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Trek Launch The New Powerfly Range

29th June 2017

 

Trek Launch new Powerfly Platforms


 

Earlier in June, we headed across to Trek's latest press camp in Verbier, Switzerland to check out a new range of bikes. Unknowing of what they were, or what it was that we were getting ourselves in for, we jumped on the plane and two days later arrived in the small Ski Village of Verbier. Verbier is one of the leading Ski destinations in the world, but during the summer months, it isn’t a location we here in New Zealand hear a lot about in terms of it's summer season offerings.

Verbier - Moon

Unsure of what the bike was exactly, and looking up at the surrounding ridges, some 2000m’s up, I hoped like hell it was to be an E-Bike. Sure enough, my prays where answered! We headed down to the lower parking garage of the hotel to be greeted by a 100+ strong fleet of the new Trek Powerfly range.

 

However, this isn't the time to talk about this trip. Lets talk turkey on what Trek has launched!

Charge Up 

 Batteries galore! Must mean this is an E-Bike Launch - Photo: Sterling Lorence

 

For 2018, Trek has redesigned and reworked their Powerfly E-Bike Models. 

The range now includes several more hardtail offerings, 27.5" x 2.8" plus tyres, both a short and long travel full suspension option and many other trick new features. John Reilly, MTB Product Manager for Trek, explained the new powerfly was a big evolution in their range of E-MTB offerings. 

Press Conference

It's not all riding bikes and drinking beers. We spend a lot of time learning the ins and outs of the new products.

Pictured here - John Reilly talking shop on the new Powerfly - Photo: Sterling Lorence

 

In conjunction with some of Trek's leading athletes, product developers and engineers, they set out with the goal of redesigning the Powerfly range to be more integrated and feature much of the latest E-Bike specific technology available.

 

Range Highlights include:

  • Powerfly 9 FS (130mm)
  • Powerfly 9 FS Long Travel (150mm)
  • Powerfly 9 Hardtail (120mm front)
  • Smart Wheel Size - 29" wheels on larger frame sizes on all HardTails
  • Bosch Systems throughout - featuring the new E-MTB Mode
  • 500wh Batteries for longer ride time
  • Integrated on bike battery charging.
 
 

 

PF FS 9 - Main 

As we had a full selection of bikes on offer, I rode the Powerfly 9 Full Suspension. Trek NZ are stocking are FS 5 and FS 7. No 9 models (which are the same frame and drive, just different specs).

 

 

Riding the New Powerfly

Verbier Climb

Climbing high above Verbier, looking back down Val de Bagnes, and with France over the other side of the snow caped peaks - Photo: Cameron Mackenzie

 

My time in Verbier aboard the new Powerfly 9 FS was limited; I was lucky enough to get into town a day before everyone else and had the luxury of spending my bonus day out on the trails. At first, I grabbed the bike and went guns blazing to the top of mountains unsure of the type of terrain that laid ahead me.

Verbier Climb 2 

The Bosch System has been programmed with a new “Sport” Mode, which allows the rider to focus on riding, without the constant need to think about the assistance mode you are in. Sport mode, in short, means that when power is required it’s increased without rapid surging, and would avoid the motorbike like pace uphill in order to conserve battery. This meant less time messing about with the controls and more time spent focusing on the things that matter.

Powerfly - Wooden Bridge 

Verbier was home to an incredibly diverse mix of terrain. On my climb up I spotted this crazy north shore style bridge that spanned a huge rock field. Photo: Cameron Mackenzie

 

Initial adjustments like pressures and cockpit preferences were done before riding. But, once on trail, it clear that I needed to slacken out the head angle. Thankfully, like all of Trek's other full suspension offerings, the bike was equipped with the Mino-Link system. A small chip in the rocker link / seat stay joint that allows the rider to raise or slacken the BB height, intern adjusting the head tube angle by 0.5 Degrees. This was just enough to give the Powerfly a little more muscle on the descents.

 

Fly Catching

Perfect Alpine Singletrack. The Powerfly was at home on these trails. Photo: Sterling Lorence

 

This first day consisted of very little “good riding” but instead involved a self-destructive cocktail of Snow Hike-a-Biking; Possible new Swiss Grade 7 Trails (likely an uphill hiking trail) so left me feeling thinking the Powerfly wasn’t very capable. Day 2 however, was a large guided ride over the valley and into the following town via an incredible network of local knowledge trails, which helped to put any doubts I may have had behind me. If that wasn’t enough, an afternoon of pedaled up bike park laps helped to put the bike through most scenarios riders would encounter.

Snowboarding

A went searching for an Alpine Lake, but instead found far more snow than I bargained for! Photo: Cameron Mackenzie

 

Initially the Powerfly’s weight takes you back; at first glance it looks to only be big boned with its chucky tubing, but indeed has some serious mass. Once riding, the weight reminds you of a pre 2008 era Kona Stinky or other 38 pound early freeride bikes. Thankfully with the Pedal Assistance, weight isn’t even an issue when climbing, no matter what kind of wall you point it up. Heading downhill, the weight creates a very balanced and planted bike on trail, carrying its momentum impeccably. The clever placement of the motor and battery helps to keep weight low and the centre of gravity balanced resulting a bike that you can still comfortable lean into corners at pace on.

Smoke Selfie

A combination of the weight with long 437mm chainstays and 2.8” wide plus tyres makes the Powerfly track and hold tricky terrain without fault. It does require you to think smarter about your lines, as its very hard to simply ‘pop across’ onto another once you get ‘er lined up. Similar in a way to how you ride a 29er, it did require more physicality to maneuver the big rig like a 13kg trail bike.

Alpine 

At no point throughout my laps on laps of rocky, steep bike park trails did I stop and think that I wished I’d been aboard the 150mm LT version instead of the wildly capable 130mm beasty.

 

The Powerfly 9

Snow Park Up - LS

 My first bonus day may have consisted of getting very lost, and taking the Powerfly down a ski field. Lunch Time Park up. Photo: Cameron Mackenzie

 

A large factor, which swings in Trek favour when comparing the Powerfly to current market offerings, is the components spec'd on the bike. A big issue for me with others has been how other companies fail to choose a brake, which provides the stopping power you need with these 20kg+ machines. E-Bike motors produce close to 300 watts of power with up to 70kn of torque, (A lot more than an average human can) so having a specifically designed drivetrain like SRAM's EX1 with its tool-steel cassette will help increase the life of your drivetrain. Again, a site commonly overlooked with other offerings.

 

Aside from cutting a brake line on the rear rotor resulting in the rear brake going up in a cloud of smoke, the SRAM Guide RE brakes were exactly what every E-Bike needs. The brakes offered plenty of power, low noise and adjustment options. They stopped the bike with ease.

 

The front end of the Powerfly 9 (and most other offerings for that matter) is propped up by the new Fox Elite 34 E-Bike specific fork. With a stiffer chassis than its standard counterpart, the fork feels sturdy and seems not to flex in any situation. With a few extra tokens in the fork and shock to help increase the bottom out resistance, the 130mm of suspension felt bottomless and well suited to the powerfly’s capabilities.

LayUp1

 Left to Right - The new 500wh Bosch Battery tucked away in the downtube. The Bosch Motor Unit with a clever bash cover.

Layup2

 Left to Right - The Purion Display and Control unit. The Mino-Link chip to adjust BB Height.

Layup3

 Left to Right - Top Tube Detailing. The new Fox 34 E-Bike Fork with a stiffer chassis. All Powerfly's now feature Trek's KnockBlock System.

 

If you'd like to read more about the Powerfly 9 FS we rode, we'll have an in-depth review in the next issue of NZMTBR, due on shelves late July. 

 

Check out the NZ Powerfly range here: http://bit.ly/2tv53je