Tested: Trek Powerfly LT 9 Plus 2019 – Flow Mountain Bike

Tested: Trek Powerfly LT 9 Plus 2019 – Flow Mountain Bike


Late last year we had the chance to
attend the official launch for this bike, the Trek Powerfly LT and while we
got a pretty good idea of how it performed over on the dusty, dry
moonscape soils of Mammoth Mountain in California, we always prefer and put a
bike to test here on Australian soil. And so here we go with the Trek Powerfly
LT9. Alloy framed, 150mm of travel out back, 160 millimeters up front, Bosch
powered and built like a damn Panzer tank. I’m not going to go too much into
the background and tech detail of this bike in the review, if you want more of
that check out our in-depth first impression space on the site. For now I’m
going to concentrate on some of the standout aspects, both positive and
negative. Let’s start with how this bike client. To be honest it’s like Trek said
“ok we’re going to stick a damn motor on this thing, let’s make sure it can climb
anything this side of vertical.” It goes uphill like you would not believe and
there are a few aspects that contribute. First of all is the very long
that chain stay measurement. Having such a long rear-end on the bike
really stops that front wheel from lifting even on very steep technical
climbs, it also means you got plenty of weight on the front wheel in flatter
corners as well. All up that long rear end is probably the single greatest
contributing factor to the way that this bike climbs. You’ve also got very smooth
power delivery. The Bosch motor system is a real highlight of this bike. We’re well
accustomed to the performance of the pedal assist provided by the Bosch CX
motor system but the real standout with this motor is the eMTB mode that you
can put it in. Snd what this is, is an adaptive setting that regulates the
power output of the motor relative to the force that you put on the pedals, the
speed that you’re traveling at, and your cadence too. Where this is of most benefit
is if you’ve got a loose and slippery trail surface or if you’re trying to
negotiate a tight uphill switchback, both situations where you need to be able to
have a smooth composed and gentle power delivery so you don’t break traction or
lose control. Then as soon as you jump up out of the saddle and stomp away on the
pedals you’ll get full gas, so that adaptive ability is really fantastic and
90% of the time we just left the bike in the eMTB mode. Which does make us
wonder why they need this huge, chunky and very vulnerable shifter and display
unit. We’d love to see Bosch downsize that or perhaps do away with the big
display altogether. Some e-mountain bikes are getting pretty close to emulating
the ride feel and ride qualities of a conventional mountain bike, the Trek
Powerfly LT9 is not one of those. This thing is a steamroller, it’s heavy, it’s
long and it is happiest when it’s going in a straight line and going fast, or
when it’s climbing the kind of terrain you could just not even attempt on
a conventional mountain bike. We feel this bike is better suited to a taller
and stronger rider. On a bigger frame size the length of that rear end on the
bike is going to be more in proportion with the overall wheelbase of the bike
and probably won’t have such a pronounced effect on the slow speed
handling. It’s just about matching your riding
style and personal preferences to the way that the bike rides. If you love
barreling along fast and smashing through rough terrain you’re gonna
really enjoy this bike, likewise if you love scrambling up ridiculously technical
climbs. Let’s talk a little bit about the suspension of this bike. Now
traditionally Trek mountain bikes have been very smooth customers, buttery, responsive
and easy to get along with. But we didn’t find it quite so easy to get into our
groove with the Powerfly LT. We ended up having to run the suspension a little
bit firmer both in terms of the pressure of the fork and shock and with the
compression settings – we also had the rebound speed a little bit quicker than
we would normally run. This was all about helping keep the bike up in its travel. So all up then this is a bike that has
some very clear strong suits. It will climb anything you care to point the
front wheel at, it loves barreling over rough terrain just smashing through
things and the frame is obviously very well built as well, plus that Bosch motor
is superb. But I do feel there is some room for improvement for this bike in
terms of helping it emulate the superb ride feel of the Trek Slash and the Trek
Remedy, both of which are some of our favorite trail bikes here at Flow. So
that is the Trek Powerfly LT 9, we are Flow Mountain Bike. If you like what we do
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and we’ll see you out on the trails next time.