An electric mountain bike can serve many purposes. They open up a world of possibilities by inspiring confidence in riders who perhaps aren’t as fit as they’d like to be, or are unable to ride as hard or fast as they used to. In my case, even as someone relatively fit and competent on a bike, an e-MTB means I’m more confident tackling trails that otherwise I’d be getting off and pushing my bike over.
The Trek Fuel EXe range is a rare type of e-bike – not only does it look precisely non- electric, but you get back what you put into it when you ride. By this I mean the motor is distinctively not overbearing. TQ has put a lot of effort into making something that seriously emulates ‘real ride-feel’.
I was lucky enough to borrow the Trek Fuel EXe 9.5. You can see the spec list online so I won’t list it here, but essentially the assistance is provided from a TQ mid-drive motor which gives off up to 50Nm of torque. It’s 250W continuous, as all e-bikes are in the UK, and can provide 300W of peak power – in other words, it’s like you or me, but if we actually did some consistent training and were bothered about FTP numbers.
I took this nifty trail e-bike up to Sutton Bank where I caught the transition period between the snow melting and the ground softening, which led to a lovely mix of terrain upon which to trial the bike. As a trail bike by design, it’s well-balanced for climbing and descending, and if you’ve been to Sutton Bank, you’ll know it’s not exactly downhill central.
Even when putting the hammer down trying to get through some snow drifts, the motor was convincingly quiet – although anyone near me would have heard a few choice words at my difficulty getting through them. It was also at this point I discovered the walk assist, which also works wonders.
If you’re into your tech stuff, which with an e-bike you may as well be to get the most out of it – make sure you pair the bike with the Trek Central app, which provides some really helpful information about your bike like recommended pressures for your tyres and suspension and can even allow your phone to act as a GPS computer with the map service. On the bike, you’ve still got enough data to make most people happy – think range in each mode, current ride stats like distance and time, and battery percentage.
Even with the motor and battery system, this bike is playful and agile. It’s the ideal trail partner for lots of local terrain whether you like bike parks, trail centres or a bit of wild riding atop the moors. I can even get my dog to attest to the ride comfort, as she joined me in her backpack for a quick spin around the local bridleways near Easingwold – she’s a good gauge of how smooth a bike is because if it’s too bumpy she glares at me, but if she’s enjoying it, she tucks her head onto my shoulder and enjoys the wind in her face.The Fuel EXe 9.5 provided plenty of shoulder hugging – when she wasn’t staring at sheep, that is.
If you want to demo this bike (or any others for that matter), give the team at York Cycleworks a call and they’ll be happy to help, whether it’s road, mountain, electric, or not!