Over 50's Trek Allant 9.9s Chronicles

Over50

Well-Known Member
I received my medium high-step Allant late in the day on Friday. 1 mile home from the shop and 15 miles on a couple of errands yesterday. Given my mods are not complete and I've done little testing of the bike, this post and thread will likely see a lot of editing in the near future. All of my thoughts and impressions are very preliminary at this point. Also pics will be forthcoming but probably not until I've received my Kinekt seatpost.

Key first steps after getting bike home:
  • added to Velosurance policy
  • registered on BikeIndex.org (and dropped a small donation along with my registration)
My initial mods or adds:
  • handlebar: the stock bar is too narrow for my tastes. Due to the inability to switch the proprietary Bontrager stem to the Redshift, I had previously ordered the Baramind BAM Trek flexing/vibration dampening bar. Shop switched out the stock bar
  • pedals: went with a spare set of Origin8 Slimline 9s that I had on hand - have these on my R&M and my Haibike as well
  • mirror: standard Mirrcycle. Will probably switch to an Ergotec e-bike mirror in the near future
  • panniers: purchased a functional bag my shop had on hand that fits my laptop. Tested at home my Ortlieb Sport Packers and they seem to be a good fit with a medium hook insert. I'll need to wrap some black tape on the pannier rack to take up a bit of space to prevent some rattling and scratching from the Ortlieb hooks. My shop says that there will be some new bags coming out soon that are designed for the minimalist pannier rack on the Allant. I'm hoping there is a one-piece, two-bag carry handle option
  • water bottle
My planned/future mods and adds:
  • carbon Kinekt seatpost with a shim is on order
  • I ordered a Fahrer downtube cover from the EU - I didn't think this one through because I intend to put the rail system for extra battery on the bike - so I doubt I'll be able to use the downtube cover
  • Spurcycle bell
  • ordering a keyed-alike Abus Bordo
  • ordered the rail system and extra PP 500 battery - unfortunately, I was told I couldn't get the rail system by itself sans battery
  • Ok here's the big one: when I asked for feedback in the forum on carbon rims I got some really good responses. The preponderance of informed opinion seemed to be along the lines of "might offer some benefits but not enough to offset the cost" and/or "might actually degrade ride quality due to stiffness". I'm really not one to normally ignore advice from knowledgeable folks however, the shop made me an offer that is hard to refuse. I don't want to get too much into my internal dealings with my shop but it was basically a no-risk trial offer. I feel like they are so confident I will prefer the performance and ride of the carbon that they are willing to stand behind their advice and minimize the risk to me. And the pricing wasn't as expensive as I had been led to believe. So a switch to carbon rims with a tubeless setup will occur in the near future
Some initial observations
  • lighting: I like the Trek front light but can't figure out how to turn on the daytime flash mode. On initial visit to the shop, this was the mode that was set. but now only the 2 modes (low beam and high beam) are working. The shop is going to ask Trek and get back to me. But I like having the multiple modes available. The rear light is ridiculously small but I'm not too worried about that. I always ride with lots of supplemental lighting. The rear light does seem to have an ambient light sensor and it pulses as well. I don't see any reason to upgrade the lighting but I haven't commuted in the dark yet either.
  • seat: seems to work fine for my narrow sit-bones. no plans at this point to make a change
  • display: this is a big one too. I guess I was misinformed but I was thinking the bike came with the Kiox and that the Cobi Smartphone hub was optional. But it comes with a very minimalist display and the Smartphone hub mount. The shop believes that the Kiox is not/will not be an option for this bike. I'm not sure where I went wrong and need to rewatch the launch videos to see if they perhaps showed the bike with the Kiox (as they showed it with the M99 light). But I really like the Smartphone hub thus far. Pairing and setup was fast and easy. I get a decent amount of feedback/info. For example, I like seeing my input in watts although I still need to figure out what it all means. On my ride yesterday, I would get up to around 180-200 watts in Eco and it would show the feedback and say "Pumping". There is some functionality and settings that I saw in Propel's recent video on the Smartphone hub that I was not able to find (such as custom-naming the Bosch modes). As much as I like being able to use my phone, I might opt to use the minimalist display on my commutes when riding in the dark. I feel like having my smartphone mounted so prominently with this colorful, really nice display of bike statistics might put me at more risk of robbery.
  • battery: I like the downtube design but it is certainly heavier and less-portable vs the PPs. I'm so accustomed to throwing a PP in my backpack during cold weather commutes. I haven't decided how I'm going to handle cold weather commuting and the issue of leaving the battery with the bike while locked
  • tires: really nice ride on my initial test ride described below. But roads were dry. The test will be whether they can match my Super Moto X tires on wet streets and in terms of glass/puncture resistance
Initial ride

I ran two errands yesterday through two different burbs for a trip of 15 miles with 2 stops. The longest I was in the saddle was about 7 miles. It is the first time I've ridden a carbon bike and I've spent time trying to process the experience to give an accurate description. More on that in a second. The bike does feel light and agile. It is a bit more aero than I prefer but road bikers with drop bars would probably laugh at my idea of aero. I wasn't uncomfortable but I would prefer a bit more rise on the stem. I think this proprietary, non adjustable/non replaceable stem will be an Achilles heel for the 9.9s. The wheelbase seems short/similar to my Haibike where I have weight over the front fork and pretty good control of the bike. The drivetrain and powertrain experience was good. Shifting is precise. Power delivery is responsive and smooth. I only tested Eco and Tour modes with most riding in Eco. I had to push hard to keep the bike around 20 mph. My top speed was only about 23 mph. Back to the carbon experience. I'm used to riding these heavier aluminum bikes except for my steel-framed non electric. I felt like I had a regular bicycle underneath me and I'm not sure how to describe it other than it felt 'less substantial' or less noticeable that I had something other than a normal bicycle. The ride was a bit rough on some of the worst pavement but it was felt mostly in my tailbone. I didn't feel any discomfort in the hands, arms or shoulders. I was riding at about 38 psi. I've been putting good miles on my Terns with 20" wheels for awhile so maybe I am used to not having the suspension. But I would say that the bike, as it is now (no seatpost) is not going to be a bad ride for my 35 mile commute. I'm pretty confident I can do the long half of the commute (20 miles) without major discomfort. But after the seatpost and carbon rim switch, I'll update these observations.

This post is too long but I know that there is some enthusiasm and anticipation for this bike out there. I'm toying with the idea of commuting on it tomorrow as we'll have some mild weather. The bike would sit outside in temps starting in the high 30s in the morning to mid-40s by evening. I'm undecided on leaving the battery in the bike or hauling it into the office. But I feel like I need to get an actual commute done with the stock rims such that I can make a valid comparison after I've switched to the carbon and tubeless setup.
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Thanks for sharing! I was looking forward to this post.

Btw - I just Learned last week that the COBI software on Steven’s display was a developer version. I’ll be doing another video soon with the consumer version. Sorry if that was misleading.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Thanks for sharing! I was looking forward to this post.

Btw - I just Learned last week that the COBI software on Steven’s display was a developer version. I’ll be doing another video soon with the consumer version. Sorry if that was misleading.
Good to know and thanks for the clarification. I watched the video a couple of times and was trying to figure out where I missed the setup for some of the functions I couldn't find.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about the Bosch Gen4 vs Bosch Gen2 experience. You now own both and have plenty of mileage on the Gen2, so that would be an interesting comparison.
Well, I think the motors I have on my Vektrons are Gen 4 and Gen 3 or 2 (I may be mistaken about this). The Vektrons have the Active Line series. When I made that jump, I felt the new motor was noticeably smaller, quieter, very smooth in its power delivery and had less drag.

So now to the Performance Line Speed. I think the new motor is louder or has a louder whine to it as the rider accelerates. I've only ridden in Eco and Tour. The power delivery is smooth on both. The new motor feels torquier (if that is a word). I rode around the block today with no power and if there is drag, it wasn't very detectable. These are initial impressions based on a measly 22 miles of casual riding. The new motor, similar to the improvements made with the Active Line, blends into this bike pretty well given its smaller size. Or at least the OEM has done a good job of keeping it discreet.
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Gen 4 is the Performance Line Speed, CX and the Cargo Line and Speed. The Active, Active Plus and new Performance Line is gen 3. I think your experience is consistent with mine as well.

BTW - the new Gen 4 motor noise should quite with time as the metal to metal gears break-in. I've ridden some with several hundred miles and they are virtually silent.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
BTW - the new Gen 4 motor noise should quite with time as the metal to metal gears break-in. I've ridden some with several hundred miles and they are virtually silent.
This is great to hear. Not that the whine bothers me but it is noticeable.
 

Colorado_rider

New Member
Wow, what a beautiful bike. I cannot wait to get mine.
I am super excited to see what it looks like with carbon hoops. That is going to be a gorgeous build.🤯
Just out of curiosity what rims/hubs are you planning to use?
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
Beautiful bike indeed. Over50's power pack comment has me thinking though. The intube battery is nice and I can certainly use 625Wh given my terrain & weight, but how practical is it to take out of its housing?
 

e-boy

Active Member
Beautiful !

FYI , a simple integrated Blendr mount makes it easy to add a Bontrager Flare rear light to the saddle .

1574712433121.png
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Beautiful bike indeed. Over50's power pack comment has me thinking though. The intube battery is nice and I can certainly use 625Wh given my terrain & weight, but how practical is it to take out of its housing?
Taking it out isn't an issue (does take 2 hands to insert and remove) but it doesn't fit in my panniers and barely fits in my backpack. I've attached a couple of photos for you. My backpack is a 17L Shimano commuter - so fairly small. It fits but the roll top barely closes. Obviously I could solve that with a larger/taller backpack. My panniers tend to run smaller than 17L (Ortlieb Sport Packers and a Bontrager something or other).
4196441965
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Beautiful !

FYI , a simple integrated Blendr mount makes it easy to add a Bontrager Flare rear light to the saddle .
These are really well done lights. I use one on my Bontrager commuter helmet. But for under the saddle, I will switch the mount from my Haibike before I sell it and use the Rotlicht. Today I used the Tern Vizzy (seatpost mounted).
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I pulled off a 33.5 mile commute today sans Kinekt seatpost which was waiting on the front porch when I got home. The ride wasn't too bad although due to wet streets (showers last night), blankets and piles of fall leaves and riding in the dark both ways, I kept speeds down. A few observations:

Trip: 33.5 miles in 2:05 or 16.1 mph average (top speed 27.2 mph). My prior commute on the R&M was almost identical in stats.

Motor: I was working fairly hard in Eco and at times in Tour. It is similar to my other two commuters where I can maintain 20 mph in Eco but I have to work hard. Same in Tour for maintaining 21-24 mph. I hit 27 mph on an incline in Sport but it wasn't effortless.

Battery/Range: I'm scratching my head here as it seems a bit on the low side. I rode mostly my usual mix of Eco/Tour with a smidgen of Sport. I finished with an estimated range of 21 miles Eco. So on track for about 55 miles for 625 WH? I'm usually on track for 50 miles on my most efficient Haibike with a 500 WH battery. I did have a headwind of 5-7 mph on the 16.5 miles trip to work but offset by some light tailwind on the way home. I left the battery on the bike with temperatures in the 40s. By contrast, I commuted on my R&M last week (Rohloff) on the exact same 33.5 mile route. It was a chilly but windless day. I finished 33.5 miles with estimated range of about another 12 miles. I removed the battery for indoor storage during the workday. So estimate 45 miles on that windless but chilly day , heavier bike, less efficient drivetrain (imo), prior gen motor...ok, so maybe it is on par if I could have eked out 60 miles on the 625 WH after having had headwind for the first 16.5 miles and for having left the battery outside in 45F average temps?

Display: I need to remember to turn my screen brightness down or I need to connect the USB to my phone. A 1 hour trip burns about 80% of my phone battery.

Weight/Ride: I by no means consider 50+ pounds a light bicycle. But I was hit with some crosswinds that knocked me around a bit. This happens on my heavier bikes but on much windier days. The place where I sometimes have the most trouble with crosswinds is entering and exiting streets with tall buildings downtown. I guess they can act as wind tunnels and the wind either swirls around or comes from a different direction relative to the general wind direction. Overall, this was a pretty mild day in terms of wind and yet a couple of times I felt knocked about by some crosswinds. Due to a similar dynamic, on dark streets I see the need for keeping the speed down. The bike tends to fly around a bit. I pass through a few neighborhoods that have speed humps. I think if I caught those going fast I could catch air. Ok, I see the appeal of R&M control technology. Flying over bumps or speed humps on a 'lightweight', suspension-less bike at 25 mph might not be the safest thing. On the way home, I was getting some creaking noise from somewhere around the handlebars or headset or front fork .... I didn't notice it in the morning. Note to self to mention it at the shop ...

Lighting: The front light on low-beam is totally inadequate for commuting in the dark. High beam is barely adequate. Recall, the first video from Trek on the new Allant and they showed the bike with the M99? Wow, they should have kept that light. I haven't taken the time to see if the angle is adjustable. Raising the light a bit might help as a the beam is pointed a bit low. But then perhaps the high-beam might be blinding for drivers. Also I have to look to find the light toggle. I appreciate more the light-sensing auto-dimming light on my Haibike (Lupine I think) although that doesn't always work perfectly. As supplement, I used a Blackburn Dayblazer 400. Longer term, I might look to switch out the light. I think someone else posted that their dealer was going to switch it out for the M99.

Well, that's it for the first longer ride/commute. I may not get another for awhile as the weather is going to turn again (rainy and windy next two days and much colder forecast for next week).
 

e-boy

Active Member
Taking it out isn't an issue (does take 2 hands to insert and remove) but it doesn't fit in my panniers and barely fits in my backpack. I've attached a couple of photos for you. My backpack is a 17L Shimano commuter - so fairly small. It fits but the roll top barely closes. Obviously I could solve that with a larger/taller backpack. My panniers tend to run smaller than 17L (Ortlieb Sport Packers and a Bontrager something or other).
View attachment 41964View attachment 41965
I love that backpack ; Tokyo 17 from Shimano . There's a new version available :
https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/product/apparel-accessories/tokyo/BG-DPCH-SW17U.html

1574735405939.png
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Buch&Muller IQ-X E is a great headlight. At 150Lux is perfect for night riding and it adjusts itself based on the amount of daylight.

Does the Allant take a front suspension fork and a rear rack ?