Good Bike, Meh Drive
In general, Ioved the bike itself. Loved being on it, loved how it rode. Fun to get into light technical stuff. Good value too for the component spec. It was hard to find any hard tail that didn't have super low budget component spec. Drive train on my example had extremely reliable shifting. Gear range and spacing was fine, except at the 25kph limit where I couldn't find a good cadence. Brakes were good enough for this bike. The Rockshox Judy fork was a bit horrible - a bit worse I think than the Judy fork on my 10 year old 26" hard tail.
If Trek still had the Powerfly 7 hardtail, I would have purchased that. Worth it for the dropper seat post and better fork.
I do like the Bosch Purion display - has mode, speed and battery clearly visible on a small display. I found knowing my speed to be important - very helpful to know much you are pedalling into the drive cutoff area. I wouldn't mind cadence output. Other brands choosing to have battery info in a hard to read spot on the frame tube and no speed display at all, I just don't get it.
Now the bad part: I don't like the Bosch drive. Primary issue is that the crank does not directly engage the chain wheel. Instead it goes through a 2.5x up-gearing. Pedalling through that gearing steals your power and feels horrible. When the drive cuts out at 25kph it is like pedalling with brakes partially engaged. Like an old, misadjusted rim brake. But even with the drive boost active, pedalling still feels disconnected. Especially unpleasant in low boost modes. More forgivable in high boost modes due to it taking off like a rocket. Essentially this bike always goes 25kph except up or down very steep hills. If you love the feel of riding, I'd look for a bike with a different drive.
Also, the Bosch platform is very closed to user maintenance of any kind. You need to visit a dealer to enable the lights (even though this bike is apparently pre-wired). Or upgrade the firmware. Or adjust for a different tyre (I wanted to switch between commuting and trail tyres). Terrible in 2019 to even have to connect a cable to do these things, let alone have to get your dealer to do it for you.
At this point, I'd give it a 3 star review because the drive drags the bike down and it would have been frustrating to get stuck with it. But Trek's stores have an excellent 30 day return policy and so I was able to return it without even a disapproving glance. They even offered to let me take out a second brand new bike knowing that the odds of that working out were low.
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