Technical Report TQ HPR50 Motor:
You know Trek and TQ are onto something special when you watch someone with high standards and low expectations jump on this bike and come back in awe of just how damn quiet the motor is. Hats off to the two teams who built this bike. It's a well-oiled machine and hasn't missed a beat, even in torrential downpours and plenty of bike washing with no precautions taken. You know exactly what to expect when you stand on the pedals or let off for that matter. That tiny harmonic pin ring drive unit is the golden goose of e-bike motors.Bontrager SE5 Team Issue Tires:
Holding back the stellar singletrack mind of the Fuel EX-e are the Bontrager SE5 tires though. They work decently in dry dirt, but through the rain-soaked summer we’ve had in Squamish they quickly spun out on polished roots and glistening rock. Their round profile on the Line 30mm wide rims meant that leaning on the side lugs commitment and time to reach. I swapped them early on for something with more tackiness to unlock what the bike was really capable of.Bontrager Raceshop SLR bars:
I dig the unibrow look of the one-piece bar and stem - thankfully there are no integrated cables. The 6 and 7-degree up and backsweep might not be the most common, but I got along well with the straighter backwards bend. Although, I did notice a little more pressure on my palms than normal. Most bars tend to have a 5-degree upsweep and can be rolled in the stem clamping surface to your liking. Initially, I chalked up the hand fatigue to the low front end, but it might be worth thinking about slip-on grips if you start to feel discomfort here. I also trimmed the width down from a whopping 820mm to 770 and never felt like they were too stiff. RockShox Super Deluxe:
This shock in combination with the suspension kinematics is phenomenal. There's plenty of range to twist the dials and it's not overly complicated. No matter the size of the impact, the shock ate it all with forgiveness and support when needed, only ever using the perfect amount of travel. I'd go far enough to say that, aside from the motor, it's the standout component on the bike.How Does It Compare?
To be fair, there aren't a lot of other bikes in this lightweight e-MTB category, at least from mainstream brands. The two main players before the Fuel EX-e arrived on the scene were the Orbea Rise and the Specialized Turbo Levo SL. The Rise uses Shimano's full-size EP8 motor, but it has been de-tuned in terms of power and runs off of a smaller battery, while the Levo SL uses a different motor than its full-powered e-MTB siblings from the big "S". All three competitors come in carbon-framed offerings and hover around the 18-19 kilogram mark.
Where they are drastically different are the power delivery, output, and noise levels. The Shimano motor in the Rise has plenty of jam, but it is the least refined and the gears rattle considerably on the descents. The Rise frame geometry also has a more conservative feel with a steeper 65.5-degree head angle. On the other hand, the Levo SL doesn't have extreme geometry and the minimal motor output emits a higher pitch whine than the Rise. Its power delivery is smoother than the Rise, although all three bikes can be tuned via apps.
Then there's also the cost factor. Yes, this top-spec Fuel EX-e 9.9 XX1 AXS has all of the bells and carbon whistles, but compared to the equivalent Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL, it comes in under the $14K mark. They are both well-finished bikes that are very sleek, but the extra power and minimal noise of the Fuel EX-e wins out by a mile. Looking back at the Orbea, the price is reasonable, but the motor trades a boost in power for a less polished experience.
Simply put, nothing comes close to the Fuel EX-e when you paint the picture of the mountain bike experience as a whole. Up and down the hill, the TQ motor rides along under the yellow carbon carpet in such a hush manner that you'd barely know it's there. You also have to factor in the torque density and packaging. Look at it - it's tiny and powerful.
The only way I could see it improving would be to revert the AXS derailleur back its own battery pack and use a similar size remote on the motor assist controller for zero wires. I know that goes against the grain of tying all those servos to a central power bank, but I'd prefer to eliminate those tiny wires before they get eliminated on the trail.
Turbo Levo SL: 35 Nm
Orbea Rise: 60 Nm
Trek Fuel EX-e: 50 Nm
Turbo Levo SL: 320 Wh + 160 ext.
Orbea Rise: 360 Wh + 252 ext.
Trek Fuel EX-e: 360 Wh + 160 ext.
E-bikes are their own sport and classification. Kind of like paddleboarders are to Surfers.
Whereas an e-bike is not. I am not hating on them, but they aren't mountain bikes. They are electric bikes, motor (assisted) bikes, pedelecs, boomer scooters, whatever you want to call them. But they aren't mountain bikes.
Because, as we learned from Metalocalypse, acoustic things are for grandpas.
Most of the haters will all come around sooner or later just like they always do. Boost. travel, slack, carbon, tubeless, droppers, 29er, etc. etc. etc. It's always the devil to them until they actually try it and like it.
Mtb is just an mtb and that is what it should be called, but people do what they do and no one can stop them if they want to call it differently, if you like it or not. Personally it cracks me up when people call an mtb "an Amish bike"
No you cant.
BTW: that battery range will not endure a normal morning ride [35km / 1200m]
The line that separates those who ride MTB Bikes, and those who ride some kind of Moped, it's not the pedals, or of it's modern, is HOW LONG YOU CAN GO
Riding offroad on ebikes has open doors for so many mo...people, that now I understand what Roadcyclist said about MTBriders.
Majority are just a bunch of pussys
E-MTB prices are completely f*cked. And y'all know who causes them to be f*cked, right? The people who keep dropping 14k on E-MTBs.
People feeling triggered?
Ok lets buy for that money a nice Tri-bike, hell yeah.
On one model its possible to ride with a licence plate.
But yeah for that amount of money you get a lot of different nice things....
But, if all you know is MTB and have never explored outside that realm I suppose you would also be surprised by what you can do with them.
Now, getting an ultralight might be possible at that price AND you don't need a PPL
Seriously people, please stop making comparisons to boats, airplanes, your parents first house, cars, your mail order husbands, etc. People are buying them. If and when they stop buying them the prices might come down, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
@nickfranko: what a surprise, an American not knowing about other places lol
I have 4 kids, full time job, and a side gig. I still don't have an ebike, I just ride slowly on shorter trails haha.
If you can’t pay for your rewards might I suggest bowling?
My ride fitness has hugely deteriorated in the last few years because thats life Im afraid. Im at the point where I actually dont enjoy riding as much. This type of bike is the exact sort of thing I would look at - perhaps a tad slacker on the ha for park duties. I would still call myself a mountainbiker. Something for which 30 years of riding the things qualifies me to do. Oh I also have long covid as well with decreased lung capacity. There is a life outside mountainbiking folks.
I'm not saying that in a judgemental way, but that's just the facts on the ground here. I don't have a problem with e-bikes (if I did, I'd only have about 2 people to ride with these days as everyone else locally is on an e-bike now), but you can't really talk about how much extra riding they allow you to do while trying to say that they don't lead to extra wear on trails.
People who hate e-bikes are not hating what opportunities and new riding options it creates, they hate the interface between e-bikes and bikes.
Its the e-bikers climbing like a bandit on a mainly downhill trail, its the e-biker screaming on your left at the hardest part of the climb, its NOT the e-biker shuttling up a road to make 3x the laps, its NOT the e-biker who understands trail direction and etiquette.
I'm glad I tried it because I was able to decide that e-MTB's were not for me... I'll take a few more minutes and calories burned on the climb in order to enjoy the descent so much more.
Anyways, I expect this offering from Trek is similar. It's trendy, and looks a lot better than their original E, but I'm sure still has the same 'ol problems as every ebike. I always was, but now more than ever firmly in the camp of "if it has a motor, it doesn't belong on human powered trails".
Ok, hear me out. Traditional bike trails are female toilets. Come on.
It was priceless
Like, don't kid youself fam.
Before someone says "but what about the old and injured" yes, maybe this makes sense for specific circumstances, but if you don't want to put effort in and you are able bodied, why not just go for a full blown e-bike that can actually hang all day? I get jealous when people pass me on climbs with E-bikes. This bike has the potential for me to pass them when they run out of juice, that would be embarrassing.
Also, there is a walk assist feature... because you might need to walk an Ebike?
"I rode several long rides in low settings and didn’t manage to get below 50%. These were 3-hr efforts with lots of climbing. I rode another loop with 1500 feet of steep climbing over 1.5 hrs on high and used about 60%. I was impressed by the battery life and haven’t yet exhausted the battery."
Where it would be good for someone with better knowledge to weigh in is around power calculation. 1Nm/sec = 1 W = 1 Joule. However that only works when talking about energy, which is not the same as applied force. RPMs come in to play here and because I dont do Ebikes I actually dont know how they are measuring force.If they are measuring force (torque) the same way a typical crank power meter is I dont know why we are talking about Nm to begin with since the standard is to convert that in to Watts. the short version is higher RPM more watts, but less applied force per revolution. so without knowing that info, its hard to say. if he was pushing 90 rpms up hill and got 50nm of torque thats crazy. if he was grinding up at 10 rpm its a lot less.
Work done (J) is equal to the torque multiplied by the angle rotated in radians (6.28 rad for one full revolution).
1Nm for one full revolution is 6.28 Joules.
Power is Work/time (J/s = W) so at 60 RPM (1 revolution per second) 1N/m is 6.28J/1s = 6.28W.
If max torque was delivered at 80rpm (no idea if this is true) the motor could in theory deliver roughly 420W which seem reasonable.
For comparison, the Levo SL puts out 72W on eco, 144W on trail, and 240W on turbo
I guess I should have paid more attention in school. I get that force and torque are not quite the same thing. However (and this is not on you) this still doesn't help determine how much relative or perceived "power" you get from this application. 1) where is the torque / energy output being measured. a cog somewhere, but is it at the crank spindle? If not that's fundamentally different than traditional power meters and the comparison is not apples to apples. Also, the pedaling RPMs matter greatly here. Higher RPMs at the same wattage will equal less torque. Looking at various ebike motors online they all state the max torque but not the RPM they are achieved. I know this isnt true, but without a clear statement it could be as low as 1rpm.
Small correction on the page you have linked. 1 Joule is equal to one Newton acting over (through) one linear meter. E.g. if it takes 1 Newtown to push a block for 1 meter I have expended 1 joule in work.
Yes, I expect most ebike motors are hitting max torque at relatively low RPM. That is typically how electric motors perform.
Perception of power is a weird thing that I don't think we are very good at perceiving.
Torque on an ebike motor is measured at the crank so it should align with a crank/pedal based power meter. In theory (other than some drivetrain efficiency losses) it doesn't matter where you measure power - gearing changes torque not total power.
Otherwise just crunch the numbers with what @dhridernz wrote, you'll get an idea of power outputs and torques at different rpm.
About comparing car torques and biking torque, the difference is not as huge.
An estimation is easy to get if we assume horizontal crank arm that you press with 100kg at the pedal (possible at low rpm) that's 981N applied at 0,175m so 172Nm.
...yeah man, you know... after spending 14k nobody will...
But as the world tips toward a global recession , energy & fuel prices rocket. £14k ******** bicycles with a high failure rate motor , & short lifespan battery that will be obsolete in a few years, hence with a low resale value, maybe aren't the golden goose these corporations think they are.
I wonder if a lot of bike companies might be over reaching and setting themselves up for a fall
So it works best on terrain that doesn't require a motor to get you up it?
1. someone who rides alone 95% of the time and wants a bit more boost, but for some reason doesn't want a full power Eeb.
2. someone who's married to someone like Henrique Avancini or Jolanda Neff or something but is a decent normal rider and wants to hang out with them occasionally.
3. like the above except you're old/have no legs below the knee/something else and just need a little bit more to keep up with your homies on regular bikes.
Otherwise, I don't get the point. "Full power" Eebs are a ton of fun to ride with friends, even moreso on trails that you wouldn't normally pedal. Getting to the top of a huge climb, going up stuff that is otherwise impossible on a regular bike, exploring places you wouldn't go on a core bike, enjoying a beverage, and laughing at each other when you mess up a stupidly steep section is the fun in ebikes. That's the fun of an Eeb for an otherwise "core" rider.
This thing sits in a middle ground where it's not exactly for one or another. You can't ride with your ebike buddies to have ebike related stupid smiles, and your regular friends will hate you unless you're one of the above situations.
Is this the future of bikes? Maybe. But I'm not sure. Sometimes goldilocks isn't right. I prefer to be on either end of the spectrum.
No, for real though. Your error is that you're trying to make sense of the situation from a core mountainbikers' point of view. Realistically, 95% these bikes will end up in middle-aged couples' garages who will take them out maybe twice a year to ride to the ice cream parlor and back. The actual target group of customers for this product will be absolutely fine with its performance.
I've seen this sale hundreds of times (I worked at a retail Trek location for most of covid): It's "normal" full powered ebikes for this at the moment. Know what drives those sales? Neighbors and friends, a lot of the time. And right now, they're on full powered ebikes, whether they're EMTB or commuter style - people just get what their group/friends have. And right now, that customer and all their peers have full power ebikes. You might be right, but I think that's a harder market for bikes like the Fuel Ex-E to penetrate when it's already dominated by full power e-bikes. They won't want less power than their buddies.
One I remember in particular. A middle age guy, not at all core rider came in, and our conversation went something like this:
"hey do you guys have the Trek Rail?"
"Yeah, we have a couple still and more on the way. Let's go look at them. We've got a couple Rail 7s and a couple 9.8s at the moment"
"Oh yeah, that's a cool bike, what side do you think I am, XL?"
"Hey, you know Jerry Smith?"
"Oh yeah, he's in all the time"
"He's my buddy, I'm gunna ride with him. What model did he get"
"Ok, I'll have to get the 9.8 then. Here's $12,000"
This conversation wasn't entirely unique (although it was paraphrased heavily). I can't see the guy I was talking to pick up the Ex-E until someone else does. It'll happen over time, sure, but it may be hard while the demographic you're speaking of remains on full power Eebs.
Has anything been sorted on this front? Battery rental seems the only real solution but I've no doubt that the batteries for different systems are proprietary?
Someone above said buying an ebike now will be a foolish endeavour, they are about to get lighter big time. This, dare I say it, with a slightly bigger battery is (in my opinion) going to become the way forward for many people me included. I see it as inevitable I'll get one in the coming years. When 2 young kids want to go riding but can't keep up with me or have the endurance I'll get an eMTB and a pair of Towhees and haul their heavy backsides up the hill for a few more laps when their energy is gone, no way could I do that on my old fashioned pedal bike.
However I am massivley put off by the sheer weight of these things, a mate has just got a Kenevo SL and says it has most of the benefits of an e-bike but sitll virtually handling like a trail bike. Count me in, but maybe when the're not a million pounds (I'm aware of the lower spec ones but I don't like lower spec, I want at least XT level shininess).
On the acoustic I can pedal up a particularly steep hill near me on my own fine. I can pull him up the same hill with a Towhee and it's harder work, but that's kind of the exact point of an ebike, to make a harder work job easier so you can go further... Besides I'm not talking pulling them up the north face of the Eiger, long windy fire roads their legs don't have the miles for.
Back to your cave, troll.
As for a lightweight e-MTB Field Test where we compare them side by side, that's tricky. There aren't quite as many of these bikes on the market, so orchestrating the timing when they are all relatively current would be tough, but that's certainly on our radar.
I'm gonna hold out for similar idea with removeable motor and battery. That would seem truly ideal.
Also more adjustability for fit, head angle, chainstay length and of course more power and less weight...
If computers and phones are any indication, these things will get better and cheaper quite quickly.
(Checks cost of new phones...okay better, maybe not cheaper)
'The first time you deplete the battery, which is bound to happen when you’re 8km away and the rain is coming down in sheets, you may lose power at up to 15%. If there’s one thing that Trek and TQ missed with the Fuel EX-e, it would be running the battery through this cycle before it leaves the factory to avoid a customer’s first ride experience, but maybe I’m just jaded.'
Ebikes are legit. I'm not lazy or unfit and was riding 3 to 5 days a week putting down a lot of mileage/elevation for a decade, before I got an overuse knee injury a couple of years ago. My riding output has decreased nearly to about 50%. Just got an ebike and just using it in the lowest eco-mode. After rides, my knee does not hurt. Ebikes surprisingly ride better than I thought given its heavy weight.
I think this Trek Fuel Ex-e is the direction I think the bike industry should go. They should at least have a category for light ebikes for riders that don't need a lot of assistance.
So I'm actually working harder than most of you because I'm pushing other 10 lb up the hill. But since I have a heart condition, if I ever get in trouble I can actually get home without dropping dead. Not only am I not cheating but I'm actually working harder than most of you, so quit whining about people who ride "e-bikes". We all have our reasons.
What I really would like to see is a Slash EX-e with it's long travel combined with this type of drivetrain (and weight). I also want to be able to buy an additional "half - battery" with half the Ah and half the weight for shorter rides, or to take as a spare for extra long rides.
I imagine they are amazing to ride and open up new opportunities.
I throw it in the gutter and go but another"
As for costs, well I'm an adult with a decent job and eMTB is my hobby, so cost isn't really a factor.
A really nice , new longboard can be had for $275.00 CDN.
i can buy a Ducati for the same money.....in fact there is a Panigale at my local dealer for a grand less
Pretty? Well, no.
Not sure if we’ll ever get a completely silent ebike but it’s nice that manufacturers are getting close.
You know that KTM's electric freeride mx bike costs like 8k, right?
You could have a real electric motocross for less money than one of these pathetically overpriced pretend-motocross.