Whenever we discuss e-bikes on Mtbr, the comments section erupts with all manner of vitriol. It almost feels like we posted a video of ourselves clubbing baby seals. But the conversation is far different overseas. I know, I thought it was bs too, then I spent a few weeks in Europe. E-bikes are everywhere. In fact, there are entire tourist destinations that have been built around the concept of e-bikes, with trails for all ability levels that link to charming cafes with charging stations.
This tourism model was first explored by the town of Flims in Switzerland. Located in the Swiss Alps, the economy of the area is largely dependent on snow sports, but e-bikes have allowed them to expand their appeal as a summer destination.
For some perspective on how the other side lives (and e-rides), Trek flew Mtbr to Flims for the European launch of its Powerfly e-bike product line. This range is Trek’s most popular in Europe, and after nearly five years of production, they’re bringing a select number of models to the United States.
Trail Advocacy and Education
Now before you arm yourselves with pitchforks, remember that Trek is the same brand that just pledged to donate over $1 million to NICA over the next five years.
The crew at Trek understands that trail access in the U.S. has been a hard fought battle in many regions, so they’re working hard to educate their dealers. They’ve held webinars, hosted dealer seminars, and are creating a 30-minute course on eMTB products and issues for their Trek Certified Service course.
On the consumer-facing side, they’ve also partnered with People for Bikes to develop a map that highlights local eMTB trails.
With that PSA out of the way, let’s move onto the bikes. While the Europeans get 16 Powerfly models, the U.S. market will make do with four for now: three 29er hardtails and one full suspension set-up.
At the more affordable end of the spectrum is the Powerfly 5 and Powerfly 5 WSD, both of which retail for $3000. The women’s specific design (WSD) utilizes a different frame, that has a heavily sloped top tube for improved clearance. It also sports women’s specific saddle, bars, and grips. Both the male and female versions share a similar build spec, which includes a RockShox Recon fork, Shimano Alivio 9-speed drivetrain, and Shimano hydraulic brakes.
The Powerfly 7 will set you back an extra grand, but jumps you to a Shimano XT 11-speed drivetrain, RockShox Reba fork, and a larger capacity 500Wh battery.