We finally had a chance to try out the Bosch equipped Trek Powerfly 5 FS. When it comes to electric mountain bikes we have had the chance to throw our legs over the good, the bad, and just the plain ugly but we were pleasantly surprised by the looks of the Trek Powerfly 5 FS right out of the box.
They must be testing the waters with a bit of skepticism for how well these electric mountain bikes will be received here in the States.
With a $4500 price tag, this bike is positioned as Trek’s entry level pedal assist full-suspension model with its sibling the Powerfly 7 FS Plus offering a few component upgrades and plus sized wheels for $500 more. Now if you’ve been looking around the internet you’ve probably noticed there is also a Trek Powerfly 9 FS which is what most of the reviews you’ll find are for but unfortunately this one isn’t available in North America yet. In fact Trek makes a total of fourteen different Powerfly models, all of which are available in Europe but for 2018 in North America Trek will only be offering two full suspension and two hardtail models. They must be testing the waters with a bit of skepticism for how well these electric mountain bikes will be received here in the States.
With the Powerfly, Trek intended it to feel as much like a normal mountain bike as possible which is why they developed a new Emtb mode that automatically changes the assist modes depending on how hard you pedal. Trek found the most electric mountain bike riders would simply change assist modes while riding over actually shifting the bike. So to encourage riders to use the full range of gears and provide a seamless feel on the trail the Powerfly 5 FS has the Emtb mode along with Eco, Tour, and Turbo to cover all of your assisted pedaling needs.
For 2018 Trek is continuing to use the Bosch Performance CX 250 motor which boasts a full 75mn of torque and has the new Purion Performance unit with a digital display. The Bosch 500wh battery is integrated cleanly into the bike’s aluminum downtube. On a full charge the display unit says it has about a 90 mile range on Eco mode, along with other riding data such as speed and distance traveled.
Although the pedal assist definitely had the power to practically throw me up hills, the added weight was noticeable on technical descents.
The overall feel of the Powerfly 5 FS on the trail was reminiscent of my old Fuel EX 7 with a fully loaded pack on. Although the pedal assist definitely had the power to practically throw me up hills, the added weight was noticeable on technical descents. Our terrain here is generally loose with a tons of rocks to fun technical sections through the brush with steep climbs at every bend. The added pedal assist was most welcome on the climbs but the extra heft made tight turns feel cumbersome. The pedal assisted threshold came on smoothly and escalated nicely but the turbo mode tended to break traction in loose situations and was a bit heavy handed in technical sections. On the other hand, the newer Emtb mode provided plenty of assistance without feeling overbearing at times.
The Trek Powerfly FS models provide assistance up to 20mph which was plenty to handle our local trail system. For the sake of this test we rode a variety of trails to really wrap our heads around this one. Like most pedal assist mountain bikes, the Powerfly seemed to work better at a higher cadence and really showed its braun on long fireroad climbs. With 130mm of travel and a full suite of trail tested components this bike could handle its own despite the fact that the geometry felt somewhat steep at times.
Brand Key Features
Powerfly eMTB builds on its success with a new full suspension lineup that borrows from Trek’s proven off-road legacy.
The full suspension Powerfly makes mountain biking even more fun. The Bosch Performance CX pedal assist e-bike system makes for a supremely capable electric bike that allows you to go farther and have more fun.
- Long-life battery is secured within down tube and easily removed for charging
- Knock Block frame defense protects from spinning handlebars
- ABP gives you more confidence and control on the trail
- Powerful central-mount Bosch motor, for speeds up to 20 mph (25 km/h in Europe)
Although the versatility of the Trek Powerfly 5 FS might not turn heads, the turbo mode will get you up most hills without you having to break much of a sweat. A bike of this caliber really makes you think about a new world of possibilities that assisted pedalling makes a reality.