2016 Trek Lift+ Review


Technical Specs & Ratings





Class 1




Hydraulic Disc



417.6 Wh

417.6 Wh

44.8 lbs / 20.34 kgs


1-1/8" Semi-Integrated, Semi-Cartridge Bearings

Alloy, Adjustable Rise, Quill

Bontrager Satellite, Swept-Back, 25.4 mm, 50 mm Rise

Bontrager Satellite Elite, Lock-On, Ergonomic

Bontrager SSR, 12 mm Offset


Trek Urban Comfort

VP Aluminum Body with Kraton Inserts

Hydraulic Disc

Shimano M355 Hydraulic Disc


Video Reviews

Written Reviews

The Lift+ is Trek’s most affordable electric bike (unless you count the Townie Go! from Electra which is also owned by Trek). The Lift Plus is significantly lighter at just ~45 pounds and I’m a huge fan of the quick release seat tube clamp, quick release wheels and adjustable angle stem! You can dial this thing in for a range of heights and body types and it comes in two frame style (high-step and step-thru) as well as four sizes… wow, that’s the power of a more established brand like Trek. The downside is that in my opinion the bike is on the more expensive side for what you get. While the Townie Go! mentioned earlier uses a more refined drive system from Bosch, the Lift+ relies on a Shimano system. The difference is that shift sensing is delayed, you get fewer levels of pedal assist, there’s no USB charger on the display, the motor puts out less torque and you have to take the battery off the frame each time you want to charge it. This last point is a big deal for me because I store my bike inside and have accidentally dropped batteries before when removing them so being able to plug directly in without removing the pack would just feel safer… plus, the Shimano charger has a really large blocky plug at the end that just doesn’t seem as well thought out.

The bike works very well on smooth streets and sidewalks but isn’t as cushioned as some of the other models I’ve covered in recent years. You don’t get a suspension fork or seat post shock and while the rubber ergonomic grips feel great and the sizes compliment the adjustable stem for a more upright, relaxed seating position I found the saddle to be very firm. The tires are slightly oversized at two inches in diameter and I’d probably run them a little low for added comfort… just don’t go so low that you get a pinch flat! The recommended PSI is listed on the sidewall so follow that closely and check often if you run low because air tends to leak slowly over time. So what am I really saying? Consider a suspension post like the Thudbuster, Body Float or something more cheap on Amazon and just make sure you get the correct size 36.1 mm diameter or use a shim to convert from the more standard 27.2 mm diameter.

All things considered, the Lift+ is an efficient and well made ebike. It’s backed by a reputable brand with dealer outlets all across the country so you should be able to take a test ride. There’s room for improvement with the motor system but I don’t hold that against Trek. I would love to see those bottle cage bosses added but I love that you get them for adding a rack and fenders because the bike would make an excellent commuter. There are ways to improve comfort with accessories and depending on your environment those may not even be necessary. I had a blast riding this bike on the smooth paved streets of Irvine California for the review and I felt well taken care of by Jax Bicycle Center because they spent time on fit and provided feedback about regular maintenance and things like hydraulic disc brake adjustment. There are some high end systems at work on this bike including the ten speed drivetrain but I’d love to see the price closer to $2,500 because it’s very plain compared with the next level up (the Conduit+) and doesn’t deliver the same feature set as the Electra Townie Go! which can also be had from Trek.


  • 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
  • Unique frame designs (the high-step version has a curved top tube for easier stand over) both are stiff and I love the internal cable routing
  • Quick release seat tube clamp makes adjusting the ride quick and easy, the front and rear wheels also feature quick release skewers so maintenance and transport are both quick and easy
  • Mid-drive motor system leverages the rear cassette for efficient energy use, the bike should get excellent range in Eco and Normal settings up to 75 miles per charge
  • Highly adjustable stem and handle bar will accommodate shorter and taller riders, with four frame sizes (and two frame styles) this model should fit most riders
  • Hydraulic disc brakes are smooth and powerful, much more enjoyable to use than band brakes or v-brakes but may require a shop’s help to adjust and bleed occasionally
  • Premium drivetrain (especially for a neighborhood/city style electric bike), ten speed Shimano Deore Shadow Plus… enough gears to climb steep hills comfortably and also max out the 20 mph motor speed limit (you can also pedal faster than that but the motor won’t help)
  • Front and rear mounting points for cargo racks, you could outfit this bike to carry a lot gear or add premium fenders to stay dry commuting
  • The step-thru model is reinforced with two downtube/top tubes as well as an extra tube at the rear for improved strength and rigidity (this combined with the mid-mount motor and battery feel very balanced and stiff)
  • At just under 45 lbs I consider these to be light weight electric bikes, they could easily reach 50 lbs with fenders and a rack but not everyone needs these things and the removable ~6 lb battery and quick release wheels make transporting much easier than comparable e-bikes
  • Shimano STePs features a remote button bar that’s easy to reach while riding (to adjust assist level), I like that it clicks when you change levels and there’s also an electronic beep (that can get a little annoying), I also appreciate that the display is removable


  • 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
  • Firm ride, no suspension fork or seat post shock but the larger 2″ tires, ergonomic grips and enlarged saddle help, I found the saddle to be firm and would probably replace it
  • It seems like there’s room on the high-step frame to add a bottle cage mounting point and this would be useful given that the bike doesn’t include a rack, the more expensive Conduit+ model does offer bosses on the seat tube
  • The Shimano STePs drive system isn’t as refined as Bosch or Impulse in my opinion, shift sensing isn’t as smooth and the on/off activation isn’t quite as fast (but it’s still a top level drive system)
  • In my opinion this electric bike is priced a little high, you get an excellent warranty but the frame is basic and you don’t get accessories like fenders, chain guard, rack or lights
  • Limited color choices with this model… not a huge deal but basically gloss black for the high-step and gloss white for the step-thru, as a guy who would probably get the high-step model I’d like a silver option for increased visibility to cars at night
  • The rear hydraulic disc brake cable is not run through the frame and stand out on the white step-thru model, perhaps it’s easier to service and I appreciate that most of the other cables are internally routed but considering the price I’m surprised this one was left out because it could snag more easily and just doesn’t look as good


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