14mph Uphill! Vital's First Ride on the New 2019 Trek Powerfly LT 27

Racking up the miles in Mammoth, California aboard Trek's newest bike that'll make you feel like superman.

14mph Uphill! Vital's First Ride on the New 2019 Trek Powerfly LT

We were recently invited to join Trek Bicycles at Mammoth Mountain Resort in California for the launch of a few updated products as well as delve into the world of e-bikes as it relates to trail access in the United States. Mammoth Resort was granted permission to allow the use of e-bikes on resort property – the first to do so in the USA. 

Trek has recognized a growing global trend as more riders abroad (outside the United States) are reaching for electric assist mountain bikes to explore deeper into the backcountry. Each year that it has been on the market, the Powerfly has received updates and this next iteration is no exception.

Powerfly LT Highlights

  • 150mm rear travel // 160mm front
  • OCLV Mountain Carbon model
  • Removable 500Wh Bosch PowerTube battery integrated into side of downtube
  • Water bottle mount
  • Pedal assist up to 20mph
  • Weatherproof and protected by Motor Armor skid plate 
  • Approximate range of 105 miles (170km) in Eco mode and 37 miles (60km) in Turbo mode
  • 4.5 hour charge time
  • Knock Block
  • Internal derailleur and dropper post routing

The newest Powerfly receives a host of minor updates including a new battery mounting system and full downtube integration. The entire lineup will now also feature a robust Eagle drivetrain, regardless of trim level or frame material. Yes, there is now a carbon Powerfly, saving 650 grams and offering a cleaner integration of the Bosch motor into the frame.

Powerfly LT 9.7 Plus - $5,999 USD

Powerfly LT 7 Plus - $5,499 USD

Powerfly LT Geometry

On The Trail

We hit Mammoth's pumice covered trails on the new Powerfly LT 7 Plus. All Powerfly models feature e-bike specific suspension but is set up using the very same methods as their non-assisted counterparts. Sag was set at 30% for the front and rear with the only debate among our camp being the tire pressures for the 2.8-inch Bontrager XR4 tires. Always a fan of firmer over softer, we aired up to 27psi. In our 25 miles of riding, we had no cause to go lower. 

We hit the trails and spent the majority of the day traveling all about the Mammoth resort boundaries. The pace to mid mountain averaged 14 miles per hour… uphill. Our initial climb went well and many wheelies were popped. Our group took a small detour to smash down the Shotgun Trail. This high speed DH run is chock full of blind hits, large rocks, and braking holes. The Powerfly LT smashed its way down the hill and spit us out on the bottom with no complaint. The remainder of our day continued much the same: easier-than-it-should-be climbs followed by super fun downhills.

The biggest gripe would have to be related to the Class 1 designation – the motor stops helping at 20mph. Many of the downhills at Mammoth had us going in excess of such speeds, grabbing some pedal strokes when exiting corners or rough sections left us with no assist and a fair bit of drag in the Bosch motor. It was in these moments that we were reminded of the bike’s (industry standard) weight and that if the motor isn’t helping, it is hindering. This is more the nature of the beast and not unique to the Trek line.

The beauty of a place such as Mammoth is the enormity of the grounds. A typical visit on your bike will have you traversing all around the mountain to link up various downhill trails. Generally, a trip to Mammoth doesn’t have you ripping back-to-back laps as much as exploring and taking time on each run. It is a fitting place to test the waters on the legitimacy of e-bikes on multi use trails. Mammoth is a large expanse of a place with a summit poking its head above the 11,000-foot mark. For those visiting (see also: not acclimated to elevation) the help of the Bosch motor for the climbs will be more than welcome. The soil is persistently dry and loose, making traction rather elusive; enter the 2.8 tire and girth of footprint it provides. 

The hope with this launch is that Mammoth can prove to be a model for other locations in California and the United States.  Currently, there are very few places where riders can legally ride their e-bikes. Should the Mammoth test run prove successful, perhaps the e-bike market in the US will gain some traction and consumer purchasing numbers will claw their way out of the single digit percentile. For now, though, only time will tell...

Visit www.trekbikes.com for more details.

Photos by Margus Riga

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