- A light weight, high-step only electric bike with premium fenders, pannier rack and integrated LED lights that would be perfect for commuting or short range touring
- Delivers Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, a 10 speed drivetrain with Shimano Deore derailleur and quality saddle, ergonomic grips and tires from Trek
- Four frame sizes to dial in fit, more aggressive geometry with straight handle bar, only available in one color (matte black) but the lights and reflective tires help increase visibility
- Good value at $3k with a two year warranty from Trek, the battery has to be taken off each time you want to charge it, no suspension elements (completely rigid frame that's efficient but stiff)
The Conduit+ is my favorite electric bike model from Trek at the time of this review because you get lots of quality accessories, four frame size options and a solid mid-drive system working with a 10 speed Shimano Deore drivetrain all for ~$3k. Not only does it include things like fenders, a pannier rack and integrated lights… the quality and fit for each is excellent. The Aluminum fenders are tight around the tires but extend all the way down keeping your feet and shins dry, the rack is slim but mounted to four points for added strength and has a neat u-lock opening for people who only need one pannier (pannier on the left, u-lock slid into the slot on the right) and the LED “Lync” lights from Trek are seamless. There’s a bright white headlight built into the steering tube and two small red lights protruding from the base of the seat stays. I was really excited about the lights because the frame only comes in matt black… which looks awesome but doesn’t present the same visual footprint that silver or white would. Thankfully, you also get standard reflector pucks at the front and rear as well as the pedals and the tires have reflective sidewall tape.
Driving the bike is a powerful and efficient 250 watt geared mid-motor from Shimano. It peaks out around 500 watts and offers 50 Newton meters of torque so don’t get freaked out by the lower nominal watt rating. In my experience it functions quietly at lower RPM’s but you do hear a whir as pedal cadence increases or as more force is applied in short bursts. The system measures your bicycle speed, pedal speed and pedal torque which is the most noticeable input. You do have to pedal on this ebike, there’s no throttle mode, but that makes it Class 1 which is permitted in the most locations. The motor blends in nicely with the frame along with the battery pack which is mounted on top of the downtube (the tube is actually molded to bring the battery down and appear more seamless). Inside are high quality Lithium-ion cells delivering 36 volts of power and 11.6 amp hours of capacity which I’d consider slightly above average. Trek offers a two year comprehensive warranty that covers the battery but Shimano has said users should expect a ~5% drop off each year based on natural battery wear over time (even if the bike isn’t being used the battery will slowly degrade). To care for your pack keep it in a cool dry location and fill to ~60% when you might not use it for a month or two.
I’ve said that this ebike is my favorite in the Trek line so far but it’s far from perfect. The price seems reasonable given all of the great accessories (especially compared with the $200 cheaper Trek Lift+ that doesn’t have fenders, a rack or lights) but the motor doesn’t offer the same response time or precision that Bosch and Impulse do and I’m constantly frustrated with the battery pack that has to be removed in order to be charged. I’ve dropped batteries before… imagine taking it on and off every day vs. plugging it in while parked in your garage? The frame protects the battery and while it does slide very nicely to the side it’s just not something I’d prefer to have to do. The frame feels good but is more aggressive and you don’t get suspension (just an aluminum fork and active saddle). Consider a seat post shock from Cane Creek or Cirrus Cycles if you plan on riding longer distances (make sure you get the 27.2 mm diameter.
It’s awesome to see a more established bicycle brand like Trek getting into the electric bike space and while they still offer more models in Europe (including a bunch of mountain bikes!) I appreciate the BIKE+ line of city bikes now hitting the USA. I wanted to call out the hydraulic disc brakes as another great feature here and close by mentioning the XM700 model which uses the Bosch Performance Speed drive system and can reach ~28 mph instead of just 20 with the Conduit+. That model costs an additional $500 and offers a monoshock for improved comfort (as well as a more upright ride position… swept back bars). It’s an excellent choice if you can spare the money and prefer higher speeds but the Conduit offers a lot of value and I think it would work just as well for commuting.
- All Trek bicycles have to be shipped to a local Trek retailer but this is free of charge, from there some retailers will deliver to your house
- Awesome two year comprehensive warranty, they recommend storing the battery in a dry room at 60° to 70° Fahrenheit and keeping it fully charged, expect a 5% degrade each year
- The high-step frame is stiff and easier to lift and mount on standard car and bus racks (where you hang the bike from the top tube), given the removable battery it’s going to be lighter and easier to transport, the display is also removable to reduce tampering or damage
- Lots of awesome accessories including full length fenders with mud flaps, integrated LED lights that run off the main battery and a cool pannier rack at the back (light weight but very handy for carrying a u-lock or a set of pannier bags)
- The downtube is custom molded to bring the battery down and create more space in the triangle area of the frame where a bottle cage mount is offered! You could bring a folding lock, mini pump or water bottle easily
- Solid kickstand that stays out of the way and matches the frame nicely (it didn’t bounce or vibrate much during my ride and isn’t near where you pedal), I also appreciate the chainring guide/guard even though it’s not as complete as a mini plastic chain guard it should reduce pant snags and grease on the chain
- Despite only being available in a matte black non-reflective color that could be less visible when commuting there are lots of reflection points including traditional plastic pucks on the front and rear as well as the pedals, reflective sidewall tape on the tires and those awesome integrated Lync lights!
- Available in four frame sizes so you can dial in fit and maximize comfort, the range on this model is up to 75 miles per charge on the lowest level of assist so you could use it for commuting, touring or trekking and fit will be important with this type of application
- I appreciate the tactile click of the button pad used to change display modes on the LCD panel and navigate up and down with pedal assist but the electronic beep becomes annoying, I’d probably disable it in the settings (hold up and down on the button pad for a few seconds to enter the menu) user manual attached to this review for more info
- Very light weight, it’s only 45 pounds (20.5 kg) even with the fenders and rack accessories, this makes it compatible with a wider range of racks and you can reduce the weight even more by removing the battery pack ~6 lbs
- High quality derailleur, Shimano Deore, with ten gears! This means you’ll be climbing at low speeds more effectively without straining your knees (or carrying heavy cargo) as well as being able to hit 20+ miles per hour with a comfortable cadence
- Battery must be completely removed from the frame in order to charge it, the charging socket is located at the base where it connects to the mounting plate, this adds work and increases the potential for accidental drops vs. leaving it on the frame to charge
- No quick release on this model despite being a mid-drive… but this seems to be a conscious decision based on the rack, fenders and general commuting setup where QR could lead to theft
- Only available in one frame style (high-step) which might not be as approachable to shorter riders or feel as stable when the bike is loaded up with gear and you have to stop and hold the bike up… but it is stiffer and lighter this way
- The frame is completely rigid including the alloy fork, this is efficient but can be jarring over long distances given the narrower tires, I found that the stem angle and flat bars are also more aggressive, consider using a Body Float or other suspension post measuring 27.2 mm
- Official Site: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/city-bikes/urban-commuter-bikes/conduit/conduit/p/1329000-2016
- Shimano STePs Manual: shimano-steps-electric-bike-user-manual.pdf
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/2fmfKybqEHdYjaMy9