Review: Trek T80+ GL

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The world of e-bikes can be confusing for riders looking for basic, simple transportation. Trek’s T80+ is about as uncomplicated as things get, with a basic drivetrain, no throttle, and a very simple motor control unit. A rear rack, bell, kickstand and lights come stock, making the T80+ a turn-key transportation solution for many riders.

The T80+ uses a proven BionX electric motor, specifically a 250-watt rear hub motor, and a long-range 250Wh battery under the rear rack. The battery locks in place, and can be easily removed for charging or theft deterrence. The motor has four levels of assist; I spent most of the time at the highest level. The range of more than miles was more than sufficient for me to run it at full juice all the time, and the small charger made it easy to pack along for the ride just in case.

The riding position is upright and comfortable, with an adjustable stem, wide seat and a suspension fork and seatpost. The reinforced tires should provide miles of flat-free service. The tight-ratio, seven-speed drivetrain is operated with a twist shifter. The aluminum frame is lightweight and designed specifically for this bike, with internal routing for all cables, including those for the headlight and motor control.

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That simple drivetrain is why many riders will like this bike. Get on, turn on the motor control unit, dial up the desired level of assist, and pedal away. With a single shifter, it is easy to understand what and when to shift, and the electric assist makes the small gear range work for most riders, even in hilly terrain. I was only left wanting some more top-end gearing—I felt pretty spun out before the motor kicked off around 20 mph, limiting the cruising speed more than I’d like. While the motor makes climbing easier, riders looking to spin easily up hills might be disappointed with the gear range as well. Trek is adding a triple-ring crankset for the 2014 model, making the gear range acceptable to just about any rider, anywhere.

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I handed this off to a few novice riders for short spins, and everyone figured it out quickly and seemed pretty stoked at the extra power. The upright position, swept-back bars and wide saddle made casual riders happy. The only point of confusion for most people, including myself, was how to turn on the headlight. Depressing the power button for about three seconds turns on the head- and taillights, but push it for too little time and it turns off the motor. It would be cool to see a more modern (and brighter) LED bulb in the headlight too, but for around-town use, the halogen bulb seems sufficient to be seen in traffic.

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This is a well-thought-out and executed bike. With the addition of fenders (and a coffee mug holder), this could be a perfect commuter for riders looking for a simple and approachable ride. Available in three diamond frame sizes and two step-through sizes, the T80+ should fit just about anyone. Throw in the support of an established brand like Trek and its huge dealer network, and the T80+ is an easy choice in the rapidly expanding e-bike market.

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Vital stats

  • Price: $2,100
  • Weight: 39.8lbs.
  • Sizes Available: One size

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