Bike Review: Trek CrossRip+
A great vehicle replacement and really versatile
Sure, it took some time, but after creating a crowded mountain and commuter bike market, eventually the e-bike industry had to look elsewhere at what other categories of bikes they were missing out on. While the unicycle market was happily overlooked, it was the world of drop bars that blinked the loudest on the radar screen. In the last few months we have seen a handful of new e-road models arrive from notable brands like Yamaha, Haibike, Pinarello, Focus and Trek.
While the Euro brands like Focus and Pinarello have yet to hit the U.S. shores, Wisconsin-based Trek is now here with their CrossRip+, which is a pedal-assist version of their standard CrossRip line that is aimed squarely at commuters, gravel grinders and weekend adventurers who want electric assist for at least part of their ride.
The bike runs on a 350-watt Bosch Performance Speed motor and controller, and a special, non-removable Purion controller is included with a bright/dim switch integrated to control the brightness of the lights. The Bosch Performance Speed motor is mounted horizontally at the bottom bracket. This configuration is giving way to a more angled mount for many manufacturers who opt for a more inline position with the downtube where it doesn’t scream “electric bike” as much. The DT-mount Bosch 500-Wh battery is mounted on the top of the downtube.
This bike looks like a simple commuter, but don’t let the rack, kickstand and fenders fool you. It’s a Trek made for performance and fun, as well as utility. The drop bars allow you to vary your position, and best of all, the control placement works well from any position on the handlebars.
“His wife tried it as well, and that may have him on the hook for at least one of these!”
Integrated lighting offers great visibility during the day. There’s a headlight built into the head tube, which is very clean, but at the same time it points where the frame points, not necessarily where the handlebars and fork are pointing, which can mean less visibility in the direction you’re turning to, not the straight line you were just in.
The taillights are a great feature for visibility. There’s one at the back of the rack that flashes, and one just past the seat tube that also flashes and can serve as your only back light if you remove the rack. That’s really well thought out to offer safety and versatility. Reflective sidewall stripes on the tires add to visibility and safety.
Overall balance of the bike in this configuration is outstanding, When we loaded the bike on the scale, it was very even on the scale, which seems to indicate that it’s very evenly balanced on the road. The frame is made from Trek’s Alpha Gold aluminum, the same kind of alloy they use for their mountain bikes for strength, rigidity and durability. To add to the bike’s strength and improve the weight, the CrossRip+ has a carbon fork. This allows for a weight limit of 300 pounds with rider and cargo.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
The CrossRip+ is a pretty versatile bike. Owing especially to the burly rack, the Trek will serve well as a commuter, a touring bike or even a road bike to help a lesser rider keep up with faster friends.
Even with its drab, black finish, the Trek still manages to be a bit of a looker thanks to the clean design. Also, the headlight is always on for safety. We’d add at least one light on the handlebars at night that would turn with the bars for better rider visibility.
Climbing on and firing it up, there are four levels of assist—Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. We spent most of our time in Tour, as Eco is good to overcome the extra weight of the bike, and Sport was better for hills. Turbo is a blast, but it does cut the range quickly.
With a 28-mph pedelec, you spend a lot of time on the flats going about 25 mph, and rarely are you at 28 or faster because the motor support drops dramatically after 26–27 mph. As with the Bosch system, you can pedal a fast cadence, up to 120rpm, but it’s most efficient at around 90 rpm. The rocket ship of a motor can be a bit noisy, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of power assist it offers.
The 1×11 drivetrain offered no difficulty in range of gears, and the SRAM Force CX1 shifter was on the right brake lever, a short click to shift up and a further press to downshift. We loved the simplicity of this.
Modulating speed or stopping is provided by SRAM Force CX1 hydraulic disc brakes with either the choice of the electric or the acoustic versions of the CrossRip line. No matter what the conditions, these brakes work well and stop you on a dime. The levers are fantastic and work from any position.
On long rides we loved the ability to change position per the drop-bar setup—from aggressive and low to higher and more relaxed—and able to reach the controls from every position.
The kickstand was a mixed blessing. It’s positioned by the rear axle and kept out of the way, and if you’re repositioning the bike and rolling it backwards, there’s no chance of the cranks catching on it. However, for some reason the attachment bolts came loose regularly until we finally applied some LocTite.
One of our test riders was new to electric bikes but not new to road bikes, and as an avid roadie, he was over the moon riding the Trek, owing to the blast of new power added to his legs. We think that’s a definite plus of this bike, especially with the Bosch Performance Speed motor. That’s a definite good point of electric bikes, and it is a great equalizer, allowing groups of people with disparate ability levels to ride together and have fun together.
As one of the world’s three biggest bike brands, Trek is a company with a well-earned track record of proven engineering and design. However, while the CrossRip+ was a solid effort, it also struck us as a bit mundane. The e-bike market has definitely evolved, and the day when a bike company (especially one with the resources of Trek) would just slap a Bosch battery pack on an aluminum frame and call it good (especially at this price) has passed. In short, our expectations ran a bit higher, and other than the shapely top tube, the Trek is pretty basic with not much of a progressive aesthetic. For Trek’s next round of e-road bikes, we’re hoping to see something with a more unique, proprietary design.
The Trek CrossRip+ is definitely on the sturdy side, and we liked the well-built rack, which helps bring good value to the bike for anyone looking to commute to work or jump in for some loaded, long-distance rides. It’s not the cheapest bike, but it’s a great vehicle replacement and really versatile in its potential uses.
SPECS TREK CROSSRIP+
Motor: Bosch Performance Speed, 350W
Battery: Bosch Powerpack 500 Wh
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Top speed: 28 mph (with assist)
Range: 30–50 miles
Drive: SRAM Force CX1, 11-speed
Brakes: SRAM Force CX1
Controls: Bosch Purion
Fork: CrossRip carbon w/ alloy steerer, 12mm thru-axle
Frame: Alpha Gold aluminum
Tires: Bontrager H1, Hard-Case Ultimate, reflective sidewall, 700x38c
Weight: 45 lb.
Color choices: Matte Black
Sizes: 50cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 61cm
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION
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