Trek Dual Sport+
A fun, zippy ride that will make you grin during your commutes
A zippy ride that will make you grin during your commutes
My co-worker and I were commuting home. He was on his wicked road bike. I was riding the Trek Dual Sport+. My co-worker is a much stronger rider than me. Much, much stronger. So I didn’t hide my glee that followed each stop light. When it would turn green, I would blast away from my co-worker, the Shimano Steps motor set to high.
The Trek ebike had arrived at the perfect time. It was midsummer. I had been taking advantage of the longer days and good weather. (See also the Colnago C64 review, opposite.) But, like a puppy let loose from a leash, I went full-tilt, or almost full-tilt, every time. That enthusiasm and the dearth of easy rides caught up with me. I was feeling cooked during a midsummer heatwave. I needed to recover, so I was quite pleased when the Dual Sport+ came in for testing.
I rode the bike to work each day. The Steps motor has four settings: off, eco, normal and high. With eco, your pedal strokes get a moderate level of assistance. High, my preferred setting, gives you the most amount of zip. I could get to 32 km/h before covering 50 m. After 32 km/h, the motor doesn’t offer you anymore assistance. You can go faster, but that’s all on you.
My commute to the ccm office and back is about 12 km. If I rode five days a week to work (on high, of course) and also did a few short errands, the battery would be in the low 20 per cent range by Sunday evening. One weekend, I attached my daughter’s bike trailer to the Dual Sport+, and loaded her, some snacks and her aluminum balance bike up. We spent part of a morning at bike park about 4.5 km away. (I confess: I did take the ebike on the pump track, with no assist.) The ride home features a hill with pitches that get into the mid-teens. I was very happy to have pedal assist for this hill. I only wished I had more of a charge for the rest of the ride home. The bike is 19 kg. And then there was the kid, her trailer and her bike. I was trying to recover, after all.
The other pedal-assist motor I’ve spent time with is one by Bosch. Like the Shimano Steps system, it’s a mid-drive motor that sits at the bike’s bottom bracket. This placement keeps the weight more central on the frame, which ensures a good balance. Both also add power directly to the cranks, giving a more natural, smoother assistance to your pedal strokes compared with hub-based motors. Where the Shimano performs better than the Bosch is at low speeds. If you are starting up slowly from a stop, or are maybe a bit tentative as you check for traffic and hold a track stand with the hydraulic disc brakes, the Steps motor doesn’t kick in. You don’t have to hold it back with the brakes. But when it’s time to go, it goes.
A tech editor at another publication sent quite an angry Twitter post out over the summer. He was exasperated that he still hears ridiculous arguments against ebikes. He even tied those positions to delicate egos. While I don’t share his same level of frustration, ebikes are still misunderstood machines. For me, the Trek Dual Sport+ is a bike. You need to pedal it. The boost the motor gives you is fun. Is it the same type of fun as riding a road bike for 100 km? No, of course not. The experiences are different. I appreciate them both. As for frail egos, I admit that I often felt the need to announce to other commuters when I passed them at 33 or 34 or even 36 km/h that it was all me. No battery assistance there, buddies. But I’m sure that will pass.
“I was feeling cooked during a midsummer heatwave.”