- A lightweight, high speed, electric road bike with sturdy 12 mm thru-axle on the front wheel, Carbon fiber fork, and Alpha 200 Gold alloy frame to dampen vibration
- Capable and comfortable on hard packed trails as a gravel grinder, sturdy Aluminum fenders and custom rear rack increase utility and the rack has nubs to retain panniers
- Excellent safety features including reflective logos and accents on the frame, reflective tires, and integrated lights with a headlight that can be set to blink, low solid, or bright solid
- Bosch Purion display panel is compact but the buttons aren't as easy to click, menu options are limited, the Micro-USB port cannot be used for charging, and it's not removable, the bike comes in five frame sizes but is priced higher
Trek pulled out all the stops with their CrossRip+ electric road bike. This thing comes in five sizes, includes sturdy full-length Aluminum alloy fenders, a custom designed rear rack with light integration and sturdy pannier rods, reflective paint and tire stripes, and an aimable three-mode integrated headlight! You get a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain, which means considerably fewer gears than the non-electric CrossRip line which range from 18 to 22 speed… but this is actually at the high end for Bosch powered mid-drive electric bikes. The one-by drivetrain reduces complexity, means fewer adjustments and chain drops, and is quite capable given the power of electric assist. The derailleur features a clutch system to improve tension and reduce slap when you go off-road, and the 20 tooth chainring (equivalent to a 50 tooth traditional chainring) is shielded by an alloy chainring guard that reduces drops while simultaneously keeping pants clean and snag-free. Because the motor controller offers software-driven shift detection, shifting remains relatively smooth even when the motor is operating at high power. Internal cable routing and a flattened downtub create a blended look, the black plastic casing on the motor and battery work well here because the frame color is matte black, but the battery is still external and the motor is not tilted and semi-integrated the way that it is on some of the latest mountain models or with alternative motor systems from companies like Brose. But, the even distribution and relative light weight of the bike (roughly 46 lbs) make it a standout. Some of the fancier battery and motor designs can be more difficult to remove in my experience and require a bit more frame reinforcement which probably adds weight. The CrossRip+ rides beautifully, even when the motor is turned off. The cockpit is clean and the single-paddle shifting mechanism on the right hood is simple once you get used to it (short click for higher gears, longer two-click or three-click for lower gears). This bike even comes with a small flick bell, easy-reach light switch beneath the display, and an adjustable length rear-mount kickstand… though it began to rattle when I took the bike off-road so consider removing it, tightening it, bringing a tool along, or using Loctite Blue if you encounter similar noise. The Trek CrossRip+ is feature complete and more than just a road bike. Larger tires provide cushion, stability, and gravel riding options, they can be setup as tubeless because the rims support it, and I fully enjoyed the SRAM hydraulic disc brakes with 180/160 mm rotor setup. I was able to stop adequately with just the front brake while filming and descending. There are only a few options in the road e-bike category right now in the US that I have seen, and the Trek CrossRip Plus is leading the pack in my opinion.
Powering the bike is a dynamic Bosch Performance Line Speed motor. This is the motor that can reach 28 mph (45 kph) vs. just 20 mph, and it’s perfectly suited to the aerodynamic, racy style of the Cross Rip Plus. Rated from 250 watts to 600+ watts, the motor can deliver 60+ Newton meters of peak torque and is one of the most responsive products on the market right now. It spins a smaller chainring, as mentioned earlier, which was chosen to improve chain grab and I believe it also starts and stops faster than a more traditional size. This sprocket spins 2.5 times for every 1 crank revolution, and there’s a gearbox inside the motor that does this conversion. As demonstrated in the video review above, this leads to a bit of noise and friction when the bike is powered off… but it’s very minor. When the motor is active, as you spin faster and add more power through the pedal assist menu options (Eco, Tour, Sport, or Turbo) a different noise is produced. A high pitched electronic whir is audible, but not as bad as the camera shows when frame-mounted. For me, a ~135 lb active bicycle rider, the Bosch Performance Line motors are all very capable. I have no problems climbing and can reach and maintain 28 mph with the Speed line. But I have heard some larger riders express that the bikes only just reach 28 mph and require more work than some other products. This is a pedal-assist only electric bike, you do have to pedal to get the motor to activate and it delivers increased power based on torque. If you pedal lightly, the motor isn’t going to respond as fully. This is the kind of thing that’s worth trying out in person, make sure you shift gears to find the sweet spot between effort, output, and speed. Thankfully, Trek is one of the Big 3 bicycle manufacturers in the US which means there are plenty of dealers to visit who should provide some test ride opportunities. For me, the drivetrain is setup just right, 11 gears is enough to enjoy a full range of speeds and the combination of higher-end SRAM derailleur, sturdy rubberized slap guard, chainring protector, and frame sized crank arms (longer 175 mm cranks for the larger sizes) work together perfectly.
Powering the CrossRip+ is a Bosch Powerpack 500, a 25% larger battery than the very popular Powerpack 400 that has been floating around for several years. The neat thing is, this pack is built into the same casing design as the 400 and is backward compatible. So, if you’re someone who has one of these older batteries, it will work as a backup or range extender. Maybe you plan on doing some e-bike touring or trekking, bikepacking could also be fun, and these batteries only weigh 5.4 lbs to 5.7 lbs so you could toss one into a trunk bag or pannier and be all set. The charger that Bosch offers here is also quiet impressive. It’s compact and fast, rated at 4 Amps vs. just 2 Amps for cheaper electric bikes. At the top of the battery is a loop handle for easy lifting and carrying. Near the lower left side is a battery level indicator that can be used to assess fill level off the bike. Inside the pack are premium 18650 Lithium-ion battery cells which are energy dense and durable, not suffering as much from memory if they aren’t charged frequently. To maximize life, store the pack in a cool dry location at 50% for longer periods. Extreme heat and cold may impact performance and heat will degrade the pack faster. Note that even though this battery is powering the motor, backlit display panel, and both headlights, it should offer 16+ miles per charge in even the most challenging conditions with assist at high according to Bosch testing. For most rides, I’d estimate 30+ miles and up to 100 miles if you use the lower levels of assist and stay on smooth relatively flat paved surfaces. This thing is efficient and sleek, your body position is going to be aerodynamic… but anytime you raise the speed (especially above 20 mph) efficiency starts to drop exponentially due to air resistance.
Operating the Bosch Purion electric bike system is a snap, and the cockpit on the CrossRip+ is super clean. The Purion display is small and only has four buttons: power on top, + and – on the front, and walk mode on the bottom. Trek has disabled walk mode for all of their ebikes as of this review… so no need to mess with that lower button. Once the battery pack has been charged and mounted properly, just press the power button on the display and watch as it blinks to life. It shows your current speed, assist level (or other trip stat), and a five bar battery infographic at the bottom. From here, click the plus or minus button to raise or lower assist, and watch as Eco, Tour, Sport, or Turbo are shown. Those readouts may disappear if you’re in the odometer or range menus and you can cycle through by holding minus for a couple of seconds. Range is very useful, and probably where I’d leave the readout, because it dynamically updates based on the last mile of performance, current battery capacity, and assist level in use. You can literally switch from Eco to Turbo on the fly and see how far you can expect to go based on that last mile of riding! I do have a few gripes about the Purion display, and the primary one is that it’s not removable like the Intuvia. As mentioned earlier, it also doesn’t have an active Micro-USB port (the port is there for diagnostics and software updates only), and the + and – buttons respond best to finger presses towards the display vs. the lower left edge. They pivot at an angle vs. straight down which means you have to reach further in when pressing them. One neat design feature with this Purion display is a matching lower section with a white switch for cycling headlight modes. The rear light just flashes slowly at all times but the headlight can go from bright flashing to low solid or low bright and that is a first for me to see on an ebike! Most other companies only offer a constant on mode… and they usually have externally mounted lights that are not aimable. The headlight can be aimed up or down by using a small Allen key adjustment. The back light is mounted into the rack or can be set into a rack support tube if you remove the full rack. I love that they thought about both use cases and kept the light functional for both.
The Trek Cross Rip Plus really impressed me, I went into this review not knowing what to expect but was won over by the attention to detail, proven Bosch drive systems, and high level of customer support. I have met with Stephanie Jones on several occasions now to review Trek e-bikes and see how dedicated the rest of the team is. For this review, I got extra help from a Territory Manager named Chris who reinforced what I had learned on the website and during my own short demo rides. He was a bit more quiet and reserved than I, but he knew his stuff and was a great rider. This is a product you will pay more for, but should last longer and perform better than a lot of competing products. There’s only one color choice as of now and it’s called Matte Trek Black. Many of the stem, seat post, rack, and tire hardware are from Bontrager (Trek’s in-house brand) and they are all solid. If it were me getting this bike for high-speed commuting, I would definitely consider a 27.2 mm suspension post from BodyFloat or Suntour (BodyFloat comes in multiple stiffnesses and even offers lightweight Carbon fiber options) and I might even experiment with the ShockStop stem or a similar product, just to take the edge off. The larger tires and Carbon fork make enough of a difference that I didn’t come away from the trail tests with a headache, but if I were doing that a lot, the suspension options would become critical. The fact that Trek included bottle cage bosses on the seat tube and went with puncture protected tires is icing on the cake, little touches that I guess I’d expect given the price and their reputation for quality. Big thanks to Trek for partnering with me on this review and sending two awesome reps out to ride with me. I welcome feedback and questions in the comments as always.
- This is one of the lighter weight electric bikes I have tested, especially when you consider the rear carry rack and full-length alloy fenders, at roughly 46 lbs, it’s easier to pedal unpowered or lift onto a car rack
- Very few electric bikes offer the aerodynamic drop-bar setup that you see on the CrossRip+ and it can be very difficult to retrofit, with this setup you get three hand positions which offer a range of aggressive body positions
- There’s plenty of utility on offer here, in addition to the sporty ride, check out the bottle cage bosses on the seat tube and sleek rear rack with pannier hangers and blockers
- Trek has an ABC’s campaign to emphasize safety (always, be, seen but also always on, bio-motion, contrast) and the reflective Bontrager H1 tires with Hard-Case puncture protection, reflective decal accents on the frame, mini flick-bell near the stem, powerful SRAM Force CX 1 hydraulic disc brakes, and integrated LED lights with flashing mode and an aim adjustment for the headlight set it apart and above most other electric bikes I have reviewed
- Controlling the bike, selecting different assist levels or activating the lights while riding, is intuitive and comfortable thanks to the control pad placement and unique light switch integration, I have never seen the white switch slider thing before but it worked great and stayed out of the way
- Motor and battery weight are positioned low and center on the frame, this improves handling and makes the bike stable when lifting… consider removing the ~5.7 lb battery pack when carrying the bike up stairs or lifting it onto transport rack
- I absolutely love the rear rack, it is paint matched, sleeker than most aftermarket products, has pannier slider blocks and a notch at the base for bungee cords or clips, and has been designed to be easy to take off while leaving a spot to re-mount the rear light
- The 1×11 speed drivetrain is simple, durable, less likely to drop the chain, and features an alloy chainring guard to keep pants clean and snag-free, the SRAM Force CX 1 derailleur features a clutch system to reduce chain slack and provide smoother shifting
- Bosch mid-drive motors offer shift detection, this produces some gaps in power to reduce mashing and allow for smoother shifting under power, it’s software-driven and not perfect in my experience, but the combination of speed, cadence, and torque sensors allow you to reduce pedal force to further alleviate mashing when shifting (as you would on a traditional bicycle)
- The front wheel offers quick release and uses a 12 mm thru-axle vs. a standard 9 mm skewer, this provides strength and stiffness when steering and cornering at high speeds and supports the greater bike weight
- I love the thick rubber slap guard on the right chain stay, it provides good protection against paint chipping and noise if you decide to ride off road and use this like a gravel grinder vs. urban road bike, note that Trek chose a larger 20 tooth chainring (equivalent to a 50 tooth traditional chainring) for comfort pedaling at higher speeds, this also reduces chain suck and chain slap
- Bosch provides a faster 4 Amp charger with many of their electric bikes and I believe that’s what you get with the CrossRip+ which is going to fill the high-capacity 500 watt hour battery faster, the charging interface is consistent when the pack is mounted or being charged off-bike and that means you don’t have to screw around with extra dongles or adapters which could get lost, the pack is also relatively compact and lightweight at ~1.7 lbs
- The downtube is flattened out to make the battery mount more secure and help it blend in visually, the black motor and battery casing match the cabling and blend in well with the paint job
- Five frame sizes allow you to dial in fit and improve comfort on longer rides (including crank arm length and stem length differences), this is especially important for commuters, trekking, and gravel grinder trail riding because there is no suspension, consider a 27.2 mm BodyFloat to add some cushion or a ShockStop stem replacement
- The slightly fatter tires, carbon fiber fork, and “comfortable” Alpha 200 Gold Aluminum alloy frame are designed to dampen vibration on any surface, they improve comfort over the narrowest road tires and an alloy fork and you can run the tires tubeless for decreased weight if you want to because apparently the rims allow for it
- During my ride test, even off road, the fenders stayed relatively quiet, the bike was brand new but I got a sense that the rack and fenders were designed to not rattle and were more custom than a lot of aftermarket fenders I see on other electric bikes
- The headlight switch is so cool, it allows you to make the headlight flash by pressing forward, be solid and dim in the center position, or be solid and bright in the back position… this is one of the only electric bikes I have seen with integrated lights that can flash! I believe that the rear light flashes at all times
- The Bosch Purion display is compact, so it stays out of the way if you’re riding with hands in the flat bar position, but it’s not removable like the Bosch Intuvia, nor does it offer Micro-USB charging
- Minor consideration here, the Bosch Performance Speed motor is rated to support pedaling up to 28 mph but I have heard from some riders that it only barely reaches this speed and requires more effort than some competing products, this may help to extend range and I appreciate that it can support up to 120 RPM pedaling while other products sometimes reach only 100 RPM, I reached 28 mph easily on several occasions during my ride test but I only weigh ~135 lbs and am an active rider, the efficient tires and lightweight build make it pretty easy on this bike
- I love that this bike has a kickstand and appreciate that it’s adjustable but feel that it’s a bit short, the bike seemed to lean way over during my photos and ride tests (even on flat sections) and given that the rear rack may be loaded with gear, I feel that the stand should support longer length and I would also recommend tightening the bolts that hold it on (or using Loctite Blue) because the stand on our demo bike was rattling loose off-road
- The Bosch Performance Line motors offer higher torque and are quick to start and stop but can also produce more noise, a distinct whirring noise in the highest power levels and when spinning faster
- This electric bike is not cheap at ~$4.5k but you get a vast network of dealers who can order it and get you fitted properly, provide service, and there’s a lifetime warranty on the frame with comprehensive two year warranty on the motor, battery and other non-wear components