- A versatile electric bike that's efficient on road but capable of light trail riding as well, puncture resistant tires with tight knobby tread offer traction, stability, and a bit of comfort due to increased air volume
- Durable spring suspension fork provides 63mm of travel with preload and lockout adjust, hydraulic disc brakes require less hand effort to pull and the lever reach can be changed to accommodate different sized hands
- Very nice 10-speed drivetrain with wide 11-42 tooth cassette, the derailleur has an adjustable clutch that reduces chain bounce and drops, alloy chainring guard protects your pants or dress, custom pedals are grippy and highly reflective
- Bright headlight with side windows for increased visibility, it's mounted high and points where you steer, backlight provides 11-LED's but could get blocked by long shirts or jackets that hang down, lots of provisions for adding bottles, locks, fenders, and a rear rack, priced high because of the quality parts, dealer network, multiple sizes, and great warranty
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Trek. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Trek products.
Trek completely redesigned the Dual Sport+ for 2019, swapping the Shimano E6000 drive system for a Bosch Active Line Plus. While the price increased by roughly $600, and the overall weight went up by roughly 2lbs, the bike looks better than ever and is now available in a mid-step frame style. Trek labeled the mid-step as “Dual Sport+ Women’s” but it would be a great choice for anyone with hip or knee sensitivity, because the standover height is lower. I like that they chose silver for the women’s frame because it’s classy, timeless, and unisex. Across both frame styles, the bike is available in five sizes ranging from XS to XL, and this should ensure an excellent fit. Trek is sold exclusively through dealers and has one of the largest manufacturer-owned network of shops for any bicycle company in North America right now. This company is a leader in providing support, developing new bicycle hardware, and I feel that the Dual Sport+ is one of the best all around electric bicycles on the market right now. It’s extremely well thought out and includes two sets of bottle cage bosses, a rear rack mount, frame lock (cafe lock) mount, fender mounts, and two very nice integrated lights. The headlight is aimable, delivers 550 lumens, and has orange side windows to keep you visible from more angles. The backlight consists of 11 LED lights! I’m used to seeing just one or two LED’s on similarly priced ebike products. That said, the rear light is built into the saddle and may be obstructed by long shirts or jackets that hang down. Furthermore, if you add a cargo rack and attach a trunk bag, this may also block the light. I believe that the Dual Sport+ is named after dual sport motorcycles, which are capable both on and off-road. To me, this model leans a bit more towards road because the tires are fairly narrow and the suspension fork offers limited 63mm travel vs. 100mm+. That said, the tires do offer Hard-Case puncture protection, a trail-capable tread pattern, and the fork offers compression adjust with lockout, and preload adjust. SR Suntour makes a wide range of suspension fork options, and the NRX appears to be upgraded from the common NCX. The wider 30mm stanchions appear to be anodized for reduced stiction, but they are still made from steel vs. aluminum. This is a spring fork vs. air, which means increased weight but consistent reliable action with limited service. One of my favorite accessories for any hardtail electric bike is a suspension seat post, and that can be added here, but it might interrupt the saddle light because it’s wired through the stock rigid seat post. This electric bicycle is well balanced, with motor and battery weight positioned low and center on the frame. Battery integration is visually pleasing, and Trek has designed a shell casing with integrated handle for safe transport. The Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are powerful and smooth, with adjustable-reach levers for riders with small or gloved hands. The Shimano Deore derailleur is upgraded with a one-way clutch for reduced chain bounce (just click the little gray lever into the up position or click it down for easier maintenance and wheel removal). You get a very capable 10 speed cassette with 11 to 42 toot spread, plenty for climbing slowly or topping the 20mph maximum assisted speed. And, with the Bosch Active Line Plus motor, there’s no reduction gear drag like we’ve seen on some of the sportier Performance Line motors. The Trek Dual Sport+ comes with a traditionally sized 38 tooth chainring, sturdy alloy guard, sealed bottom bracket with excellent cranks, and unique plastic platform pedals. Again, you’re paying more for these little upgrades all across the bike, but they provide durability, a quieter more comfortable ride, and you’ll be supported by the dealer network. Trek is one of my favorite ebike manufacturers right now, for real. They have been easy to work with (as a reviewer) and I have been consistently impressed by their engineering decisions. Note that the new Trek Dual Sport+ Women’s replaces the older Trek Neko+ model.
Driving this bike is an efficient planetary geared mid-motor from Bosch, called the Active Line Plus. It ranks just above the Active Line, providing a sportier feel with increased torque (50 newton meters vs. 40nm) and motor output (105 rotations per minute vs. 100 RPM). This translates to zippier starts and consistent support when downshifting for climbs. It’s not nearly as capable as the 75nm meter 120 RPM specced Bosch Performance Line CX, but it’s much quieter, lighter (71.l pounds vs. 8.8lbs), smaller, and smoother feeling. For a mostly-urban ebike like the Dual Sport+, I think it’s an excellent choice. So many competing models in this category weigh upwards of 50lbs and don’t look as clean. Notice how the motor is almost hidden behind the chainring on the Dual Sport+. The alloy guard offers a bit of protection for your right pant leg or dress ends from the oft-dirty chain, and doubles as a bash guard for the steel chainring teeth and motor undercarriage. The chainring is positioned close enough to the motor casing that it should act as a guide, reducing chain drops in conjunction with the outer guard. Other notable aspects of the Active Line and Active Line Plus motors are that they can pedal backwards, actually cycling the chain through the cassette. This can be handy for servicing and lubricating the drivetrain and chain. All current generation Bosch ebike mid-drive systems include an advanced motor controller that measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second. This feedback is used in conjunction with the display panel, and chosen level of assist, to provide natural power output. It measures your pedal stroke pressure, aiming to reduce power surge (the on/off wave feeling often associated with heavy pedaling). And, it measures sudden changes in drivetrain pressure outside of pedal strokes that indicate shifting. This is called shift detection, and the goal is to reduce motor pressure when the derailleur is redirecting the chain. Ultimately, this will reduce gear mashing and keep the teeth on your rear sprockets and chainring in better shape over the long term. In my experience, it’s still a good idea to ease off on your pedal pressure when shifting.
The latest generation Bosch battery is called PowerTube and is designed to fit completely inside of bike frames. This provides physical protection, improved appearance and “stealthiness” for those who wish to fit in with traditional acoustic bicycles, and often lower weight positioning. The Trek Dual Sport+ models take advantage of this battery pack and fully optimize how it interfaces with their frames. Covering the right side of the battery is a paint-matched alloy. Plastic end caps allow it to fit snugly into the downtube of the bike, with the top cap featuring a flip up handle. When unlocking this battery from the left side of the downtube, it springs partway out to the right side, and remains secure until you press the handle and lift out. This design ensures that the battery won’t tumble out and take damage. The locking core system that Trek has chosen is made by ABUS, and includes a Plus Code which can be used to purchase “keyed-alike” locks. That’s a big deal if you dislike clutter and appreciate time savings vs. fumbling around trying to guess which key goes to which device. As much as I do like the locking core and two-step battery removal design, I was a little disappointed to discover that you have to reinsert the key and unlock the core to reattach the battery. Most competing designs allow you to forcefully click batteries back into place. Also, the additional shielding and plastic end pieces increase the weight of the battery, going from 6.3lbs for a naked PowerTube to 7.3lbs complete. For this reason, I recommend removing the battery pack when lifting and servicing the bike. Note that Trek purposefully chose a side-mount design because it’s easier to access… and they chose the right side of the frame because it’s a best practice to always lay bicycles down on the non-drive side of the bike, thereby protecting the derailleur. For a bike like the Dual Sport+, which has a kickstand, that’s less of an issue. But you can see how it becomes very relevant with something like the Powerfly electric mountain bikes. And, I believe that you can swap batteries between any of the new Trek models that utilize the PowerTube, though the shield colors may not match the frame in that case. And, this is my biggest complaint over the older plastic encased PowerPack batteries. Those were always black or dark gray and could be easily swapped between bikes… they didn’t have proprietary outer casing or handle designs, there was a loop handle built right in. They were significantly lighter at ~5.7lbs while offering the same high capacity 482.4 watt hours. The big trade-offs were weight distribution, durability, and aesthetics. This was also the case for Trek’s older Dual Sport+ model which used an external Shimano STePs BT-E6010 battery. All things considered, I think Trek has done a great job integrating the PowerTube and I appreciate that they were able to add a pair of bottle cage bosses above it on the downtube in addition to the pair on the seat tube. This means that you can carry a combination of folding lock, mini pump, accessory bin, and water bottle without needing a rear rack that adds weight and noise. Finally, you can charge this battery on or off the bike and I’d recommend storing it in a cool dry location. Lithium-ion batteries can be sensitive to extreme temperatures and last longest when maintained between 20% and 80%. If you know that you won’t be riding for a while, aim for 50% charged to reduce stress on the cells.
When you’re ready to ride and the battery has been charged and mounted properly, simply press the power button on the top edge fo the Bosch Purion control panel. This display is mounted within reach of the left grip and features two main buttons, plus and minus, for raising and lowering the power level of pedal assist. It boots up in Off, so pedaling is just like a traditional albeit heavy bicycle, and you go through Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo from there. The lower levels of assist tend to accelerate more slowly and conserve battery power. A five bar battery infographic communicates charge level in 20% increments but there’s actually a range estimator menu that is much more precise. To navigate to this menu, simply hold the minus key for a couple of seconds. If you hold it again, you’ll find the Trip Distance and Total Distance (odometer) readouts. Note that you can reset Trip Distance by holding the plus and minus buttons simultaneously. As an aside, you can ask any Bosch Certified dealer to change a software setting that allows you to turn off the integrated lights, and this will let you hold the plus button to turn off or on. By default, my Trek Dual Sport+ demo bike had the lights constantly enabled and it sounds like the headlight has a sensor to run in flashing mode during the day and constant at night. This follows automobile lighting design with Daytime Running Lights (DLR) as a safety measure. Dealers may also be able to activate walk mode, which is initiated by navigating to one of the assist levels, pressing the button on the lower edge of the display, and then holding the plus button for gentle ~4mph motor activation. In my experience, it can be handy if you get a flat tire or decide to walk across grass or rough sections of trail. The 1.7″ LCD display is constantly backlit with a faint white glow, provides good contrast with monochrome readouts, and shows your current speed at all times. You can cycle units from miles per hour to kilometers per hour by holding minus and tapping the power button when the display is turned on. As cool as it is, there are some compromises with the Bosch Purion. It’s not as large as the Bosch Intuvia, and it’s not removable. You may be able to swivel the display to reduce glare. Despite the inclusion of a Micro USB port built in to the right edge of the unit, this is not a functional charging port… merely a diagnostics and software update connection point. Furthermore, the Purion does not show your average speed, max speed, trip time, clock, or shift recommendation the way that Intuvia does. I have found that the plus and minus buttons are also a bit less consistent to press (aim for the right edge vs. the lower left or center because they pivot in towards the right). Some shops have told me that they will upgrade to Intuvia for $200 per customer request, but that might not work with the Dual Sport+ because it could block the headlight. The Trek website communicates that the headlight and stem have a mount for bike computers and additional lights on top, which is cool. I definitely want to compliment the headlight placement here, because it’s high up, points where you steer, and isn’t going to bounce around like many suspension arch mounted lights.
For those who are interested in flattening hills, enjoying rides through the neighborhood or city without sweating or falling behind friends or partners, and those who want a platform that is on road and light off-road capable, the Dual Sport+ truly fits the bill. It’s an electric bike that is easy to seek out and test ride at local Trek dealers, and purchase in the correct size. Yes, you’re paying a bit more for this product, but it will last. Bosch has consistently been a leader in the global electric bike space, and they support their products for 10+ years (in terms of parts availability) while offering a two year comprehensive warranty. This is a name brand bike company partnering with a name brand motor manufacturer, and they are two of the most reliable in my experience. I’m saying all of this because I have encountered some price sensitivity and question around this model, especially since it increased from the last generation. A couple of other little mentions before closing: the rims have reflective branding stickers on them to stand out a bit more in dark conditions (this follows Trek’s ABC’s of awareness/safety: always on, biomotion, contrast), the wheels do not come with quick release hardware, I really like the battery charge port cover on the frame because it won’t position the plug in the path of the crank arms and it won’t get lost easily thanks to a little leash, the included 4 amp charger will charge the bike faster than average and isn’t especially large or heavy, you can get Bosch Certified Trek dealers to activate walk mode and allow for lights on/off if you want (which is what I did for this review). As always, I welcome comments and feedback below, and I welcome you to engage in the Trek electric bike forums by posting your favorite accessories, sharing pictures, or writing your own ride test/review for others to see. Thank you!
- Available in five frame sizes ranging from XS to XL, so it should fit most riders properly, it’s also nice that they make the high-step and mid-step frame styles to optimize for stiffness or approachability
- Trek has this ABC safety philosophy which means “always on, biomotion, and contrast” where they design reflective surfaces and included lights for added safety, we see that in the rim stickers, reflective pedals, and integrated lights here… I especially like how the headlight shines out from both sides as well as the front
- Extremely well balanced frame, all of the motor and battery weight is positioned low and center for improved stability and handling
- More comfortable than a traditional road bike because of the wider tires and suspension fork, you can lock the fork out for more efficient pedaling if you want
- Excellent drivetrain, you get 10 gears and a wider 11-42 tooth cassette vs. 11-32 on many competing models, the derailleur has a one-way clutch to reduce chain bounce which is great for trail riding
- The Bosch Active Line Plus motor offers a great blend of power, efficiency, and weight reduction compared to the Performance Line motors, it also pedals without friction because there’s no reduction gearing system inside
- Lots of little upgrades including custom extra-wide pedals, puncture resistant tires, locking grips, and the chainring bash guard
- Plenty of options for transporting cargo, two bottle cage mounts (which can also be used for folding locks or mini pumps), and there are rear rack bosses, fender bosses, and a frame lock mounting point below the seat stays
- Hydraulic disc brakes offer smooth powerful stopping action compared to mechanical, both levers offer adjustable reach for those with smaller hands
- Vast network of dealers who can help you choose the best frame size, get you fitted and setup right, and provide ongoing warranty coverage and tuneups
- The Bosch drive system offers shift detection to reduce chain and sprocket wear, it uses one of the most advanced motor controllers on the market right now
- The battery integration is excellent, it fits in from the side vs. the bottom (which makes it easier to access), has a two-step removal to help reduce drops, and there’s a handle built in to allow for safe transport after it’s out
- Beautiful wire integration and nice paint job, note how most of the hardware is black to match the frame (spokes, stem, handlebar, seat post, crank arms)
- Wide-open diamond frames like this are extra stiff, offering better power transfer and lower weight to strength ratio, it’s also easier to lift and hang on some bike racks
- I love that the battery pack can be charged on or off the bike and uses the same plug port design so you don’t need any extra adapters (like with the Shimano drive system and charger on some other Trek models), the plug cover fits easily and won’t get lost because it’s attached to the frame with a little rubber leash
- The locking core for the battery pack is made by ABUS and comes with a Key Code so you can get a matching ABUS folding lock like this
- The bike is fairly expensive compared to other hardtail urban + light trail ebikes, this has to do with the nicer components, name brand drive system from Bosch, five sizes, large network of dealers, and warranty
- Minor complaint, the back light is built into the saddle, so you can’t really change seats without losing the light and there’s a wire running down through the seat post, so you can’t really switch to a suspension post if there isn’t a passthrough at the top
- In order to click the battery pack onto the bike, you actually have to unlock the core vs. some other designs where you can just push it into place, this takes a bit more time and coordination to do but the result is a very snug and secure fit
- The stock photo on the Trek website shows ergonomic grips but the demo model had flat locking grips (more mountain bike style), this isn’t a huge negative, just not what I expected to see
- The Bosch Purion display panel is compact and provides plenty of space for the Lync headlight, but it isn’t removable, doesn’t have a 5 Volt Micro-USB charging port like the Bosch Intuvia, and doesn’t show power output, avg speed, max speed, trip time, clock or shift recommendation (some shops will let you upgrade to the larger Intuvia display panel if you pay an extra $200 for the part and labor, it may take some adjustment to fit with the headlight)
- As much as I appreciate the lightweight Bosch Active Line motors, there’s a bit of friction when pedaling backwards and a more abrupt stop feeling compared to the Performance Line motors, they also have a more limited RPM output range up to 105 vs. 120
- I love how neat the high-step looks with a matching black suspension fork, for the women’s mid-step the fork is still back vs. silver to match the rest of the frame
- Because the alloy shield and plastic end caps have been added to the PowerTube battery, it weighs more and is physically larger than the older Bosch PowerPack or a naked Bosch PowerTube… the color on the shield is bike specific, so it wouldn’t look great if you swapped batteries and the packs are so long and heavy now that carrying an extra in a backpack or trunk bag could be uncomfortable