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The new Trek E-Caliber

A new kind of ebike, for a group of riders that has been curiously neglected – that’s what Trek said in the teaser for the press event.

Trek has previously told us how they believe the mild and lightweight emtbs will take a huge chunk of the market. Therefore, we were expecting Trek to release such an emtb. But there are already a few superlight emtbs out there. People interested in such a bike hasn’t really been neglected. So, what is Trek really talking about?

Introducing the Trek E-Caliber

Well, they’re talking about the new Trek E-Caliber. Sure, it’s a lightweight emtb with reduced motor power. But that’s not all. It’s a proper cross country racing bike. It seems this is the first emtb made for the lycra crowd. And yeah, I guess they have been neglected by the ebike manufacturers. But it could be mutual. Is the lycra crowd also neglecting the ebikes?

Trek E-Caliber overview

The E-Caliber is here to find out. This is a full suspension bike with 120 mm travel front and just 60 mm rear. It’s based on the Trek Supercaliber. The E-Caliber is a slightly more burly bike compared to the Supercaliber. Fork travel is 20 mm longer and head angle is reduced to 67.5 degrees. Also reach is 15mm longer at 440 mm on size Medium. Trek is making the E-Caliber a more stable and controlled bike at higher speeds.

Rear suspension

The rear suspension is the same as on the Supercaliber, the IsoStrut. This design saves weight. And according to Trek, it transfers power more efficiently, making the bike feel as fast as a hardtail. Here we find pivotless seatstays that flex as the chainstays move. The seatstays are connected to a tube that slides over the IsoStrut shock.

Two in one

The E-Caliber isn’t just an electric bike, also a regular pedal-only bike. Trek opted for the Fazua motor. This motor system has been around for years. It’s a 55 nm motor that will produce 250W continuous power and 450W peak power. The motor sits in a “drive pack” that also contains the 250Wh battery. The entire drivepack weighs 3.3 kg and it can be removed. Making it a regular pedal-bike. This comes with a slight weight penalty though, as we’re left with the chunky bottom bracket which contains a few cogs to connect to the motor.

Fazua motor system
Trek E-Caliber range

What do we think?

I keep referring to the E-Caliber as a racing bike for the lycra-crowd, but it’s more than that of course. I bet you don’t have to be a racer to enjoy a quite lightweight bike that pedals efficiently and works just as well without the motor. Now, we have to test the bike ourselves to find out if that really is the case.

A look at the different models

In Norway, the bikes will be available at stores shortly after the release date. Except for the E-Caliber 9.6, it should be available early april.

2021 Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 AXS
2021 Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XTR
2021 Trek E-Caliber 9.8 XT
2021 Trek E-Caliber 9.8 GX
2021 Trek E-Caliber 9.6

Introduction video from EMTB Videos

  1. No good at all for all you hardcore, body armour clad, full send enduro, big jumping legends out there.

    But definitely floats my boat, big time.

    Would compliment my red and black 10.5kg Pro-calibre rather well in fact. :)

    View attachment 54110

  2. Me too, but they’ve taken their pricing structure right out out of the Specialized "Customers, how much can we gouge them?" book.
  3. Reading around t’interweb and getting a bit more info, I really cant so who this bike is for, if you are fit then I suspect its actually going to be slower than a regular XC bike as you are hauling a lot more weight around once you hit the limiter, which would be pretty quickly IMO on an XC trail, and its not offering much more benefit over a Levo SL or Orbea Rise weight wise whilst sacrificing a whole lot of versatility.

    I really like the idea of a short travel lightweight EMTB that you can rail around on, a downcountry EMTB for want of a better phrase, but Trek have maybe gone a bit too far down the XC road with this one for me.

  4. It would proper excel on a lot of my riding.
    But no way would I drop the kind of money needed for a light version, and buying a lardy version would just defeat the object.

    So, although it floats my boat as a concept, I will stick with my £3k full lard e-Whyte and Procaliber combo for the foreseeable future. 😉 and have enough change to buy a small used car.

    When I want light and quick XC I will make do with pedalling.

    Yet another niche to complement every other.

  5. About time we’re seeing more XC EMTB’s. Just watched ElectricBikeReview and I’ve gotta be honest, I did raise an eyebrow 🤨
  6. But surely the ramifications of introducing a xc emtb can only improve the sport? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a sudden urge to buy an xc bike but for the purposes of introducing a racing specific event (1st person to cross the finish line), this could be a huge step towards taking emtb’s seriously.
    I’M TALKING TO YOU UCI!!!
  7. No XC racing is all about athleticism, motors have no place in it – I can see the point in Enduro EMTB racing but XC would be like doing the Tour de France on a Haibike Flyon.
  8. No XC racing is all about athleticism, motors have no place in it – I can see the point in Enduro EMTB racing but XC would be like doing the Tour de France on a Haibike Flyon.

    They could make the courses longer or, not allow full fat emtb’s. Not to mention, it could allow Legendary xc racers to continue/transition to a E-version when they get older. Nino Schurter and Julien Absalon aren’t exactly getting any younger

  9. Is luring the XC lycra crowd over to emtb the objective? :unsure:
    Is it even possible?

    I could see it as a training tool for either a pro, or a dentist who races masters class that wants to use it on recovery days while keeping the same feel as their race bike. Other than that, why wouldn’t you buy an emtb that would be far more fun to ride? I’d rather buy an e-gravel bike than this and I don’t want one of those either. This is a bike that will still make you suffer both on the climbs and the downs.

  10. It’s very pretty but very niche imo. Way less capable than SL or Rise for anything other than xc. That small battery is not going to last on long xc rides so you’re left with having to do a lot of hard pedalling which defeats the object – you might as well have a lighter non assisted version. Really expensive as well. Would be very interested to see an independent review of a long xc ride and see how they get on – I might be talking total crap.
  11. Given the rear suspension on the Caliber is basically a soft tail, if I was in the market for an XC EMTB I would still seriously consider for the Focus Raven Squared which has been around for 3 years now, and for half the price still weighs in at sub 16kg

    There is also the Willier 101fx which is a more rounded concept IMO, again been around for a few years, and has proper rear suspension, coming in at sub 16kg and a couple of k cheaper than the Trek

  12. On top of the half in half out suspension travel offering m, the main issue is the Fazzy motor. Compared with the EP8 RS and Mahle 1.1 it just doesn’t cut it in its present configuration. Anyone who’s spent time on the Ezesty will tell you the power band is narrow and a tad inflexible plus you have to carry a spare battery. What’s the point ?🤷🏽
  13. I tried the new ultra light Trek E Caliber today. I’ve just had the opportunity to try it on the parking lot of the store. My thoughts: rear suspension is really hard (feels like a hard tail); motor is really good but not as powerful as the Orbea Rise; geometry seems very good and the bike feels fast. I tried the 6,500.00 model. I asked the store to weight it, and it was 42 pounds with pedals (heavier than my M10 that has a real rear suspension). Overall I prefered the Orbea Rise (but I’d have to try the Trek on the mountain).
  14. An old/young buddy of mine had one in his to test pile, he is a test editor for a magazine platform. His main ride is the S-Works SL that he had just got together with last year when I saw him. Let’s just say he loves the SL….

    Speaking of Specialized he had a Gen 3 Levo to test also and had good things to say about it. He had done 5250 elevation in 2.5hrs a week before doing laps on a loop that had a ferocious climb, 15 minutes up and 15 minutes down….He was all excited about the little top tube gizmo that you could dial in with your phone app to cycle through the info you need. Being an older guy with helpers it wouldn’t work for me as it was pretty tiny. Bike looked really no different however.

  15. Generally
    Would be absolutely surprising if the Trek wouldn’t had thought all this before pushing the button. Could it be that electric assistance brings up models that previously was not needed. Sometimes the need is born at the sametime with the product.
  16. On top of the half in half out suspension travel offering m, the main issue is the Fazzy motor. Compared with the EP8 RS and Mahle 1.1 it just doesn’t cut it in its present configuration. Anyone who’s spent time on the Ezesty will tell you the power band is narrow and a tad inflexible plus you have to carry a spare battery. What’s the point ?🤷🏽

    I just spent the last two days on my eZesty chasing a Levo SL. Can’t really agree with your premise since 2.0. I did use more battery but I’m also 15kg heavier than the other rider. Yesterday was 44km with 700m of climbing. I had 5 bars left on the second battery. Ride in trail (250w) all day.

    Gordon

  17. I’m no engineer but dosen’t that pivotless stay on the E-caliber look a bit thin? It’s the very first thing I noticed when I saw the bike.

    View attachment 54456

    Looking at how the rear suspension works, I’d say it’s designed thin so it can flex – there’s no pivot’s at the chainring end and it looks like the section round the shock slides in a linear fashion, so it either flexes or something snaps ?

  18. Looking at how the rear suspension works, I’d say it’s designed thin so it can flex – there’s no pivot’s at the chainring end and it looks like the section round the shock slides in a linear fashion, so it either flexes or something snaps ?

    Ok, it looks big and beefy at the front but when you get to the back I wondered if they went over budget and had to save on materials 😮

  19. Ok, it looks big and beefy at the front but when you get to the back I wondered if they went over budget and had to save on materials 😮

    No. They started designing it at the front.. Then the new trend for smaller motored, smaller cheaper battery bikes which cost twice as much trend started … so they had to make the rear look a lot cheaper so they could try to sell it for £12,000. :)

    There might be a refresh next year where they get rid of the rear shock and seat stay, invent "hybrid harmonic suspension" – which is just a chainstay – and sell it for £14,000.

  20. No. They started designing it at the front.. Then the new trend for smaller motored, smaller cheaper battery bikes which cost twice as much trend started … so they had to make the rear look a lot cheaper so they could try to sell it for £12,000. :)

    There might be a refresh next year where they get rid of the rear shock and seat stay, invent "hybrid harmonic suspension" – which is just a chainstay – and sell it for £14,000.

    these prices are starting to resemble the outrageous menu items in some restaurants for a breakfast 🍳

    The one below costs £2000

    hey it’s just an omelette!

    View attachment 54458

  21. And in case anyone is wondering, they actually manage to sell 12 a year 🍳 🍳 🍳 🍳🍳🍳🍳🍳🍳🍳🍳🍳

    I wonder what the wealthy people who can afford more than just a basic omelette have for breakfast ? :unsure: :coffee: ?

    It must be awful for the 12 poor families who visited .. "no honey (none gender specific) , you should just have some toast…"

  22. Looking at how the rear suspension works, I’d say it’s designed thin so it can flex – there’s no pivot’s at the chainring end and it looks like the section round the shock slides in a linear fashion, so it either flexes or something snaps ?

    Looks like a pivot at the base of the seat tube to me? The whole rear triangle moves with no Horst link thingie. I didn’t really study the one I saw that much but it was an odd looking bike overall I felt.

  23. Looks like a pivot at the base of the seat tube to me? The whole rear triangle moves with no Horst link thingie. I didn’t really study the one I saw that much but it was an odd looking bike overall I felt.

    Yup, there’s a pivot there :) Otherwise it wouldn’t move :)

    It’s the top bit, where it connects to the shock – the way they’ve done it makes it look like that could be fixed to run back and forwards in parallel with the frame, in which case there would need to be another pivot at the bottom of the seat stay or the seat stay needs to flex. It’s most likely that where it mounts to the shock there’s also some movement/pivot/something as it would be unusual to make a frame section which is designed to flex rather than incorporating a pivot ! But who knows, maybe that’s what 12k buys you – Carbon’s normally pretttttttyy rigid though !

  24. Interesting video.
    I wonder how many times those stays can repeatably flex like that without microscopic cracks forming. Wonder what we would see under an electron microscope 🔬
  25. Personally, I found Fazua Rider to be a huge disappointment. Apparently they were going to offer an upgrade so you could customise the motor via the app and BT but that never happened (yet..). My current phone doesn’t even have the app. I use a Garmin which can read the Fazua system via BT LE.

    To update and play with the settings you need the Fazua Toolbox, which is a PC program and you’ll also need a mini (not micro) USB cable. It’s a cludge connecting the unit via a cable but it works and it’s reliable. It’s also fast. My last firmware update took 9 seconds to load! Toolbox is downloadable from the Fazua website. Once you have Toolbox you can customise the motor to your hearts content. Toolbox is also what the manufacturers use to do region settings etc, but you don’t have access to that part of the program, although you can run the motor diagnostics part if you think you have any issues.

    Gordon

  26. @flash I reached out to Fazua because I kept getting "drag" on climbs. It almost feels like the motor is cutting out, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
    I confirmed that I have the latest firmware.
    They advised me to download the Fazua Toolbox basic app to my computer and customize my ride preferences.
    I played around with a few test customizations and am going to try the one I think is going to be an improvement on my Saturday ride.
    I’ll give feedback tomorrow, but when I did a quick test ride up a hill by my house, it felt a ton better on the climb.

    If you or anyone who has had experience with this have some insight on customization, I’d be eager to hear it.

    Here is a screenshot of the test customization that I’m trying.

    View attachment 63401

  27. Turns out, he did all of this in the hopes his wife would like riding with him but … she didn’t. Her loss = my gain.
    This bike is under 40# with the motor!!!
    When I handed his wife the cash to count, she smiled and said, "I really don’t like mt biking. I tried."

    Congratulations and ooof! That hits very close to home. I custom-built a pretty Dengfu a couple years ago and then last year a gorgeous Ibis Mojo HD3 for my wife but they never get any use. I know that an eMTB would make it easier for us to ride together, but yeah… exactly this.

  28. Congratulations and ooof! That hits very close to home. I custom-built a pretty Dengfu a couple years ago and then last year a gorgeous Ibis Mojo HD3 for my wife but they never get any use. I know that an eMTB would make it easier for us to ride together, but yeah… exactly this.

    We have a running joke amongs my girlfriends that, whenever we want some sweet gear we just need to search words like
    Sale
    Wife
    Girlfriend
    Bike
    Skis
    (Insert expensive toy here)

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