Trek Powerfly LT 7 Plus
Words & Photos by Chili Dog
Our backs laden with gear, we trudged up the hill, except for “the talent” aboard our Trek Powerfly. The sun beat down around us as we struggled for footing in the steep, loose soil. A feint whirring noise rose from the ridge behind. “This thing is too damn fun!!” yelled Sammy as he came flying past us, carrying a tripod and full backpack on his back. If I had to think of one common theme that continually came up during our time with the Powerfly, that would be it—too damn fun. The Trek Powerfly LT 7 Plus has been way more than a camera mule though. Over the months we’ve had this bike, we’ve sent it in bike parks, blazed up fire road climbs, flicked it around switchbacks, and yes, even ridden the steep ridgelines of Green River, Utah. It does it all with ease. We really don’t want to give it back.
Trek developed the Powerfly LT 7 as a do it all machine. Within the LT name, Trek offers three levels: the LT 9.9 Plus, LT 9.7 Plus and the LT 7 Plus. At $8,999, the 9.9 is the top of the line bike with components to match. The 9.7 fills the mid range eMTB slot, with a carbon frame, Fox suspension, carbon wheels and a price tag of $5,999. The LT 7 we rode is the more affordable aluminum version, retailing at $5,499. If you’re keeping tabs, those last two are both a solid deal for an e-bike. Trek’s Powerfly LT 7 features an aluminum frame, aluminum Bontrager Line Comp 40 wheels, and a Rock Shox suspension spec. Both Powerfly LT models have 150mm of travel in the rear, and 160mm up front.
Power is provided via a Bosch Performance CX motor, Purion controller and a 500Wh Bosch battery. Maximum torque is 75nm, or about 55.3 foot-pounds. Introduced this year, Bosch’s controller has a new mode called “EMTB.” Aside from the standard three set power levels we’re accustomed to on Shimano Steps e-bikes (Eco, Trail, or Boost) EMTB mode lets the Bosch motor and software determine power output based on your pedal cadence, torque and conditions. It essentially mixes Trail and Boost settings, giving you power when you want it and dialing it down when you don’t. EMTB mode lets you focus on the ride instead of toggling between power settings all the time. Be warned however, EMTB mode will eat up battery quicker than Bosch’s Tour mode, which is like Shimano’s Trail mode.
The new Powerfly LT also sees major changes in the battery department. A side load Bosch Powertube battery drops into place from the drive side of the bike. The non-load-bearing side-accessed battery is a simple change, but it’s one that was derived from a lot of thought. A side load battery not only removes the battery from full exposure to the elements on the bottom of the down tube, but also makes it easier to replace and load in the frame.
The battery even has a nifty carrying handle that you’ll probably never use unless you’re ponying up for multiple batteries to do backcountry epics or have an issue. Nevertheless, if you don’t have power outlets near where you store your bike, or want to leave the bike in your van and just bring in the battery to charge, it’s easy to do so.
For our 165-175lb riders, the 500Wh battery has a claimed range of 105 miles in Eco mode on flatter rides, and 37.2 miles in Turbo mode however real world numbers never got that high. We never captured Bosch’s claimed range because of the elevation changes in our area. As with all battery-powered devices, elevation gain, rider weight and power modes can change actual range greatly so we definitely found that using Tour mode on longer rides was better than EMTB! Charging takes about 4.5 hours from full empty, and 2 hours from half full.
Anyone familiar with Trek ’s bikes will be instantly at home on this frame. Like their other 2019 models, it does away with the Full Floater rear suspension design, making the frame stiffer and able to accommodate 27.5+ tires. Trek’s famed ABP or Active Braking Pivot design still remains. A Rock Shox Deluxe RL handles the damping duties well.
To aid in climbing traction and stability, Trek gives the Powerfly LT a full 475 millimeters worth of chainstay, across all sizes. The bike also features a flip chip in the rear suspension linkage that lowers the BB height, slackens the head tube angle and slightly elongates the wheelbase. In the High setting, the head tube angle is 66 degrees. Flip the chip and it goes to 65.5 degrees and the bottom bracket height goes from 35cm to 34.4cm.