Trek Neko+ Review

Trek Neko Plus Electric Bike Review
Trek Neko Plus
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Steps Ebike Mid Motor 50 Nm
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Steps Ebike Battery 36 Volt
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Steps Sc E6010 Display Panel Bontrager Ergonomic Grips
Trek Neko Plus Sr Suntour Nrx Dl Spring Suspension 63 Mm Travel
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Deore 10 Speed
Trek Neko Plus 160 Mm Shimano Deore M355 Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Trek Neko Plus Electric Bike Review
Trek Neko Plus
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Steps Ebike Mid Motor 50 Nm
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Steps Ebike Battery 36 Volt
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Steps Sc E6010 Display Panel Bontrager Ergonomic Grips
Trek Neko Plus Sr Suntour Nrx Dl Spring Suspension 63 Mm Travel
Trek Neko Plus Shimano Deore 10 Speed
Trek Neko Plus 160 Mm Shimano Deore M355 Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Summary

  • A sporty hybrid electric bike offering a blend of efficiency and trail capability, suspension fork with lockout, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Removable battery and display panel reduce weight when lifting and transporting the bike, quick release wheels, locking ergonomic grips
  • The Shimano STePs mid-drive motor is quiet, smooth, and efficient compared to others in the space, it’s also compact and relatively lightweight
  • The motor does not offer shift sensing which means the chain, sprockets, and derailleur can take a bit more wear, but the chainring has a guide to reduce drops

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Trek

Model:

Neko+

Price:

$2,999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Years Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

42.5 lbs (19.27 kg)

Battery Weight:

5.9 lbs (2.67 kg)

Motor Weight:

7.05 lbs (3.19 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

14 in (35.56 cm)16 in (40.64 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Small 14": 20.5" Reach, 25" Stand Over Height, 23.5" Width, 70" Length

Frame Types:

Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Metallic Black Pearl with Blue and Grey Accents

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour NRX DL Spring Suspension, 63 mm Travel, Preload Adjust, Hydraulic Lockout, 100 mm / 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm / 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore RD-M615 GS Derailleur with Shadow Plus One-Way Clutch, Shimano CS-HG50 Cassette 11-36T

Shifter Details:

Shimano Deore SL-T610 Triggers on Right

Cranks:

Shimano Alloy 170 mm Length Crank Arms, 44T Chainring with Plastic Guide

Pedals:

Wellgo C015 Aluminum Body, Aluminum Cage

Headset:

FP-H825PL, 1-1/8" Threadless, Black

Stem:

Bontrager Elite Stem, 80 mm Length, 7° Rise, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter, One 20 mm Headset Spacer, One 10 mm Headset Spacer

Handlebar:

Bontrager Approved Lowriser, 600 mm Length, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter, 15 mm Rise, 9° Bend, 4° Upsweep, Blast Anodized Black

Brake Details:

Shimano Deore M355 Hydraulic Disc with 160 mm Rotors, Shimano 3-Finger Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Bontrager Satellite Elite, Ergonomic Rubber, 130 mm Length, Lock On, Grey with Black Clamps

Saddle:

Bontrager H1 WSD, Black

Seat Post:

Bontrager Aluminum Alloy, 31.9 mm Clamp, 8 mm Offset

Seat Post Length:

330 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Bontrager Approved TLR Disc 700c, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 32 Hole, Black

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14G, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Bontrager LT2 Hard-Case Lite, 700 x 38c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

50 to 80 PSI, 3.4 to 5.5 BAR

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Bontrager Integrated Chainstay Mount Kickstand, ABUS Battery Locking Core

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, 3.1 Amp 1.7 Pound Charger with Adapter Dongle, 11.6 Amp Motor Controller, KMC X10e Chain

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Shimano STePs

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

50 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Shimano STePS, Down Tube, BT-E6010

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

11.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

417.6 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

4 hours

Estimated Min Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Shimano STePs Large Model SC-E6010, Removable, Adjustable Angle, Transflective Monochrome, Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Speed (mph or km/h), Average Speed, Max Speed, Odometer, Trip Meter, Range, Battery Level Percentage, Assist Mode (Off, Eco, Normal, High), Time Clock

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad near Left Grip (Hold Up and Down for Settings Menu)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Measures Wheel Speed, Pedal Cadence, and Pedal Torque, Power Output Relative to Pedal Input: Eco 70% 30 Nm, Normal 150% 40 Nm, High 230% 50 Nm)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

I reviewed the Trek Neko+ in Colorado with the help of a Trek rep named Stephanie Jones. We chatted about this model and the companion Trek Dual Sport+ and she referred to it as a “Colorado commuter” because it’s capable on road and light trail conditions. Howeso you might wonder? Well, the wheels are large and efficient like a road bike (28” 700c) but the tires are a bit fatter and provide some tread. The little rubber knobs dampen vibration while providing traction (and producing a bit of buzzing noise) but you also get ribbed ergonomic trips, a highly adjustable but rigid stem, and a coil suspension fork with lockout. You could take this thing to the hills and actually hold your own alongside purpose built mountain bikes but then drop back into the city and park it using the kickstand and protect it by taking the display and battery off at the rack. Later that day, you might also remove both wheels using the quick release setup and toss the frame into the trunk of a friend’s car. It’s definitely versatile and impressively lightweight. At ~42 lbs for the smallest frame size, the Neko+ handles very well for an electric bike and offers approachability to petite and young riders. The seat can be positioned lower than the top of the rear tire! The top-tube is sloped down so people with ~25” inseams can stand over and handle the bike at stops. It’s not as easy to mount as a wave style frame but it rides stiffer and the battery is well positioned and well protected on the downtube vs. a rear rack. I feel that the sparkly black color scheme could appeal to men and women alike and love how seamless it looks next to the grey/black motor and battery casing. The biggest gripes I have about the bike include a non-adjustable kickstand… that is probably tougher this way, and the $3k price tag. This feels a little expensive given the growing selection of $2,500 electric bikes, many of which have fenders, lights, and racks included. What you get here is a name brand product that can be touched, tested, and fitted by a vast network of dealers. And the hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano Deore ten-speed drivetrain shouldn’t be overlooked. The derailleur even has Shadow Plus, a little grey switch thing that tightens the chain for off-road riding (to reduce slap and drops), just point it up for tight and down for looser smooth riding.

Driving the Neko+ is a 250 watt nominally rated geared mid-motor from Shimano. This is the same company supplying the derailleur and disc brakes and they’re one of two clear leaders in the space globally (SRAM being the other). The motor is compact, lightweight, and efficient, offering excellent range with more standard torque and power feel. As is the case for most middrive ebike systems, it relies on your judgement to shift gears and empower it to climb or reach the maximum assisted speed of 20 mph. This is a Class 1 electric bike meaning it’s pedal assist only, no throttle, and therefore it is welcome on the largest selection of trails and paths. I love that the chainring has a plastic guide to keep the chain from dropping or greasing up your pants or skirt. And I love how that chainring cover distracts and sort of hides the motor. No, this electric bicycle isn’t quite as stealth as some of the Bulls and Specialized products with custom integrated downtube batteries but it also costs less and the battery is easy to get to.

The battery pack offers an average capacity but that energy is used very efficiently. It’s easy to remove from the frame, using the included key, and slides out to the left side. Carrying it around feels safe because of the little handle cup at the top and you can charge it on or off the bike with the help of a cable adapter. I already complained about this adapter but at least you can get the choice of where and how to charge it. Some of the older Shimano STePs systems required you to charge off bike and that introduces more opportunities for dropping and damaging the pack. These things are expensive and somewhat delicate… which is why I appreciate how Trek has sandwiched it between alloy tubing (on the top and bottom). The battery isn’t going to be as easy to kick this way, and they have extended the design to several of their models, not just the Neko Plus. The battery has a little rubber button and five-LED battery gauge on the left side. You can press this to see how full it is whether the pack is on or off the bike, but if it is on the bike, it will turn the display on.

Activating the bike is as easy as pushing that power button on the side of the battery or pressing a different power button on the left side of the display panel. I love having this option and not being required to press both in sequence. The display comes to life quickly and produces a series of beeps as you navigate through. These beeps can be useful if you’re riding and not looking down but you can actually turn them off by holding the up and down keys on the control pad for a few seconds to enter into the Shimano STePs settings area. From here, there are lots of adjustments to explore but the beep and units are always the most useful for me. The Lift+ model uses a smaller Shimano display but they went with a larger one for the Neko+ and I found it easier to read and navigate. I love how quick and easy it is to remove but found myself searching for a USB charging port as some of the other systems now offer. Bosch, for example, offers a Micro-USB port on the right side of their display that can be used to maintain your phone, power a GPS, music player, or headlight. It’s a minor thing but something that’s nice to have when you’re paying so much for an electric bike. This is something you do get with the $5k Trek Super Commuter model.

I like the Neko+ and Dual Sport+ models because they speak to the type of riding I do. A bit of everything… and hopefully it’s comfortable ;) As someone with limited space, I tend to choose ebikes that can handle a range of environments and will be durable, products that I won’t be hesitant to take with me in the car or park outside for fear of vandalism. The Neko+ does many things well and is, most importantly, approachable for petite riders. Even though I was on the smallest frame size and had not adjusted the saddle height for this ride test, the bike still performed and got me up some mellow hills without making me stand up or think too much about which gear I was riding in. It’s a good feeling, and that feeling starts with the in-person experience and reassurance of a major brand. Depending on your needs and body type, I feel like this product covers a lot of situations well. Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but you get something for that money.

Pros:

  • Narrow tires are efficient, light, and quick but maintain comfort on this ebike due to light tread and the suspension fork setup, they perform well on road or packed Earth and you can lock the fork out to reduce bobbing if the going is smooth
  • Excellent kickstand positioning, it stays clear of the left crank arm and is nice to have but isn’t adjustable in terms of height… this makes it tough but I felt that the bike tipped to the side a bit much at times, it seems like a decent call given the sportier focus of this bike
  • Even though the Neko+ is an electric bike that is built around the non-electric Neko model, they routed the electrical cables internally for improved aesthetic and durability while also flattening a section of downtube for the battery mount which makes it look purpose-built
  • Minor pro here but I do appreciate the hydraulic disc brakes, they are easier to actuate and the adjustable-reach levers work for riders with large and small hands alike, they are more basic with 160 mm rotors but they work great on light trails
  • This bike is setup to be minimal (no fenders, lights, or rack) but Trek included bosses at the rear for mounting an aftermarket disc-brake compatible rack if you wish and that makes it more useful for commuters (just maybe get help from the dealership with this because of how low the bosses are and how close they are to the saddle if it’s in a lower position), unfortunately there was not room for bottle cage bosses on the seat tube or elsewhere so consider a trunk bag with bottle holster if you do add a rack, there are bosses for mounting fenders if you wish
  • Trek is one of the Big Three bicycle manufacturers that sell in the USA and that means you have access to a vast network of dealers to test ride, get fitted, and get service from, their warranty is great
  • Sometimes I see very basic accessories being used on electric bikes for the commuter / neighborhood demographic but the Neko+ is specced up and features locking ergonomic grips and a fancier 10-speed Shimano Deore (with Shadow Plus) drivetrain so it’s tougher and just rides better
  • Because this model comes in a range of three sizes and has such a low minimum saddle hight, I was told that parents sometimes buy it for their kids! There aren’t many electric bikes for children right now so that’s neat… and the seat post goes pretty high so it could last for many years as the child grows (keep in mind if you get a suspension seat post for improved comfort it will raise the minimum saddle height 3+ inches which could make mounting and pedaling difficult for some petite riders)
  • Weighing in at just over 42 lbs, this is one of the lightest weight electric bikes I have tested so far and that means it is easier to pedal unpowered, easier to lift and service, and just easier to handle in general
  • Great color scheme, the sparkly black with blue and white accents could be used by a male or female comfortably and blend well with the black motor and battery casing… I know many sporty independent women who dislike the “girly” colors like pink but still want their clothing and sports products to look nice and I feel like Trek just did a great job balancing the visuals to achieve that
  • Not only are the motor and battery positioned low and center for improved balance and handling but they also seem well protected, the battery won’t be kicked easily and I love how it slides out the left side vs. clicking up and down like Bosch, Yamaha, and many others, this allowed the top tube to be lower, I could see this being a great e-bike for rental fleets
  • Both wheels have quick release so you can do maintenance easily or break it down to fit in the back of a car without tools, take the battery off to make it lighter if you do this so lifting will be easier
  • It’s easy to enter into the display settings menu (just hold the up and down buttons on the keypad simultaneously for a few seconds) and this allows you to change units, adjust menu brightness, turn off the annoying beep noise, and more
  • Adjusting the pedal assist power level on this electric bike is very easy, you can learn to do it without even looking down because the button pad is within reach of the left grip… I’m even told it can be flipped and used near the right grip for people who prefer that (but it might be spaced further out due to the shifter levers there)
  • You can activate the Neko+ by pressing the power button on the display panel or on the battery pack, it does not require you to press both as some other ebike systems do, I feel it’s convenient and also fast to switch on
  • The Shimano STePs display shows your battery percentage vs. a five or ten bar infographic, it’s more precise and just better this way, and it also has a dynamic range estimator that shows how far you can go with each level of assist

Cons:

  • This is a very minor gripe but when I first saw the Neko+ and it’s companion, the Dual Sport, it seemed like they both had high-step frame styles and I wondered if they could have lowered the stand over height more… but that can compromise frame stiffness and you do get several size options on this bike so I feel that it works, Trek sells other models with a wave step-thru design if you need da lower frame
  • It’s great that you can charge the Shimano battery pack on or off the bike but I find it annoying to use a dongle adapter to do so… and the dongle can be easily lost because there’s no leash to keep it with the charger
  • I love the plastic chain guide but almost feel like an Aluminum alloy guide would be worth using here given that the bike is trail capable and could encounter more logs and rocks
  • The motor isn’t as powerful or quick as some of the competition, namely the Bosch CX motor, but it’s still very capable for climbing hills as long as you shift appropriately, be sure to ease off when shifting to reduce grinding and mashing because the motor can still be pulling hard even if you’re only pedaling gently if the assist level is high
  • Even though to me, the Shimano STePs mid-motor is quiet compared to many others, it is not the quietest (I think the Bafang Max Drive is as of this review) and you can hear some electronic whirring when pedaling at high RPM in the top assist level as shown in the video

Resources:

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Larry Ganz
2 months ago

I feel that my wife's Neko+ with Steps sounds louder than my Powerfly 7 with Bosche CX.

E-Wheels
2 months ago

Thanks. I'm trying to avoid a rack if possible - I wear a camelback for my gear, but don't want the added weight of a u-lock inside that, as sometimes I'll have an oxygen C-tank in there if I'm riding above 7500-8000 feet elevation (one working lung, so without eBike I needed the tank for every ride around here).

I LOVE THE POWEFLY 7 - MINI REVIEW:

It's quite well built, with nice welds and workmanship - everything is perfect except the following. I was surprised that the rear axel is not a 15mm thru axel like the front, but is a 9mm mountain bike quick release with slots instead (didn't know if this was typical). The seat padding is nonexistent, but if you get your butt back far enough it's livable, although I replaced it with a slim foam seat that's a little thicker. They also didn't run the derailleur cable inside the frame like with their other eBikes, so it runs along the right side of the lower frame while the rear brake line still runs along the left side. Lastly, I was surprised that the Deore XT shift lever doesn't display which gear I'm in for reference, while the feature is on the other 3 bikes.

It FITS me much better than the 50mm XM700+ that they originally ordered for me, or the 18" Neko+ and 17.5" Dual Sport+ that they had in stock. They did put a 17 degree riser on the handlebar stem (I think a 17x90), after having seen the issues I had on the other 3 bikes. With the riser the riding position is perfect - I've been able to ride down the 1140 foot hill from my house to the shopping center and back up to my home twice (6 mile trip each time), and my hands never went to sleep like with the Dual Sport+ and Neko+. I can lift the front wheel about 1" off the ground when straddling the bar, and I can just get my toes on both feet down to the ground when sitting on the seat.

VS the DUAL SPORT+: Despite the higher weight I still can hop up curbs fairly easily, and the fatter tires absorb the bumps better. At high speeds downhill on the road the PF7 is more stable and not as scary as the Dual Sport+ which put too much weight on my hands and seemed absolutely twitchy. I also have more confidence in the PF7's larger brakes and it's fatter tires which have a tight enough knobby pattern to work well on pavement and dirt. With the PF7 I could lean the bike farther in turns with more confidence, due to the larger contact patch.

BATTERY RANGE: My only concern is that the battery clearly isn't going to last as long as the Dual Sport+. After the ride on hilly roads yesterday and then giving it a full charge, it was estimating the battery will give me 16-48 miles on my next ride (in high vs low power). That's vs 30-55 miles estimated by the Dual Sport+ after the same ride and re-charging procedure. This includes my going to ECO or OFF whenever the ride is flat but requires pedaling, or downhill without pedaling. Before my riding it hard yesterday, the PF7 was estimating 29-94 miles, after only 1/4 mile of an easy flat-ground test ride by the shop after they assembled it.

After a quick 4 mile ride today (with only a 600 foot climb) and before I put it back on the charger, the PF7 estimated that I still had 13-42 miles of battery left to keep riding (13 miles in TURBO, 16 miles in SPORT, 21 in TOUR, and 42 in ECO mode). I would have been able to complete todays ride in only ECO and TOUR mode in the low gears, but I really needed SPORT and TURBO to finish it with decent double digit speed.

So, with a mix of all 4 power levels I believe that I could go an additional 18-21 miles on this hilly terrain; however, I'd prefer to have 30 to last a weekend before charging. But the 32 mile round-trip ride that we have planned this summer is fairly flat with only a slight climb of 300-400 feet over the first 16 miles, and slightly downhill on the way back, with two short hills both directions. So I should be able to make that particular 30+ mile trip just fine.

POWER: I'm not convinced that TURBO (300%) feels stronger than SPORT (200%) when I'm pulling a hill while seated in higher gears with a slower cadence. However, in the lower gears with a higher cadence I can really feel the increase in power on the hills. Unfortunately I poop out with a cadence rate about 65+, and tend to cruise at 50-60 rpm in higher gears, so I wont get as much benefit from TURBO except on a really hard steep hill at low speeds.
Larry is your PF7 a 2016 or 2017 model

Sonoboy
2 months ago

My wife rode her Trek Neko+ to work yesterday (8+ miles from Cheyenne Mountain to Downtown Colorado Springs), and then I rode my Trek Powerfully 7 out to meet her for dinner outside, so that we could ride home together.

Holy Cow! Larry! Is that a holder for an iPad Mini on your handlebar? That must make for a great mapping display. As well as anything else you might need.

Larry Ganz
3 months ago

Hey Larry, battery compatibility would be nice but it wasn't essential to my decision making. That Surface Colt looks like a really nice bike also and I wanted to diversify a bit, try something else. I like the torque sensor on the Colt, the hydraulic brakes, the chainguard and the adjustable handlebars. Not sure if there is a Volt with all those features.

Would you say that the new bike will become your first choice when riding with friends, or you just wanted it for variety?

I'd like a variety of different bikes as I do with my watches, but I can stash 60 of my watches in less space than one eBike, although many cost a lot more than my Trek.

I'll probably stick with Bosche powered bikes for a while, like when I upgrade or buy one for my son, etc. then we can swap batteries. My wife would have a Bosche powered Trek Powerfly if the stand over height had been lower for a 5 foot 1 inch rider. So we can't swap batteries since her Neko uses Shimano - like you, a choice we had to make.

Larry Ganz
3 months ago

My wife rode her Trek Neko+ to work yesterday (8+ miles from Cheyenne Mountain to Downtown Colorado Springs), and then I rode my Trek Powerfully 7 out to meet her for dinner outside, so that we could ride home together.

1/2
Larry Ganz
3 months ago

I bet that Pedego Stretch will be a good bike for you and your son, and I'd go for the larger battery if I were you because you'll use higher assist levels as he grows more, as as you commute more.

Over memorial Day weekend there was a woman on a small Pedego chasing her husband up and down the trails, while he rode a vintage Specialized carbon mountain bike, and he was in great shape for any age (he was in his early 50's). But we couldn't keep up with either of them on my Trek Powerfully 7 and my wife on her Trek Neko+, although we were pacing ourselves for a 32 mile round trip ride and super fast mama on the Pedego was on the shorter 22 mile circuit.

EDIT - did you see this seat accessory? https://www.amazon.com/Pedego-Stretch-Passenger-Seat-Kit/dp/B01N0EZAUJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498452644&sr=8-1&keywords=pedego+stretch

Ravi Kempaiah
3 months ago

Just came back from the Ebike expo. I had a blast! I was surprised at the number of bikes that fit me. Though the following bikes fit me, I eliminated them for various reasons one izip, two Raleigh bikes, gazelle, trek Neko, bulls cross lite, and the Electra townie (so comfortable!). I did like the trek lift+, smart motion Ecity, and the bulls lacuna evo E8. They did not have a Kalkhoff Agutta B7 but I did discover that the Bosch high performance motor that comes with it is amazing! Comments on my final four are welcome. You guys have been a big help in my search for a bike. Your time and expertise is much appreciated. Thank you!

Townie Go
Lacuba EVO E8
Crosslite-E with the new Bosch CX motor.

All great bikes. Glad the bike expo was useful.

Since kozy's carry a lot of the bikes you mentioned, you should visit them.

Linda Baer
3 months ago

Just came back from the Ebike expo. I had a blast! I was surprised at the number of bikes that fit me. Though the following bikes fit me, I eliminated them for various reasons one izip, two Raleigh bikes, gazelle, trek Neko, bulls cross lite, and the Electra townie (so comfortable!). I did like the trek lift+, smart motion Ecity, and the bulls lacuna evo E8. They did not have a Kalkhoff Agutta B7 but I did discover that the Bosch high performance motor that comes with it is amazing! Comments on my final four are welcome. You guys have been a big help in my search for a bike. Your time and expertise is much appreciated. Thank you!

Larry Ganz
3 months ago

You might want to rethink the gearing change if you have to go on any steep climbs at lower speeds. So while I'm waiting for my replacement brake lever to come in tomorrow (my Powerfly 7 is still in the shop after the crash over Memorial Day weekend), I took my wife's Neko+ out for a 10 mile ride the other day. And now I know why on some steep trails she's had to get off and push her bike up.

Her bike is better geared for riding above 25mph on flat ground without assist, while mine is better geared for riding under 25mph on flat ground. With the Powerfly 7 at over 25mph I'm closer to pedaling like a circus monkey, while with her tall gearing the Neko+ cadence is a bit slower. But that sucks for her when climbing a 10-15% grade in 1st gear at low speeds (The Trek DualSport+ would be the men's equivalent of her bike).

I simply can't pedal her bike fast enough to maintain 6mph in a steep climb using 1st gear without putting her bike in HIGH power at 200% assist, while my Powerfly 7 can climb at even slower speeds with lower power assist levels (ECO or Tour), because it's geared to give me enough cadence to deliver full assist on lower settings. On her bike I have to ride faster in high power to keep up my momentum and get enough power output for the climb. This sucks up a lot of battery power in the process.

Typically, riding in my hilly neighborhood nets me approximately 7-10 miles per bar on my Bosche battery (1 bar = 20%). My hardest ride has used up 3/5 bars (60%) over a 25 mile ride, and a gentle ride using ECO mode the whole time used up only 2/5 bars (40%) over 30 miles. But on this 10 mile ride with her Neko+ I went through 40% of her Shimano Steps' battery because I often needed 200% assist, where Tour with 120% assist on my Powerfly would have been enough.

So, in my case I definitely would not want to change to a larger front sprocket on my Powerfly 7, due to all the slow climbing we have to do in my neighborhood. I can see why some members here have both a Speed Pedelec and a mountain eBike, for different situations.

Larry Ganz
4 months ago

Not the best picture here, but here is what I've got. It's my Trek Powerfly 7 which I took on a ride and picnic with my wife, who is riding a Trek Neko+ that's laying down behind my bike (kickstand broke right before we went on the ride).

The bag under the seat holds tools, tire patch kit and levers, plus CO2 while the bag up front holds personal items that I don't want to carry in my pockets or camelback while I pedal (including a .38 special or 9mm that I have quick access to).

We rode Glenwood Canyon in Colorado, from Glenwood Springs to the end of the canyon and back, and I took a panoramic photo of the trail map with my iPhone.

And my bike related T-shirt that I thought was funny but too worn out to wear anymore. I bought this over 15 years ago and can't part with it.

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Larry Ganz
4 months ago

The opposite of eBike riders going too fast or being reckless can still hurt.

In this case, unassisted riders surprised us while passing us and it resulted in my crash. We'd decided that bike path was too narrow to be cruising at max assist speed of 20mph, but other riders didn't feel that way and were going even faster. I'm not sure why class 1 eBikes have to be limited to 20mph, or are banned from some areas completely, when healthy and fit riders on lighter un-powered bikes are allowed to go as fast as they want, regardless of traffic or road conditions.

We took our ebikes on vacation this weekend, planning to ride 30 miles both Sunday and Monday. I was riding my Trek Powerfly 7 on a bike path by the river in Glenwood Springs Colorado (river on my left, with highway I-70 on my right) with my wife leading on her Trek Neko+. We were coasting with brakes about 15mph on a narrow downhill section, about 25 miles into a 32 mile round trip ride, when a pair of faster non assisted riders came past us on the left with very little warning,

One of the riders called out "on your left" about 5 feet from my left ear, which scared me right into the concrete retaining wall on the right.

I was like the kitten on YouTube that jumps 6 feet back when the pet iguana starts to move suddenly towards it, but I had no room to go anywhere but into a wall at speed. And it was not object fixation, but my right handle bar hitting the wall turned the bars towards the wall. Once my right handlebar made contact with the wall i was sucked into it.

My inexperience kicked me in the ass, and I wasn't prepared for everything - while I was focused on what was ahead I forgot that there were riders behind me. I just wasn't expecting to be passed at 15mph when we'd been passing others in front of us, and I'd warn people with my loud voice well in advance of our approach while slowing down some.

My body and gear didn't fare well. I gouged my right grip, tore out my front fork lock-out cable, scuffed my Intuvia display, broke of a piece of my front reflector, scraped my headlight and right brake fluid reservoir, ripped off my iPhone 7+ mount (with iPhone in it), snapped my left front brake lever mounting bracket in half, gouged my right crank pedal, scraped the right crank, twisted my handle bars 15 degrees to the right, and bent my rear wheel as I got trapped between the wheel and seat post. My Intuvia damage is cosmetic, and the assist level switch was spared because I had it rotated more vertically to reach with my arthritic thumb more easily.

I ended up with small patches of road rash on my right knee and arm, a cut and deep puncture on my shin that kept bleeding, and contusions along my right side. I ripped my shorts but my Specialised Deflect jacket didn't tear - it just has dirt and rubber streaks along the right arm and right side, and blood. Somehow I caught road rash under my jacket on my right chest and shoulder, without a hole in the jacket.

My sleeve slid up a little and exposed my $700 black steel Apple Watch on mesh bracelet, which protected a good portion of my hand and wrist, minimizing my road rash to a smaller section above the watch. But I gouged the watch case, broke the watch sapphire crystal and twisted the steel mesh bracelet. So glad I wasn't wearing my Titanium Omega chronograph that I'd taken off before the ride.

My Apple Watch still works and it only missed recording 2 miles of our 32 mile ride - it auto-paused while the faster riders stopped to render first aid, and I didn't notice and resume timing the ride until 10 min after we started back to the hotel. My iPhone came out unscathed, protected by the 360 coverage of the handlebar mount that I bought from REI for XL phones. It was laying on the ground 15 feet ahead of where the bike and I finished sliding.

The faster riders were very helpful and apologetic (sounded like from Sweden) and plan to give people more warning than silently sneaking up on someone and then yelling "on your left" directly into that persons ear at "last second" distance. it's a two way path and I was staying right, but was startled by the sudden appearance of a passing rider so close to me.

It was a downhill portion but my wife is afraid to ride too fast on narrow paths, and she was coasting with the brakes - it would have been easy for the other riders to be going 25+mph with gentle pedaling on this 5-6 foot wide bike path. It's probably not safe to be going more than 5mph faster than other riders when passing there.

I took advantage of all the bandaids and first aid tape they wanted to donate, saving my kit for another time. They went on their way forgiven, once they helped me ascertain that my bike and I could limp back for the last 7 miles. Riding back with the handlebars out of whack, no front brake, and wobbly rear wheel wasn't fun.

I'll hit up the Apple Store Monday night on our way back home, and see if Apple Care+ will cover the watch repairs. I know it covers an iPhone when folded into a taco by an electric rear hatch on a Subaru Forester XT.

And Tuesday I'll take my Trek to the LBS for repairs which shouldn't be too bad - the brake lever, lock out cable, and reflector shouldn't be too much to replace, and I may upgrade the plastic crank pedals while I'm at it. The scratched parts such as the Intuvia display and headlight still work.

The steering stem should be able to be adjusted back to true, and hopefully the rear wheel can be straightened out okay. Not sure why the front wheel didn't bendtoo. But I worry that the rear might be weaker after fixing it than if it replace the wheel. I also don't know if there's any underlying damage to the front fork, i.e. if it had twisted at all, but it seems to be using up about 8omm travel with my 26% sag during the ride back to the hotel. So it's not binding up.

I took an Oxycodone and Valium since I can't move right now, along with Aleve, so hopefully I'm not stuck in bed in the morning. I feel like a truck hit me, but the last time that actually happened I ended up with two broken legs and 5 broken ribs. So this isn't that bad...

No flammers please, it's not helpful. Sympathies, regards, prayers, and constructive criticism welcome.

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Larry Ganz
5 months ago

PS: In my photo above with 2 bars down on the battery, I was riding on very hilly paved roads and ran the battery down one bar in the first 7 miles, and then the second bar in another 7 miles, using mostly Sport mode with an occasional drop down to Tour or up to Turbo.

If the drivetrain behaved consistently, with the 500WH battery I estimate that I'd have a total range of 35 miles in Sport mode on such hilly terrain, which included about 1500 feet of climbing total.

Off road in Turbo mode I might see as low as 5 miles/bar on the battery, but in ECO mode on a gravel bike path I was getting closer to 15 miles/bar of battery on a 30 mile ride with a mild 800 foot climb over the first 14 miles. My expected range was almost 70 miles on that trip, and I stayed in ECO mode even when assist wasn't needed, just to see how it would drain the battery.

So, you could use the Powerfly 7/8FS+ with 500WH battery as a commuter with decent range, although limited to 20mph. On some of the steeper hills that I have to climb in my neighborhood I can't get past 10mph, while my healthier teenage son can pass me up easily while riding my wife's lesser power Neko+.

Larry Ganz
5 months ago

ahkim, I'm 5-9 with a 30" inseam and I chose the 17.5" Powerfly 7 - if I went any bigger I'd have trouble standing over the top tube. Most dealers won't drop the price but some will give you a modest store credit for accessories after the purchase (mine did $200).

The 8FS+ was the only full suspension ebike that I considered before buying the hardtail version instead (more efficient climbing, lighter weight, 2 sets of water bottle bosses vs none, and was $1000 cheaper where every penny counts since I was also buying a Neko+ ebike for my wife). But I still think about getting an 8FS+ since it's very cool and my son is interested in riding my 7. Unfortunately doing that will cost us $2K more than if I keep my 7 and he just gets a new Powerfly 5.

I've always been a fan of Trek and only briefly considered the Felt hardtail in stock at another local ebike shop, since the Powerfly 7 which was not in stock at my closest ebike shop. But the Felt was $600 more than the Trek, so I ordered my Trek and my usual bike shop had it ready to pick up within 7 days.

Larry Ganz
5 months ago

Pmac, well stated.

I do think a throttle changes the dynamics of the riding experience - where class 1 is just like riding a bicycle with many of its limitations (requires human power, inability to sustain excessive speeds) but it lessens one's disability by reducing excessive effort in certain demanding situations (uphill), while class 2 can allow it to act more like a motorized scooter, with little input from the user and the ability to stay at higher speeds than pedalers for longer periods of time.

Still, neither one, when limited to reasonable off road speeds that a well trained athlete could maintain, is any more dangerous than that 160lb in-shape athlete on a 25lb unassisted bike. Without throttle my 250 watt Trek Powerfly 7 mid drive with torque sensing PAS still requires me to input substantial pedal effort on steeper climbs, so I believe that most class 1 could not be flying up the trail at 20mph and endangering people.

Maybe it might be a different story with a higher power throttle controlled eMtn bike, because if it can achieve max power without pedaling while my bike requires max pedal effort for max power output, then the rider isn't the limiting factor anymore. Also it's possible that with just a cadence sensor and no torque sensor, that a class 1 PAS only bike could go top speed with high cadence in a low gear (circus pedaling) with less effort than my Trek.

I've been a bike rider for decades, but I've developed a lung disease that made it impossible to ride due to my hilly environment at over a mile elevation. In my case I need the exercise from pedaling, but I'm limited by one lung at 6500 feet, and on my regular Kona Mtn bike I can go through a C-tank of oxygen at 5 liters per minute after just 15 miles of mild hilly paved bikes paths (in about 75 minutes riding as hard as I can). That ride requires me to take a 10lb oxygen tank in my camelback, so the advantage of a lighter bike is lost.

With my Trek Bosche powered PAS I can ride down from the base of the mountain where I live to the off-road bike trails 8 miles away, ride around the single tracks using pedal assist for 5-20 miles, and then ride the 8 miles home, with 800 foot climb over the last 2 miles on one charge. And I can leave my oxygen at home if I go on a shorter ride with higher levels of assist (less range).

My 19 year old son is a decent biker in good shape, and without assist on his Kona bike even he can't make the ride up the last 2 miles of our steep uphill streets to the house without trying so hard that he wants to barf. With him on my wife's Trek Neko+ he can pass me on the hills, but he's still not able to rocket uphill at 20mph.

Larry Ganz
5 months ago

This is a short video of a light board I made for the rack, installed on my wife's car. Working on installing a pigtail for my car. I'm not going to worry about the license plate being clearly visible until I actually get pulled over for it.

I met someone in the neighborhood yesterday with this 1up rack on his Porsche Macan, and he invited me to stop by and see how my bike fits sometime. My 5'1" small wife's loves that she doesn't have to lift the bike so high to load it up.

But I hadn't thought about it blocking the license plate (he had no bikes on it). I use a cheap $200 rack that hangs bikes, and you can see the plate below the bike (which hangs pretty high). Here is my wife's Neko+ on my rack (on my 2017 WRX LTD with Ecohitch Invisi).

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Larry Ganz
5 months ago

We live in a hilly area, and our Trek mid-drive eBikes are a breeze to ride up steep (10% or more) hills, using the proper gearing to get a good cadence rate and power delivery. Mine is a Powerfly 7 eMTN bike with 75NM Bosche system, and my wife's is a Neko+ trail/hybrid with 50NM Shimano Steps system.

Before buying, I test drove a friend's 350 watt hub motor eBike with my 215 lb weight, and if my speed dropped too slow then the motor assist became useless as it fell below it's powerband. With the Trek mid-drive (including the Dual Sport+ with Steps that I test rode before buying) we can drop to first gear and pull the hills in the lowest assist mode (ECO) at 4-5 mph, or kick it up to 200% assist (HIGH or SPORT) and fly up the hills at over 10-15 mph. We tend to use the least amount of boost that will allow us to climb, to get a better workout, so we'll use the lower two power levels the most, even if it means going slower. At those slow speeds the hub motor could not help propel me uphill.

So, after putting 115 miles on our bikes in the first month of ownership, with big elevation changes and climbs on each ride, I could not see myself going with a hub motor for pedal assist. I like how well the mid-drives integrate both torque sensing and cadence into calculating the boost, and how they allow the gears to assist the motor for climbing. On steep mountain bike trails the 300% boost of the Bosche has come in handy in the lower gears when I can't go fast to keep up momentum, but need to power through a tough climb over rocks and roots.

Larry Ganz
5 months ago

Got to do some real mountain biking in the Colorado Springs Stratton Openspace trails, and the Powerfly 7 did great - I could climb the intermediate dirt trails easily, and it's tires are pretty grippy on the packed and slightly loose dirt on the way downhill. I was aired up to 50 psi for the street and didn't need to drop the pressures because the 29" wheels roll over everything.

The area has two way traffic, so you can't go blasting downhill without the risk of running into other bikes and hikers. I like it that everyone is more cautious there. But you really can't get up on the berms for fear of an uphill rider avoiding the lose stuff on the inside of the turns and blocking the way.

My wife's Neko+ is not geared low enough to climb at the slower speeds she's comfortable with on dirt, and she had to walk it over some of the larger rocks going up and down. Her 26"x1.5" (700x38) tires are probably too narrow for this kind of riding as well. She offered to split up so I could ride the more aggressive trails, and I might do that next time. We had to ride about 10 miles of neighborhood streets to get there, and 10 miles back, and did about 26 miles total.

The only problem we had was that some of my chain links got stuck together and would not bend around the smaller sprockets, and so my chain started jumping on the sprocket. I thought it was a derailleur issue and took it to the bike shop, and they couldn't fix the original Trek chain and had to replace it.

Apparently the pins on the chain for an 11 speed have to be peened a little flatter, and so they're tighter with less wiggle room to lossen them up when they stick. Unfortunately I had the ride the last 7 miles home in 1st-3rd gear to avoid the chain jumping, which made it a slow ride back although half of it was uphill on the way back anyway.

The 500 WH battery dropped to 4 bars at 10 miles (mostly road), and then to 3 bars at 15 miles due to the higher power levels needed off-road, and then to 2 bars at 22.5 miles. That gives me a range of about 30-37 miles depending on how much off-road vs on-road for the last 2 bars of battery. My wife's Neko+ used 50% of it's battery vs 70% for mine.

EDIT - added pics - looks like I need to lose another 10lbs (lost 30 already)...

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Larry Ganz
6 months ago

Here is where I mounted the u-locks on our xm700s

Thanks for the photo. How was your trip?!

I'm surprised there's no painful bumping of the locks when pedaling. If the Ti 560G locks don't work out we'll consider the Kryptonite NY Locks and mounts. Nothing can beat an angle grinder, but I think the Ti locks will be quite tough and more versatile.

PS: When I ride behind my wife, it seems like her legs are very close to the frame of her Neko+ and that she'd hit a lock mounted towards the rear, unless it was on the rear arm near the derailleur or above the kick stand.

PPS: Also, my wife thinks I'm nuts when I wanted to take off the seat/posts along with the display to bring inside when stopping at a restaurant for a break. I figure I don't have to do that if I can watch the bikes, but worry when I can't see them. I relented since it was broad daylight. But I might want a 7' cable instead of a 4' so that I can also run it through the seat, in addition to holding on the front tire. We both have a suspension seat post and upgraded seats.

Larry Ganz
6 months ago

So we did a 30 mile ride today in ECO mode, on a gravel bike trail - mostly hard packed but some spots very loose and soft. I didn't need any pedal assist for a good part of the ride, but I purposefully turned it on to ECO mode for the entire ride in order to use up more of the battery, and to let it get a better estimate of usage and range over a longer distance. It can't estimate battery remaining if you aren't using any power.

On flat areas TOUR was just too much for this mild 800 foot climb over 14 miles (EDIT - the ride had some ups and downs, and so my Apple Watch gave me a total of 1200 feet climbed, but the turn-around point in Monument CO is about 800 feet higher in altitude than the starting point in northern CO SPGS).

I started with the full battery and the estimate of 29 miles (see previous posts), and by 5 miles into the ride it was estimating 32 remaining in addition to the 5 that I had ridden. By 12 miles I went down to 4 bars on the battery with an estimate of 35 more miles remaining on the battery. Using the bike estimates after 12 miles of riding with 35 remaining miles, I figured at least 47 miles range with this type of a mild climb (12+35=47).

At the top of the ride at 14 miles I still had 35 miles left on the estimate with 4 bars showing (14+35=49 miles). We rode the 14 miles down back to the car and I still had 4 bars left with 45 miles estimated left, because battery use was less on the way down. The 14 miles used + 45 miles remaining = 59 miles total range on a similar type ride with a mix of uphill and downhill riding.

So we went back up the trail and rode around (an even mix of climb and downhill) in order to get it down to 3 bars of battery. After another 3 miles, with 31 miles on the tripmeter it dropped to 3 bars, with 39 miles left on the estimate. That would give me about 70 miles total on mixed mild hills. This ride was similar to what we'd be doing on the other 32 mile ride in Glenwood Springs CO, and I could go on two of these rides and still have a little battery left over without charging.

In summary, after 31 miles the estimates were 12/15/21/39 miles of battery left with 3 bars = 70 miles range estimate. Total climbing was 1200 feet during the trip, after some ups and downs, but the destination was only 800 feet higher. I was not stingy with the pedal assist and several times I needed to go to TOUR or SPORT mode to climb a pretty steep but short section, especially on the last 50 yards uphill to the parking lot at the end when I used TURBO.

I'm charging the batteries now, even though I planned to run them down to zero with my next ride. While it was down to 3 bars on the display, I saw the 3rd bar blinking for only 2 minutes while taking a charge - then it became steady after just 2 minutes and the 4th bar started to blink while taking a charge. So I think I may have been very slightly under 60% battery after the 31 mile ride (at 12-18 miles per bar on the battery, depending on terrain).

My wife's Neko+ was estimating 42-57 miles remaining after this ride, with a combination of OFF and ECO. So maybe she could go 90+ miles on a charge with a similar trip, or 50% farther than me. She rarely used pedal assist on the way up, but used ECO on the way back for speed, so we could get to the car before dark. She used HIGH for two very short but steep climbs on the way back, but she did have some difficulty in the loose spots with her 1.5" knobby tires, which my fatter tires still got unstable pushing through. I think she kicked it up to high to power through those spots as well.

PS: My front white safety reflector must have vibrated off these bike during the ride - I didn't check to see if it was still tight and it's now gone. i did air up the tires before the ride - mine at the max 50 psi (30-50), and my wife in the middle at 65psi (50-80).

PPS: I popped my battery pack back on, and the current estimates on a full charge are now up to 23/28/37/73 for TURBO/SPORT/TOUR/ECO (when I received the PF7 it was estimating 29/36/48/94 after the shop mechanic set it up and test rode it). I'm pretty happy with my new numbers, as this ride is representative of the type of long rides we'll often go on, and the more challenging rides will be the shorter ones at higher pedal assist levels where the range wont be as important (like at Garden of the Gods or our neighborhood).

Strangely, my wife's Neko+ with Shimano Steps still shows 42-57 miles, even though it said that's what was left after the 31 miles.

Larry Ganz
6 months ago

I think there is definitely a sophisticated algorithm in the computer to determine range. It's not just a simple "how much time is left at the current draw" kinda thing. Right now I'm showing 15/18/24/47 on the range and that is with 4 of 5 bars on the battery. Like you said, we only get bars so you can only see so deep into what it's telling you, other systems that give a percentage may or may not be accurate but you can project out a bit better than the 20% chunks allow.

How do you like the 29 inch wheels? They are taking a bit of time for me to get used to--I'm old school and had only ridden the 26 inch wheels in my older bikes. I'm not mountain biking with this yet so I'm not getting much of the benefit, just the occasional drag across the pant leg/shin at stoplights.

One cool thing: the more I ride the bike the less I notice the noise of the motor. It was never really loud but now I have to pay attention to it to notice when it's operating. Of course, I can certainly feel it.

It's really been fun taking this to work. I get in and am in a better mood than with the car ride, and the same thing when I get home. While the bike was an expensive buy for me, I have to say it's really living up to the hype. One of the rare times that seems to occur today with the constant marketing everywhere you look.

-Sam

Thanks for the info. My bike shop has a meeting with the Trek representative on Monday, and they'll ask him about the 600WH battery. Some guys did a youtube video of a rented PowerFly 8FS+ and a Specialized Turbo Levo eBike in Salida Colorado, and they did some hard riding, and pausing the video shows BKXC was getting twice the range that I'm getting - and he still had juice when the Specialized was empty (he pushed his friend, The Singletrack Sampler, up the highway for a ways to get back to the bike shop and return them).

I went for a another ride in our hilly neighborhood with my wife today - we went up and down our streets for 7.65 miles, and afterwards my trip estimate said I still had enough juice for another 7/8/11/21 miles in addition to this ride. But it was still showing 4 bars, and on the charger only one green LED was blinking, so I must have been at 80% or more battery left. That and the remaining range estimate confuses me, because I should have been at 3 bars if the remaining estimate was correct. At 4 bars I have half the range that you have.

This time I did more pedaling in OFF and ECO than on previous rides, and spent less time in TOUR and SPORT than before (no turbo), so this is the first time that I'm now quite sore after riding my new eBike. Too much lactic acidosis since I didn't use an oxygen tank and I pushed myself too hard. But I was trying to stretch the battery farther, and was disappointed that I could have only ridden a total of 15/16/19/29 today before running totally dry, if the estimate was correct.

We'll see how it looks after a long ride on fairly flat terrain with mild hills this Sunday, which I should be able to do in OFF and ECO only. But in our neighborhood I could not manage the hills without at least getting into TOUR mode part of the time (going slower if I avoid SPORT/TURBO). So the way I see it my real life range right now is about 20 miles avg with all the hills using OFF, ECO and TOUR.

I also think maybe the 29x2.2" tires are why I can hop up curbs without a lot of trouble despite the weight, and I haven't noticed any sense that they are taller than the 26x2.1" on my lighter Kona Nunu mountain bike. I did fail to notice that my rear tire pressure seemed down until near the end of the ride, but I couldn't get my pressure gauge with adapter to give me a reading. I removed the valve adapter and it removed the presta core and I lost all air pressure, so I'll never know how low it had gotten during the ride.

I was able to use a CO2 cartridge to put air back in to what felt like enough pressure, but then my big pump at home said I only had 20lbs. So, hopefully with the tires at max pressure this Sunday's ride will have better range. NOTE - I have aftermarket innertubes with green slime added to prevent flats, and my stock tubes are now my spares.

I also haven't been mountain biking with this yet. We plan to go up Gold Camp Road in the Colorado Springs area and ride back down soon - there's limited traffic on that road, and none in some places on that route. It's a spot where local bike tour shops shuttle riders up the mountain access road and then customers ride the rental bikes back down to the shop in Manitou Springs (I bought my used Kona from one tour shop 5 years ago). We're also planning to try some of the single track trails in the Cheyenne Mountain State Park soon.

My wife thinks that she'll be fine off-road on her Neko+ thinner 27.5x1.5" tires (700x38) since that's wider than what she rode on the for the past 30 years. It would have been nice to get her the Powerfly 5 mountain bike, rather than a trail hybrid, but the smallest women's Powerfly at 15.5" would have been too tall for her 5-1 height. She's on a 14" Neko+ and the standover height of the PF5 Women's was almost as tall as the 18" Neko+ that fit me!

[edit - a 700x38 is really a 27.5" wheel]

Larry Ganz
6 months ago

hey Larry, how are you liking your PF7? I recently got one too--and was deciding among the xm700+ and other options. Like you I went with the PF7 since I'm a mountain biker. Even though this bike will be used for commuting I felt way more comfortable on it vs. the commuter style bike.

BTW, for the U-lock you could consider going to a rack and pannier setup. That's what I'll be doing since I needed the rack for commuting.

Thanks. I'm trying to avoid a rack if possible - I wear a camelback for my gear, but don't want the added weight of a u-lock inside that, as sometimes I'll have an oxygen C-tank in there if I'm riding above 7500-8000 feet elevation (one working lung, so without eBike I needed the tank for every ride around here).

I LOVE THE POWEFLY 7 - MINI REVIEW:

It's quite well built, with nice welds and workmanship - everything is perfect except the following. I was surprised that the rear axel is not a 15mm thru axel like the front, but is a 9mm mountain bike quick release with slots instead (didn't know if this was typical). The seat padding is nonexistent, but if you get your butt back far enough it's livable, although I replaced it with a slim foam seat that's a little thicker. They also didn't run the derailleur cable inside the frame like with their other eBikes, so it runs along the right side of the lower frame while the rear brake line still runs along the left side. Lastly, I was surprised that the Deore XT shift lever doesn't display which gear I'm in for reference, while the feature is on the other 3 bikes.

It FITS me much better than the 50mm XM700+ that they originally ordered for me, or the 18" Neko+ and 17.5" Dual Sport+ that they had in stock. They did put a 17 degree riser on the handlebar stem (I think a 17x90), after having seen the issues I had on the other 3 bikes. With the riser the riding position is perfect - I've been able to ride down the 1140 foot hill from my house to the shopping center and back up to my home twice (6 mile trip each time), and my hands never went to sleep like with the Dual Sport+ and Neko+. I can lift the front wheel about 1" off the ground when straddling the bar, and I can just get my toes on both feet down to the ground when sitting on the seat.

VS the DUAL SPORT+: Despite the higher weight I still can hop up curbs fairly easily, and the fatter tires absorb the bumps better. At high speeds downhill on the road the PF7 is more stable and not as scary as the Dual Sport+ which put too much weight on my hands and seemed absolutely twitchy. I also have more confidence in the PF7's larger brakes and it's fatter tires which have a tight enough knobby pattern to work well on pavement and dirt. With the PF7 I could lean the bike farther in turns with more confidence, due to the larger contact patch.

BATTERY RANGE: My only concern is that the battery clearly isn't going to last as long as the Dual Sport+. After the ride on hilly roads yesterday and then giving it a full charge, it was estimating the battery will give me 16-48 miles on my next ride (in high vs low power). That's vs 30-55 miles estimated by the Dual Sport+ after the same ride and re-charging procedure. This includes my going to ECO or OFF whenever the ride is flat but requires pedaling, or downhill without pedaling. Before my riding it hard yesterday, the PF7 was estimating 29-94 miles, after only 1/4 mile of an easy flat-ground test ride by the shop after they assembled it.

After a quick 4 mile ride today (with only a 600 foot climb) and before I put it back on the charger, the PF7 estimated that I still had 13-42 miles of battery left to keep riding (13 miles in TURBO, 16 miles in SPORT, 21 in TOUR, and 42 in ECO mode). I would have been able to complete todays ride in only ECO and TOUR mode in the low gears, but I really needed SPORT and TURBO to finish it with decent double digit speed.

So, with a mix of all 4 power levels I believe that I could go an additional 18-21 miles on this hilly terrain; however, I'd prefer to have 30 to last a weekend before charging. But the 32 mile round-trip ride that we have planned this summer is fairly flat with only a slight climb of 300-400 feet over the first 16 miles, and slightly downhill on the way back, with two short hills both directions. So I should be able to make that particular 30+ mile trip just fine.

POWER: I'm not convinced that TURBO (300%) feels stronger than SPORT (200%) when I'm pulling a hill while seated in higher gears with a slower cadence. However, in the lower gears with a higher cadence I can really feel the increase in power on the hills. Unfortunately I poop out with a cadence rate about 65+, and tend to cruise at 50-60 rpm in higher gears, so I wont get as much benefit from TURBO except on a really hard steep hill at low speeds.

Larry Ganz
7 months ago

Jeff, I was a little confused when you wrote here on Feb 16 2017 that you had a Powerfly 7, sorry as I saw elsewhere you had the 8FS+ model.

Anyway, I brought the Dual Sport+ loaner back to the shop tonight, and after further discussion with the shop owner and salesman I went with the Powerfly 7. It'll be here next week. I have only owned mountain bikes for the past 25 years (Huffy, then Trek, and currently a Kona Nunu mountain bike) and trying to ride a street or hybrid road/trail bike just didn't feel as good as what I'm used to riding, even though I do less time on the dirt than when I was younger.

It would have taken a little bit more work to get the riding position more upright with the Dual Sport+, if I had decided to buy the loaner (it was new but with 17 miles on it when I took it home Saturday, and I put another 13 miles on it). I certainly don't plan to have them order the Powerfly for me, and then tell them I'd rather have the Dual Sport+ after all. If anything would make me unhappy with the Powerfly 7 I think it would only be the range, only if it's not as good as I have estimated above.

My wife is slightly frustrated that I didn't see the sky blue Powerfly 5 before we ordered her black Neko+ because it's prettier. She saw the 18" Neko+ in the shop and picked that model in small over the small low-step orange Lift+ they had, and she'd never complained about the color. But she's already struggling to pick up the 42 lb Neko+ and the Powerfly 5 women's bike is 4 lbs heavier.

I'm slightly frustrated with myself that I didn't see it, because we'd be able to swap Bosche batteries. It's too late now - I can't screw around the bike shop forever with changes, especially when she likes the fit of the Neko+. She'd always ridden road bikes and hasn't owned a mountain bike, and the Neko+ as a hybrid trail bike fit's her perfectly. A PF5 women's model might have been a poor fit for her needs, and then we would have declined delivery of both bikes we ordered.

Larry Ganz
7 months ago

So, would most of that apply to the Powefly 7 that I'm considering (has 500WH batt)?

I think in the Powerfly 7 that I'm considering that the cables to the rear for shifter and brakes runs next to the frame, but that's the least important issue. The XM700+ has been ruled out before the weekend, and I've been evaluating the Dual Sport+ on Sat and Sunday, as the don't have a Powerfly in stock.

I'm reading above that you can go almost 20 miles in turbo with Powerfly 8FS+ and still have enough juice left for your wife to finish the ride with your battery if you swap to hers. Unfortunately my wife is on a Neko+ with Shimano Steps. That's why I'm testing out a Dual Sport+ that I have to return tonight, or keep it and get it sized for me.

The Shimano has three power levels, or off, and I spent most of my time in OFF, ECO, or NORM and only needed HIGH for a few of the harder hills. We are on hilly roads but not off-road trying to climb a trail. I imagine off-road climbing a trail that I'd be in HIGH/SPORT or TURBO mode more often, but that will be rare vs more civil bike trails and paths that we'll ride. So, I believe that my range will be a bit higher, and I have been estimating 30 miles with a mix of power levels.

The Dual Spor+t Riding position is more aggressive than I'd like, leaving me angled more forward like with a street touring bike. Will the Powerfly 7 seating position be more upright as I'm guessing from the bike's geometry numbers?

Thanks!

Larry

Larry Ganz
7 months ago

Thanks for the link, I have looked at the specs and it seems very much like my Powerfly 7. The components don't seem to be "top shelf". You might want to upgrade those if you have problems with shifting and braking. I upgraded all my components to XLR very much overkill. I think that SLX or XT are all that are needed. 180mm rotors may be fine for you, depends on how much downhill braking you expect to be doing. Mine comes with 6-bolt 203 front and 6-bolt 180 in the rear.

I think that the PF5 is built for a price £2950.00($3600). That's much less money than I paid for mine at approximately £4000.00. For that much savings you are getting a lot of bike for the money.

The best parts are the tank-like Trek frame, the Bosch mid-drive system, and the 500 Ah battery.

Let me know how it turns out.

jeff

Jeff - knowing that you have a Powerfly 7 and that you gave me advice in your XM700+ mods thread, I also posted many of these questions there first. Could you answer a few questions please?

I'm new here, so sorry if this gets to be a pain, and sorry it's so long - in person discussing each point pro and con could be made more easily and be less cumbersome.

I would like to make a decision by tomorrow afternoon between ordering the Powerfly 7 or buying the DualSport+ that I had on extended test ride this weekend. I'm torn trying to decide right now.

From the frame specs, the PF7 might fit me better without making me reach so far for the bars, as with the DS+ I keep finding myself trying to sit on the front part of the seat. Otherwise I don't have any major gripes about the DS+ where I have been on rides yesterday and today that I could NEVER do on a regular bike.

SPEED QUESTION: I decided to skip the XM700+ since it feels too tall for me and it's a class 3 bike that can be treated differently from a regular bicycle, where I might be forbidden from riding in places where my wife's Neko+ is allowed. But I loved the Bosche's extra power, although it almost seemed like the XM700+ motor was holding me back once I hit the top speed limiter, where the pedal resistance really went up and held me back. I'll be mostly riding with my wife who rarely goes past 15-20mph, so a 20mph limit isn't a major issue.

But does the Powerfly 7 (or your XM700+) seem to hold you back if you want to go over the limiter speed under your own steam? The DualSport+ Shimano motor cuts out at 20mph but I could hit 26mph on flat ground for briefs periods of time while pedaling.

POWER QUESTION: On the DualSport+ extended test ride I noticed it has a power output gauge that shows whether you are using just a little bit or a lot of the motor's potential output - a black bar on the LCD stretches out from left > right as you put more force into the pedals or as you click to a higher power level. I maxed out the line several times in a few places along the route on the ride today. I was able to push through those tough spots, but in HIGH power I had to drop it down to one of the 3 lowest gears in a few climbs in order to maintain a high enough cadence rate to keep it at 5-8mph while using full power.

The Shimano power assist seemed to be greater with a high cadence/pedal rate, and it tops out at 50NM torque vs 75NM of the Powerfly 7. How does your Powerfly 7 handle pedal assist in the higher gears vs lower gears? i.e. can it push through using a higher gear than recommended at low speed (grunt), or are you also forced to downshift to get your cadence up in order to get more output?

With my health issues, today's ride would have been an impossible without an eBike. I could happily live with the DualSport+ power output for the types of rides we'll most often go on. But I'm afraid that someday I'll go on a new ride for the first time where I'll find it to be more challenging than I expected for the Shimano's power output. Do you think the 75NM torque is enough reason to get the Powerfly 7, or do you think the DualSport's greater range in HIGH power would be more beneficial because then I could leave it in HIGH more often and not wear myself or the battery out too fast?

RANGE QUESTION: So my previous question leads to the next issue. I'm mostly worried about range on hilly paved roads and hilly packed gravel roads with the Powerfly 7 vs the DualSport+. I can't find a published estimated range for the Powerfly 7, while I've read numbers of 30-75 miles with the Shimano powered bikes, and read about 15-65 miles for the Bosche powered XM700+, depending on conditions.

Today we rode 10 miles on hilly pavement with a cumulative elevation gain of over 1600 feet. We started out at the high point, rode downhill, pedaled back up, and then repeated this 5 mile loop once. By the end of the ride my DS+ battery had dropped to 78%, and my wife's Neko+ was down to 86% - potentially giving me a 45 mile range vs my wife's 70 mile range.

My goal is to have at least 30 miles of range with the PF7 on a ride like this, but the XM700+ that I tried was estimating that I'd only go 19 miles in TURBO, 21 in SPORT, 24 in TOUR, with 55 in ECO.

Using the above XM700+ range estimates, I calculate that if I went about 25 miles in ECO mode then I'd still have 50% of battery available for use in TURBO or SPORT mode, which would translate to at least 10 more miles, for a 35 mile ride (depending on conditions). Since the PF7 has a 500WH battery pack with lower top speed than the XM700+, and based on your experience, how much better range would the PF7 get vs the XM700+ or DS+ in general?

I'm trying to estimate how this would all translate to the Powerfly 7, and I assume that if it has 30% less range than the DS+ today, that it could still complete a ride like this for 30 miles before running out of juice.

OTHER CONCERNS: I like the USB charging port, which only the Bosche Treks have. I also like that the Powerfly 7 has bigger brakes and wider tires than the Dual Sport+, but I worry that the fatter tires would make it harder to pedal with the motor off.
Do the benefits to ride quality and traction from the fatter 29x2.3" tires outweigh the added rolling resistance of the PF7 tires for long rides on pavement and packed gravel, or is increased rolling resistance not even an issue with the PF7?

The DS+ and Neko+ have everything but the hydraulic brakes run through the frame.
Does the Powerfly have anything internally wired through the frame like the others, because it doesn't appear so in the photos?

Does the PF7 have a quick release rear wheel like the Dual Sport+, and can a kick stand be added that works as well as the one on the DS+? (can't find pics of the bike's left side)

Do you have any other advice that you can share?

MarvFIT
2 months ago

trek needs to do a better job with their aesthetics especially for a $2999. giant and raleigh are offering bikes at the same price with much better aesthetics, more power & more distance

Haseeb 2
2 months ago

Are all Trek eBikes exclusively pedal assist?

Tilala yaye Fall
2 months ago

Good stuff I want the sondor x it's suppose to be sent out any day now but I won't buy 1 unless you do a review on it. I value your opinion

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Thanks Tilala, I wish I had one to review for you right now, I'll keep an eye out for it :)

Alex NC
2 months ago

Can you do a comparison on battery warrantees and future support? I hear Boshe has a long term plan for supporting their batteries so people are not left out in the cold after a few years. I was wandering if other companies have similar support with their batteries too.

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Hi Alex! Out of all four major ebike drive system manufacturers (Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano), I have found Bosch to be the most responsive and supportive of the work I do. I hear ebike shops frequently compliment how reliable their systems are and one told me that they have a ten year plan to support products... which seems incredible. I have not confirmed this but will keep asking around ;)

Philip Jones
2 months ago

Really enjoy your reviews, I'm across the pond here in N Wales Gt Britain and have recently bought the Trek dual sport which has the same components as this bike but different frame and being in Britain the motor can only assist up to 15.9 mph but I just want to say that I absolutely love ❤️ it , best thing since sliced bread. Keep up the good reviews and please do one on the Trek ds 👍👍👍

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Sweet! Thanks for chiming in with the real-world feedback Philip. I filmed the Dual Sport+ and will publish a review on it in the coming weeks. I try to mix things up that way... hope your bike continues to be awesome! Thanks for the compliments :)

FRANK ROBY
2 months ago

poor value.

frank doster
2 months ago

Best bike reviews on youtube

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Thanks Frank, I'm doing the best job I can while also pushing to cover lots of variety ;)

Nguyen Dang
2 months ago

Hey bro I just bought my first E folding bicycle from Evelo is that a good brand it coming in 5 days so happy the amount I paid is 1799.00 took me a while to save up but gotten it do you think that a good deal for everyday usage ?

Nguyen Dang
2 months ago

I will bro I never bought something this pricey before because of school needing transportation instead using a car which my age will cost a lot with this only require is to charge battery everyday before usage wherent for your video I will never thought of buying a e folding bike ever you rock bro and also seen one of your older vlog where a cheaper e bike was falling apart when riding which why I decided to spend a little bit more

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Hi Nguyen! That's a good price in general for an electric bike and while I have not seen the new EVELO models in person yet... they have been vastly improved and their customer support has always been good. I'm planning to review them all in a couple of weeks but I'd love to hear your thoughts when you get yours :D

Juan Noval
2 months ago

Nice review, as always, and the bike seems to have some good components although I find that 3K is quite pricey, especially with other bikes like Juiced that come in at a friendlier $1500. Of course, it is all relative to your budget, right? Anyhow, the one thing that I am finding less attractive in the looks department is the big battery stuck on the down tube on some electric bikes, like this one. With so many e-bikes now integrating the battery into the down tube, I find this bike a lot less attractive. Again, personal choice.

MarvFIT
2 months ago

trek also has big competition at this price with a bike from raleigh like the redux ie and the giant quick e+. both bikes offer much better performance and better aesthetics.

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

You communicated several important considerations Martian, and I agree with them. People tend to ride ebikes more frequently and further which means quality parts and service support are important. I do think $2,499 would be more palatable for the Neko+ but I wouldn't say that a person is wasting money getting it at $3k because the drivetrain and drive systems are solid. There's room for improvement but even just having size choices... that's something that you don't get with many of the cheaper bikes, or you get two vs. three. For a tall or petite rider the money is definitely well spent

Juan Noval
2 months ago

Interesting and valid points. Maybe Court can weigh in with his experience?

Martian Megafauna
2 months ago

I agree that for a bike that actually LOOKS a lot like a less expensive ebike--as opposed to other Trek models that have integrated batteries and better overall appearance and design--the price does seem to be high.

However when you look through the parts of each bike--say for example this Trek and a Juiced bike or a Rad Power bike--generally you do notice--or can determine--the difference between the Trek materials, components, and electronics and those on the lower priced imports. The question is whether you care about that, and are willing to pay for the difference.

This does not necessarily mean you will have a better experience, or ownership period, on the Trek. But, you might have a better experience on the Trek, and you might want to pay for that possibility. Dealer availability is another benefit to a large manufacturer like Trek, especially as ebikes are more likely to require dealer involvement than a standard bike.

Some of the many small virtual bike companies like Juiced and Rad seem to be able to bring together high-value components and materials and offer their bikes at entry level prices, and they appear to be doing it well. Time will tell, of course.

Yulian Baskoro
2 months ago

the upper frame looks weak and fragile

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

The top tube? The curving tube above the battery pack? I don't know the max weight rating on the bike but just looking at it I'd say it's more sturdy than some of the deep step-thru wave style ebikes

Kiri Riel
2 months ago

...cool this 1 can be used in Canada 🤗...

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Oh yeah, can definitely be used in Canada :D

G Henrickson
2 months ago

Absolutely ....not. The weaker Coriolis-effect at northern latitudes give rise to an increased particle ossification phenomena. Sad but true. Really. I am not kidding. Really.

Lynn Recker
2 months ago

Shimano's motor seems to have a bit of a deeper sound to it than the whine of a Bosch.

ElectricBikeReview.com
2 months ago

Yeah, I agree with you Lynn, I think the larger sprocket spins slower and that produces a lower frequency than Bosch which spins at 2.5x each crank arm revolution