Trek Powerfly LT 9 MY19 - First Ride

Jun 20, 2018 at 8:44
by Ralf Hauser  


While Trek might have been a bit late to the e-bike party, it seems they finally fully caught up to the rest of the market leaders with their latest generation of motor-assisted Powerfly models.

Having introduced their semi-integrated battery pack last year, the next step was to fully integrate the power pack. From now on, the Bosch PowerTube 500 battery is fully submerged in the side of the downtube in a user-friendly way.

Powerfly is still offered as three distinct families: Hardtail, Full Suspension (130 mm front and rear) and Long Travel (160 mm in the front, 150 mm in the rear), but now they’re also offering two carbon models in the Long Travel lineup.

The Powerfly Women's range consists of two full-suspension models and three hardtails, featuring some extra standover on medium, small and extra small frame sizes. There will still be some Powerfly models with the semi-integrated battery at a lower cost available.

Offering various aluminum and carbon versions with different specs to choose from each category, as well as multiple color options for certain models, there's something for every taste and budget.


Trek Powerfly LT 9 Details
• Intended use: all-mountain/trail
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 150 mm
• 66º or 66.5º head angle
• Frame material: Alpha Platinum aluminum
• RockShox Deluxe RT3 Re:aktiv rear shock
• Trunnion mount
• Boost hub spacing
• Weight: 24.15 kg
• Price: €5.699

Trek Powerfly LT 9.9 Details
• Intended use: all-mountain/trail
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 150 mm
• 66º or 66.5º head angle
• Frame material: OCLV Carbon
• RockShox Deluxe RT3 Re:aktiv rear shock
• Additional mounts on underside of toptube
• Trunnion mount
• Boost hub spacing
• Weight: 22.25 kg
• Price: €7.999
www.trekbikes.com

The Removable Integrated Battery (RIB) is Trek's solution to full integration of the battery into the downtube. By doing extensive user studies, Trek found that the driveside of the frame was the best location for easiest access to the power pack. That way it's not necessary to awkwardly reach underneath the down tube - the battery pack is well protected from mud and it is easily accessible when the bike is leaning against a wall or lying on the ground.


Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019
All you have to do is turn the included key (each bike has a specific key) and the battery pops out a few centimeters on the other side of the tube.

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019
Pull out the battery, fold out the carrying handle and lug it around. No bolts to loosen and nothing to lose on the one-piece battery including cover.

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019
There's a charging port on the bottom of the battery, but if you prefer just leaving the battery inside the bike, there's another charging port just above the Bosch engine on the bike's non-driveside.

Trek is still fully relying on Bosch motors throughout the lineup, trusting in their global service & support network as well as reliability. Every single Powerfly model is equipped with Bosch's Performance CX motor with 250 W and a max torque of 75 Nm, a 500 Wh PowerTube battery pack and Purion display.

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019


To improve the overall ride quality of their bikes, Trek has been looking at some of their e-bike specific components.

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek
Found on the FS 9 and LT 9, the Bontrager Powerline Wheels are an e-bike specific build made for plus tires, with 32 holes and thicker rim sections. The Rapid-Drive hub is designed to take the extra loads of the engine. New Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tires in 27.5 x 2.8" size with reinforced sidewalls should help to avoid flats. All LT and other select models are equipped with e-bike specific forks from Fox, RockShox or Suntour, with stouter chassis and special tunes.

Trek
Trek Powerfly MY2019
All LT models and the FS 9 are equipped with four-piston brakes and sintered pads. On top of that, the Powerfly LT 9.9, LT 9.7, LT 9 and FS 9 feature SRAM's new durable 12-speed Eagle steel cassette with a range from 11 to 50 teeth.

Trek
Trek Powerfly launch in Bad Ragaz Switzerland May 2018.
And last but not least, there's the revamped Bontrager Line Dropper post with durability improvements, replaceable keyways, better serviceability and most, importantly available travel reducers that make it possible to adjust the ride height and adapt the post to smaller sized frames and/or riders.


Trek Powerfly MY2019
The biggest advantage of the Carbon Powerfly models - apart from their super clean integrated look - is a weight loss of 650 grams, compared to the aluminum versions. Two models, the 9.9 LT and 9.7 LT are available. Only the 9.9 LT model features a Re:aktiv shock.


Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019
The LT 9.9 and LT 9 feature a RockShox Deluxe RT3 Re:aktiv shock with Trek's custom build for a faster responding performance.

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019
Another nice add-on are some extra water bottle cage mounts on the downside of the top tube, so you can mount aftermarket storage accessories. And yes, you can fit a regular water bottle cage inside the front triangle on the downtube as well.





In terms of development, what's the one question you'd like to be asked?


I guess what we focused on mostly. We did spend a lot of effort on finding out how somebody actually used the battery, if it was important to them to have access to the battery and to be able to take it somewhere easily. That was a lot of work, otherwise we could have just gone the normal route. Stick it underneath, have a bolt and be done with it. It would have been a lot simpler and easier to get to the finished product. Everyone is working on integration. Integration is kind of the price of entry into the e-bike market now. It has to look more like a traditional bike. But I think at that same time there's not been as much effort looking into why integration is important and how and why does the rider use the battery. I think that is something that we did and that is kind of special about it.

Is this also a reason why this model has been introduced only a year after the last iteration of the Powerfly?


Actually, the first generation that we did with the drop-in battery was our first step towards making it convenient. Actually, this has been going on since we started in 2014 with the external battery version that ran for two years. Back then we didn't have the small integrated battery from Bosch available to us, so we took the bigger battery and dropped it into the down tube. Still, the same idea was that it had a built-in handle and a cover. So the concept is still the same. We knew that the riders liked the idea of taking the battery out of the bike for charging. When we actually got a battery that could be integrated, we then looked at the position of where on the bike it made the most sense. Being on top was still okay, but then what about the water bottle. On the bottom is common, but that's also where a lot of dirt comes into play. So we ended up on the driveside.

Did the weight distribution change with the system?


The weight distribution for the battery is pretty similar to what we did before when we were dropping the battery in. The difference is how all the electronics fit inside the downtube. There are pieces that have to go below and above for it to work. The old battery was shorter and now it's spread out a bit further to where the handle used to be, but that distribution is pretty small.

There's a slight difference in geometry with a 5 mm lower bottom bracket height on the carbon model, compared to the aluminum. What's the reason?


We were able to rotate the motor a bit, as we had more room to move the motor around and put it up higher into the frame. There are no forgings with carbon as we were able to make in-frame carbon pieces that fit much closer. By rotating it, we were able to make it even more aesthetically pleasing and give it more of a one-tube downtube look. But no matter what you do when you rotate a Bosch CX motor, you have that bump on the bottom. That's why it's flat on the aluminum models, to get the maximum bottom bracket height. To make sure you have enough pedal clearance to the ground we put 165 mm cranks on the carbon bikes and there are 170s on the aluminum.

What's the amount of sag that you're recommending for the LT?


Since we're seeing that e-bikes generally generate a different type of riding we're seeing that suspension needs to be setup differently. The pedaling efficiency isn't as big a deal anymore. The sweet spot is sagging more into the travel. Initially, we recommended 30 to 35 % but now we recommend 30 to 40 % sag, with the range also based on the rider. An inexperienced rider can go with more sag and if you're an experienced rider, you're better off in the 30 to 35 % range.

How much can I tune the Re:aktiv shock? Can I use volume spacers?


You bet. We do start with a token in there and you can run up to three. The valve of Re:aktiv is totally independent of the air spring tuning. Instead of being a flat shim it's actually curved. So it's preloaded and it opens and closes for your platform much more instantly than a traditional flat shim. That's a real basic explanation. But it feels much more active, and that's independent of the air spring.










Exploring the trails around enduro pro René Wildhaber's hometrails in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, it quickly became apparent that the Powerfly LT likes it soft in terms of sag. Depending on your riding style, the sweet spot should be somewhere between 30 and in some cases even up to 40 percent. That way, the rear end can track the ground effectively and deliver plush suspension performance. 150 mm of rear wheel travel and 160 in the front seem to strike a nice balance for all kinds of riding applications, but if you had to stuff it into a segment, I guess the trail segment would be it. Never does the thought occur to flip the lever of the rear shock's platform into any other position than fully open – on the ups or the downs. While you'd be able to see a slight bob of the shock from the motor-supported turns of the pedals during the climbs, you simply don't notice any of it while the bike is in motion, swallowing up obstacles under its wheels.

Thanks to all the software updates from Bosch over the past few months, the system's overall performance now feels quite balanced. There's plenty of power to draw from, but in settings other than Turbo the power is engages (and disengages) in a controlled way. The EMTB setting (there's Eco, Tour, EMTB and Turbo to choose from) seems to strike a nice compromise of active assist and not sucking on the battery like a starved leech. Running in Turbo either supports your ride to a point where you don't feel like having to put in hardly any energy at all, or boosts you up silly steep climbs that would never be possible on a regular bike.

Being a big proponent of steep seat angles for highest pedaling efficiency, in case of the Powerfly LT, with its motor support it doesn't seem to matter that the stats list it at only 73 degrees (or 73.5, depending on the Mino Link geometry adjust setting).


Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019
Thanks to the super long 475 mm chainstays of the Powerfly LT and a low front end, the front wheel stays glued to the ground until there's a wall building up in front of you.

With the weight of the bike heavily pushing into the corners on the downhill, like all e-bikes do, a quick turn of the compression dial on the smoothly working Fox 36 Float suspension fork with Grip damping system can actually make a world of difference in terms of handling. By just closing the dial about a third of the way, a hell of a lot more mid-stroke support is added, keeping the front end high, even when grabbing a handful of front brake – Shimano's XT stoppers with four-piston calipers are a great fit for the bike with plenty of power and even modulation, by the way. One of the nice things about the Grip system is the fact that by adding more compression damping, the fork still operates smoothly throughout the travel, matching the rear end's performance nicely.

Overall, the Trek Powerfly LT 9's suspension with Re:aktiv shock delivers confidence to let the bike fly down the hill. Together with the extra weight, the wheels stay firmly planted, gobbling up smaller and bigger hits alike. As it mostly happens with e-bikes, it's only when the wheels leave the ground on a jump or drop where the slight imbalance in direction of the front end from the extra weight of the battery pack and motor asks for some response from the rider. But it's nothing that the rider doesn't get used to, and adapts to, very quickly.

The Powerfly LT 9 is happy with being thrown into corners and willingly follows a rider's weight distribution, although getting it around tight corners takes a bit of an extra effort with its long wheelbase and chainstays (although with a bit of an effort, even picking the back wheel up in tight switchbacks is possible). I'll take that every day of the week though, in order to enjoy the bike's formidable stability on fast and rougher descents.

Trek Powerfly MY2019

Obviously, the harder you push the bike, the more you'll ask from the suspension. There is one volume spacer installed in the Fox Re:aktiv rear shock, rolling out of the factory, with the option to install two more spacers to make it more progressive, mainly at the end of the stroke. If I spent more time riding the bike in gnarlier terrain, I have the feeling that I'd add one or two of those extra spacers to the shock.

While I only spent a few minutes on the parking lot with one of the OCLV carbon models, the difference in weight was definitely noticeable and awarded with a snappier handling. Weighing the bikes myself, the scale showed 24.15 kg for the LT 9 and 22.25 kg for the LT 9.9 without pedals. While the LT 9 aluminum and LT 9.7 carbon model with lower spec carry the same price tag of €5.699, the top-of-the-line LT 9.9 is listed at €7.999.

Surprisingly enough, I haven't seen anyone with punctures on the media rides I've been on. So either everyone was running higher tire pressures on the 2.8" Plus tires to begin with, in order to avoid any flats, or the reinforced casings from Bontrager's XR4 tires really do make a difference. I started on the safe side, but kept lowering the pressure over the duration of the two days without running into trouble. Having said that, while there were some rock and root sections strewn in on the rides, it was nothing compared to an area like Finale Ligure, where the tires would really be put to the test. And while the traction and cornering grip seemed solid on the mostly tacky soil that we spent time on, I wonder how their compound (that felt rather stiff to the touch) is going to hold up in wet conditions. So the final verdict is still out.

Trek Powerfly MY2019
Trek Powerfly MY2019

Removing the battery really doesn't require an engineering degree. A gentle turn of the key and the battery pops out a few centimeters. Pull it out a bit further and the handle on top of the battery appears, so it's simple enough to grab, carry to the most convenient power outlet and charge it at the plug on the bottom of the battery. Since you can also charge the battery while it's still attached to the bike – an inlet is mounted just above the engine – you get the best of both worlds. As advertised, the sideways removal keeps most of the dirt on the downtube and simplifies the access.

Thanks to the updated look, especially on the two carbon models, the Powerfly now does look like a Session (haha), and that's a really good thing. Plus, it holds a water bottle, for those who just can't live without one.


bigquotesThe new breed of Powerfly is well thought out, especially with its simple access to the battery, and performs neck-at-neck with the best - in look and performance. The LT model has a decent amount of travel, which surprisingly feels like more than what the numbers suggest when rocks and roots start littering the trail. Everything feels in place and there are no annoying peculiarities to stand out and hamper the ride, providing you with an e-bike that leaves a broad smile on your face after having eaten up long or steep climbs without effort and having the responsive chassis down the hill in no time.Ralf Hauser







74 Comments

  • + 61
 I scrolled so fast to the comment section that the kinetic energy fully recharged my wireless mouse.
  • + 5
 Haha!!!
  • + 2
 Does your mouse have a battery fully integrated into its downturn for ease of use?
  • + 1
 yup. if its an ebike the comment section is more worth reading than the artilce itself.
  • + 50
 This is sad, Pinkbike, really sad... Frown
  • + 14
 Looks like a... piece of shit.
  • + 2
 So eDuro
  • - 1
 Fake news people, build a wall between us and it.
  • + 34
 Second Elektro/Motorbike today on PB... I thought it was about real biking here...
  • + 12
 If you don't like ebikes and don't want them on here then STOP OPENING THE E-BIKE STORIES! The more you click the more they'll multiply! This is the last one I'll visit. Unless it's something really hideous. Or has loads of comments. Or WAKI links to it from another story...
  • + 18
 @Altron5000: nah sorry. I'm here to have a moan as well. It's not the same sport as mtb, and doesn't belong on this website. Much like you wouldn't see a road bike here.
  • + 12
 @Ozziefish: Are you kiddin? When I go out for a ride, in ECO I can shred with the non powered boys. Having a power hour in EMTB mode, I can have a party with the powered people. Or I go with my enduro and my wife with the powered on on the same trails. So don't tell the internet "its another sport". Thats ridiculous.

Life must be pretty sad if you guys only came here for emtb bashing, get out and ride!
  • + 6
 @tom5: sorry, when i go out and ride, i like it real, not this e-crap biking shit...
  • + 3
 @khakiflame: you are a brave man, completely fine if you keep it real, but who cares....
Like those days when everyone cried: Enduro is gay, 29ers are only for losers.bla bla bla. The story repeats its self every time but no-one wants to remember.
I am also fine with this people who are not able to see the possibilities, instead of bashing, hating, trolling against something they don't understand. I feel sorry for you. I always expected more open minded people in this young sport, but no way, Wochenende have more hardliners than every other old sport has.

This is my first season with an EMTB and I am as fit as never before, I was able to drop my body fat again from 14 to 10 %, although I was already fit before, training in this high pulse areas was never possible on normal enduros.
At all, so stop crying when you see an EMTB post, just scroll over it if you don't like it. What a kindergarten
  • - 1
 @tom5: nice one , but you said it, who cares?
good for you, your body fat drops, but is it dedicated to your emtb? and a young sport?
if you only can cycles with electric help, than you should look for another sport...
  • + 0
 @khakiflame: so we got no discussion point here. Just stop hating emtb related stuff just to make you feel better and push your ego, because you don't NEED it. It is an option, not a NEED. It is a hobby, nothing which keeps me alive.
No one needs 300 hp/ps cars, but they are cool and exist. So what, the world keeps on turning.
I am tired of this anonym hate an troll thing here.
  • + 28
 Looks like I am the only one who welcomes ebike reviews and have bought one..... sure in a few years most of you will have one and will be eating a large slice of humble e pie.... same as all the "26" inch for life.....
  • + 2
 That depends on what you ride for - I ride for fitness and the esteem that sweat and cramps brings when knowing I've put in 100%. If an eMTB makes my riding easier, well then I'm just cheating myself.
  • + 4
 Why would I ever want an ebike? If I wanted a powered bike in order to be able to go faster, I'd never have sold my motocross bike.

Now there are electric powered ones, too. So if I should ever decide that I don't want to put in the effort anymore, I would always go for an (e)motorcycle, not some lame hybrid. Why go 25 km/h, when you could also go 80 with exactly the same technology?
  • + 0
 Nothing particularly humble about a £6k bike. I think more likely I'd be riding a KTM or something for that money (or even half of it) and be more in my element than this thing will be on both MTB and MX trails.
  • + 2
 @FuzzyL:
Why would I ever want an ebike? The Answer is simple for the generation that participated in the initial development of MTB; Age and Health. We are still the same people, just not the same bodies.
  • + 24
 Get ya flaming arrows and shoot me down, that thing has some pretty neat features i reckon, whilst in have no inclination to throw cash down on the "E" experience i occasionally check them out to see what the go is. My brother had cancer and the chemo and operations were taking it out of him big time, he bought an e bike and was shredding with us, it was a god send, no one on the trail voiced a negative opinion about him riding one. I guess a keyboard could be the catalyst for the hate attitude.
  • + 5
 I think for those who are impaired in their ability to ride, aMTBs are a revelation and an extension - nay reincarnation - of their riding life. But for anyone who treats it as a convenience commodity to make cycling less about personal gains and more about strava times, it's a rot to the community.
  • + 27
 Please stop
  • + 19
 Still no. In 30 years in the this sport I never have been against any type of bike or type of riding. E-bikes is where I draw the line.
  • + 3
 Thing is I would be ok with articles about it if they were in their place ...then I could ignore them Big Grin
  • + 20
 This is not cycling.
  • + 3
 for the same reason that motorbiking is not cycling.
  • + 14
 A bit of a disappointing showing from the ebike hate brigade. I expected more. Im interested to know how many of you have actually ridden on a trail with an ebike? I also don't think you guys are a representative sample of Pinkbike users. This is not a moral issue. If you don't want one of these bikes, move along, because clearly the market is booming for ebikes of all types.
  • + 9
 Worse looking motorcycle ever.
  • + 10
 damn it's ugly
  • + 3
 either there are kids complaining about why pinkbike is showing articles about ebikes, or some really really premature grownup people! I mean no one is forcing you to read it or buy one, they know this bike will be in market for the rest of our lifes and gonna grow up. mark my words nearly everyone here gonna buy one someday, when we see 2-3 cool videos of Matt Hunter doing cool shit with them we all gonna soft down and think differently. Relax if it's not for you right now, just ignore it.
  • + 7
 Why does Pinkbike think regular mountain bikers want to read about eMTBs?
  • + 3
 i do want to read about ebikes
  • + 8
 Because of course they do. Not everyone certainly, but for instance, from the 4-5 guys I know with dentist bikes, one has already bought a Cube emtb just because he has the money for it.
  • + 6
 Because I do? Pretty keen to add one to my stable.
  • + 1
 If you don't like it don't read it and comment on lol
  • + 1
 Because there are for example people like myself.
  • + 1
 Jesus H Christ ,it's simple, don't fucking read about them!
  • + 3
 The perfect tool for poaching those sweet walking only trails - less noisy than a regular motor bike and stealthy green paint job so you can just chuck it in a bush when a big bunch of hikers are going past. Assuming you haven't just bowled through the lot of them.
Not sure about those brakes though, would think a 23kg+ motor bike would warrant saints at least.
  • + 5
 Still waiting for Boston Dynamics to reveal the electrically assisted hiking machine, and then all their users arguing "it's the same sport".
  • + 2
 In a phew years I will get one cause time is gonna catch up ,I can’t be against them ,they help older and others with phisycal problems to enjoy riding for many km and with better prepared friends so what’s the problem ?you wanna buy them buy them,you don’t,don’t ,easy
  • + 4
 Soooo. Im not for ebikes. But i have a question. Whats the diference in shuttling up in the back of a truck or taking a lift all day long?
  • + 0
 The difference is like riding a motorcycle and being passenger, who will ride a mountain bike in a minute
  • + 4
 Is there a pub bike specific e-bike yet ? That could be a viable use for them
  • + 6
 Nope. I'm out.
  • + 2
 Please @pinkbike. Lets get real. Not many people here want to see 2 articles about e-bikes a day.
Time to create a second website where you can put all that stuff. Maybe chock fatbikes in that website too!
  • + 2
 I dont get the need for ebike specific bits(forks wheels tyres brakes etc) for a bike that only weights 7 kg more than a normal bike.
Yet I dont need specific bits when I weight 30kg more than my mate?
  • + 4
 it sucks ! even for a ebike it sucks,the color sucks the whole thing sucks!!
  • + 4
 Ah let them come but maybe add the ability to filter them out from settings or something.
  • + 1
 When there's an ebike article i go straight to the comment section, look at all the comments by self centered egotistical cynics and immediately feel better about myself that im not one of them. So thank you.
  • + 0
 You go in the comments to compare yourself to others and feel better. You are one of "them" only in a different way. You're welcomeSmile
  • + 4
 At least the looks of ebikes turn in the right direction
  • + 4
 My guesses are that key won't last much...
  • + 2
 You want less ebike coverage? Stop reading and commenting on it. Just saying.
  • + 3
 Keep um coming: maybe in a few years time I get me one of Them!
  • + 3
 wow, there´s 136.776 € lying on the ground in the last picture.
  • + 1
 The orchestrated spewing of hate here give me faith in the sport, and a warm ticklish feeling in my heart. Keep it up dear pinkbikers Smile
  • + 0
 I'm hanging out for the soon-to-be-released e-spinbike. Then I'll show those other gym fukkers that sneer at my puny calves...
  • + 3
 Looks like a Dyson
  • + 2
 clumsy electric motorcycle for the pinkbike employee of the month
  • + 1
 Portable handlebar mounted EMP - now there is a crowdfund I would get fully get behind
  • + 1
 Wait, is this a integrated bottle opener? On the photo right next to the photo of the display?
  • + 1
 There should be an over 50's Pinkbike sister website for this shiz
  • + 1
 Not sure how long pinkbike has been around, it's been a couple decades I believe. Over 50's was pinkbike's original audience, some of us are still here.
  • + 1
 The army green, black and yellow colours are cool though.
  • + 2
 7500...lol
  • + 1
 That is one *fugly* mother.....
  • + 1
 I love my singlespeed steel hardtail
  • + 0
 wat de fak am doing here.
  • + 1
 YAAAAWN...superfly .. Razz
  • + 0
 so much hate.... I'm in.
  • - 1
 I love e-bikes, but this is a bit of a minger...
  • - 2
 Want!

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