Rail (625Wh) Trek Rail Carbon Vs Aluminum

scott.kibbler

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
25
4
North East England
Hello all,

Looking to buy a Trek Rail as my first full power bike to replace a Levo SL. Looking for opinions from people who've rode both aluminum and carbon versions as to which they prefer.

Spec is irrelevant as ill be putting all the parts from Levo which is already full custom and eventually changing the shock for a 230x60.

Im drawn to the carbon version to save the weight but ive never actually owned a carbon bike previously.

Thanks in advance.
 

Esef

New Member
Dec 29, 2021
11
5
Czech Republic
To be honest there is not much a difference. I went with aluminium Rail 9 because of the color and the specs. Carbon one with same specs was 50% more expensive and the weight difference is not noticeable. Save money for something else.

And about the carbon frames, there is no need to be scared. It can take a good hit and still be okay.
 

steve_sordy

Wedding Crasher
Nov 5, 2018
8,240
8,442
Lincolnshire, UK
Not a Trek emtb owner, but I thought I would respond on your carbon concern.
I've had zero problems with carbon frames, I'm on my fourth carbon framed bike now and had zero problems.
 
Jan 22, 2021
16
13
BC, Canada
I ended up going carbon, not because of the weight savings but because the aluminum version had the awful (my opinion) Purion controller and the carbon had the Kiox. I could have swapped controllers but then the purchase price was almost the same. That beings said, I would happily buy the Al version
 

scott.kibbler

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
25
4
North East England
If I'm honest Id like to try the purion then the kiox. I like to experience different things and enjoy doing the upgrades.
I think I may go for the aluminium version.
 

Stubble

New Member
Jun 1, 2022
8
7
Australia
I have a 2021 Carbon Rail 9.8XT and a 2021 Aluminium Rail 9. IMHO with the Bosch motor the weight difference is inconsequential so I'd suggest there's no need to pay extra for carbon. (Analogue bikes are a different conversation).

I also have a 2021 Rail 7 with Purion and the Kiox is much better. I'm about to book the Rail 7 in for a Kiox upgrade. It bothers me that for the current cost of the Rails the Kiox isn't standard.
 

scott.kibbler

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
25
4
North East England
I have a 2021 Carbon Rail 9.8XT and a 2021 Aluminium Rail 9. IMHO with the Bosch motor the weight difference is inconsequential so I'd suggest there's no need to pay extra for carbon. (Analogue bikes are a different conversation).

I also have a 2021 Rail 7 with Purion and the Kiox is much better. I'm about to book the Rail 7 in for a Kiox upgrade. It bothers me that for the current cost of the Rails the Kiox isn't standard.


Stubble how would you say the ride feel differs between the aluminium and the carbon?
 

Stubble

New Member
Jun 1, 2022
8
7
Australia
Very little difference mate. It's barely noticeable with a motor. My son is 12 and he rides the carbon one so he probably appreciates the minor weight reduction. For me I only notice it when I'm lifting the bike onto a rack.

If you were comparing a carbon analogue bike to an aluminium analogue then I'd be all in on the carbon but IMHO it doesn't matter with an Emtb.

I know you said you're getting parts from the Levo so if it were me I'd buy a Rail 7, put on all my Levo parts and use the money I've saved to upgrade to Kiox and maybe get some extra bling. I bought my Rail 7 second hand and nothing on it was stock other than the Purion.

If you prefer the colours and look of the carbon frame vs aluminium and you can afford it then go for it but I don't see a reason to spend the extra $$$.
 

Rusty

E*POWAH BOSS
Jul 17, 2019
1,513
1,673
New Zealand
Haven't rode a Trek since the first one I tested - and disliked. However, geo changes and the new motor have made a huge difference I am told.
From my experience I have a Scott carbon with the G4 motor and an Avanti alloy with thesame G4, updated to Kiox to match the Scott. Each bike has areas where they outshine the other. The Scott is a little lighter and more nimble in the air, but the Avanti is more stable on rough, fast downhill runs. Also something I really dislike on the Scott, which is common to a lot of carbon bikes is the Knock Block -makes tight uphill stitchbacks a pain in the ass. Found this riding a few other carbon framed bikes when evaluating what I wanted.
Funnily enough, not a huge difference in available distance between them - guessing my fat arse weight is a balancing factor.
 

scott.kibbler

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
25
4
North East England
Im seeing no reason to buy the carbon over the aluminium here then.

I know you said you're getting parts from the Levo so if it were me I'd buy a Rail 7, put on all my Levo parts and use the money I've saved to upgrade to Kiox and maybe get some extra bling. I bought my Rail 7 second hand and nothing on it was stock other than the Purion.

Any reason your saying the 7 over the 5?
 

Stubble

New Member
Jun 1, 2022
8
7
Australia
"Any reason your saying the 7 over the 5?"

Hi Scott. No. I forgot there even was a 5. If the 5 has the same frame as the 7 and 9 then that's the go for sure.
 

Stubble

New Member
Jun 1, 2022
8
7
Australia
Ye just make sure to go for a 625wh 5 rather than a 500wh

Yes 100% agree. I've used up a full 625 W battery plenty of times riding all day "self shuttling" up the fire roads & XC trails then down the jump lines. I'm 90kg. I'd rather have a bit left over than have to head back to the car an hour early. My son at 50kg has never gone close to draining his battery in a day and he scoots around solely in Emtb or Turbo. :LOL:
 

scott.kibbler

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
25
4
North East England
Ill be buying second hand and 500w bikes are a lot cheaper. I think ill try a 500w and if not enough just buy a 625w battery later on.

If im honest im only trying one out untill the transition relay is released next year.
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
241
164
Norway
I own a 9.8 (My second) and I’ve ridden the 7 quite a lot as well. I have to say I feel quite a difference. Not sure if it’s down to weight only. Suspension might have something to do with as well. I do find the 7 more sluggish than the 9.8. It’s less Playfull. I find it easier to pop off stuff with the 9.8. The 7 feels more “dead”.
 

slomtbr

Active member
Subscriber
May 14, 2021
121
95
US
I own a 9.8 (My second) and I’ve ridden the 7 quite a lot as well. I have to say I feel quite a difference. Not sure if it’s down to weight only. Suspension might have something to do with as well. I do find the 7 more sluggish than the 9.8. It’s less Playfull. I find it easier to pop off stuff with the 9.8. The 7 feels more “dead”.
Reviewers have said weight difference is negligible (<4% difference).
The fork and shock on the 9.8 are better spec than on the 7 however.
 

SGS

Member
Jan 5, 2021
97
131
Sydney
The current versions of the Rail have different geo between carbon and aluminium models which would explain why they feel different
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
241
164
Norway
No, I was comparing the 625 version of both Alu and carbon. I disagree that the weight difference is negligible. 2.5 kg you can certainly feel. The new carbon 9.8 is only 1 kg or so heavier, but that together with the increased reach has made me hold out from upgrading. The pre 2023 models are more fun IMHO on our tight technical single tracks. I’ll ride the 2023 a bit more before I pass final judgment though.
 

slomtbr

Active member
Subscriber
May 14, 2021
121
95
US
No, I was comparing the 625 version of both Alu and carbon. I disagree that the weight difference is negligible. 2.5 kg you can certainly feel. The new carbon 9.8 is only 1 kg or so heavier, but that together with the increased reach has made me hold out from upgrading. The pre 2023 models are more fun IMHO on our tight technical single tracks. I’ll ride the 2023 a bit more before I pass final judgment though.
2.5kg is the weight difference for complete bikes - the frame weight difference is less than 1kg.
 
Apr 27, 2022
69
22
UK
The newer Rail 9 has slacker geo and is reportedly a bit too slack. It didn't get as good a write up as the model it succeeded. The lower spec versions have the same geo as the old model 9 and are reckoned to be a better buy. Check out The Loam Wolf, they did a good review on this subject on their You Tube channel.
 

slomtbr

Active member
Subscriber
May 14, 2021
121
95
US
But you are never riding the frame only are you?
From the OP:
"aluminum and carbon versions as to which they prefer.

Spec is irrelevant as ill be putting all the parts from Levo…"
 
Last edited:

slomtbr

Active member
Subscriber
May 14, 2021
121
95
US
The newer Rail 9 has slacker geo and is reportedly a bit too slack. It didn't get as good a write up as the model it succeeded. The lower spec versions have the same geo as the old model 9 and are reckoned to be a better buy. Check out The Loam Wolf, they did a good review on this subject on their You Tube channel.
Only the 9.8 and 9.9 have the new geometry.
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
241
164
Norway
From the OP:
"aluminum and carbon versions as to which they prefer.

Spec is irrelevant as ill be putting all the parts from Levo…"
😅 My bad, but I do think the Alu version still will be more than a kg heavier if he moves the parts over.
The 2023 9.8 is about a kg heavier than the 2022 and I can feel that, but of course the geometry plays a part in the equation as well
 

slomtbr

Active member
Subscriber
May 14, 2021
121
95
US
😅 My bad, but I do think the Alu version still will be more than a kg heavier if he moves the parts over.
The 2023 9.8 is about a kg heavier than the 2022 and I can feel that, but of course the geometry plays a part in the equation as well
2021 9.7: 22.8kg
2021 7: 23.6kg
 

Yoak

Active member
Apr 5, 2020
241
164
Norway
2021 9.7: 22.8kg
2021 7: 23.6kg
I was talking about the 9.8 and that is 22,3kg with tubes and I run tubeless and carbon wheels so its close to 22 kg, but that is only around 1.5kg difference. Still it feels quite a bit heavier to me when I have ridden them (and pushed them up mountains) back to back. Could be the suspension plays a bigger part than I thought, when it comes to the "heavier" feel when riding the Rail 7.
Anyway, I've had no problems with the 2 carbon frames I've had so far. I ran the first one for 2600km, and my 2021 I've ridden 2800km by now. Can't say the same for the Bosch motors though. Replaced twice under warranty on my first one, and yesterday the motor failed on my new one.
 

Chairman

Active member
Feb 25, 2022
203
104
Nz
I was talking about the 9.8 and that is 22,3kg with tubes and I run tubeless and carbon wheels so its close to 22 kg, but that is only around 1.5kg difference. Still it feels quite a bit heavier to me when I have ridden them (and pushed them up mountains) back to back. Could be the suspension plays a bigger part than I thought, when it comes to the "heavier" feel when riding the Rail 7.
Anyway, I've had no problems with the 2 carbon frames I've had so far. I ran the first one for 2600km, and my 2021 I've ridden 2800km by now. Can't say the same for the Bosch motors though. Replaced twice under warranty on my first one, and yesterday the motor failed on my new one.
What's going wrong with the motors?
 

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