Well folks, ask (or complain) and ye shall receive. After dozens and dozens of comments proclaiming, “What a shock, the $10,000 bike rides better than the cheaper ones,” while other astounding commenters wrote, “It’s a placebo, no way the more expensive bike rides any better,” (yes people really said that), we decided to pit two Trek Rail eMTBs against each other to see if we could quantify the difference in performance, and if it was $4,000 different. In one corner, we have the 2021 eMTB Shootout award-winning Trek Rail 9.9 pricing in at $10,499. The challenger is the $6,499 Trek Rail 7, featuring many of the same qualities of the 9.9, but with a more affordable (read downgraded) spec selection. Would these mid-tier parts hold their own against top of the line components, or would our testers realize that they’d been drinking sugar pills like our YouTube commenters say, and realize a Zeb is no better than a Yari RC?
While our years of testing tell us we’ll certainly notice a difference between some of the key components, what we don’t know is, will those differences warrant the jump in price, or would we personally pick the more affordable Trek Rail 7 and upgrade individual components as needed?
Since this test came about and was inspired by your comments, we’d love to hear what you’d like to know most? What elements of this head to head eMTB challenge are most important to you? What do you need to know when making a purchasing decision and what would make you spend the extra cash on a higher end model? Since much of the bikes is the same, like the Bosch Performance Line CX drive unit, battery and frame technologies, it pretty much boils down to alloy vs carbon frame materials and differences in suspension and drivetrain components. Do you want to know how much faster one bike is than the other? How much longer the components last without needing service? Let us know with a comment down below or on our YouTube channel and we’ll add those elements to our clipboard for the final weeks of testing.