Trek Dual Sport+

A fun, zippy ride that will make you grin dur­ing your com­mutes

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - Matthew Pioro re­viewed by

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.”

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