- A stealthy looking, sturdily built, feature-rich urban electric bicycle complete with tubular alloy fenders, premium integrated lights from Supernova, and powerful hydraulic disc brakes
- Upgraded Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain with one-way clutch to reduce chain bounce, sleek proprietary derailleur guard protects the derailleur at racks, double-sided slap guard reduces noise
- Paint-matched carbon fiber fork reduces weight and dampens vibration, inset Bosch PowerPack battery integration keeps weight low and center while reducing weight compared to PowerTube, five frame sizes for improved fit and ergonomics
- Priced a bit higher because of the quality parts, dealer network, and Trek reputation, non-adjustable kickstand, lights are always on when the bike is powered up and walk mode is disabled, slower 2 amp charger vs. 4 amps on the 8S
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In 2017, Trek introduced a Class 3 high speed (28 mph) electric bike call the Super Commuter+ 8S. It was only available in sporty gloss red but came in four frame sizes, offered top-end drivetrain components from Shimano, and premium lights from Supernova… and the price was $5k. For 2018, Trek introduced a specced down Super Commuter+ 7 which rides a bit slower, offers 10 speeds instead of 11, and only comes in satin black. This model is priced quite a bit lower at $3.6k and could be an excellent fit for value-conscious riders who appreciate the vast network of dealers that Trek offers, where you can get fitted and serviced over time. It’s designed around the same beautiful hydroformed alloy frame and still includes a carbon fiber fork with sturdy 15 mm thru-axle design. The reinforced rims and spokes match the black color theme, along with the stem, handlebar, seat post, pedal cranks, and other minor hardware elements. Other trade-offs include a slower 2 amp battery charger vs. 4 amp (despite offering the same Bosch PowerPack 500 battery), and a smaller 17-tooth chainring vs. 20 tooth (which helped to match pedal cadence for higher speeds on the 8S). Trek has been an innovator and leader in the electric bicycle space since 2011 when I reviewed FX+ and Transport+ models. Note how beautifully the PowerPack battery has been integrated into the downtube here, keeping weight low and center for improved stability and handling. The motor is tipped up, raising ground clearance and blending it into the frame. Trek has included an alloy skid plate to protect the motor as well as an alloy derailleur guard to keep the drivetrain safe at bike racks and tips. From the sturdy (and quiet) alloy fenders to the streamlined pannier hanger rear rack, almost every hardware choice feels like a win… But I’m not a big fan of the cage style pedals or the non-adjustable kickstand. I’d probably upgrade to magnesium platform pedals like these. I would also strongly consider adding a 31.6 mm suspension seat post to further reduce vibration and jar… It’s not as critical for a Class 1 20 mph electric bike like this, especially with the larger tires, but for riders who plan on longer trips or have to navigate rough conditions, the aggressive performance frame can still introduce neck, shoulder, and back fatigue.
Driving the Super Commuter Plus 7 is a Bosch Performance Line Cruise mid-motor rated from 250 to 570 watts with peak torque output of 63 Newton meters. The torque rating is important because it allows you to start quickly and climb effectively with the 10-speed cassette. The bike feels zippy and allows you to shift smoothly with motor controller shift detection, so you don’t mash gears and wear the chain down. The chainring is a 17 tooth design which spins 2.5 times for every crank arm revolution. This requires an internal gearbox, and I was told by Bosch that the smaller ring allows for excellent chain retention… trek has reduced the possibility for chain drops by including an alloy chainring guard from Miranda that doubles as a pant protector. In my own experience, the chainring starts and stops extremely quickly, making the Bosch Performance Line one of the most responsive motors on the market. I love that it can assist up to 120 RPM because I tend to enjoy spinning and revving to reach high speeds vs. shifting down and lumbering along. Frankly, you can ride however you’d like and the motor will be there to support you in a powerful but intuitive way. The motor controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence, and pedal torque over 1,000 times per second and you can really tell it’s working on a bike like the Super Commuter+ 7 that costs so efficiently. The bike feels smooth and fast, the components are attached well and don’t make a lot of noise (aside from the kickstand bouncing occasionally) but the motor does produce a noticeable whine at the higher RPMs when riding in the upper levels of assist. I tried to demonstrate this in the video review by pedaling quickly in the highest level of support, called Turbo. On some ebikes, mostly mountain models, the whine is masked by knobby tires and the sounds of gravel and organic material along the trail, but you really hear it on smooth pavement and that might annoy some people. I definitely appreciate how compact the motor is, how it’s mounted up and into the frame, and that Trek designed a smooth alloy skid plate that they call “Motor Armor” to protect it from any tall curbs or other urban obstacles you might encounter out in the real world. This motor combined with the Shimano derailleur, which I would consider mid-level, produces a quick shifting experience, and you get access to an adjustable one-way clutch to tighten the chain for bumpy terrain. This feature is usually reserved for mountain bikes and made sense on the Class 3 8S Super Commuter, but it’s a welcome addition here too. Note also, the upper and lower rubber slap guards that keep the chain stay paint from getting banged up.
For both the 8S and Super Commuter+ 7, Trek opted for the high-capacity Bosch PowerPack 500 battery. It’s the highest capacity battery made by Bosch for electric bicycles at the time of this review, and yet it fits into the same compact form factor as the Bosch PowerPack 400, only weighing 0.3 lbs more. This pack is great because it uses the same charging port when mounted or being charged off the frame and has a plastic handle design at the top for safe, easy lifting. It locks to the frame securely but does require a strong push to click into place, I tried to demonstrate this in the video review because it would be a shame if the pack bounced out somehow and got damaged… note however, that this is much less likely with the Super Commuter frame design because of the cupped battery interface. You’re really getting a compromise of flexibility, lighter weight, and lower cost from the PowerPack design here compared to the new PowerTube design from Bosch. I have compared both back to back in this video. Since the frame is black, the default black battery casing matches perfectly and stays fairly hidden. The charging port on the left side of the downtube is a bit vulnerable to the left crank arm, so be careful moving the bike when charging. I often remove the battery on electric bikes before transporting or servicing them, and I also tend to charge separately because I don’t have room inside for the bike itself. By storing Lithium-ion battery packs like this in a cool, dry location, you will maximize their lifespan. And again, since the PowerPack 400 and 500 are so common, you should be able to rent or borrow batteries on location or bring a spare to extend your ride. Expect upwards of 30 miles per charge and possibly over 80 depending on your level of assist, weight, and conditions. As mentioned earlier, the Super Commuter+ 7 does not have the faster four amp Bosch charger, so expect slightly longer fill times between rides.
Powering the bike on is a very simple process once the battery is charged and mounted… You operate the bike using the compact Bosch Purion display panel, which is mounted within thumb’s reach of the left grip. First, press the power button along the top edge, then click the plus or minus keys to raise or lower assist power. It’s really that simple, and you don’t even need to look down in order to hear and feel a click and know that you’ve made a change. I do not like the Purion as much as it’s big brother, the Intuvia, because this display is not removable, does not have a Micro-USB charging port (just a diagnostics port), and doesn’t show as many menus and readouts. Frankly, the buttons don’t feel as reliable or solid either. It’s nice to have such a compact display, especially because it frees up the center of the bars for the Supernova light, but my gripes here are only in comparison to one of, if not the best, display panel/control pad systems out there. So here’s the secret, in order to navigate through menus on the Purion you just hold the minus key for a second (this shows odometer, trip meter, range, and assist level) and if you want to change from miles to kilometers you just hold the minus key and tap the power button (though it sometimes didn’t work and really confused me at first), and if you want to clear your trip meter, just hold the minus key when in the trip readout and then hold the plus button until you see RESET. It seems simple now, but when you’re out there on the path, it can become a little confusing… especially if the bike keeps shutting off with that minus and power combination. Trek has also purposefully disabled walk mode on their electric bikes, so the walk button at the base of the display just does nothing. This could disappoint some people who want the extra help pushing the bike while carrying groceries or ascending hills aside walking friends while conversing etc.
The Trek Super Commuter platform is beautiful, sturdy, and feature rich. I’ve been a longtime fan of the Bosch drive system and appreciate the sporty Performance Line Cruise motor here. If you are alright with a 20 mph Class 1 electric bicycle, you’ll save some money and get better range here than with the 8S… all without compromising too much on actual ride quality. The Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires are durable and comfortable, the 180 mm Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are easy to use and feature adjustable levers. Five frame sizes means you’ll fit the bike properly, and the Trek dealer network means that you’ll get some help in that process. I was really excited to see the new Super Commuter+ 7 and test it in the rain because the fenders are much nicer than I see on other ebikes. They are quiet, fairly wide (about 70 mm), and integrate well with the rear light and rack. Yes, I still got a little wet when turning and positioning my feet forward and down, but it was much better than having no fenders. Big thanks to Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica California for letting me test ride one of their showroom floor models! We got the bike wet and dirty, and they volunteered to clean it up… and this is another great point, the electronic systems from Bosch are all very well sealed against water. Trek has used a sealed bearing design for their steering headset and bottom bracket spindle integration so you won’t get rust and creaking. Final thoughts: the brakes here are a step down from the 8S but still very good (Shimano M316), you only get 10 speeds vs. eleven but that’s a great fit for 20 mph (and I was able to reach 23 mph pedaling briskly on flats), and neither wheel offers quick release so you’ll need a tool for fixes on the go (a 6 mm hex for the front wheel and 5 mm hex for the rear). Big thanks to Trek for partnering with me on this post! I’ll do my best to answer questions in the comments below as well as the Trek electric bike forums.
- One of the best looking Bosch Powerpack battery integrations I have seen, it’s sunk into the downtube but still easy to get off for charging, there’s even room for two sets of bosses for a bottle cage and folding lock on the seat tube and below the top tube!
- 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), I also appreciate how tucked and streamlined the motor casing is here (they angled it up to blend with the frame and raise ground clearance)
- Surprisingly comfortable considering it’s built around an all Aluminum frame with rigid fork, the carbon fiber materials of the fork dampen vibration and the larger 2.4″ wide Schwalbe Supermoto-X tires can be deflated slightly to absorb bumps and deep cracks
- The tubular fenders and rear rack are tight and sturdy, they didn’t rattle at all during my test ride and they kept me clean when riding through puddles)
- Nice alloy motor skid plate, chainring guard, and derailleur guard, they should provide more than enough protection against curbs and urban obstacles, this is almost mountain bike level armor
- Despite the stock photo only showing a top side chainstay slap guard, the demo model I tested had a lower slap guard as well, this combines with the Shadow Plus clutch on the derailleur to keep the chain tight and avoid chips along the right chain stay
- Very sturdy rims, they’re alloy, double wall, 32 hole, and have reinforcement eyelets to handle heavier loads and rough streets, I don’t know the max weight of the bike but would estimate 300+ lbs based on similar models, the rack also didn’t have a weight rating but I’d guess up to 40 lbs
- The Trek Super Commuter is available in five frame sizes, so even though they are all diamond high-step style, you should be able to dial in fit and ride comfortably, since the rear rack is so slim and doesn’t have a flat top, you should be able to swing your leg up and over comfortably
- Awesome hydraulic disc brakes from Shimano, full 180 mm rotors front and rear provide plenty of smooth stopping power, I like the adjustable reach levers for people who wear gloves or have smaller (or larger) hands
- The Shimano Deore M6000 derailleur and 10-speed cassette provide plenty of comfortable pedaling options at a wide range of speed… and you can do multi-gear shifts (three at a time) when going from high to low gears, it’s cool that the Bosch mid-motors offer shift detection so you won’t damage the chain, sprockets, and derailleur as easily
- Premium integrated lights from Supernova, the headlight produces 205 lumens and is aimable (I’d suggest mounting it below the bar vs. above so you can point it down and not blind cars and other cyclists), the lights automatically come on whenever the bike is powered up
- The ergonomic grips felt surprisingly comfortable and the narrow handlebar felt like it could squeeze between cars and other tight spaces, I would consider swapping the 31.6 mm seat post with a suspension post from Body Float with a shim, Thudbuster, or SR Suntour or possibly the new Redshift Sports Shockstop post
- Sturdy tapered head tube and a 15 mm thru-axle with Maxle style quick release provide the kind of power transfer and precision control that you want at high speed… this bike originally launched in a 28 mph speed version so I feel like it’s almost overkill for the 20 mph version here, the quick release is useful for transporting the bike, I like that the battery pack is easily removable as well, to reduce weight when servicing
- Wide-open diamond frames like this are extra stiff, offering better power transfer and lower weight to strength ratio, it’s easier to lift and hang on some bike racks
- Awesome derailleur guard (curved piece of black metal designed to protect it from side swipes or if the bike tips), I hadn’t seen this design before and it looks great
- 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 on the left side of the bike is also very secure and tight to keep dust and water out while riding
- I can’t confirm this but the detailed specs said that the locking core for the battery pack is made by ABUS (though the key I had said AXA), sometimes you can get the key code for the battery and get a matched ABUS folding lock like this
- The Bosch Performance Line motors can support up to 120 RPM pedal rotation which allows for more natural riding without mandatory shifts, I have noticed some other motors drop out at lower RPM and then require you to shift to a higher gear to raise speed
- The rear rack uses standard gauge tubing that’s compatible with most clip-on panniers, it has notches to keep bags from sliding forward and back on the rails, it connects to the fender for extra strength, and there are loops at the bottom for bungee or velcro connectors at the base of some bags
- The fork uses Trek’s patented OCLV carbon fiber processing technique which is designed to be lightweight vs. aluminum alloy but just as strong and stiff, it stands for Optimum Compaction Low Void
- The PowerPack 500 battery interface is backwards compatible to work with the PowerPack 400 and that makes it easier to rent packs, borrow, or get a good deal on a second battery, it’s just easier to travel with this bike because of the universal nature of the battery from Bosch
- Clicking the battery into place was a little finicky, I made sure to pull the key out (so that the locking core was ready to catch) and pressed down firmly to hear it click, I also cleared the wires inside the downtube area because they are pretty tight near the mounting mechanism
- Only one color choice… the satin black looks great with the black motor casing, battery pack, and wires, but it isn’t as visible from the sides as red, white, silver or some other bright color… thankfully the reflective paint accents and integrated lights help, but the tires aren’t reflective from the side
- The stock photo shows a larger adjustable-length kickstand but the shop model I tested had a non-adjustable alloy stand that let the bike tip pretty far to the left, this is a minor gripe but it wasn’t my favorite stand
- The Bosch Purion display panel is compact and provides plenty of space for the Supernova E3 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 or shift recommendation (some shops will let you upgrade to the larger Intuvia display panel if you pay extra for the part and labor, it may take some adjustment to fit with the headlight)
- Even though the Super Commuter+ 7 is less expensive than the 8 (which is a speed pedelec) it is still one of the more expensive electric bikes because it comes with premium hardware and a broad network of dealers to take test rides and get service, a two-year comprehensive warranty with lifetime warranty on the frame
- My feet aren’t huge but I do appreciate wider pedals and would probably swap the narrow Wellgo M-21 cages with something like these Wellgo BMX magnesium pedals with adjustable pins, you can get them in black, red, silver, or white to match or customize the bike
- The current generation of Bosch centerdrive motors use an internal gearbox that spins the chainring at 2.5x per crank arm revolution and this creates a bit of resistance (very, very little) but also some noise, even when riding without power, and when it is powered up, you get a distinct high pitch whine, especially at higher RPMs
- Compared to the Super Commuter+ 8, which has a faster 4 amp charger, the Super Commuter+ 7 has a 2 amp which will take longer but doesn’t wiegh as much or take quite as much space… considering that the batteries are both the same capacity, it’s too bad they don’t include a 4 amp here as well
- The cover for the battery charging port clicks in securely and is easier to use than a rubber grommet but the plug itself is in the motion path of the left crank arm which could result in a snag if you move the bike while charging
- I think it’s lame that the Micro-USB port on the Bosch Purion display panel is disabled for charging accessories… only used for firmware updates, and I wish that Trek wasn’t disabling walk mode on their products because this ebike weighs ~51 lbs and would be difficult to push with a flat tire, or just walking through grass at a park etc. many other companies have not disable walk mode but Trek seems to be extra careful with this, Trek also forces the lights to be on at all times as a part of their ABC (always on, biomotion, contrast) safety initiative… but sometimes I want the lights off to save power or to reduce distraction/irritation if I’m riding with a group of people