Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus First Ride Review

Words by Aaron Scott

on 05/10/2016 15:23:00

Rutland Cycling Verdict

"The Powerfly isn't simply about climbing higher, riding further or exploring more; it's also about having incredible fun in the process."

Features: RockShox Deluxe RT3 RE:aktiv, RockShox Pike RC 150mm travel, Bosch Performance CX Motor, SRAM EX1 Driverain, Bontrager finishing kit.
Highlights: Bosch performance motor provides control to attack technical climbs, frame is an incredible piece of engineering, plus sized tyres provide excellent grip.
Lowlights: The display mount could be more robust.

Check out the Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Check out the full Trek Powerfly Range

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

Overview

Trek's next generation of electric mountain bikes are now in-store and online and their 2017 stable includes the Powerfly LT, Powerfly FS and the hardtail Powerfly model. This week we've had the opportunity to test the top of the range Powerfly 9 LT Plus, which over and above the FS model, features 150mm long travel suspension and SRAM's e-bike specific EX1 drivetrain.

The full suspension (FS) Powerfly models are designed first and foremost as mountain bikes, and borrow tried and tested technology from Trek's proven off-road range of bikes - to be honest, it's a very similar bike to the new Remedy. The Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus, which we rode marks the upper end of the range, with an RRP of £4,349.99, so will appeal to any ambitious trail rider.

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

The Ride

The first noticable difference with the new Powerfly is that its geometry and sizing have been redesigned to make it much longer, lower and slacker than their previous e-bike models. This basically means that when you throw your leg over the Powerfly it immediately feels like a more than capable Enduro bike.

Thanks to Mino-Link in the seat stays, we were easily able to adjust the geometry to our own preferences, opting for the slacker 66 degrees, low position rather than the steeper 66.5 degrees, high position. The cockpit is dialled, standover is good, and the ergonomics of the new 125mm Bontrager Drop Line post are perfectly formed. It's also really simple to use the five power modes available, which on steep technical climbs is a god-send, meaning you can easily toggle to the higher settings to get that extra power to fly up the hills.

The Powerfly really came into its own on the descents, where you really notice the combination of 150mm travel and a refined geometry working together to give an optimum balance of control and speed. It's a given that you need to adjust the way in which you brake into corners, seeing as the bike is a little heavier than a comparitive conventional mountain bike, but other than that I really don't feel it loses anything compared to say the Remedy.

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

The Specification

Frame

The Powerfly features Trek's Alpha Platinum Aluminium frame, which is extremely lightweight and thanks to the new sophisticated tube shapes provides add maximum strength where needed. The other benefit of the new downtube design and sloping top tube, is that the Bosch battery pack extends down the motor and now sits much flusher and neater on the downtube than other e-bikes. Wider dropouts, 110mm front and 148mm rear, offer the stiffness of a 27.5" wheel with all the benefits of a 29" wheel, while Boost148 at teh back lets your run wider tyres and a larger chain ring without affecting pedalling efficiency. Also, thanks to a technology Trek call Knock Block, rotation of the handlebars is limited so that forks cannot touch the down tube and the cockpit cannot scratch the top tube.

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

Suspension

Trek's Active Braking Pivot (ABP) allows the suspension to work freely whether you're on the brakes or off and prevents the suspension stiffening up. The RE:aktiv damped RockShox Deluxe RT3 shock now mounts directly to the front triangle, just above the motor, and reacts sensitively when needed and combines nicely with Rockshox Pike RC front suspension.

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

Components

The SRAM EX1 drive unit on the Powerfly is quickly evolving into the new standard for high-end e-mountain bikes. With only eight gears, SRAM's EX1 drivetrain may seem like a backward step, but the narrower chain angles and single-shift actuation strain the chain less. And, with the massive 11-50t cassette, the gear range is wide enough even in Eco mode. Even if you find yourself spinning the pedals too quickly, the five power modes on the Bosch motor allow you to easily switch modes, changing the amount of assistance the motor provides and ultimately the resistance you feel.

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

Motor

The top-end Bosch Performance CX motor delivers 75Nm of torque and the 250-watt motor is now protected by a unique Motor Armor shield - to prevent any stones or debris from damaging it. It's all powered by Bosch's Powerpack 500, their premium lithium-ion battery designed for the high-energy demands of mountain biking. The battery is easily removed, but a charging port on the side also means that it can be charged in-situ. The Powerfly also features Bosch's new Purion display unit which combines a compact LCD screen with a light-touch remote so that you can easily switch between power modes and see essential information such as trip distance and battery life.

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Review

RATING SCORE - 9/10

  • Frame: 10/10
  • Components: 9/10
  • Wheels: 9/10
  • The Ride: 9/10

Check out the Trek Video

Full Specification

  • Frame: Alpha Platinum aluminium, 150mm Shock:RockShox Deluxe RT3 RE:aktiv
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RC, 150mm travel
  • Motor: Bosch Performance CX
  • Battery: Bosch Powerpack Performance 500Wh
  • Wheels: Bontrager hubs, SUNringle Durco 40 SL rims, Bontrager Chupacabra 27.5�2.8in tyres
  • Drivetrain: SRAM EX1 15t chainset, EX1 r-mech & shifter, 11-50t cassette
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS, 200/180mm Components:Bontrager 750mm bar, 60mm stem, Drop Line 125mm post, Evoke 2 saddle
  • Sizes: 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5in
  • Weight: 22.2kg

Check out the Trek Powerfly 9 LT Plus Check out the full Trek Powerfly Range

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