I won’t lie to you, the thought of something making my 12km commute even marginally easier has always sounded tempting. As committed as I am to riding my bike to work there are those days (and they come more often than I’d like) where I can’t help but think that I wish I was on an Ebike. So when I was offered the chance to try out one of Trek’s Powerflys eMTB as a commuting machine I jumped at the opportunity. Finally I’d find out just how much easier it would be!
Now to start with the elephant in the room – using an eMTB for commuting rather than trails riding seems a little off. Why not just go and buy one of the many Hybrid/Urban focussed Ebikes out there? The truth is that my main thought is why not have both? If I had a set of slicker tyres to use on the commuting days and a more trail-ready set for use on the weekends I could put the eMTB to most use and also do something to tackle N+1.
The specific model I rode was Trek’s Powerfly 5. It pairs Shimano’s workhorse Deore MTB groupset with a Bosch 250 watt motor. The ride was super smooth with seamless shifting only helped by the motor taking some of the kinetic force being put through the drivetrain. The motor comes with a 500 Wh battery tucked away neatly into the downtube. It’s profile and ease of access are a real boon to the Powerfly, keeping that traditional MTB look to the frameset. It also comes with a tidy Bosch ‘Purion’ display on the handlebars to control the modes available specifically designed so that all the controls are accessible without losing contact with the handlebars.
Besides the electronic aspects, the actual bike itself felt amazing. The hardtail design with 100mm travel on the Rockshox forks allows for a super comfortable ride without losing much in terms of ability to keep up speed. On top of this the frame comes standard with mounts for racks and mudguards, making it the ideal choice for commuting throughout the year.
My findings were pretty simple really, e-bikes are amazing. This one seems to take off with the slightest of input from my legs and holds its speed very well, particularly with the slicker tyres I fitted. And yes, there will always be a sense of feeling like I’m cheating somewhat but that really pales in comparison to the smug feeling of getting to work quicker and less sweaty. There is always going to be a place for non-motorized bicycles and they deserve that place. But I can’t help but feel that if we are to deal with the problems our cities face today, namely congestion and pollution, that e-bikes are going to be the biggest factor in making a change there. No, they’re never going to be as light as a traditional road bike but the motor easily makes up for the added weight.
When everything else is factored in, it’s a no-brainer. Ebikes are here and they’re here to stay. I can’t wait to get out on one more often!
All our Trek Powerfly’s now come with an optional free ‘commuter kit’ including slicker tyres to help eat up the tarmac. You can shop the range here.