Bergamont E-Trailster 9.0 - eMTB Review

Aug 22, 2017
by Paul Aston  
eMTB Week
Pinkbike is running a week-long focus on eMTBs. We’ll be sharing reviews, news, and opinion pieces all week in addition to our regular coverage. Read our stance on eMTBs here.




Bergamont have supplied us with some killer test bikes in the past, with their Trailster 140mm travel trail bike still being one of my favorite trail bikes for its solid feel and good manners. The E-Trailster hopes to build on that same and concept with the addition of a Bosch Performance CX motor, a 500wh battery, and a chain-growth neutralizing idler wheel to minimize torque feedback from the simple, single-pivot rear suspension.

The E-Trailster 9.0 we tested is their top of the range model, retailing at a modest (compared to other eMTB's) €5199 and is spec'ed with a RockShox Pike fork and a Monarch shock; a SRAM EX1 drivetrain; Magura MT4 brakes; a Sun Ringlé wheelset; a predominantly Answer cockpit; and it showcases Manitou's new Jack dropper seatpost.


Bergamont E-Trailster review
E-Trailster 9.0 Details

• Intended use: trail, all-mountain
• Travel: 140mm / 150mm
• Bosch Performance Line CX motor
• Bosch 500wh PowerPack battery
• Suspension: High pivot swingarm, with idler wheel torque neutralizer.
• 27.5" wheels
• SRAM EX1 drivetrain
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L
• Weight: 23.4 kg (actual, w/o pedal, DH/SG tires)
• Price: €5199
www.bergamont.com


Details and Build

The E-Trailster has a 6066 alloy, welded aluminum frame, that includes a tapered head tube and internal cable routing. The axle spacing is not Boost width: 142mm rear and 100mm front - which arguably, is outdated for a 2017 eMTB. I'm not a boost fanboy, but if you are spending a chunk of money on a bike in 2017, it seems like a bad idea to drop behind trend when it's clear to see that the industry has made the decision to support Boost. On that same subject, the narrow, 24mm rims are also outdated, as were the narrow and mid-weight Maxxis Forecaster 2.35" width, Exo casing tires These were switched after ride number one to something heavier duty from the depths of my shed - a Super Gravity Magic Mary from Schwalbe and a Maxxis High Roller in the DH casing.

Cable routing is all internal on the E-Trailster
Cable routing is all internal on the E-Trailster
Located the brakes inside the rear triangle isn t a new idea but a great one to keep the caliper out of harms way.
Locating the brakes inside the rear triangle isn't a new idea, but a great way to keep the caliper out of harm's way.

The suspension is controlled by a 150mm travel Pike RCT3 fork, and a Monarch RT3 HV shock handles its 140mm travel rear suspension. SRAM's EX1 8-speed eMTB specific drivetrain and cranks connect the Bosch motor to the rear hub and to stop the bike, Bergamont chose Magura MT4 brakes, which appear under-powered. Their four pot brothers would seem the more sensible choice. Always choose extra power when weight isn't really an e-issue.

SRAM s eMTB specific EX1 drivetrain is currently the only choice for these machines.
SRAM's eMTB specific EX1 drivetrain is currently the best choice for the genre.


Suspension Design

The aluminum frame uses a high swingarm pivot-point, located above and behind the Bosch motor. The seat stay pivot is located very close to the rear wheel's axle and there is a short rocker link mounted to the seat tube to drive the shock. An idler wheel and retention guide are located on the main pivot axis. The chain runs over the idler to eliminate chain feedback - similar to what we see on Commencal's latest downhill bike and some classic downhill bikes of the past.

The E-Trailster uses a high single pivot and an idler wheel for 140mm of rear travel.
The E-Trailster uses a high, single-pivot swingarm, armed with an idler wheel to ensure its 140mm rear suspension is unhindered by the torque of its Bosch motor.


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Geometry/Sizing

I opted for the XL sized frame, which has a 463mm reach, 66.5º head angle, a 74º seat angle and a 475mm chainstay. The bottom bracket sits 18mm below the wheel axles. It's interesting to note that the E-Trailster only increases by 10mm per size, from the medium up to the extra large - not a significant difference in frame size compared to the wide range of body types that will be riding them.


Bergamont E-Trailster Geometry
Bergamont E-Trailster Geometry


Motor

Bergamont uses the Performance CX Line motor from Bosch, along with the external 500wh PowerPack. The Bosch motor is currently the most popular on the market and the 500wh battery is one of the largest and most commonly used. Our bike came with the Bosch Purion display, with the software updated to 'eMTB' mode, which is now a free upgrade for on all Bosch powered bikes. This mode gives the rider the access to the whole range of power available, rather than switching between modes – pedal harder and you get more power, spin along gently and you will get the least assistance.

Bosch Performance CX motor with a 500wh powerpack
Bosch Performance CX motor with a 500wh external PowerPack

The Purion display from Bosch could be smaller but gives you all the info you need.
The Purion display from Bosch could be smaller, but it gives you all the info you need.
Bosch Performance CX motor with a 500wh powerpack
The 500wh battery is now the norm on Bosch-powered eMTB's, I wouldn't want a smaller battery.


Specifications
Specifications
Price $5199
Travel 140mm
Rear Shock Rock Shox Monarch RT3 200x57 mm
Fork Rock Shox Pike RCT3 27.5", 150 mm,
Headset Cane Creek 40/15 series
Cassette SRAM CS XG-899, 11-48t
Crankarms SRAM FC EX1
Chainguide BGM pulley with chain guide
Bottom Bracket Bosch, ISIS
Rear Derailleur SRAM RD EX1, long cage
Chain SRAM EX1
Shifter Pods SRAM SL EX1, 1x8-speed, trigger-shifter
Handlebar Answer Pro Taper 750 AM,
Grips BGM Race, MTB, double density, clamp version
Brakes Magura MT4, hydraulic disc brake, Storm HC rotor: 180/180 mm
Wheelset Sun Ringlé Charger Expert AL
Tires Maxxis Forekaster, folding, EXO, 27.5x2.35
Seat SDG Falcon RL
Seatpost Manitou Jack dropper post, 31.6 mm, 125 mm travel,






Bergamont E-Trailster review


Bergamont E-Trailster review





Climbing and Trail

The E-Trailster is one of the easiest eMTB's for climbing I've reviewed so far. The massive, 475mm-long chainstays help to keep the front end down, even when giving it voll gas on the climbs. The saddle position is the furthest forward in relation to the bottom bracket (180mm behind the BB on a horizontal plane) compared to any other eMTB I have tested, this gave a central position to attack the climbs.

The lack of pedal feedback through the chain and great support from the suspension lets it float over rough terrain easily, and it doesn't wallow with the shock's compression lever left open. I am finding that eMTB's require less anti-squat than a normal bike. The majority of the power now comes from the smooth, circular drive of the motor, instead of the jabby motion of a human's legs, which are not designed specifically for pedaling.

Bergamont E-Trailster review


Bosch's latest eMTB specific power mode is fantastic. It makes tackling technical sections and tight corners simpler, as it's easier to feed the power gently through the cranks, and then gives you a boost when you drop the hammer in order to pop up and over obstacles. Using the normal Trail or Turbo modes often left you overcooking it around tight corners, or not having the power needed for short boosts up and over short climbs.

Bergamont E-Trailster review
Bergamont E-Trailster review



Descending

This is where the E-Trailster gets interesting. The mere 140mm travel, combined with the added weight of motor and battery, might be the best rear suspension system I have ever used on any bike, massively outperforming its actual travel. Plowing straight through rough sections, I thought the forks were broken. I felt impacts through the fork, but rarely did those impacts affect the rear suspension when the back wheel struck an obstacle.

As I have found in the past with suspension that use high pivots with no pedal kickback, the action through braking bumps and big hits is unbeatable, especially for flat pedal riders, who will find their feet always planted however rough it gets. Hitting huge holes or landing drops, the anticipated kick into the ankles never came and bottom out was almost unnoticeable. Such suspensions are normally compromised by pedal bobbing – highlighted by poor pedaling technique, but this issue doesn't come to light on the electric-assisted machine. The downside of this appears to be a difficulty in creating grip on smooth and flat corners. When you want to drive the rear wheel into the ground to generate grip, it seems to move off line and start to slide.

The Trailster outperforms what we would expect from its listed numbers, probably due to the heavy weight and improved sprung to unsprung mass ratio when compared to a non-assisted bike. The front portion of the bike could be slacker for even better descending, but that might just get me into high-speed trouble. The whopping 475mm chainstay length comes in to play here, giving big stability everywhere. Manuals were a little tough to start with, but a learned change of timing and heft meant that I could raise the front over any obstacle. Using a half crank timed with the motor boost to lift the wheel is another technique to be learned on an eMTB.

The E-Trailster felt vague compared to some other eMTB's I have on test. This could be due to a number of reasons: the small diameter tubes in the front triangle and the extra long rear end also seemed to create some flex, and I found lots of tire roll from the narrow rims. It also feels sluggish for eMTB, but however vague the feel might have been, the E-Trailster is a good platform in terms of pure downhill speed, its suspension, and its ability to take lines that others can't.


Bergamont E-Trailster review


Technical Report



SRAM's EX1 Drivetrain: SRAM's eMTB specific EX1 drivetrain is currently the best choice for these machines. The single shift lever prevents twisting and grinding the chain over several cogs and teeth under huge wattage and the big steps between the gears mean less shifting is needed.
SRAM s eMTB specific EX1 drivetrain is currently the only choice for these machines.


RockShox Pike fork: The Pike has been a benchmark fork for a number of years. I was glad to see the RCT3 version specced with 150mm travel, although it performed as well as any other Pike I have used over the last few years, it was no match for the great rear suspension system.
The 150mm travel Pike was no match for the fantastic rear suspension system.


Maxxis Forecaster Tires: No problems with the Maxxis Forecaster for its intended use of cross country riding or light trail outings. But give somebody a bike this capable and heavy, it will be the first thing to go. Heavier duty Schwalbe Magic Mary's with Vertstar/Trailstar rubber and Super Gravity casing fitted the bill.
Schwalbe Magic Mary s replaced the paper thin Maxxis Forekaster tires that were specced on the E-Trailster.


Bergamont Idler Pulley: The idler pulley started chatting to us after a mere hundred kilometers on the bike, then screaming at me. Removal of the chain revealed a rough feeling bearing, but laying the bike on its side and soaking with oil calmed it down for the next 500km's and beyond. Even when running smoothly, the idler wheel adds extra noise to the drivetrain.
Bergamont E-Trailster review



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe E-Trailster is a bit of a dark horse. Some might say that it has is cheap, outdated parts, it is ugly, and it lacks a posh, integrated battery. Turns out that none of that matters - the Berga is a monster. It's easy to ride, with bags of stability and grip. With a stiffer front end, some more travel, and some tweaks in its geometry, it could be unbelievable. It's currently the first choice to power out of the garage. Paul Aston






About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 31 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 75kg • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None • Instagram: astonator
Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously adding to the list of non-qualifiers at World Cup DH events, he attacked enduro before it was fashionable, then realized he was old and achy. From the UK, but often found residing in mainland Europe.


Posted In:
eMTB Bergamont



54 Comments

  • 65 11
 www.e-pinkbike.com not yet used
  • 7 1
 Wouldn't generate enough views to satisfy advertisers?
  • 7 4
 yeah, get these outta here ffs
  • 5 1
 @bluumax: If you think for a while you will realise that the market for ebikes is much bigger than for bikes. For every man who likes to gry tired three are 10 who do not.
  • 4 1
 It's so ugly it could be an E-bike!
  • 11 5
 From Pinkbike's perspective, it makes zero sense to launch a separate website for e-mountain bikes. It would increase their operational costs, split web traffic, and require more marketing dollars to get it going.

Ultimately, Pinkbike is a mountain bike website and e-mountain bikes fall (wait for it) within the mountain bike category (gasp!). Mountain bike manufacturers are making pedal bikes with electric assist for the purpose of mountain biking. As such, Pinkbike should cover them like any other category of mountain bike. Not your cup of tea? Sweet. Just don't read the article and scroll down until you find what interests you.

But, by all means, haters should keep clicking on the articles and drive up the article's view count. That'll show 'em!
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: Don't really see how your comment is a response to my statement. I was pointing out that starting a new website entirely for ebikes wouldn't sell advertising space over an already established mtb website with an already huge amount of traffic.
  • 2 1
 @sadem: I can't tell if you're joking or not... I'm going to tell myself you are :p
  • 3 2
 @ka-brap: air shock without piggyback, short stroke, HA 67, >20kg, yeah that falls in the category of mountain bikes... from 2003 with an engine.
Why don't we get also reviews of 80mm 29r HT xc bikes ? They are mountain bikes too, so they should be on Pinkbike
  • 2 0
 @zede: There has been a general increase in the amount of XC coverage that PB has been putting out over the last few years. More race recaps, more photo epics, more XC bike checks... so I think you'll see those bikes reviewed too. And why not? Even though I'm more on the downhill side of the spectrum, I still enjoy reading about über light XC bikes. The tech there is rad. And for those who don't find it interesting can feel free to pass it over.
  • 1 0
 @ka-brap: I don't remember reading a review of a hardtail in the last two or three years. I'm not talking about pictures of xc race bike of e batty, I'm talking about an actual review.
  • 1 0
 @zede: When I said "I think you'll see those bikes reviewed too", I meant in that I think it will come not that it's already been done.
  • 16 4
 Nothing against e-mtbs, I don't think I'll get one anytime soon but this bike looks like a comuter bike from 2012
  • 5 19
flag deadmeat25 (Aug 22, 2017 at 2:58) (Below Threshold)
 Which one? Or is that all you could think of to say?
  • 9 2
 If you do not like e-bikes, don't click on the article and comment. The less traffic the articles get the less likely they will be on pinkbike.
  • 11 3
 thanks Bergamont for making them ugly as hell...
  • 13 5
 Nope!!!
  • 3 1
 Moped
  • 6 0
 As long as ebikes are as ugly as this one then we don't need to worry about them taking over
  • 3 1
 Rocky Mountain makes some nice ebikes
  • 7 0
 iM nOt A bOoSt FaN bOY
  • 5 0
 light as a 2004 Demo 9!!! it´s e-volution baby!!!
  • 3 0
 How much power do you need on an e bike, I want some extra power without big weight penalty
  • 2 0
 This article needs some addressing by the editor. Lots of grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • 6 0
 I really hate it when people get there grammer wrong. Its so infuriating.
  • 2 0
 @bigtim: Eye no, right.
  • 4 0
 ugly as fuck
  • 3 2
 Just Love them, you can just ride when you want and end up riding so much more and having loads more fun just becuase you can!
  • 3 0
 Another brand that will never get my business.
  • 6 5
 Thanks Pinkbike. Interesting stuff. keep em coming.
  • 1 0
 Puch Maxi's the lot of em ......
  • 1 0
 What about range?
Are you able to beat 40 km with 1500m up?
  • 2 1
 And so it begins...
  • 2 4
 Dear Pinkbike, please...PLEASE...stop it! I'd like to read more about super boost over drive 2 slack-long@low super enduro shit. Thank you.
  • 2 1
 please PB just stop
  • 1 2
 e-MTB reviews has exploded since that e-MTB poll...
  • 2 2
 Wtf ???
  • 2 4
 no e-dropper post no anti lock brakes
  • 5 0
 Don't need no anti-lock brakes, let natural selection do it's thing.
  • 2 0
 No playstation/DVD player. This ride hasnt been pimped at all. Now GO ON AnD GIT!
  • 1 3
 'It's the dismal tide...'
  • 1 2
 Bills need to be paid.
  • 7 10
 E-mtb will make our trail closed. Ebike is the future, e-mtb our end.
  • 8 3
 You live in France, that's simply not true.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg @fracasnoxteam : I think he's not wrong : we are not really concerned by the "wild areas access" stuff as it exists in the US, but in some Parcs Naturels Régionaux, private forests owners are starting to forbid the access to MTB cause we are too many to use the trails. And eMTB are supposed to bring more people to our sport. Do you see my point ?
  • 5 1
 If anything attracts more riders to the sport, it'd be cheaper yet decent quality bikes. If something makes people ride more, it'd be better fitness and more spare time. These bikes with pedal assist are prohibitively expensive to really attract new riders. I don't know anyone in their right mind to trade fitness and spare time to be able to work so much to afford a bike with pedal assist. It may be different in other countries but around me, I can't see this happening. What I see is new riders buy a decent bike with hydraulic damping in their suspension and functional hydraulic disc brakes for the kind of money that got me V-brakes and no damping (though I was stoked because I thought my steel coil spring was so much better than the elastomer alternative).

So really, do you actually have backup of these stories that these bikes are bought by absolute beginners? My impression (from what I read, not seen) is that these bikes are bought as a second or third bike by enthusiasts, professional guides exploring new terrain and older riders who otherwise couldn't ride in their group or would require a disproportionate amount of recovery between rides. That said, I'm not from France. Maybe there there are more people with money to burn on something new and unknown.
  • 7 1
 @mattwragg: You are right, it's simply not true. E-mtb bring some new people to the sport, well, it's not a problem. On my trails, which are in the South east of France, around Nice, how much new people did I see since two years? None. Where did they stay? on the road, on fire road. On the trails, they will maybe go one or two times, get scared, and we will not see them again. I had the experience at the Lapierre festival, most of the new riders who were trying an E-MTB for the first time, because they were roadie, or new riders, we just saw them 2 hours, due to the difficulty of the trails, will we see them again? NEVER. Who did it brings to the sports, old crossmen, old downhillers, old XC racers, People who came back to MTB after some stop (baby, work, injury, life....), so is it dangerous? NO, totally not, it just bring back some people to the sport they love, or it just help some people to continue the sport they love. Matt, when you want to go take a look around Levens, some special secret trails.
  • 4 3
 @BlakkheimGW: I don't see a point, no. It sounds to me like you are pointing fingers at eMTBs, when you are the problem. It's one thing Europe is behind the US in - trail advocacy. We simply don't need it most of the time as we are free to ride bikes more or less wherever we want (within reason), hence no advocates. Certainly if access was under threat where I live I would be talking to the landowners to try and understand their concerns and look for a solution to the problem, I'd then be out with my tools putting the hours in and trying to get other people to work with me to save my trails. But that's just me. I cannot and will not respect anyone who does not think more trail users is a better outcome for the sport.
  • 3 2
 @iadesp06: For sure, I'm in the same part of France as you, Sospel. We are getting a few more riders up on the trails, and locals are getting more laps in, but the difference isn't that big in the end. I think a lot of people are getting very worried about something that won't actually be a big difference out in the real world.
  • 3 1
 @vinay: It depends where you look - in Germany they are selling them to a lot of people outside the core of the sport. I was at a camping show in Stuttgart in January and they had a bike expo, where 90%+ of the bikes were ebikes. These are people putting down 40,000+ Euros on a camper, easily going right up past six figures (there were some nuts campers on display) - they have disposable income, plenty of it. It's a big part of the reason that Haibike are so dominant in the ebike market - they are doing a good job of selling outside the core MTB market, not just upselling to existing consumers. I know Cube are working hard to sell to these people too. I can't comment on a lot of other brands though.

That said, upselling is creating something of a bubble for some companies, one that I suspect will pop shortly enough and some of the panic/hype will die down with it - one brand manager admitted to me that through their ebike drive their unit numbers had remained static, but their bottom line was better as cost per unit was a lot higher. Although I guess that depends on market context, staying static in a downwards market could be a big success, I guess.

I think it's in hire bikes where ebikes could be massive - put down 30, 50 Euros, whatever and there is virtually no fitness barrier to going to experience some "mountain biking." I think this could be a very powerful way to get people into the sport and taking their first steps onto the slippery slope where a 5000 Euro bike is no longer unreasonable...
  • 2 1
 @mattwragg: the first real sad crash between a hiker and e-mtb and I won't be the only one to point my finger at these silent motorbikes. I really hope I'm wrong and I really like braaaping these bikes (the haibike dh is a beast) but strictly on bikepark or mtb exclusive trail, these bike are way too fast for Joey.
  • 1 0
 Thinking of it (instead of working...) I would be ok with e-mtb if electric assistance would shut down at 9kmh. Fast as a normal person walking.
  • 2 1
 @mattwragg @iadesp06 : I disagree with you : more trail users mean more trail cohabitation problems, thats the point. I live in Auvergne, and the Chaîne des Puys is largely overcrowded. And on my trails, eMTB mean a lot of tourists renting them to access more difficult and sometimes restricted access areas. As I said in another post, I have no problems with experimented riders who ride eMTB for different reasons (health, having a bike to ride longer distances etc..). I have a problem putting this tool in hands of people not having the "mountain culture" and not respecting it. And I'm sorry, but in my area, they represent the large majority of eMTB users. They are not nature's lovers but only consumers.
You may not "respect" me for that, but for me, the more you add people on trails, the more you have chance to encounter this kind unrespectful people. I love my land, its mountains and its trails so I'm concerned about anything threatening it. And I think that facilitating a lot the access of mountain areas to consumers/tourists is a bad idea.
  • 2 0
 @BlakkheimGW: that's because they ride in the south, where people are lazy and hikers are only tourists because locals are too busy drinking pastis around their pool because "it's too warm". If you go anywhere else (Vosges, jura, Pyrénées, Massif Central, hautes alpes) then there are issues because lots of locals hike and ride, and tourists hike and ride too which causes some trails to be over used. The big difference is that it's Europe, so mentalities are kinda different. Many hikers also ride mtb (the opposite is also true) so they understand how to share the trails, and they don't create stupid hateful associations like in Northern America. E-bikes WILL create problems because they bring people who are not used to sport, trail sharing/etiquette/courtesy or whatever you call it, wearing helmets, (...) and inevitably shit will happen. I have seen only two times people braking with their feet off the pedals, and they were people on e-bikes. The problem is not the experienced mtbikers switching to electric. The problem is hordes of newcomers starting with e-mtb (more than 80% of e bikes buyers if I recall).

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