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Electric Bicycles!

Trek Powerfly: an Electric Mountain Bike

Intro to 2018 Electric Bikes

One of the biggest trends to hit San Luis Obispo County cycling in the past 10 years has been the huge growth of Electric Bikes as an alternative to help us commute car free.  We've seen it day in and day out at the shop as consumers of all ages and backgrounds are coming in with questions and a desire to take one for a spin.  

Electric Bikes or E-bikes are our fastest growing category of Bikes at Trinity Cyclery and this made us want to produce this guide to help you learn how these might fit into your lifestyle.

Table of Contents

What is an Electric Bike?

Electric Bikes are bicycles that have an electric motor that adds additional power for when you need it most, when you're tired or climbing imposing hills.  They typically have a customized bike frame, with two ways to create forward motion – pedals and a motor, the latter in either the mid-drive or hub style.  All of the e-bikes we sell are called "Pedal Assist" electric bikes because you have to pedal for the motor to engage.

We sell mostly mid-drive models of electric bikes at Trinity Cyclery and here's why.

  • Mid-drive motors provide much better balance with a lower center of gravity and the motor's weight is put right in the middle of the bike.
  • Mid-drive motors from Bosch and Shimano (which we're certified to work on) allow us to diagnose and pinpoint exactly what's wrong with a system whereas a hub motor doesn't offer the dignostic capabilities.
  • Mid-drive models are much easier to repair and in combination with the last point offer lower operational costs over the life of the bike. 
  • Mid-drive sytems offer greater range and power than the Hub-drive systems.
  • The mid-drive systems that we sell are made by Bosch and Shimano and we are enormous fans of their increasingly mature technology.

Electric bike: how to ride and other considerations

In order to go for a ride on an electric bike, you will need to make sure the battery is charged and that the controller system is active. To start riding you just have to pedal!  Once you pull a trigger or twist a throttle; alternately, you can pedal forward and, in so doing, engage the motor drive system to kick into action.

All of the bikes in our catalog are pedal-assist, which means you will only be able to get power if you are pedaling; nonetheless, substantial power comes from the bike as well.

Of course, an electric bike is a broad category when it comes to finding something that will work right for you.

Let’s look at three primary styles of electric bikes, and explore two different specific models within each. We’ll look at one model that is a better option than most, along with one that could be considered the best available in that category.

Better & best comfort/cruiser e-bikes

A cruiser or comfort bike is dedicated to one main purpose, which is allowing you to cruise rather than feel that you are getting a hard workout while you are riding. These bikes are often made of steel or aluminium and have especially fat tires that will help you feel super stable.

They don't transfer power as efficiently as many other bikes because their positioning is not as streamlined (and because the speed of the bike is simply not the top design priority); but they allow the person on them to get a relaxing ride, exercise, and sun that they could not get riding in a car or bus.

Often the electric bikes of this type that are introduced will have recently developed parts, with designs and colors that deliver a vintage feel.  Don't be fooled however: these bikes are fantastic for you to commute to work. And the upside is that you'll look great while doing it.

Better: 2018 Townie Go! 8i

Electra Townie Go

The Electra Townie Go! 8i is our best selling model and it's no surprise why- it is fast stylish, efficient, and fun.

This bike’s internal gear hub has 8 speeds. There are four modes from Eco to Turbo. You are able to derive the power you need from its super quiet Bosch Performance System.

You can easily get on and off the bike with its step-through frame. The fenders of the bike, which are color-matched, maintain a clean bike despite any wetness or dirtiness on the roads. Racks at the front and rear that allow you to pack up your materials, shopping items, or anything else you need to stow. Lights at the front and back of the model will illuminate your path if you're headed somewhere early or late in the day.

Shimano Nexus eBike approved roller brakes w/cooling fins make it easier for you to stop – making the braking process faster and more seamless. Puncture-resistant 26" x 2.35" Schwalbe Fat Frank tires mean that you will not have to worry about your day getting derailed by a flat tire if you hit a pothole, litter, or other urban debris.

See the bike: 2018 Electra Townie Go! 8i

Best: (2018 Trek Verve+ Coming Soon)

Womens Trek Lift Plus

Thie Verve + is a new model as an electric that will first hit the market in September. The non-electric version is extremely popular, so bike shops expect it to sell well in that format.

This bike uses a Boschh Active mid-drive systemthat will produce 250 watts and help you fly along at up to 20 MPH – delivering power to the bike smoothly and efficiently. The model is lightweight and delivers good speed without losing out on comfort. It is also equipped with hydraulic disc brakes so that you can stop quickly regardless the weather. We also love the integrated light system.

At $2299.99 this is an amazing buy!

Model links coming soon!

Two more to check out: 2018 Trek Conduit+ Men's | 2017 Trek Lift+ Lowstep (ladies' style)

Better & best electric mountain bikes

These bikes are not ideal for commuting because they are developed and built with conditions in mind that extend beyond paved roads. The goal with these models is for you to be able to go down trails or on mountains. These electric mountain bikes (eMTBs) are typically more powerful but also heavier than a standard mountain bike. That means they can quickly become dangerous if you are not prepared for their capabilities.

Better: Trek Powerfly 5

Trek Powerfly 5 Electric Bike

This model brings together the design prowess of Trek with the Bosch pedal-assist system so that you can get where you need to be in concert with proven technology.

Since it is a mountain bike, you will not be limited to the roads; in fact, going off-road is its specialty.

You can achieve speeds as high as 20 miles per hour on this bicycle using the central-mount Bosch motor. The down tube safely stores a long-life battery, but you can easily get it out to recharge it. The modified frame is made of Alpha Platinum Aluminum, with a Motor Armor extension. You can add fenders, racks, and lights as desired.

See the bikes: 2018 Trek Powerfly 5 | 2018 Trek Powerfly 5 Women’s

Best: Trek Powerfly 5 FS

How could you make the Trek Powerfly 5 even better? Thankfully, that question was asked – and the answer is a collection of full suspension eMTBs. Full suspension is an important feature on a mountain bike in terms of its sturdiness. While a hardtail mountain bike has a suspension fork at the front, a full suspension model also has that fork. The design elaboration is that there are two pieces connected by pivots, the front and rear triangles. The two frame sections can each move on their own, with the rate at which that occurs limited by a shock absorber.

While the full suspension aspect makes this bike more durable, the pedal-assist system, a Bosch Performance CX, allows you to get farther on your adventures.

Battery location and the motor are the same as with the standard model. Two additional components beyond the full suspension are ABP so you can control your bike better in unpaved conditions, and Knock Block to safeguard you if the handlebars start spinning.

See the bike: 2018 Trek Powerfly 5 FS

Better & best commuter e-bikes

This type of bike is a similar approach to the comfort or cruiser design, but is more directly geared toward serving a commute to work.

Better: 2018 Electra Townie Commute Go!

Electra Commute 8I go

This pedal-assist, battery-powered bike makes it easier to get from place to place throughout your day – with a primary focus on delivering comfort. The Flat Foot Technology and Bosch Performance System used within the Townie combine to allow four modes (ranging from Eco to Turbo) so that you get more power when you need it.

The Townie Commute Go! is designed to allow you to enjoy your ride and be in a position in which you can simply cruise through the wind and feel refreshed when you get to work or other errands. Fenders, racks, and lights are the same as those for the 2018 Electra Loft Go! 8i model (above). Like that version, this one comes with puncture-resistant 700c Schwalbe Fat Frank tires and hydraulic disc brakes for stability and easy stopping.

See the bike: Electra Townie Commute Go! 2018 | Electra Townie Commute Go! Ladies 2018

2018 Trek Super Commute+ 8S

Do you want your morning commute to become more exhilarating and freeing? Take a ride on the Super Commuter+. This model combines the most extended-life battery from Bosch with its Performance Speed motor, as well as Motor Armor to protect that technology. The frame will allow you to feel comfortable no matter how much you accelerate. A frame-mounted battery gives you the best possible balance and aesthetics.

See the bike: 2017 Trek Super Commuter+ 8S

Getting your e-bike and hitting the road… or off-road

Are you ready to get an e-bike and head out to the road, or beyond the road to the woods and mountains? Choosing and maintaining an e-bike can be tricky since they involve completely different systems than standard bicycles. At Trinity Cyclery, we are a family owned and operated shop, certified to provide e-bike service, software updates, statistical analysis, and error code resolution. See our reviews.