Recently I took the new Trek Powerfly LT 9 out for a ride from the Bike Garage in Bamford. This is the first ‘proper’ e-bike I have ridden and I was looking forward to what it could do, often e-bikes get negative press as they can be seen as cheating or the lazy way out, I can say now this is far from the case!
The Powerfly LT 9 is the latest offering from Trek and is seriously kitted out, starting at the front the Fox 36 160mm travel forks provide plenty of comfort on the front end and are optimised for e-bikes ensuring they are up to the extra weight that the motor and batteries provide. The braking front and rear are handled via a set of huge 203mm Shimano Ice rotors in combination with the Shimano XT 4-pot brakes. These provide plenty of stopping power with very predictable modulation allowing for you to really leave the braking to the last second when descending and still be in control.
Moving to the middle the rear suspension is handled by a RockShox Deluxe RT3, I have never personally run RockShox but was very impressed with the progression through the travel and the way the rear end soaked up the impacts especially some of the larger ones. The shock does have three modes of riding but I left it open for the entire ride due to how pedal friendly it was, even up hill.
Sticking in the middle is the battery and motor, both of these are provided by Bosch, the battery in the form of a very tidy integrated battery that Trek are naming the Removable Integrated Battery (RIB) system. The RIB system is very simple to remove using the provided key and the biggest benefit is it enables a bottle cage to be mounted, this really is a huge improvement over previous revisions. This new battery hides away inside the down tube of the frame very neatly providing 500Wh of charge (Plenty for a day in the Peak District!). The Bosch Performance CX motor handles the assistance with four modes; eco, sport, e-mtb and turbo. I spent the majority of my time in e-mtb as this is a dynamic assist option that will provide the level of assistance you need vs the effort you are putting in, people need to remember that e-bikes don’t just do the work for you!
One of my favourite points to highlight on this bike is the tyre/wheel set up. Both ends have Bontrager Powerline Comp 40 rims wrapped in Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tyres that measure a massive 2.8” wide! This means you can run lower pressure increasing grip and comfort levels at the same time. The wheel size is 27.5” (Personally I favour this over 29”) and in combination with the pedal assist this bike really can glue to the ground and bomb over anything at any gradient.
The final area to note is the groupset, this is a SRAM XG Eagle 11-50t 12 speed matched with SRAM GX Eagle derailleur and shifter. This groupset was absolutely flawless, it never missed a shift and really handled the extra power of the motor effortlessly. I don’t think I used the easiest 3-4 gears though!
So, key technical areas out of the way the big question is how does it ride? The Trek Powerfly LT 9 is a work of art, it really is the next generation of e-bike. Forget the typical heavy clunky characteristic of older e-bikes and just think of it as a long travel, all-mountain bike that you can spin up any hill and FLY down any decent twice as many times in the same period as it would normally take you without a motor!
This bike certainly has the fun factor in my opinion, it’s geometry is the perfect balance of upright-climb friendly riding and slack-relaxed downhill ready geometry that urges you to push yourself that little bit further as you monster truck over everything in your way an brake later than you usually would without fear of being too late thanks to the huge levels of grip provided by the tyres and brakes.
As mentioned at the start of this article the Trek Powerfly LT 9 can be hired per day from the Bamford Bike Garage. Get in touch with them through their website or call them on 01433 659345. If you have never given an e-bike a ride before this is the one you want to try, I was smiling the entire way around both up and down hill!