haven't been mountain biking with this yet. We plan to go up Gold Camp Road in the Colorado Springs area and ride back down soon - there's limited traffic on that road, and none in some places on that route. It's a spot where local bike tour shops shuttle riders up the mountain access road and then customers ride the rental bikes back down to the shop in Manitou Springs (I bought my used Kona from one tour shop 5 years ago). We're also planning to try some of the single track trails in the Cheyenne Mountain State Park soon.

    My wife thinks that she'll be fine off-road on her Neko+ thinner 27.5x1.5" tires (700x38) since that's wider than what she rode on the for the past 30 years. It would have been nice to get her the Powerfly 5 mountain bike, rather than a trail hybrid, but the smallest women's Powerfly at 15.5" would have been too tall for her 5-1 height. She's on a 14" Neko+ and the standover height of the PF5 Women's was almost as tall as the 18" Neko+ that fit me!

    [edit - a 700x38 is really a 27.5" wheel]
  6. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    So after I charged it up yesterday and the estimate barely went up and now shows 7/9/12/24 estimated range! This has to be wrong, for the reasons below.

    I looked at the photos I took of the display after my ride, and while the battery had the 5th LED blinking on the charger, the display before charging actually still on 5 bars. So it was never on 4 bars and it was over 80% full after the 7.5 mile ride. I should be able to make that same ride at least 5x based on the fact that I'd used less than 20% of the battery (37.5 miles total).

    I believe that I need to stop topping off the battery each day, and let the battery stretch its legs a bit, to get closer to a full discharge - so like a laptop it can better calculate just how much juice the pack has total. But, is there a way to reset back to the factory default and start over if I ever need to?
  7. CurryMonsterCA

    CurryMonsterCA New Member

    something does seem really weird with your battery life. Can your LBS take a look at that when you bring it in? My bike store told me if I think something is screwy with the range they would take a look at it for me. Of course this was when I was picking up the bike and I haven't been back yet (just got it about three weeks ago).

    I also specifically asked my bike shop if there was any harm in topping off the battery eafter each ride and they it shouldn't matter. Suposedly the bosch system will keep track of battery cycles and knows when you are topping off vs. charging a dry battery. The example the shop gave me is that you can charge a 1/2 empty battery twice for the system to record one cycle.

    All that being said, my personal experience with any battery technology is that allowing it discharge down pretty far before bringing it back up has always yielded the beset performance.
  8. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    So we did a 30 mile ride today in ECO mode, on a gravel bike trail - mostly hard packed but some spots very loose and soft. I didn't need any pedal assist for a good part of the ride, but I purposefully turned it on to ECO mode for the entire ride in order to use up more of the battery, and to let it get a better estimate of usage and range over a longer distance. It can't estimate battery remaining if you aren't using any power.

    On flat areas TOUR was just too much for this mild 800 foot climb over 14 miles (EDIT - the ride had some ups and downs, and so my Apple Watch gave me a total of 1200 feet climbed, but the turn-around point in Monument CO is about 800 feet higher in altitude than the starting point in northern CO SPGS).

    I started with the full battery and the estimate of 29 miles (see previous posts), and by 5 miles into the ride it was estimating 32 remaining in addition to the 5 that I had ridden. By 12 miles I went down to 4 bars on the battery with an estimate of 35 more miles remaining on the battery. Using the bike estimates after 12 miles of riding with 35 remaining miles, I figured at least 47 miles range with this type of a mild climb (12+35=47).

    At the top of the ride at 14 miles I still had 35 miles left on the estimate with 4 bars showing (14+35=49 miles). We rode the 14 miles down back to the car and I still had 4 bars left with 45 miles estimated left, because battery use was less on the way down. The 14 miles used + 45 miles remaining = 59 miles total range on a similar type ride with a mix of uphill and downhill riding.

    So we went back up the trail and rode around (an even mix of climb and downhill) in order to get it down to 3 bars of battery. After another 3 miles, with 31 miles on the tripmeter it dropped to 3 bars, with 39 miles left on the estimate. That would give me about 70 miles total on mixed mild hills. This ride was similar to what we'd be doing on the other 32 mile ride in Glenwood Springs CO, and I could go on two of these rides and still have a little battery left over without charging.

    In summary, after 31 miles the estimates were 12/15/21/39 miles of battery left with 3 bars = 70 miles range estimate. Total climbing was 1200 feet during the trip, after some ups and downs, but the destination was only 800 feet higher. I was not stingy with the pedal assist and several times I needed to go to TOUR or SPORT mode to climb a pretty steep but short section, especially on the last 50 yards uphill to the parking lot at the end when I used TURBO.

    I'm charging the batteries now, even though I planned to run them down to zero with my next ride. While it was down to 3 bars on the display, I saw the 3rd bar blinking for only 2 minutes while taking a charge - then it became steady after just 2 minutes and the 4th bar started to blink while taking a charge. So I think I may have been very slightly under 60% battery after the 31 mile ride (at 12-18 miles per bar on the battery, depending on terrain).

    My wife's Neko+ was estimating 42-57 miles remaining after this ride, with a combination of OFF and ECO. So maybe she could go 90+ miles on a charge with a similar trip, or 50% farther than me. She rarely used pedal assist on the way up, but used ECO on the way back for speed, so we could get to the car before dark. She used HIGH for two very short but steep climbs on the way back, but she did have some difficulty in the loose spots with her 1.5" knobby tires, which my fatter tires still got unstable pushing through. I think she kicked it up to high to power through those spots as well.

    PS: My front white safety reflector must have vibrated off these bike during the ride - I didn't check to see if it was still tight and it's now gone. i did air up the tires before the ride - mine at the max 50 psi (30-50), and my wife in the middle at 65psi (50-80).

    PPS: I popped my battery pack back on, and the current estimates on a full charge are now up to 23/28/37/73 for TURBO/SPORT/TOUR/ECO (when I received the PF7 it was estimating 29/36/48/94 after the shop mechanic set it up and test rode it). I'm pretty happy with my new numbers, as this ride is representative of the type of long rides we'll often go on, and the more challenging rides will be the shorter ones at higher pedal assist levels where the range wont be as important (like at Garden of the Gods or our neighborhood).

    Strangely, my wife's Neko+ with Shimano Steps still shows 42-57 miles, even though it said that's what was left after the 31 miles.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  9. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Really sore today so next time I'll be even more generous with the pedal assist, bring my oxygen, or both...
  10. CurryMonsterCA

    CurryMonsterCA New Member

    sounds like your battery may have just needed a few cycles for it and the system to start working well together. The 23/28/37/73 is pretty wild...like seriously, 73?! that's really great. Of course it's just an estimate and will fluctuate with real world use.

    It's great you are getting so much time on the bike. I wasn't able to ride at all on the weekend, and Monday/Tuesday (today) I needed to drive into work for various reasons. It's going to be a wet week here with rain so perhaps there wasn't much I could do about that anyway.

    Did you get your U-lock location problem nailed? If not, do you think you can hang the mounting bracket off the seat post?
  11. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    It is crazy, although I think the 73 mile estimate is only valid for the type of riding that I did that day, and I'm sure it would drop again after a few rides in my hilly neighborhood again. I planned to ride today at 4pm, but was waiting for a phone call that never came. We really need rain here though, so I'd welcome that at the expense of a ride.

    Anyway, I do think it's accurate because my battery dropped one bar after 12 miles going slightly uphill, and dropped the 2nd bar after 31 miles total, while saying I had 39 miles left on 3 bars (31+39=70 miles with half uphill and half down). So on similar mixed mild hilly terrain I should get the same 12-18 miles per bar of battery (with a lot of ECO mode and a few bursts to TOUR or SPORT). I bet that when I start riding around my steep neighborhood for a week, that the 23-73 mile range just might drop back to 12-29 miles again.

    I didn't see an easy solution to the heavy u-lock mounting problem. I hang a small tool bag behind/under the seat, along with a rear blinker/taillight, so no room for a lock - and there's too many wires/cables in front for a bar bag. The top bar is too short for a bag there. The battery uses up a lot of room inside the frame, so I can only use one bottle cage mount because the second one under the top bar would prevent me from putting the bike on our car rack. For under the bar I use a second "Velcro" mounted bottle cage and a tall bottle, because I can remove it for the rack.

    So, I ended up ordering a pair of Ti 560G locks from Altor (to go with our kryptonite cables for the front wheels to deter casual wheel thieves). I can velcro it to a bar somewhere when riding, or remove one of my bottle cages to mount it, or stick it in my camelback since it's about 1/4 the weight of a Krytonite NY lock. I almost got a TiGR mini lock for both of us, but the 560G locks can be linked together and we'll have two locks with 4 identical keys, and its smaller when folded up.

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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  12. Jeff Backes

    Jeff Backes Active Member

    Here is where I mounted the u-locks on our xm700s

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  13. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Thanks for the photo. How was your trip?!

    I'm surprised there's no painful bumping of the locks when pedaling. If the Ti 560G locks don't work out we'll consider the Kryptonite NY Locks and mounts. Nothing can beat an angle grinder, but I think the Ti locks will be quite tough and more versatile.

    PS: When I ride behind my wife, it seems like her legs are very close to the frame of her Neko+ and that she'd hit a lock mounted towards the rear, unless it was on the rear arm near the derailleur or above the kick stand.

    PPS: Also, my wife thinks I'm nuts when I wanted to take off the seat/posts along with the display to bring inside when stopping at a restaurant for a break. I figure I don't have to do that if I can watch the bikes, but worry when I can't see them. I relented since it was broad daylight. But I might want a 7' cable instead of a 4' so that I can also run it through the seat, in addition to holding on the front tire. We both have a suspension seat post and upgraded seats.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  14. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Range is looking good so far - the trip meter was reading 23/26/37/73 after that 31 mile ride and then a full charge.

    This week it dropped to 10/12/17/33 after 7.5 mile ride down and back up the hill for lunch, that ended just as the battery gauge dropped to 4 bars. So I could do that ride 5x on a single charge (37 miles) in my hilly neighborhood.

    Then I reset the trip meter for the first time and it jumped to 23/28/38/75 Without any change and still on 4 bars.

    I charged it up after I reset the trip meter and right now it's showing a range of 30/37/50/98 on a full charge. So the gauge is back to what it was showing when I first picked it up 2 weeks and 75 miles ago.
  15. Luv2ride

    Luv2ride Member

    I have been riding a Trek XM 700+ since November and have about 3500 miles. The range estimate is based on the last so many miles and is just that, an estimate. Pay attention to the 5 bars on the battery. I get about 35 to 40 miles on a 400 wh battery and a bit more on the 500, while riding in Eco and Tour with just a little sport and turbo mixed in, doing rides with about 1500 to 2000 feet of elevation gain. I carry an extra battery and sometimes a charger.
  16. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    I agree - the number miles I get per bar of battery is going to be most indicative of the range that I can expect on the next similar type of ride.

    When I did the 31 mile "easy climb" ride and used up the 2nd bar only at the end, that fits with my being able to do similar rides in the future and use up about 1 bar every 15 miles on average (or about 75 miles per charge). That ride was in ECO most of the time, with only an occasional jump to SPORT or TURBO for a few very short but fairly steep climbs, with the turn around point after 14 miles being 800 feet higher than the starting point.

    While on the more difficult and steeper ride in my neighborhood, that used up 1 bar at the 7.5 mile point, I found that I can use up a bar every 7.5 miles (for over 37 miles per charge). This ride has the same 800 foot climb as the longer one, but the climb is over a 3-4 mile distance instead of 14 miles. So for at least half of this ride I can't turn off pedal assist at all, and I use TOUR and SPORT more often than during the longer mild-climb ride.

    Actually, in both rides the total elevation climbed per my Apple Watch was about 1200+ feet, because the terrain will have me climb, dip down, and then climb up again but even higher, and so on. So it measures cumulative elevation gain, whereas my GPS and Casio Protrek watch measure net elevation gain.

    It was still interesting to see the effect on range calculation that resetting my trip meter had on the estimates. Before I ever plugged it in to charge from 4 bars, the estimate was closer to what I would have calculated. But when I reset the trip stats to zero, without charging the battery, the estimate jumped up to be about 50% higher than I would have guessed. And now after a charge the numbers can't be believed at all.
  17. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Got to do some real mountain biking in the Colorado Springs Stratton Openspace trails, and the Powerfly 7 did great - I could climb the intermediate dirt trails easily, and it's tires are pretty grippy on the packed and slightly loose dirt on the way downhill. I was aired up to 50 psi for the street and didn't need to drop the pressures because the 29" wheels roll over everything.

    The area has two way traffic, so you can't go blasting downhill without the risk of running into other bikes and hikers. I like it that everyone is more cautious there. But you really can't get up on the berms for fear of an uphill rider avoiding the lose stuff on the inside of the turns and blocking the way.

    My wife's Neko+ is not geared low enough to climb at the slower speeds she's comfortable with on dirt, and she had to walk it over some of the larger rocks going up and down. Her 26"x1.5" (700x38) tires are probably too narrow for this kind of riding as well. She offered to split up so I could ride the more aggressive trails, and I might do that next time. We had to ride about 10 miles of neighborhood streets to get there, and 10 miles back, and did about 26 miles total.

    The only problem we had was that some of my chain links got stuck together and would not bend around the smaller sprockets, and so my chain started jumping on the sprocket. I thought it was a derailleur issue and took it to the bike shop, and they couldn't fix the original Trek chain and had to replace it.

    Apparently the pins on the chain for an 11 speed have to be peened a little flatter, and so they're tighter with less wiggle room to lossen them up when they stick. Unfortunately I had the ride the last 7 miles home in 1st-3rd gear to avoid the chain jumping, which made it a slow ride back although half of it was uphill on the way back anyway.

    The 500 WH battery dropped to 4 bars at 10 miles (mostly road), and then to 3 bars at 15 miles due to the higher power levels needed off-road, and then to 2 bars at 22.5 miles. That gives me a range of about 30-37 miles depending on how much off-road vs on-road for the last 2 bars of battery. My wife's Neko+ used 50% of it's battery vs 70% for mine.

    EDIT - added pics - looks like I need to lose another 10lbs (lost 30 already)...



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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  18. Charles L.

    Charles L. New Member

    Nice! Love mountain biking, though I have not yet done it on a ebike. 50psi, eh? I wonder if the extra weight of an ebike helps tame what might otherwise be a pretty harsh ride with that air pressure? Side note: if you ever find yourself wasting time on youtube, look up the videos by Nate Hills. He is a Colorado-based (I think) mountain bike pro who uses a chest-mounted gimbal for his camera to film some truly mesmerizing rides (especially the ones in Moab, Utah).
  19. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    Thanks for the suggestion - I've been following Singletrack Sampler, BKXC, and Seth's Bike Hacks for a while and will check out Nate Hills.

    I have a 30-50 Psi range and had planned to lower the pressure when we got to the trails, but thought I'd give it a try since airing them back up for the 10 mile tarmac ride home is still a pain. We try to ride without pedal assist whenever possible, and I didn't want to increase rolling resistance. Still, I'll have to try it with lower pressures at some point or another, for comparison.
  20. Larry Ganz

    Larry Ganz Active Member

    I recently saw on youtube that BikeRadar compared 27.5+ tires to 29" tires on the same bike, and for best performance off-road grip he tended to run the 27.5+ tires around 18-20psi and the 29" tires closer to 25 psi. I hadn't planned to go below 30psi due to the 46 lb weight of the bike, but I'm going to try lower pressures next, on and off-road. I'd worry that the tires would roll over in the turns with too much weight and speed. I have a much lighter Kona Nunu mountain bike that I usually run at about 35-40 psi, but I'm not racing and looking for that last bit of off-road grip at speed.