2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras cover
eMTB First Impressions

Introducing the 2023 Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS

Words Cam McRae
Photos Dane Perras
Date Jul 11, 2022
Reading time

When word of the Specialized Levo SL reached me, I wasn't particularly interested. I didn't want an eMTB to mimic a regular mountain bike, and I wasn't interested in less range or power. Now that I've learned how to work with the extra weight of the Norco Sight VLT, for example, that extra mass is generally a positive. The suspension moves more easily into it's travel, defeating stiction and improving traction, and around here I can ride the same trails as well as or better than I can on regular bikes, with the possible exception of bunny hopping (Danny MacAskill might be an alien considering what he does on an eMTB). Now that more time has passed, I've become a little curious about the popularity of these bikes and how they feel on the trail and I was indeed interested to see how Trek would respond. Unsurprisingly, their reaction was not timid; the result, which I intend to describe in some detail, is the 2023 Trek Fuel EXe. I might even go as far as to call it an engineering marvel.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 2

Looks like a Trek. Doesn't look like an electric Trek.

As an aging and jaded MTB "journalist," it's getting tougher to surprise me. The gap between what the marketers of mountain bikes hope will shock and delight those of us in the media, and our actual reaction, grows progressively wider. This relates at least partially to the proliferation of electronics and gadgets on today's bikes, but probably more to my bad attitude. As modern technology infiltrates our sport at an increasing rate, I regularly wonder if we are losing as much as we are gaining by monitoring, motorizing, illuminating, and wiring our bicycles and bodies.*

*Don't get me wrong though: I'm a total hypocrite. I like the ease, speed and simplicity of AXS shifting and dropping and the accuracy of digital gauges for tires and suspension. I now enjoy riding eMTBs as part of my regular mountain biking regime, and I'm having as much fun as I ever have in 38 years of riding mountain bikes.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 1

We often get the odd day like this in June, but this was July and it felt like early March. It was cold, slick, and beautiful in the woods on our shoot day.

And yet there are times when I am left amazed by something new and shiny, and that is the case with the Trek Fuel EXe; a light eMTB in the style of the Specialized Levo SL and the Orbea Rise. It has less power and energy storage than higher-powered models, allowing both the battery and motor to be smaller and lighter, in an effort to make the experience more similar to an un-assisted bike. The motor, designed and built by TQ, in the town of Inning am Ammersee in Southern Bavaria, has an almost entirely concentric design similar to a hub motor, rather than the elongated shape of systems by Bosch, Shimano, or Brose, which separate the bottom bracket axle from the power generation. This means some sort of transmission is required to get that power to the pedals, involving a chain, belt, or gears and cogs. This is often what causes the whine most eMTBs generate. Instead, TQ has developed a "harmonic pinring transmission," which eliminates the need to separate the motor from the bottom bracket. This makes the TQ motor smaller but, more importantly, I'm told it's responsible for keeping the volume down. By my estimation, it was worth the effort.

Trek Fuel EXe 9.9 XX1 AXS Highlights

  • 40.6 lb/18.4 kg ready to ride (but without pedals)
  • TQ HPR50 360 Wh battery for 2.5 hr range (1835 g/4.04 lbs)
  • Optional Range extender adds 160 wh and fits into included water bottle cage
  • Concentric motor with 50 nm of torque, 300 watts peak power, "whisper quiet" operation and 135 mm Q factor
  • Travel - 150mm front 140mm rear
  • RockShox AirWiz and TyreWiz (available on 9.9 models) transmit tire and suspension pressures to AXS or upcoming Trek Central App (scheduled to be released July 12th)
  • AXS rear derailleur powered by main battery (AXS battery can be added for operation without main battery or when it has drained)

Hush

How quiet is the Fuel EXe? The best testimonial I can give is that over several group rides of three or more riders, with climbs on singletrack, and both paved and gravel roads, nobody but me has noticed any sound aside from tires on dirt, even when I've used high mode. On a couple of those rides I was the only rider on an eMTB as well. On one ride my buddy was riding the EXe and I couldn't hear it. From the saddle, the sound of the motor is often indistinguishable by me, even in very quiet environments. At times I can hear it when the effort or cadence increases. Otherwise, it's tires on dirt.

tonality and cadence

This graph comes from Trek, but my experience mirrors this graph's line. Tonality is the Psycho-acoustic measure of how sound is perceived and the best measure of what a rider experiences. In other words, it describes how distracting a sound is. An interesting note is that Specialized's Levo SL models are actually slightly louder than the stock Levo because sound damping materials have been removed to save weight.

Neither Trek nor TQ claim the motor is silent; instead they refer to the TQ HPR50 motor as "whisper quiet," a rare case when the reality outstrips the marketing hyperbole. In use, the absence of whining or whirring makes the experience much more pleasurable and calming, allowing me to enjoy the sounds of forest and the crunch of tires.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 7

The low volume of the motor is emphasized by the space below the horizontal strut where the shock mounts. That area would be filled by the motors made by most other manufacturers. Beyond having the smallest volume of its class, the HPR-50 is also lighter, weighing just 1850 g, compared to 2600 for Shimano's 90 nm EP8 (and the 60 nm EP8 RS found on the Orbea Rise), 2900 for the 85 nm Bosch Performance Line CX and 1950 for the 35 nm Brose/Specialized 1.1 motor found in the Levo SL.

The HPR-50 distinguishes itself with power application as well, by progressively adding torque to match the energy generated by your own pistons. When you pedal lightly, it doesn't add much, but then matches your inputs well as you increase force for a more natural feel. The Fuel compares favourably with the Rocky Mountain Powerplay's Dyname 4.0 in this regard, but with much less peak power, torque, and volume.

The small form-factor allows the motor to be almost invisible. In fact there are no visual queues from the drive side, unless you look carefully between the arms of the crank spider, and on the other side all you see is a modest finned ring which is only slightly larger than the top of the oversized e*thirteen cranks

trek fuel ex e battery

The battery is easily pulled after removing two 4 mm hex bolts. Replacing it is more awkward, at least when the bike is upside down, because it stops beyond the position where it would align with the bolts. There isn't much utility for removing it either because the cover needs the threaded hole in the battery to be held in place and the upper bolt hole would be open to the elements because it also needs the battery for the bolt to thread into. Beyond that, it appears the rear derailleur, which, as my son pointed out, is a hard-wired wireless derailleur, would need an AXS battery and to have the cord secured and the contacts covered as far as I can determine thus far. Photo - Cam McRae

Trail Manners

I learned most of the particulars noted about the bike above, later. I had missed the video conference for the bike so I watched it after several rides, content to discover things slowly. One of my first discoveries was that this is a Trek that punches above its weight in terms of downhill performance. The numbers are there to be sure, but I haven't known Trek to err on the side of downhill capability for bikes on the upper end of the trail classification, and yet this one surely does. Aside from solid-but-not-surprising geo numbers, the Fuel EXe rolls out on newly released RockShox suspension products; a Lyrik Ultimate with Buttercups up front and a Super Deluxe Ultimate in the rear, and both perform remarkably well. The ride has an almost muted quality that doesn't disconnect you from the trail surface or reduce liveliness. This is certainly partially because of the Buttercups but the solid feel of the platform helps as well.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 19

Does this look like an eMTB to you? The mostly concealed motor and small battery size eliminate several obvious visual cues about this bike's true nature.

My first ride on the Fuel EXe was on a wet day, which is all we had this spring and early summer, and I passed one particularly daunting rock move but rode a bunch of scary moves later on without hesitation. I also learned that the Bontrager SE5 Team Issue tires are only for teams who ride where it's dry. They were positively scary compared to the rubber I usually use, on both wet wood and rock. They contributed to a mishap which I'll recount below, although rider error carries most of the blame. Despite the dry0weather rubber, I had a blast on the bike and was all smiles when we got to the bottom. The next time through, on a drier day, I rode the nasty long rock slab, with lots of exposure and a harsh rock finish at the bottom, without breaking a sweat. The next time I was there, again in the wet, I did the same but with more pace and lived to tell the tale. This is a very competent and well-mannered descender and while it doesn't have any truly remarkable traits, it has no obvious weaknesses either and seems to do everything well. This is also the first eMTB I wouldn't hesitate to take to a bike park.

Rides Like an eMTB - but Without the e

The most important ride characteristic is probably this: Riding this bike down a trail of any description, it is indistinguishable from a bike with no motor or battery. It doesn't feel like an eMTB at all, not even when you aren't putting the power down, and when you are, the application is so natural, with no jolt when you first stomp, that it feels like you are Floyd Landis on stage 17 of the 2006 Tour. As the cliché goes, it's you, only better. And without three times the allowable testosterone ratio in your system. On flatter trails, steep descents, flow sections; the EXe always feels like a regular mountain bike. And mostly looks like one too unless you get close.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 30

I like the clean look of the integrated Bontrager RSL bar/stem combo and the reach and rise worked for me. Instead of cutting it down I have moved in the brake levers, but at 820 mm I have to do it for future testing.

The Build

The spec. level of this bike is called XX1 AXS, but it could just as easily be called bonkers. The bars are a beautiful one piece Bontrager RSL carbon unit with an effective 45 mm stem, there's an AXS 17 mm post and XX1 rear shifter, Bontrager Line Carbon 30 wheels, a Bontrager saddle with Austenite rails (the 9.9 XTR - which weighs 2 lbs less - build has carbon rails). There are TyreWiz sensors on the wheels and ShockWiz on the Lyric Ultimate fork and the Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock. The cranks are beefy looking carbon arms from e*thirteen. Aside from the wet weather performance of the tires, which is a location-dependent gripe, this is a very nice combination of bike parts. All of this comes at a price of course. When the bike arrived I wondered if this could possibly be the first 20K Canadian bike I've tested. I haven't been on anything close to that thus far but the mental math was scaring me. It turns out this ultra-bling, high-tech two-wheeler lists at 18,300 CAD/14,000 USD. Never fear though, the 'low-end' model lists for a full 9.9K CAD less at 8400 CAD/6500 USD with the identical frame, Shimano 6100 components and RockShox suspension. For the full line-up head over to trekbikes.com

By my count there are 8 batteries on this bike, and the main battery covers three bases by also servicing the rear derailleur and the display. There are four cells for the pressure monitors, ShockWiz for the fork and rear shock and TyreWiz front and rear, one coin cell each for the AXS controllers, a battery for the AXS post, and the main battery that powers the motor.

2023 fuel ex e geometry chart

Geometry numbers. I rode the bike exclusively in low position.

Who to Ride With

When everyone is on an eMTB, it tends to be a great leveller in terms of climbing ability... as long as everyone is on a similarly powerful bike. The tricky part with a bike like this, with 50 nm peak torque, is that a full-powered eMTB would crush it, even when ridden by a rider who isn't nearly as strong. If you buy one of these and you like to ride in a group, you should be prepared to talk your buddies in to buying one. My solution to this dilemma was to ride big laps with un-powerted riders who would normally tear my legs off. I don't like doing this on a regular eMTB because of how obtrusive and comparatively noisy they are. In this case, the Fuel EXe was an excellent leveller and I could ride in the lowest power mode and keep up just fine, or even be a rabbit if anyone wanted one. And nobody seemed to mind.

When I was going for a ride with Trevor Hansen, and the much younger and fitter (and better looking) Graham Driedger wanted to come along, we rode our Norco VLTs and made Graham sweat on the Fuel EXe. He kept up, but only because we were soft pedalling, and he was working his ass off. All this means you need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a bike, how strong you are, who you want to ride with, and how much money they have to invest in an electric bicycle.

Is that a Pachyderm?

I've now been working down this shallow, cosy, and well-ventilated coal mine for 22 years. I'm generally not much of a bike or component smasher, but I broke a few frames in my younger years doing 7-footers to flat. As a tester it hadn't happened, until I got to the most expensive bike I've tested – by at least 5 grand. In fact, I did it while Dane Perras was taking these photos. As I've mentioned, it was a cool and snotty day and I may have been a little non-chalant about a move I've done probably 50 times with the worst outcome being a foot down once or twice.

I try to ride the outside of the line because it has a spine that makes it interesting and because it sets you up better for the next move. It's exposed to the left and as I came in, I lost the front wheel off the edge, dropping the bike away from my direction of travel. I was down before I knew I was falling but I was more concerned about the sickening crunch of carbon emitted as the bike hit the rock below. Unfortunately Dane stopped shooting when he saw me eject, thwarting my TikTok debut. The paint was removed and the carbon a little scuffed on the downtube in two spots, but it didn't look too bad.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 24

I went up and got the photo after crashing on this relatively basic move. A right turn is required to line this up and I was trying to ride the side of the rock closest to the camera. At the top of the rock, in the middle right of the frame, my wheel slipped off the rock and sent the bike rider's left, bashing into the moss covered granite.

I was a little battered and bleeding but nothing seemed serious, so I went back, got the shot and kept riding and shooting until the bottom, despite being a little shaken. When I got home I cleaned the bike and found a more serious wound on the drive-side seat stay. I decided to take it to Rob at Roberts Composites for diagnosis. He told me the downtube blemishes were only cosmetic, but the stay would break if I kept riding it.

The good news about carbon fibre bicycles, is that they can be repaired. It's just fancy fibreglass after all, and a skilled and experienced technician can make it better than new. Locally, I've seen many examples of the work of the aforementioned Rob Mulder of Roberts Composites, and it's remarkably good. The fastest way forward for me to get back on this bike is going to be to engage Rob. This sort of repair, including paint matching, costs 600 CAD.

impact

It's not a big crack. But it is a crack nonetheless and it's in a high stress location.

This isn't a warranty issue in any way, but if I did this to a bike I'd purchased two weeks prior, I'd want to know if Trek would help me out at all. It turns out Trek has a crash replacement policy, which is outlined below.

If you suspect your carbon frame or part has been damaged in any way due to a mishap out on the trail, follow these simple steps:

  1. Stop riding the bike.
  2. Take the bicycle to an authorized Trek retailer. Fortunately, there are lots of them. Don’t know who your closest retailer is? Click here to find out.
  3. If damaged, you can replace the damaged frame or part at a significant discount through Trek Carbon Care.

This was rider error, pure and simple. The tires aren't great in the wet, but by this point in the day I knew that and failed to adequately adapt and weight the front wheel. The mortal wound the bike suffered was entirely predictable. The impact was directed down onto the top of the seat stay, just below the bridge, which wouldn't seem to be a common mechanism of injury to prepare for in a mountain bike lay up (but this is only supposition). I have no information that suggests other carbon eMTBs would do a better job of resisting this damage, but I have no information that suggests they wouldn't either. The only real conclusion I can arrive it is that all bikes can break and this one broke as a result of an unlikely strike in an unlikely spot, after an unanticipated wipeout and rider error.


2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 18

Unsurprisingly this bike climbs incredibly well. At least it does until you compare it to a more powerful eMTB. There was a climb I can manage on the Norco Sight VLT that I couldn't manage on the Fuel EXe, but I'm talking about a very steep hill and an extreme case.

2023 Trek Fuel Ex E Dane Perras 17

This would be a tidy looking bike if it wasn't an electric. As it stands, it's an ambitious and well-executed take on the eMTB, and a large leap forward for this technology.

In Conclusion

The Trek Fuel EXe is nothing less than a great leap forward for eMTBs. It looks like a regular bike, is virtually silent most of the time, and weighs just 40.6 lb/18.4 kg, and you could ride it anywhere in the world. The TQ motor feels very natural and it's easy to forget you are are on an eMTB, and even easier once you get flowing downhill. There will be riders who aren't happy with this development because it's going to reduce the stigma of riding an electric mountain bike with riders who are entirely under their own power but I think that's great.

There is a lot of technology on this bike and I'm just scratching the surface so far. I'll be back with more thoughts on the subtleties of the bike and the components in a couple of months. By then I hope to be able to be able to publicly declare if this is the sort of bike I'd like access to all the time, or if it feels like one bike too many. It's far too early for me to predict that answer.

To see the full model line, spec details, and more info on the TQ motor, head over to Trek Bikes.

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae

Height - 6'/183cm (mostly legs)

Weight - 170lbs/77kg

Inseam - 34"/86cm

Ape Index - 0.986

Age - 56

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Boogieman

Bar Width - 760mm

Preferred Reach - 485-500mm (longer with 27.5 wheels than 29)

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Comments

4Runner1
4Runner1
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Dogl0rd Konrad Timer Joseph Crabtree Sandy James Oates Andy Eunson

$18’300 for a stock bike. Can’t wait to hear Andrew’s take on this one! 😀 kidding aside, that’s an insane amount of $ for a bike, motor or no motor. 

For that I can ride my Ripmo and add a sweet HT and an alloy park bike.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 4Runner1 Konrad DancingWithMyself

It's just embarrassing for it to cost so much to ride a bike

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Kos Cooper Quinn BlazersDad89 DancingWithMyself

It doesn't cost that much to ride a bike - just like it doesn't cost 200k to drive a car. It does cost 200k to drive a GT3 though and that's a more appropriate comparison to an 18k bike ;)

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Timer PowellRiviera

No really I would be embarrassed to show up on a >$10k bike to ride with my friends. At the end of the day it's a bike and are we into simply showing off money or do we actually like riding? It's awkward to flagrantly display wealth that way, especially if there are less financially well off riders present. Would not make me feel good at all.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Perry Schebel DancingWithMyself Cooper Quinn Cam McRae

What's awkward to you is not at all awkward to some others. And that's fine. All I was calling attention to was that no one saying you need to spend that kind of money to ride (we firmly believe that here) and that any bike costing more than, say, 3 grand is equivalent to a very high performance sports car. It's just a perspective.

I totally get it that for lots of people, that kind of conspicuous cost is...conspicuous. But there's also a difference between showing up to a ride and being a blow hard about your fancy bike, or showing up and not letting it be a thing. It goes both ways - if you're the type who rides a less expensive bike (or car, clothes, etc) for whatever reason, you're just as guilty if you castigate someone who decided to spend their money on it if they're not asking for it, just in reverse. We can all respect each other's decisions and life situations without it getting in the way of having fun on bikes. I have friends with more and less money than me, and it's reflected in different ways. And the ones that stay my friends are the ones that don't let financial means get in the way of more important things, like respect, character, and a good sense of humour.

All that said, I totally respect your opinion on the matter. But if you call out someone for riding a 10k bike, you may get blowback, and it may be warranted.

Reply

earleb
earle.b
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman cxfahrer Kos DancingWithMyself

As a motor geek I've been waiting for this one to surface. You were riding this bike when I ran into you on Fromme Father's day. After the 2nd or 3rd glance I noticed the fins around the bb as we climbed up Fromme, I didn't notice any noise. TQ have a much bigger version of their harmonic/cycloidal drive, very neat stuff to see them shrink it to this size.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 DancingWithMyself

You have a good eye Brian!

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 Dogl0rd Konrad Kos Joseph Crabtree Franky

I'm mildly amused that weight weenieism has made it into ebike circles. I mean, it makes some sense, but it's still a bit funny.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 4Runner1 Konrad MTBrent

I'm not sure why, but this bike/article scares me and makes me feel all squidgy inside.

I am a human... and you know what they say about humans and change...

At least at that price, I can just pretend it doesn't exist.

EDIT - Shit, just found out prices start at $6,499 USD... but waaaiitt, that spec weighs 44 lbs without pedals, sealant or inserts... I'm out, again... whewww!

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

Bullet dodged. 

for now.

Reply

hotlapz
hotlapz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Cam McRae Kos

I'd love a low power emtb like this.

Reply

kos
Kos
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman

Great writeup Cam. Thanks! First off, I want one. Getting older, and want to go as fast or faster without draining MY battery for the rest of the day.

Other random observations: Too many batteries on this model for me. I'd go with the XT version.

I'd ride it with a young guy I got into endurance racing a couple decades ago. Obviously, I can't keep up anymore, but this would make it close enough to keep him honest.

As a Columbia Gorge windsurfer, I've seen Rob Mulder's work for decades. He is without peer.

Finally, a beer to your kid for the "hard-wired, wireless derailleur" observation! I'll wait till you think he's old enough.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 Kos goose8 Graham Driedger MTBrent JVP

Thanks Kos! And Luca appreciated that. He’s mostly old enough but his palate isn’t ready. 

While I was dividing my time between having drinks with friends and finishing this review, Luca was looking at my draft. I opened up a text box and told him to add his comments. This seems like the right place for them, sarcastic and unedited:

“You know the bike is pretty cool. I like how it's 20 grand so you know its legit. The shocks are pretty bouncy and responsive and the chain and cassette are pretty shiny, which is dope. I personally would have made it a little lighter maybe like 38 pounds but overall its a fantastic bike, Its has good geometry and the german battery outputs little to no noise so people think your a climbing machine.”

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Lu Kz Graham Driedger Cam McRae

In 10 years when Luca has taken over for papa Cam, I think he'll appreciate seeing this ;)

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Cam McRae

"When the bike arrived I wondered if this could possibly be the first 20K Canadian bike I've tested. I haven't been on anything close to that thus far but the mental math was scaring me. It turns out this ultra-bling, high-tech two-wheeler lists at 18,300 CAD"

Yikes!

But, I think this form factor with a full strength motor and battery is going to be the future of eBikes. The tech seems to be getting closer and closer to that.

In 15 years the price is sure to come down, and as a bonus - by then I might even be old enough to consider purchasing!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Trek has been doing some interesting stuff with aluminum lately so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that as an option in the future, bringing the price way down and the weight up a little.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Timer

I'm not sure I get this one other than for a few situations: the perpetually antisocial who wants a regular bike but a longer/faster ride, someone dating an XCO superstar, or someone who needs just a little bit of help to ride with their regular biked friends. Maybe that's enough?

I'm clearly not the target demographic, but it seems to me like you can't do fun ebike stuff on this: climb stupid stuff incredibly quickly to access terrain and exploration areas you otherwise wouldn't, enjoy a beverage or two while doing so, and laugh at your friends when they also spin out on an impossibly steep climb. I also don't know if it's enough to do the "really solid 45 min to 1 hour sunset ride" that full power ebikes allow, at least maybe not where I am terrain and fitness wise.

Good lord, now that I'm thinking about it, these Ex-E and Levo SL type bikes have made the bike type matrix incredibly complex now. Think about it: on one side, you have your XCO-Downhill spectrum, and on the other you have the no power to full power spectrum. That's a lot of categories. Sheesh!

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano

Friend of mine bought an Orbea Rise last year, he is about the size and weight as Cam but a bit older, and rides the same kind of stuff if possible (not many choices here), he is completely happy with the power output and the 140/150 travel.

I rode with him a 1600hm and 50km round with some techy trails, I had no problem to keep up with him (low power mode) and he had a good part of the battery charge left when we returned. I know that he is quite fit but not that fit when grinding steep climbs on a bicycle. 

I could imagine such a light eBike for myself if I would live where I could use it for the climbs. Has to be way cheaper though (I know, a Deore version..).

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I was trying to diagnose a firmware issue on a Rise earlier this year. The assist would not kick in on certain situations. But you'd think it had. The Rise pedals so well without assist that makes you do a double take.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lu Kz

I agree about the spectrum. Even more so than before, you gotta try before you buy, and on the trails you like to ride. 

One user group you may not have thought of are smaller/lighter riders. It's one thing for a person weighing 150 lbs or more - and/or with average or above average strength - to muscle around a 50-lb (or more) e-bike, but it's quite a different story for someone weighing less, or who isn't quite as strong.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Fair point on the smaller riders. I can see that group gong either way, some will want the better handling/weight/ability to pick up and put on the bike rack easier of the Ex-E style , and others will be pissed it won't keep up to the group with full power bikes. 

I think if this style of bikes is going to run up against any issues (setting aside the possibilities of an economic recession), it's going to be market penetration. In our shop, Ebikes didn't move until people in middle class and up neighbourhoods started talking to each other about them. May take a little bit to take off.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Another point there: a lighter rider will benefit from a higher assist:weight ratio, so they should be able to make up part of that gap. Maybe.

Reply

SprSonik
Mark Forbes
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

syncro
Mark
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 utopic

With the proliferation of uber expensive bikes it seems like we're losing something, that part of the core identity of mtb'ing is being left behind in the chase for the latest and greatest toy. If someone's value or capacity to take part in a ride is in part determined by what they're riding then we're falling backwards, not moving forward. I don't know about people reading this, but I can head out on 20yr old hardtail with a clapped out 4" fork and have just as much fun as riding my newer and more expensive bike. Of course the trails (and the money spent to ride them) aren't the same, but the fun factor is and that's all that should really matter.

Reply

chris
Chris
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

140mm though?  Maybe it's just me but I have no interest in an E for hammering XC.  150mm feels like the minimum entry point for a bike intended to help get you to the good stuff quicker.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

I didn’t know the travel numbers for the first week and it was a week of riding really challenging (for me at least) trails in nasty conditions. If you had told me then this was 140 mm in the rear I would have called bullshit. It’s progressive enough and the rear shock is so good that it rides like more. It reminds me of my old Yeti SB 5.5 in that way. As I said above in the review, I wouldn’t hesitate to ride this bike on any trail that I have ever ridden. 

I’m not saying however, that I would object to trying the Slash - E when it arrives. (I have no advance knowledge here - this is pure speculation but I bet it’s in the works)

Reply

kos
Kos
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Pete Roggeman roil Cam McRae

My money is on a Slash-E (Slashy?!) with a full-powered, and full-sized TQ motor.

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SprSonik
Mark Forbes
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Sethimus
Sethimus
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

could you get a 2nd battery and switch them mid ride?

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cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

It’s doable for sure. The swap was mildly tricky at first because of the issue I mentioned but was pretty simple to work around.

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Sethimus
Sethimus
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

but are they selling you a second one? there’s no word about it on the website, just about the range extender

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Sethimus Cam McRae DancingWithMyself

September/October availability on spare batteries. About a thousand CAD for one.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0 Cam McRae Joseph Crabtree

I'd be curious to see whether - some time down the road - it becomes feasible to integrate the charging unit inside of the bike. That way, instead of thinking about carrying or stashing extra batteries, riders may be able to plan to stop somewhere to charge while they eat lunch or take a break. All you'd need would be a 120v outlet (220 in Europe of course). Space and weight make this an issue right now, but that may not be the case forever. If that happens, and if fast chargers can also be squeezed into a small space, then these lighter e-bikes may become even more interesting for some riders (not only thinking about MTB here).

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DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Bentonville will install charging stations on all their trails, so it'll apply for mountain biking there!

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I don't know if you're joking or not, and I also don't know if that says good or bad things about Bentonville.

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DancingWithMyself
DancingWithMyself
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Joking, but bet they'd totally do it.   And I agree it doesn't say all bad or all good things about Bentonville.

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shoreboy
Shoreboy
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Anyone mind interpreting that graph? I have no clue what the 'tonality' of an electric motor is. Im not sure why they would use such an obscure variable to show how quiet (or not quiet) their motor is?

Edit: From that other site that is Pink 

'Tonality is described as the harmony of sounds and the unit is measured by comparing the amplitude of the tonal note against the surrounding frequencies. Basically, it’s how annoying the sound is and the Fuel EX-e clocks in at 0.1 on the tonality scale, compared to another competitor’s motor that was almost four times higher.'

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cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That’s from the marketing materials. I’ll add in the caption. Thanks.

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Sethimus
Sethimus
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

could you overshock it with a 200x62.5/65 shock?

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alexdi
Alex D
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

If I were in this cost-no-object price bracket, I'd find it difficult to justify the regular Fuel EX over this. And as this sort of kit trickles down to $5K bikes, I expect we'll start to see a majority opting for electric power. There's no question these bikes are more fun, especially if you're on the once-or-twice-a-week schedule that most of us can manage that doesn't allow for Nino levels of fitness. Why not spend a little more to feel like him?

It's sad, though. I feel I've earned the skill and fitness I do have and I resent getting dropped by people on bikes like this. It's like showing up to an MX5 track day in a Ferrari. We all have an internally ranking relative to everyone else, and when someone jumps the queue without putting in the saddle time, it feels like cheating.

I expect we'll hit an inflection point in six or seven years where most of the serious riders have ebikes, and not having one will mean you're poor or unserious, not that you're occupying a imaginary (but still shared) moral high ground. If you can keep up with legs alone, great. If not, you'll be dropped and will self-sort out of that riding group.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mark

"There's no question these bikes are more fun"

I disagree with that statement.

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roil
roil
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0 PowellRiviera Alex D

Get off strava and enjoy riding. The only constant in the world is change.

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alexdi
Alex D
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I'm not on Strava. The feeling I conveyed is probably shared by most serious riders without ebikes. You can't just handwave away competitiveness.

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roil
roil
2 months, 2 weeks ago
-2 Alex D utopic

You said it yourself "there's no question these bikes are more fun". People ride for a variety of reasons. I don't own an ebike but I'm tempted because I could ride further or do more laps in a given amount of time.

If you want actual competition, enter a race where there are rules on what you can ride.

And if you show up to a Miata track day in a Ferrari, nobody cares as long as you respect everyone else on track and no one is going to be comparing their lap time to yours. Same goes for ebikes.

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DogVet
Hugo Williamson
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I have a second hand bastardised Orbea Rise with 160 on front, sometimes I catch myself thinking do I need a normal trail bike (160 mullet in my case) as well??

OR 

Maybe Just a cheap and cheerful DH Bike for away trips to Alps and uplift days ….?

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jt
JT
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Interesting that the motor uses a gerotor for drive. I've seen em used in pumps but never thought of them as a drive unit for anything other than fluids. The bike cuts a good profile too, especially for an ebike.

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kos
Kos
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Eagerly awaiting the teardown/explanation article on the motor itself.

Nobody but NSMB has the courage!!!

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XXX_er
XXX_er
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I don't look at the bill  any more I just give them the card or even the # over the phone, I was pointing out to some redneck at the local craft brew, compare the best of the best say a Ferrari 360 for several hundred thousand K to a Bullit for 12K and it might make more sense

and BTW, always ride an E-bike in boost mode cuz its more fun

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rigidjunkie
Allen Lloyd
2 months, 3 weeks ago
-1 Joseph Crabtree

How is the battery life?  How long of a ride could you do before it was dead?  

I keep looking at these light e-bikes as a good option for getting an extra lap or 2 in after work.  BUT, it feels like something that could do a big day would be more versatile.  I really like that nobody would notice this is an e-bike.

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cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Allen Lloyd DancingWithMyself

I rode several long rides in low settings and didn’t manage to get below 50%. These were 3-hr efforts with lots of climbing. I rode another loop with 1500 feet of steep climbing over 1.5 hrs on high and used about 60%. I was impressed by the battery life and haven’t yet exhausted the battery.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Cam McRae

In the "other bike website"'s review... Matt was a bit weird about how he described the range , but sounds like anything over 90mins drained the battery completely for him.  Sounds like it really depends on what you ask of it?  I guess... like any ebike...

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