2023 Trek Fx+ and Dual Sport+

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Stefan, do you ever sleep?

They have been having trouble with the supply line in the US. I hope that they continue to expand their distribution and product line.
Flying to Frankfurt am Main early this morning.
 

TrevorB

Well-Known Member
If loot like a nice platform for customization. I like a bike that has good potential and leaves the dialing in up to the rider’s wants and needs. My wife and I bought Yamaha Cross Cores because they are relatively light and could be easily customized, (our preference being along the line of a flat bar, e-gravel bike).

Our drivetrains are now 1X11 Shimano SLX and we upgraded the tires and added suspension seat posts and stems to mention a few upgrades. It seems that this Trek followed that theme of versatility, (easily converted for trekking, gravel, fitness, commuting or recreation. A lighter rider should get more than enough boost from the specified assist).

I hope that she gets many kilometers of enjoyment from it. Please keep us posted regarding upgrades and the overall owner/rider experience.
Trek bike is really designed as reasonably priced light commuter with moderate hills in mind as such factory 1x9 gearing is perfect for job.

The other question what are trying to achieve by fitting 1x11 drivetrain.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
The other question what are trying to achieve by fitting 1x11 drivetrain
Constant cadence in any gear. It is vital for long distance riders.
Example: My Vado SL 4 came with a 10-speed drivetrain. The cassette was 11-42T. It made me irritated because I was spinning in some middle gear while I had to mash the cranks in another. Following advice from experienced Forum users I replaced the cassette with a 11-36T. The latter had no granny gear but offered pretty equal spread of gears over the entire range.

There is 1x11 drivetrain in my big Vado. The cassette is 11-46T there. It gives me a mighty granny gear and other gears are pretty equally spaced. It allows me riding at cadence of 77-85 rpm in any gear.
 

Djangodog

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Claremont, NH
Trek bike is really designed as reasonably priced light commuter with moderate hills in mind as such factory 1x9 gearing is perfect for job.

The other question what are trying to achieve by fitting 1x11 drivetrain.
The big advantage of the 1x9 that Trek chose goes to Trek in the form of higher profits.

Stefan’s answer provided the rationale for the 1x11 vs the 1x9.

With a powerful e-bike, the gearing is less important. The lower the assistance, the more “bike like” it is, the more the gearing matters.

For many, especially in flatter areas where you don’t need a granny gear, the 1x9 would probably be adequate, but if you want to bring the Dual Sport up to it’s potential, you would probably do well to address the drivetrain.
 

Richard Stallard

Active Member
Region
Australia
The big advantage of the 1x9 that Trek chose goes to Trek in the form of higher profits.

Stefan’s answer provided the rationale for the 1x11 vs the 1x9.

With a powerful e-bike, the gearing is less important. The lower the assistance, the more “bike like” it is, the more the gearing matters.

For many, especially in flatter areas where you don’t need a granny gear, the 1x9 would probably be adequate, but if you want to bring the Dual Sport up to it’s potential, you would probably do well to address the drivetrain.
A friend who is very experienced working on bikes says 9 speed gears are the “sweet spot” in terms of reliability and the thinner chains and cogs with higher gear numbers can cause problems. Personally, I have never had major problems with the drivetrain probably because my power output is on the modest side.
 

Djangodog

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Claremont, NH
A friend who is very experienced working on bikes says 9 speed gears are the “sweet spot” in terms of reliability and the thinner chains and cogs with higher gear numbers can cause problems. Personally, I have never had major problems with the drivetrain probably because my power output is on the modest side.
I might agree with that if it is a 2x9. A 1x9 either limits the range of the gearing or provides steps that are so large that you can’t really get into a “Rhythm”. The electric assist helps to alleviate that issue because you can use the modes of assistance to compensate, but I prefer to leave the mode alone as much as possible and use the gears in the same manner that I would use them on a non-assist bike.

The wheel of a 9 or 11 speed has the same free hub and same dish. The 11 speed chain is a little more narrow, (potentially reducing strength), and more expensive, but a good 11 speed chain is still plenty strong especially when applied to an e-bike with a fairly low amount of assist, and you can choose an 11e rated chain as well. The 11 speed shifter and derailleur are a little more finicky, but they are also better quality than the 9 speed parts.

I am not saying that anyone needs to change to a 1x10, 1x11 or 1x12. I am saying that this was the choice that I made regarding my Cross Core. I would have gladly paid the difference in cost to the manufacturer for offering a more versatile groupo, but I understand that they are trying to come in at a certain price point and that they also want a certain amount of profit, so compromises are made. For many people and environments, the 1x9 will probably be fine. There was a time when I rode our local hills on a bike with a 53/39 up front and a 12-23 cassette, (I even went to a 12-21 for a while). I guess that my point is that a 1x11 drivetrain is not very expensive, works very well and would make the Dual Sport much more versatile. Want and need can be two very different things. If the 1x11 and 1x9 were available to Trek for the same price, I don’t think that the Dual Sport would have a 1x9.
 

Gee_Whiz

Active Member
@Richard Stallard Whenever you have a sec, would you mind taking a pic of your front light from the bottom angle, I took mine off to install a suspension stem and can't figure out how it goes back on?
 

Gee_Whiz

Active Member
So I have to say.. I really really like the FX+2 and would already consider it easily the best under 45lb (XL weights 41lbs), ebike that's also under 3k.. and would actually make for a pretty good fitness bike if you get the Dual Sport without the extra weight (fenders, rack, remove kickstand). It pedals as easy as the Vado SL imo (at least in the XL), the motor feels slightly more powerful on the moderate hills ive tried, and you barely feel the motor move from pedal assist at under 20mph to 20+mph. It's silent, can be pedaled off-motor with zero resistance; zero creaks, whines etc. The gearing is mostly sufficient, and it just feels quality. The saddle is also surprisingly comfortable.

The main issue though is something that should probably be addressed by Trek, is that.. as Richard Stallard mentioned.. The pedal sensor is not a torque sensor as is advertised, it's clearly a cadence sensor. It's a pretty good one, but it isn't as smooth as a torque sensor at all, as its mainly and clearly noticeable when starting from a stop.. so the riders who are purchasing for that reason are likely to be pretty disappointed. But it is otherwise a fanTASTIC bike at any budget if you don't mind hub motors and cadence sensors. I also tried to install the Hyena Rider App (android) and it would not sync with the bike. Not sure what the issue would be, and there isn't a display to check for additional settings. Fwiw the battery also seems really good in the short time ive ridden thus far.

Areas of improvement:
Bike should have an actual torque sensor as advertised
Hyena Rider App should be standardized and easily syncable with the bike
I actually like the minimalist controller but should have an option for display, even 3rd party (garmin etc. and maybe it is possible)
Comes with 42T chainring which is sufficient on the FX+2 imo, but the Dual Sport should have a factory option to fit a 46t+ (per Trek this is possible, however they couldn't provide options).
Personal preference: Should have the ability to unlock pedal assist in software to 24-28mph (Aventon Soltera 7 has this on its hub motor)
Also, to be clear.. The Vado SL would still be considered a better bike imo. The only downsides of that bike would be the occasionally audible/low buzz of the motor, but it rides exactly like a normal bike in my experience and the torque sensor is seamless. The FX+/Dual Sports are just really good values with some compromises.


Edit: FWIW Took this hill no problem on 3 bars and some effort on 2 bars. Not sure the grade, but its as steep as it looks (or steeper than it looks lol)
 

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g33klibrarian

New Member
Region
USA
The Hyena Rider app does sync, but it took me a few tries to get the bike to enter sync mode. The double click was a fast one. Re-syncing seems a wonky, but I don't have a phone mount so I haven't experimented with the app as a ride monitor.

However, I was indeed successful at altering my motor assist levels. Though after some experimentation I've decided to revert too the defaults.

The top assist, according to the app, is set at 75% but then you don't hit the 20mph cutoff. Feeling the motor cut in and out isn't jarring, just odd.

I'm a new FX owner only 100 miles in so far. For my daily commute I'm really liking it.
 

hud95404

New Member
Region
Europe
Nearing home on yesterday’s ride, there is a short hill which maxes out at 5%. My wife tried L3 pedal assist just to see how it went, and soon found she was going faster than the 25 km/h limit for motor assist. However, she found that the motor assist cut out quite suddenly then cut back in as the speed dropped a little, this sequence repeating several times. The difference between motor on and off was quite noticeable due to the grade.

It’s not really a problem for normal riding as L1 assist would have coped easily with the hill and provided a smooth ride, but it does suggest the Hyena control system is not as sophisticated as some other e-bikes. The good news is the firmware can be updated, by a Trek dealer, so there is potential for improvements in the future if Trek wants to realise the full potential of the bike.
Hi Richard,

first of all, thanks for the time you have spent providing info about the new Trek FX+2, all websites I could find about this model are just copy-pasting the statements from Trek website and it has been impossible for me to find honest reviews about it.
I'm new to ebikes and I've never commuted by bike because the traffic is crazy in the morning peak hours here in Rome (Italy) and the town is definitely not bike-friendly (very unsafe bike lanes or no lanes at all, heavy trucks on main streets, poor road maintenance, etc) so I still don't know if I'll have the courage to make the switch.
In the best case, I'll have to go for a mixed commute: car+ebike; this means I'll have to lift the bike every day on and off the car's back truck and I'm not a strong guy, so being lightweight is relevant.
I'm also keen about torque sensors. In fact, even when there are no motorbikes (or cars!) rushing on the bike lane, we always have pedestrians walking/crowding in the middle of the bike lanes, so it would be tricky and unsafe to dodge pedestrians if the motor kicks-in un-smoothly at low speeds. I guess a smooth and proportional motor would be a better choice.
That said, the Trek FX+2 has really got my interest. Unfortunately this model is not yet available in Rome to try. The local not-so-nearby Trek store said they should have it by October/November this year, but anyway they do not allow for test rides, so I may not be able to test it myself and asking people's feedback is my best option at the moment.
I don't expect my commute to be long, maximum 15Km per way and it is mostly flat (average 0.6% with a peak less than 2%) so the short range of FX+2 should be fine for a round trip; but the battery is not removable and I would need to lift it two floors each day to recharge. So I would be glad if you told me that it actually goes further than 55Km advertised by Trek.
I understand from your posts that the FX+2 does not have a true torque sensor, which was one of my "requirements"; anyway, I also understand your wife and other two people in this forum are happy with this bike's pedal assistance and its behaviour. Am I overestimating the importance of torque sensor? According to my use case (i.e. moving slowly among pedestrians and traffic) do you think the FX+2 would still be ok despite the lack of torque sensor? Is your wife still happy with the PAS now that it has been tuned to a lower level of assistance?
Finally, I've read you also own a Vado 4 SL which is a higher level (real torque sensor, mid-drive, better gears) than the FX+2 and yet is lightweight for an ebike. Unfortunately it starts to be quite too expensive for me, especially the EQ variant. Perhaps I might be able to get an used one for about the same price of a new FX+2 and I don't know if the upgrade in specs is worth the risk of a second-hand ebike (e.g. an exhausted battery): what is your view on this? should I stick with a new Fx+2 or look for the used Vado? On the other hand, I've also read the Vado SL is slightly noisier than the Fx+, is it something that bothers you?

I would appreciate any advice you'd like to share.

Thanx!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
In the best case, I'll have to go for a mixed commute: car+ebike; this means I'll have to lift the bike every day on and off the car's back truck and I'm not a strong guy, so being lightweight is relevant.
Have you ever considered a Specialized Turbo Vado SL? 17 kg equipped, mid-drive motor, and the battery bigger than in the Trek e-bike (320 vs 250 Wh)?
 

hud95404

New Member
Region
Europe
So I have to say.. I really really like the FX+2 and would already consider it easily the best under 45lb (XL weights 41lbs), ebike that's also under 3k.. and would actually make for a pretty good fitness bike if you get the Dual Sport without the extra weight (fenders, rack, remove kickstand). It pedals as easy as the Vado SL imo (at least in the XL), the motor feels slightly more powerful on the moderate hills ive tried, and you barely feel the motor move from pedal assist at under 20mph to 20+mph. It's silent, can be pedaled off-motor with zero resistance; zero creaks, whines etc. The gearing is mostly sufficient, and it just feels quality. The saddle is also surprisingly comfortable.

The main issue though is something that should probably be addressed by Trek, is that.. as Richard Stallard mentioned.. The pedal sensor is not a torque sensor as is advertised, it's clearly a cadence sensor. It's a pretty good one, but it isn't as smooth as a torque sensor at all, as its mainly and clearly noticeable when starting from a stop.. so the riders who are purchasing for that reason are likely to be pretty disappointed. But it is otherwise a fanTASTIC bike at any budget if you don't mind hub motors and cadence sensors. I also tried to install the Hyena Rider App (android) and it would not sync with the bike. Not sure what the issue would be, and there isn't a display to check for additional settings. Fwiw the battery also seems really good in the short time ive ridden thus far.

Areas of improvement:
Bike should have an actual torque sensor as advertised
Hyena Rider App should be standardized and easily syncable with the bike
I actually like the minimalist controller but should have an option for display, even 3rd party (garmin etc. and maybe it is possible)
Comes with 42T chainring which is sufficient on the FX+2 imo, but the Dual Sport should have a factory option to fit a 46t+ (per Trek this is possible, however they couldn't provide options).
Personal preference: Should have the ability to unlock pedal assist in software to 24-28mph (Aventon Soltera 7 has this on its hub motor)
Also, to be clear.. The Vado SL would still be considered a better bike imo. The only downsides of that bike would be the occasionally audible/low buzz of the motor, but it rides exactly like a normal bike in my experience and the torque sensor is seamless. The FX+/Dual Sports are just really good values with some compromises.


Edit: FWIW Took this hill no problem on 3 bars and some effort on 2 bars. Not sure the grade, but its as steep as it looks (or steeper than it looks lol)
Hi Gee_whiz,

thank you for your good summary about the FX+2!
I'm happy to read you really like this bike despite some drawbacks.
I've already asked questions to Richard and g33klibrarian so I won't add more questions for you, but I would be happy if you decided to reply to those posts adding your own comments.

I still have at least three months before I'll be forced to decide between bike commuting vs public transport (very unefficient in Rome), so I'm looking forward to any update you'll like to share about your experience with the FX+2 or any other comparative you'll make to the Vado SL.

Ciao!
 

hud95404

New Member
Region
Europe
Have you ever considered a Specialized Turbo Vado SL? 17 kg equipped, mid-drive motor, and the battery bigger than in the Trek e-bike (320 vs 250 Wh)?
Yes, I'm considering it and I like it too!
Sadly the Turbo Vado 4 SL EQ is 3900€ which feels a bit too much for a newbie like me and who would not be able to get rid of the car. Even the the FX+2 is not cheap for me but it is the most affordable, decent-quality ebike that I could find.
I saw some users and one far-away shop which are selling used Vado SL bikes for the same price of new Fx+2: this is also an option to consider perhaps.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
I saw some users and one far-away shop which are selling used Vado SL bikes for the same price of new Fx+2: this is also an option to consider perhaps.
This is always risky. Ask for showing the kilometrage on the odometer, and also ask for showing the number of battery charging cycles in the Mission Control app. The e-bike battery is the most expensive, and self-depleting item of any e-bike.
 

hud95404

New Member
Region
Europe
This is always risky. Ask for showing the kilometrage on the odometer, and also ask for showing the number of battery charging cycles in the Mission Control app. The e-bike battery is the most expensive, and self-depleting item of any e-bike.
Is it possible to fake the number of kilometers and battery cycles?
I know this is an issue with used car where people were able to alter the kilometrage to sell the car....
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Is it possible to fake the number of kilometers and battery cycles?
Hardly. The Odometer state and the number of cycles are stored with the TCU controller (the odometer data belong to the specific identifiable motor). If someone shows you both parameters in Mission Control app (and the Your E-Bikes page shows that e-bike with a proper Serial Number), it is rather improbable the data could be faked. The e-bike market is not in that state of development yet.

For your reference: Mission Control for my Vado SL shows these data:
1663797894033.png

The looks of the e-bike (especially the frame shape and colour) should resemble the e-bike being offered ("Fearless" is the name the user gave to that e-bike and it can be changed).

1663798061288.png

Odometer and Serial number. Pay attention to the red warnings: (In my case, I have a trouble with the speed sensor that I actually ignore). If you wanted to buy the e-bike from me, you should be very cautious of course!

1663798219184.png

Look at the Charge Cycles field (blue there). Specialized say the main battery could be used up to 300 cycles without problems. Ignore the "Battery Health" field (red) as it always reads 100%. For your information: I have owned the Vado SL for 15 months and am a dedicated rider. I should not be worried about the battery for at least 3 years more.
 
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Gee_Whiz

Active Member
Hi Gee_whiz,

thank you for your good summary about the FX+2!
I'm happy to read you really like this bike despite some drawbacks.
I've already asked questions to Richard and g33klibrarian so I won't add more questions for you, but I would be happy if you decided to reply to those posts adding your own comments.

I still have at least three months before I'll be forced to decide between bike commuting vs public transport (very unefficient in Rome), so I'm looking forward to any update you'll like to share about your experience with the FX+2 or any other comparative you'll make to the Vado SL.

Ciao!
Hi, imo if you can afford to get the Vado SL, even used with low miles.. it's just a better overall bike and you will get better range with the additional battery extender. The motor is MUCH louder on the SL(FX is relatively silent) and you won't be able to climb as steep of hills unless you change the chainring to a 38T generally.

However.. the FX+2 is the first bike I've decided to keep long-term after going through quite a few the past few years. It's fantastic and the only real downside is the lack of a torque sensor.. IMO this is kind of an issue because you do notice it after riding the bike for awhile.. especially if you're used to bikes with torque sensors.. but it isn't enough to greatly affect the ride and it isnt a herky-jerky feeling like you get with some cadence sensor bikes.. its very subtle starting up and cutting off. I think the 20mph cutoff is much more noticeable, whereas the Vado SL assists to 28mph and feels more or less like a normal bike when cycling. The FX feels like a heavy normal bike when cycling off motor (but can be pedaled with no power).. on-motor, even on the lowest settings its probably more power efficient than the Vado SL. On Max assist(3 levels), I'd say the 35mile est range on the FX is accurate, whereas if you ride in PAS 1.. you could probably almost double that range from what I've noticed.
 
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hud95404

New Member
Region
Europe
Hi, imo if you can afford to get the Vado SL, even used with low miles.. it's just a better overall bike and you will get better range with the additional battery extender. The motor is MUCH louder on the SL(FX is relatively silent) and you won't be able to climb as steep of hills unless you change the chainring to a 38T generally.

However.. the FX+2 is the first bike I've decided to keep long-term after going through quite a few the past few years. It's fantastic and the only real downside is the lack of a torque sensor.. IMO this is kind of an issue because you do notice it after riding the bike for awhile.. especially if you're used to bikes with torque sensors.. but it isn't enough to greatly affect the ride and it isnt a herky-jerky feeling like you get with some cadence sensor bikes.. its very subtle starting up and cutting off. I think the 20mph cutoff is much more noticeable, whereas the Vado SL assists to 28mph and feels more or less like a normal bike when cycling. The FX feels like a heavy normal bike when cycling off motor (but can be pedaled with no power).. on-motor, even on the lowest settings its probably more power efficient than the Vado SL. On Max assist(3 levels), I'd say the 35mile est range on the FX is accurate, whereas if you ride in PAS 1.. you could probably almost double that range from what I've noticed.
I think you have provided the information I was looking for: my take away is that the FX+2 would be perfectly fine for my use case, even if the Vado SL would be a better bike in most aspects.

I don't expect the difference in maximum speed with assistance to be an issue, because in Europe all ebikes are limited to 25km/h (about 15m/h).
I don''t plan to use PAS3 all the time, instead I should be able to use mainly PAS1. So if this is enough to extend the range beyond the 35mile said by Trek, then I should be ok also about kilometrage. This would be very good!

> The FX feels like a heavy normal bike when cycling off motor (but can be pedaled with no power)
Here I don't understand if this is a pro or a con of the FX+2. Do you mean that the FX+ is easier to cycle than Vado SL with motor off? or that FX+2 is heavier and so worse than Vado to ride without assistance? I've read that both of their motor should make almost no resistance to cycling when assistance is off, so I thought they should be the same on this topic.

Yesterday I found a local shop that has the Vado SL 4 EQ (2021) selling new at an insane low price (500€). I'll try to get in touch with the shop but I bet it's an error on their website: even if the bike was used it would cost way more than that. Unless I find some good discount on the Vado SL 4 Eq in the next few months, I think in the end I'll go for the FX+2.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
I think you have provided the information I was looking for: my take away is that the FX+2 would be perfectly fine for my use case, even if the Vado SL would be a better bike in most aspects.
Taking in the account the short distance of your commute, the FX+ 2 is certainly a good option!
> The FX feels like a heavy normal bike when cycling off motor (but can be pedaled with no power)
Here I don't understand if this is a pro or a con of the FX+2. Do you mean that the FX+ is easier to cycle than Vado SL with motor off?
He meant Vado SL felt like a normal, not heavy bike. Easier to pedal. Actually what happens with Vado SL past 25 km/h is your thighs feel heavier but pedalling is so easy I often overlook going past the speed limit! I only cannot pedal faster than 27 km/h.

Yesterday I found a local shop that has the Vado SL 4 EQ (2021) selling new at an insane low price (500€).
Impossible!