Trek Powerfly FS 9 2018 - First Look

Jun 29, 2017
by Paul Aston  



Trek's newest version of the Powerfly FS promises to be one of the best thought out EMTB's coming to market. Utilizing Bosch's latest integrated 500wh battery, intuitive EMTB mode and burly componentry better suited to the demands of assisted bikes and their increased speed and trail bashing brutality.

This Powerfly FS 9 is the 130mm travel machine, but there are also hardtails in the range, women specfic builds and the longer travel LT version with 150mm travel. The metallic silver FS 9 in question hits the shelves at €5999.





Trek Powerfly FS 9 Details

• Intended use: trail / all mountain
• Wheel size: 27.5 +
• Rear wheel travel: 130mm
• Bosch CX motor
• 500wh integrated battery
• EMTB power mode
• MSRP: €5999
www.trekbikes.com



Frame Design


The new Powerfly features many of Trek's staple taglines and acronyms including the Active Braking Pivot, Mino Link and re:AKTIV shock technology. The frame also welcomes the integrated Knock Block headset and StraightShot downtube found on the Slash, integration continues with the Bosch battery being nestled inside the down tube. Integrated doesn't mean fixed, and with the security key, the battery can still be popped out of the frame easily for charging.


The Powerfly features the same Knock Block...
...and Straight Shot downtube found on the Slash.


I'm not that bothered about integrated batteries, but mountain bikers like pretty things and this latest Bosch battery integrates into the down tube. More pretties.
Trek have also added this burly bash plate for when things get rowdy.


Sport/EMTB setting gives the rider the best of all modes without having to lift a finger to press a button. The Bosch Purion display is simple to use and to the point.



Build


EMTB's take more beating than a standard mountain bike, so it's nice to see some added bulk on this Powerfly FS 9. Bontrager's specific Powerline 40mm wheelset has been strengthened to adhere to their downhill testing standard. The fork of choice is the beefed up EMTB optimized Fox 34, this means the steerer, crown, and stancions are stronger to cut down on fore-aft flex from the added bike weight. SRAM supply their Guide RE brakes with the bigger, older style Code caliper and the sterling EX1 drivetrain is the only sensible, but pricey choice if you have motor assistance.



Geometry


Trek Powerfly FS Geometry

Trek Powerfly FS Geometry
Trek Powerfly FS Geometry



EMTB's are not the same as normal mountain bikes, so it's good to see a lack of desperation from Trek to make their bike 'just like a normal bike.' Chainstays have deliberately been left lengthy at 474mm for climbing ease, the bottom bracket doesn't drag on the floor thus saving crankarms and pedals from continuous ground smashing and the front ends are roomy.


The Mino-Link adjusts the bikes geometry, around 10mm at the bottom bracket height and half a degree at the seat and headtube angle.






Our European team is currently putting a number of EMTB's through their paces and getting to grips with the nuances of these machines, so we won't go heavily in-depth here. But, the standout feature of the Powerfly for me was the super long chainstay and sensibly positioned saddle above the bottom bracket. With an extra few hundred watts of tireless power, EMTB's have a significantly different climbing characteristic than a solely human powered machine, this makes constant wheelie-ing and front wheel wander an issue on many bikes and the Powerfly is the closest so far to solve this issue. Secondly, the -24mm bottom bracket drop on the 130mm travel bike I rode cleared rocks and roots well, with an EMTB timing pedal strokes is more difficult due to the increased climbing speed and the need to keep the pedals turning to keep the motor spinning and engaged, lower is not better here.

Bosch's EMTB mode is a big winner too, and luckily for any early electric bike investors is available as a software upgrade to any Bosch powered bike. This mode gives you the best of all power levels – spin the cranks gently and it will give minimum assistance, employ some beans and the assist will shoot up to the maximum. This intuitive setting simplifies technical climbing by allowing the power assist to be manipulated on loose surfaces, around tight switchbacks and to boost up steep grades without changing modes.

SRAM's EX1 drivetrain is currently the only reliable choice for EMTB. The eight-speed system has the smoothest shifting action under power, the wide steps between gears mean fewer shifts while the motor fills the power transfer gap that human legs alone would struggle to span. The steel cassette and wider chain should add durability and the single gear change per push cuts down on clanging when trying to change 2/3/4 gears at once.

In general the Powerfly's spec is spot on, except the 60mm stem was dropped instantly, and the 750mm bar was narrow for us. The 2.8 Nobby Nic's from Schwalbe in their Perfomance casing are just asking to be punctured on a heavyweight EMTB, so we would swap these out too. Double Down casing plus-sized tires should be available soon from Maxxis and that would be our shout for something more durable and predictable.


Trek Powerfly Launch in Verbier Switzerland
Braking into hairpins, going uphill, yeah EMTB.


Like all the EMTB's we are testing so far, descending is easy thanks to the huge stability and grip given by the added motor and battery weight. Even this 130mm travel trail bike has much more capability and confidence than an equivalent motorless bike. The Powerfly struck a good balance and we are looking forward to getting one in for deeper testing.










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.



MENTIONS: @trek




49 Comments

  • + 27
 I guess there's a place for those somewhere, but it really annoys me when I see them on the lifts.

Maybe I'm just close-minded, but you've got a motor...go and ride up.
Oh, the battery died and now you can't pedal up your 20kg bike!? Well tough shit...

And what's the appeal for the 20 year olds? If you have health issues or you are at an age where pedaling uphill is a problem - I've got no problem with that. I'd probably get one when I'm 70. But perfectly healthy young individuals...I don't get that.

/rant over
...shit I'm getting old.
  • - 13
flag fiatpolski (Jun 29, 2017 at 7:55) (Below Threshold)
 Yes, you are close minded.
  • + 4
 for the record, yes, I've tested a few on short cross-country sections at bike shows.
  • + 13
 @Milko3D:
"You are old, sick or rusty ? Pedaling uphill is not anymore a problem thanks to SRAM Beaver® 22-70 combined to the new antiAGe ™ 20t carbon chainring technology. Available in July 2018 for only 1899$"
  • + 7
 Actually, the only kind of place where I believe an e-bike belongs is a DH bike park without a lift (because with a DH bike, nobody would pedal uphill anyway, so it just saves you some time you'd otherwise spend pushing it).
But getting a trail e-bike so that you don't have to make any effort during uphill climbs is just degenerate.
  • + 3
 I'd rather see them using the lifts and paying for them than using the eMTB to get a dozen runs in for the price of parking. BikePark Wales already started charging extra for eMTBs in response to the number of people turning up and whining up the hill congesting the trails and reducing revenue for the park.
  • + 0
 @gkeele: That's a good point. The thing is BPW can keep it under control in a way due to the location of the park and how it's ran. But places like Cannock, closer to civilization and with many ways to enter the trails apart from the main entrance might be less successful in doing so.

Anyway, my rant was more philosophical, you know, there's something noble about getting somewhere on your own powers even if it's just a couple of hundred meters vertical to the trailhead versus riding an e-moped up.

What really scares me is that _wild_ places will restrict bike access because of our 'E' brothers since it's hard to separate us.
  • + 3
 Hang on wait, people are buying E-bikes and then putting them on lifts!?!?
  • + 2
 @Andy-ap: You won't believe how popular e-bikes are on the continent, and since there are lifts on every hill - yes, they do.
I guess that's less of an issue on the island since there are only a couple of lifts way up north.
  • + 18
 Dear Trek, I think it's time to update your geometry chart design.
  • + 11
 Not interested! No hate, just not interested.
  • + 7
 Much more capability? I rode E-MTBs and If a 20Kg Bike is more cappable under your ass than the same bike with halft the weight, you certainly should ask yourself what went wrong. More weight is not making the bike more capable, that is simply a misconception.
  • + 2
 That might depend on the track
  • + 2
 Its about the centre of gravity, if it lower (like here due to the motor) the bike will feel more stable at speed, if you have super low water bottle mounts, add a full bottle and see if you notice a difference - may be slight but its there. Its the same reason why you get low on the bike going round corners etc rather than standing straight up. But yeh as SleepingAwake said, on mellow flow trails the motor will help but wont feel as 'poppy'.
  • + 1
 @lozzerbiker: Sure sounds good, just doesn't work. Ever rode one? if its downhill and just a bit rocky, no E-Bike will handle like a light and efficient trailbike. If you have the suspension to back the weight up who knows. A Fox 34 and a 20+ kg bike? Not doing the trick
  • + 3
 It's like riding a fat chick. Oops, I misspelled bike.
  • + 10
 You should rename Pinkbike to E-Pinkbike.
  • + 8
 or Pinkybike.
  • + 15
 They should just create a separate site like mtb-news.de did. It's called emtb-news.de!
  • + 7
 @Sontator: Nailed it. Pink-eBike
  • + 4
 I'm going to head to Pinkbike to check out the latest in the eBike world... said no one ever. Well okay, maybe just me. But seriously, is the intent to become a leading source on eBike news? Because right now, a random article here and a random article there on ebikes is not likely increasing your readership base by much (conjecture). Instead, your most regular readership base probably feels a bit trolled... or maybe that's just me again. But honestly, it's a free website for us users so can't really complain... just break the wrist and walk away whenever I see an eBike headline/review. I'm truly not trying to be a jerk (in case I was perceived as such).
  • + 0
 Pink bike is not about trolling or becoming a leading source on eBike news. It is about money, not an interest of manority. You should know that, you are from USA Smile
  • + 1
 @Fookie: Looks like you've exposed yourself as the troll. Oh, and you should really proof-read your posts first... it's "interest of majority"... not "manority".
  • + 6
 Braking in to hairpins, going uphill, yeah... 'cause we do not annoy hikers enough as it is...
  • + 4
 Good job we were riding official mtb climbing trails ;-)
  • + 5
 I like the colour of this bike. Nothing else
  • + 1
 Three lads that all looked youngish and healthy (but then i wouldn't know really) went flying up the hill last time i was at Gisburn and they must of been doing about 15mph uphill. But at least one of them was still sweating away looking out breath.

Even the wife said aren't they cheating. Isn't that a bit pointless?
  • + 2
 They're good for Bike park workers carrying tools, rangers, journos, photogs carrying their gear round trails. They have a place.
  • + 3
 inb4 flame war which i dont really understand
  • + 4
 Please. Stop
  • + 2
 They will stop if the ebike stories don't get enough clicks and comments. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
  • + 3
 I'm just here for the comments...
  • + 9
 I got myself a pack of popcorn, 3 cans of Guiness and a church choir of 12 year old boys singing Ave Maria. I am ready to watch the world burn.
  • + 1
 @trek at $6k you could at least fit a performance elite, as there's $150 between them at retail, so OE pricing is going to be near identical.
  • + 1
 Some great pics there though. Can we have some more content from Dan. Love his Trail Ninja stuff!
  • + 1
 I love eMTB, but why have short travel eBikes?
Why would you not have the maximum travel?
  • + 2
 I'll take one to rampage.
  • + 2
 Can you bunny hop on this bike? (serious question)
  • + 3
 Sorry, not old enough...
  • + 2
 Looks like a Slash
  • + 1
 I want to see some trials on that thing. I'm old I know.
  • + 0
 I think that at this moment bmc or mondraker have more advanced geo and motor (shimano)
  • + 1
 Finally a decent 130mm trail bike... oh wait.
  • + 2
 In all honesty: FTS!
  • + 1
 Oh boy...
  • + 8
 Humm guess I can't edit so here goes:

Look Pinkbike I get it. You guys fear that e-bikes will take over, and that you will be screwed if you don't jump on it now. I'm saying is if that happens you're screwed anyway, cause the dominant mtb media outlet will be people who love e-bikes instead of merely tolerating them. So have a goddamn spine and write what you really think.
  • + 2
 @Trailsoup:
and what if they actually wrote what they think?
why so much hate?
  • + 0
 U.G.L.Y it ain't got no alibi .. it's ugly .. just saying

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.060725
Mobile Version of Website