Beefed up the parts to deal with the beatings that e-bikes get
Up hill or down, ebikes take an absolute beating, so the new Trek Powerfly 9 has a beefed up the parts package to handle the additional abuse.
Trek Powerfly 9 LT need to know
- Integrated side-loading battery pack offers a sleek functional design
- Trek’s ABP suspension pumps put 150mm travel, coupled with a 160mm Fox 36 fork
- Bosch Performance CX motor and 500Wh battery packs on all models
- Two new carbon version shares the same geometry and sizing as the alloy Powerfly LTs
Forget torque, watts and even mismatched wheel sizes… integration is the real buzzword in ebike tech right now. And unless you go it alone with a custom motor like Rocky Mountain, something very few brands are prepared to risk, integration is currently about concealing the power-source.
Now in its third generation the new Trek Powerfly LT 9 has one of the neatest battery concealing solutions we’ve seen to date. Not only is its drive-side loading internal battery a breeze to use, it means the down tube on the latest Powerfly LT doesn’t need to be disproportionally large to contain the battery, like say, the Shimano equipped BMC Trailfox AMP.
Dubbed RIB, short for removable integrated battery, and with the protective cover positioned to one side the battery collects way less dirt too, so you’ll get way less grief for plugging the battery in next to the kettle for a quick charge. It even has a handy integrated carry handle for lugging it around. Best of all, RIB leaves plenty of space for a bottle cage, something that wasn’t possible with the battery position on the previous Powerfly LT.
In keeping with the pack-less riding experience, tabs under the top tube also let you attach a custom Wolf Tooth B-Rad storage strap so you can have a tube and CO2 canister with you at all times.
Other than the new downtube that houses the RIB battery, and the addition of the storage tabs under the top tube, the 2019 Powerfly LT 9 shares the same travel, geometry and attitude as the bike that won our e-bike test last year. Numbers that include a slack 66deg head angle (high setting) for increased steering stability and a generous size range that stretches from 15.5in all the way to 21.5in. Times are changing fast in the world of e-bikes though, and the reach numbers on the Trek look dated next to the Vitus E-Sommet that won our recent Enduro E-bike test.
The Powerfly LT 9 also has relatively long chain stays, 474mm to be precise. And while these aren’t really on trend and may even upset the balance of the bike on the smaller frame sizes, they are a godsend for taller riders on the 19.5in and 21.5in bikes as they help load the front end on flat corners to stop it lifting on the steepest climbs.
And boy did we ride some steep climbs on the launch of the Powerfly LT 9 in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, terrain that an elite level XC racer on a sub 20lb hardtail would struggle to conquer. On the Powerfly LT 9 however we winched our way up huge mountains with the assistance of the Bosch CX motor driving the new SRAM NX Eagle 11-50t cassette. Stay seated and the Trek offers seamless power delivery, especially in E-MTB mode that automatically toggles between Turbo, Sport and Tour modes to match your effort. Out of the saddle however the Trek has more pedal induced bob than e-bikes like the Vitus and Canyon equipped with full size chainrings rather than a tiny 15t driver cog.
It was on the descents however that the Powerfly LT 9 showed its true colours. Planted and sure footed, it gives you the confidence to release your grip on the powerful 4-pistion Shimano XT brakes and push the reinforced 2.8in Bontrager XR4 tyres to their very limit. With gravity working its magic the new Trek Powerfly LT 9 is an absolute riot, but at £5,200 it’s an expensive way to get your kicks when the Vitus costs £3,599.99