The bicycle shop I manage, Cool Breeze Cyclery, and sister store, Trek Bikes of Charlotte, have brought in a fleet of the new electric assist bikes, Trek Ride+. One of these, the FX+ is a demo bike that our co-owner with an engineering background took for this past weekend. Below is his original experience. We will be trying out this bike ourselves, as well as possibly building up our own with the Bionx or E-Bike Kit.
The new Trek E Ride bikes arrived last week so I took the demo bike home for the weekend. This FX+ model is very normal looking at first glance with all the great Trek features built into the 7.5FX, including the carbon front fork. Taking a closer look, you’ll find a high torque pancake electric motor laced into the rear wheel, a battery pack slid into the rear rack and a controller / dash board mounted like a cycling computer to the handle bar. The concept is very much like the hybrid electric cars, difference being that the rider still provides the base engine, meaning that you still must pedal this bike. Just like the hybrid cars, the electric motor provides a power boost. In the case of the E Ride bike, you can choose to boost your pedaling power by 10, 20, 30 or 40%. The bike senses your pedaling effort just like the crank mounted high end power meters, but does it with sensors built into the rear axle. Again, just like the hybrid cars, the bike employs regenerative braking going downhill to recharge the batteries.
How did it ride?
I live in a really hilly neighborhood so I let my wife ride the bike while I road my high end road bike. Her personal bike is the same 7.5 FX used as a platform for the e-Ride bike and she always walks it up the first hill which is about an 8% grade. Knowing this we set the boost to 40% and she road up this same hill with very little effort and a huge smile”the result of a feeling of accomplishment for having finally conquered that hill. After waiting for me at the top of the hill”.Ummm”not sure I’m liking this feeling”.we continued for the next hour to attack every hill in the neighborhood. After an hour we had used about 15% of the battery charge. To put the bike away, I rode it up my drive way which is a 10% grade and again the feeling of the power boost is simply amazing”it is smooth and predictable and simply flattens the hills for the rider. Bottom line” this bike absolutely leveled the climbing ability between us and in the case of our neighborhood made the family ride even a possibility. Now we’re thinking about a Blue Ridge Parkway ride” By the way, the bike can also be set add up to 40% to your pedaling effort for the same feeling and effect of riding a bike in a trainer, but that’s another story.
– Steve Doolittle, Co-owner of Cool Breeze Cyclery and Trek Bikes of Charlotte.