THE BOSCH SMART SYSTEM
The 2022 Trek Rail 9.8 and 9.9 come equipped with the new and highly sophisticated Bosch Smart System, complimenting the stellar Performance Line CX motor with 85Nm max torque. The fully networked LED-lit control center connects to the Bosch eBike Flow App via Bluetooth and ties everything together: automatically updating the software over-the-air; allowing the user to access a whole host of functions and customize the settings for the assist modes from their phone; tracking activities automatically and even offering theft protection capabilities. This app will integrate with third party apps such as Apple Health and Strava to provide them with data from your rides, as well as offering navigation to avoid the need to add an external cycle computer. Forgot to turn on your Strava? Not an issue anymore as the Bosch Flow app instantly begins tracking activity once you’re on the bike. Integration with the Trek app will provide Trek-specific service interval reminders, inform you of your closest Trek dealer and make diagnostics for any issue simple.
On the bar is an LED remote that gives more control from the bar letting you focus on the ride. Easily visible LEDs allow for a simplified outlook of the current status of the bike, while multiple buttons allow for various functions to be controlled without your hand leaving the grip including the useful walk assist function. The connected Kiox 300 display is nested neatly on the top tube where it’s safe from harm and easy to see, with a color display that’s visible day or night, and relays visual guidance to help you get the most from your ride. You can toggle between several different data fields on the screen to see what matters most to you, a neat feature that techies and number crunchers will love while those who just care about how fast they’re going will enjoy a full-size speedo.
The Bosch Powertube battery sees a 20%-watt hour increase over outgoing models and gives the new Trek Rail a 750Wh unit to maximize range and let you ride harder and further. Trek Bicycles continue to use their RIB (removable integrated battery) system, which lets the battery easily slide out of the downtube but remains secure in use. A new 4A charger will charge this battery to 50% in just two hours, with a six-hour total charge time to max juice. Sophisticated battery management protects the cells from overloading, keeping battery health high. This Powertube battery powers the Performance Line CX motor, delivering 85Nm of Torque to the rear wheel in an efficient and controllable manner, with the high-cadence power delivery that we loved carried over from the previous generations. The eMTB mode adapts to the situation and helps to manage power delivery in a natural way that lets the rider focus on enjoying the ride, aided by multiple sensors to deliver the system with all the information it needs.
The new frame for the Trek Rail 9.8 & 9.9 models continues to use their cutting edge OCLV Mountain Carbon fiber for the main frame, with their classic rocker-driven single pivot suspension controlling the 150mm rear travel and featuring ABP (Active Braking Pivot) to control braking characteristics. The F1 inspired thru-shaft rear shock tech is maintained to offer consistent damping.
Knock Block 2.0 is going to be a welcome addition and greatly improves the turning radius of the Rail while still giving the Kiox 300 display and your top tube some crash-protection. Boost 148 axle spacing with a 12mm axle, which has remained tight after our first two abusive and muddy first rides. We also like the effective aluminum motor armor on the downtube. While the Rail may look like its predecessor at first glance, the astute eye will quickly pick up on plenty of new things on Trek’s all mountain eMTB.
To accompany the beefier aesthetics of the thicker diameter fork stanchions and crowns whilst giving stiffness a boost, the lower headtube bearing area grows to the new eMTB 1.8” standard. A 34.9mm seat tube accompanies this growth, giving more real estate for seatpost internals that should help to improve their durability. A mino link allows for some geometry adjustment as in many other Trek bikes but serves the dual-purpose of providing compatibility with both standard 29” wheels on both ends, as well as the “mullet” setup with 29” up front and 27.5” out back, without compromising the bike geometry.
Speaking of which, the Rail’s geometry is another key area Trek looked to add capability to, taking inspiration from their Slash enduro bike to make some changes that promise to bolster both the climbing and descending prowess of their flagship eMTB. A longer reach, by 19mm on average (stretching to 487/490mm on our Large), adds stability to high-speed stability and comes with the bonus of increasing the space available in the downtube, allowing for the medium size upwards to fit the larger 750Wh battery. A slacker 64.2° head angle further boosts stability and control, especially on the steeper descents. The climbing prowess is aided by a steepened seat tube angle, which at 76.7° ensures the rider is well centered between the wheels, avoiding the need to stretch the chainstay length beyond the 448 mm length selected for all sizes. A slammed 32mm BB drop gives “In the bike” stability for ripping corners hard, and combines with the lengthy 1,277mm wheelbase to produce a rig that’s ready to attack modern, high-speed trails with confidence. During our initial rides we quickly opted to put the bike in the High position to raise the bottom bracket as we struck the pedals quite a few times on our rocky trails. Also quickly noted was the much longer reach, and more than 30mm longer wheelbase, but more on this later.
At the lower levels, the Trek Rail eBike frame remains unchanged from the model that won our eMTB shootout here at The Loam Wolf last year. Trek knows that the Rail is a crowd favorite and made this decision in hopes of keeping the price points competitive for more riders. Starting with the $5,599/£4,500 the Alpha Platinum Aluminum Rail 5, the line moves to the $6,599/£5,700 Rail 7 and EU-Only £6,500 Rail 9. Trek’s last-generation Rail Carbon frame is featured from the also EU-Only £5,600 Rail 9.5, through to the $7,499/£6,950 Rail 9.7.
The Trek Rail 9.8 is the lowest-priced model featuring the new updated frame and larger battery. It is available in SRAM GX and GX AXS builds, or a Shimano XT build for $8,999/£8,800. These builds share the RockShox ZEB Select+ fork with Charger RC damper paired to a Super Deluxe Ultimate RT3 thru shaft rear shock. Also shared are the Bontrager Line Comp 30 wheelset with Rapid Drive 54T hub, Line Elite Dropper, Line Pro Carbon bar, and Line Pro stem with knock block. This is then topped off with the respective groupset – a SRAM GX Eagle or GX Eagle AXS 12spd drivetrain with Code R Brakes; or XT 12spd drivetrain with XT 4-piston stoppers.
The top spec Trek Rail 9.9 is available in a $13,499/£12,500 SRAM XX1 AXS build or $12,499/£10,550 Shimano XTR build. All 9.9 models feature SRAM’s “Wiz” technology on the suspension and wheels, bringing a uniquely integrated system to give the rider peace of mind that their Rail is set up correctly and ready to drop in. Cleanly into the Bontrager Line Pro carbon wheels, the TyreWiz measures the tire pressures, letting you know immediately when the pressure falls below a value selected using the SRAM AXS app. A simple look at the indicator LED lets you know if you’re green for go or a red LED lets you know to inflate the tire.
Something brand new and exclusive to Trek however, is the RockShox AirWiz units on the fork and shock used to measure suspension pressures and give the same “Green means go” indication to keep peace of mind that the bike is set up and ready to ride. Like TireWiz, the RockShox AirWiz can be set on your smartphone to give the system your weight and air pressure range. Simply pump up your suspension products and look for the green light. If you travel a lot or let your bike sit for long periods of time between rides, you’ll enjoy the ease of simply looking for that little flashing light.
Shared between these are the RockShox ZEB Ultimate fork with Charger RC2 damper, paired to a Super Deluxe Ultimate RT3 Thru Shaft shock. Bontrager’s Line Pro 30 carbon wheelset with Rapid Drive 108 hub, Line Elite dropper, Line Pro Carbon Bar, Line Pro stem with knock block, and E*thirteen E*spec carbon crank are also consistent between the two build kits. These are finished off with either an XX1 Eagle AXS 12spd drivetrain and Code RSC brakes, or XTR 12psd drivetrain and 4-piston brakes, to produce a lust-worthy ride that should keep any rider satisfied out on the trails.