Trek Rail 5 Reviews

RickyBikes

Member
Region
USA
The Trek Rail 5 is a full-suspension introductory electric mountain bike (eMTB) from one of the most reputable companies in biking. This is considered an excellent value bike, retailing at $5,499.00. It does come in four sizes and one color but is only available in select dealerships and isn’t currently available online. This is an excellent long-term bike option because it can grow with you. For what it's built to do, it's fine as is, but it can grow with you because it can be upgraded. Some of the components are budget components to keep costs down, but where it counts, the aluminum Trek frame and Bosch mid-drive motor, this bike is unbelievable. It has a 250W motor with an estimated range between 25-65 miles, tektro hydraulic disc brakes and Sram drive train. Upgrading as you go, and depending on how you want to use this bike, will make this bike an excellent ride for years to come. This is a class-1 eBike, meaning it is pedal assist only up to 20mph (32kph). Here's Trek’s official website https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/ and I'd love to hear your thoughts below, especially if you own the Trek Rail 5 or plan to buy it!!





While I haven't reviewed this electric bike myself, I have covered similar E-Bikes and I wanted to provide some insights and open things up for your feedback. I hope providing several sources, with varying perspectives, allows everyone to come to their own conclusions. Sometimes short reviews and those created by shops only cover the good aspects and can come off like a commercial, so I've tried to be neutral and objective with these insights:



Pros – things that stand out as good:
  • I love the Bosch mid-drive system. It has the low center of gravity, delivers efficiency as you shift gears, is super responsive and gives a great kick. It’s an intuitive and responsive motor that even gives an extra boost before ridges and obstacles; you just push your foot down and it gives and extra revolution on the tire to help you out. The Rail 5 has a 250W motor with 85Nm of torque.
  • I am a proponent of large companies like Trek because of the unbeatable dealer support you get when purchasing with them. They have dealerships and service centers all over the country (my local Trek shop in Loveland, CO is unbeatable). With a direct-online eBike companies you're fairly limited on support options, but not with Trek. They're one of the largest companies in the market and dealerships will be able to help you with maintenance and customer support issues for years to come.
  • This is an attractive bike and has beautiful motor integration. From the skid plate for protection from rock and log strikes to the easily removable battery itself, this is a form and function piece. (I do wish they'd get rid of keys for batteries and move to some sort of Allen key, however.) The color and paint quality is also excellent.
  • The entire Bosch drive system (battery, charger, motor etc.) are UL certified and, from what I've gathered, Bosch is the only company to have achieved this level. Bosch's reputation is one of reliability and quality.
  • I think Trek chose quality where it counts, hence why this is such a great value bike. The motor and the frame are premium. The areas where they cut costs are areas that are easily upgradeable. Depending on the type of riding you prefer to do, just upgrade the fork and drivetrain and you'll be able to really shred on trails. If you're newer to mountain biking and will use this all the time, then this is great as is. It's a flexible bike that can cater to your needs.
  • EBR LOVES great use and great placement of bottle cage bosses! These fit the bill!



Cons – considerations that seem like trade-offs or negatives:
  • The frame is incredible and the Bosch motor is excellent, but to keep costs down, some budget parts are required. The Rockshox 35 Fork is a budget fork. This makes for a stiff ride and is something more aggressive riders will want to upgrade. A number of reviewers recommend the Rockshox Zeb fork. The Lyric fork would also be an upgrade.
  • The Sram drivetrain is full of entry-level components. As far as functionality goes, they're sufficient parts. The real downside is their weight. You want your mountain bike to be as light as possible, so upgrading the drive train would improve the range and ride.
  • Trek opted for the Bosch PowerTube 500 battery over the higher capacity PowerTube 625. This is presumably because of cost, weight considerations, and the frame size flexibility of the smaller battery. This limits the range and speed capabilities of the bike. I'm not sure this can be upgraded later. The PowerTube 625 is physically longer, so the frame's beautiful integration wouldn't seem to allow for the extended battery size.
  • Bosch's 2amp charger that Trek opted for uses a durable proprietary plug interface that won’t get mixed up with other chargers in your house and also plugs into the battery and frame charging port without the use of a dongle. This is of little consequence because the excellent and lightweight 4amp charger Bosch makes would have been the right choice for Trek's customers considering the high capacity 500Wh battery.
  • The lack of availability for all four frame sizes frustrated me. I think that has more to do with supply chain constraints, but nothing is available online and if I'm not mistaken the only Rail 5 I can find at present is located at a sporting goods store in Dallas, Texas.
  • The 29" tires are great for everyday riding. They'll give you a nice attack angle. If you're using this bike for aggressive trail riding, you'll want to upgrade from these Bontragers tires. They're fine for everyday use, but not ideally suited for aggressive riding.
  • The bike doesn’t come with a kickstand. I get it, it saves on weight and prevents minor rattles. A clamp-on stand might be worth considering for some who want it up right while stored or charging.
  • The Bosch Purion display does not have a battery percentage readout, average speed, max speed, or clock, and lacks the ability to connect with a heart rate monitors. It has a five bar (20% increment) battery icon, but I'd have preferred something more accurate. The integration of the display leaves a lot to be desired. It looks clunky and old school. Bosch makes great motors but it's odd they don't an app. Giant uses Yamaha's motor and they have an app; Shimano has an app; Specialized using the Mission Control motors have an app. Bosch needs to get on that and the display integration. The other tradeoff of no app means you have to go to your dealer to get the Bosch system updated. Luckily Trek dealers are all over the place.



As always, I welcome feedback and additions to these pros and cons, especially from people who have tried or own the bike. If you see other great video reviews for the Trek Rail 5, please share them and I may update this post ongoing so we can get the best perspectives and insights.


Sources:
YT: RobRidesEMTB
YT: DavesHobbies
YT: Bumstead's Bicycles
YT: The Yorkshire Bike Mechanic
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
I recently found and bought the Rail 5 and you are right that it’s only sibling was in Dallas, TX! I’ve now had a chance to actually ride mine over 50 miles through a variety of terrain and have my admittedly beginner EMTB-er thoughts.
I agree with some of your conclusions, including the 625wh battery, which appears in most Rail reviews from overseas, so it would seem clear the 625 will work on the Rail 5. Hopefully, someday Bosch will actually deliver these batteries again in the U.S.! Until then the 500 is fine for me. The full suspension system works wonderfully for me and I’m sure components can always be upgraded but the Sram is working fine for me so far.
The Bontrager tires could use improvement but again, work well for me though I did lose traction once in wet, rocky conditions, FWIW. The Tektro M745 brake set has been impressive but the 203-19 rotors Trek choose are noisy in my experience. Tektro has acknowledged and provided a beefier 203-53 rotor which is far quieter and works very well! Trek dealer tried to adjust the noise out and reported to Tektro when they couldn’t adjust the noise out. They also installed the new rotor and did a great job taking care of my needs!
My Rail 5 actually did come with a kickstand, though I’m not sure if it was the shop just throwing one in or it came from Trek. Wherever it came from, it is good to have and doesn’t rattle in my experience.
The Purion display could be better, no doubt. It’s about as basic as it gets and I’d love to see some improvements like cadence info, bike/human power percentages, etc. The 2 amp charger is still fresh in the box and will remain there as I have two other 4 amp chargers from my Allant+7 purchases.
Overall, I’m still early on in my Trek Rail 5 experience but it’s been awesome so far and I’m confident I can grow with this beauty for a very long time!
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RickyBikes

Member
Region
USA
I recently found and bought the Rail 5 and you are right that it’s only sibling was in Dallas, TX! I’ve now had a chance to actually ride mine over 50 miles through a variety of terrain and have my admittedly beginner EMTB-er thoughts.
I agree with some of your conclusions, including the 625wh battery, which appears in most Rail reviews from overseas, so it would seem clear the 625 will work on the Rail 5. Hopefully, someday Bosch will actually deliver these batteries again in the U.S.! Until then the 500 is fine for me. The full suspension system works wonderfully for me and I’m sure components can always be upgraded but the Sram is working fine for me so far.
The Bontrager tires could use improvement but again, work well for me though I did lose traction once in wet, rocky conditions, FWIW. The Tektro M745 brake set has been impressive but the 203-19 rotors Trek choose are noisy in my experience. Tektro has acknowledged and provided a beefier 203-53 rotor which is far quieter and works very well! Trek dealer tried to adjust the noise out and reported to Tektro when they couldn’t adjust the noise out. They also installed the new rotor and did a great job taking care of my needs!
My Rail 5 actually did come with a kickstand, though I’m not sure if it was the shop just throwing one in or it came from Trek. Wherever it came from, it is good to have and doesn’t rattle in my experience.
The Purion display could be better, no doubt. It’s about as basic as it gets and I’d love to see some improvements like cadence info, bike/human power percentages, etc. The 2 amp charger is still fresh in the box and will remain there as I have two other 4 amp chargers from my Allant+7 purchases.
Overall, I’m still early on in my Trek Rail 5 experience but it’s been awesome so far and I’m confident I can grow with this beauty for a very long time!View attachment 93579
Dallant, I love your photos of that sweet Rail 5! Your thoughts are SO valuable. I'd love to get hold of one of those eMTB's soon.

I'm glad that kick stand (which has great placement at the rear of the bike) doesn't rattle, but I'm curious, have you encountered any rattling of the motor when you're on trails? I found other reviews would make a common note of motor rattling.

Good to hear the Sram base level components are working well on a variety of terrain. It sounds like the beefier brakes are working well too - that's great!
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Dallant, I love your photos of that sweet Rail 5! Your thoughts are SO valuable. I'd love to get hold of one of those eMTB's soon.

I'm glad that kick stand (which has great placement at the rear of the bike) doesn't rattle, but I'm curious, have you encountered any rattling of the motor when you're on trails? I found other reviews would make a common note of motor rattling.

Good to hear the Sram base level components are working well on a variety of terrain. It sounds like the beefier brakes are working well too - that's great!
I haven’t encountered any noticeable motor rattle. As most EMTB tires, they definitely make noise, especially on paved trails. I rode almost 28 miles of paved trail (and a little gravel) this morning and have noticed the Rail’s CX motor is generally quieter than my Allant’s. The Rail is a 2021 and I think my Allant is a 2020. One other minor point is the inner frame is small so I chose to get a side-load water bottle cage and a 12 oz. insulated bottle.
DB5DA1D0-5680-4414-BD21-19D1636EC50E.jpeg