Trek powers over trail with lightest full-squish e-mountain bike yet
We've already seen recently how the removable Fazua Evation electric drive can create an award-winning two-for-one ebike combo and a versatile gravel bike. Now it paves the way for the lightest full-suspension e-MTB ever to come from one of the world's largest names in mountain biking. The 2021 Trek E-Caliber leverages the lightweight, removable drive toward separating itself from the hard-hammering downhill e-MTBs to offer a light, nimble cross country ride.
Ebikes have been growing lighter over the years, but it's still a feat for a manufacturer to break 30 lbs (13.6 kg) with a full-size, unsuspended urban commuter. When it comes to the beefier, full-suspension build of a modern electrified mountain bike, you can forget it — you're lucky to come in under 45 lb (20.4 kg), and dropping below 40 puts you among the lightest of the light.
Specialized made "lightest full-suspension e-MTB" headlines in February 2020 with its Turbo Levo SL, a 38.3-lb (17.4-kg) e-MTB that weighs in just a hair away from the comparatively low-priced 38.4-lb (17.4-kg) Forestal Siryon that debuted a few weeks later. Orbea followed up in Fall 2020 with its gorgeously painted 36-lb (16.3-kg) Rise.
Trek takes yet another step forward in lightweight ebike design with the E-Caliber, claiming the bike weighs in as low as 34.2 lb (15.5 kg). That weight, of course, comes only with the tippity-top E-Caliber spec and its five-figure price tag, but crazy prices for low weights are hardly news to anyone who's ever shopped for a lightweight bike, electrified or not.
Trek fancies the E-Caliber a race-grade cross-country e-MTB in a world dominated by beefier e-mountain bikes best left to pedaling up short, steep hills and throwing their bulk at bombing back downhill at record speed. The E-Caliber's 10-lb (4.6-kg) 250-W Fazua Evation electric drive kicks out power assistance to help riders top steep hills, pedal farther distances, close the gap with stronger, faster riders, and smoothen out the knobby-tire experience whenever else they might need a boost.
The Evation delivers assistance at speeds up to 20 mph (32 km/h) and offers up to 43.5 miles (70 km) of range on its lowest 100-W mode. Trek promises a smooth assistance experience, with no jolts at the start and no mechanical resistance once the motor cuts out. Riders can switch through three available modes with the low-profile touch-sensitive handlebar controller.
If and when the rider feels that electric assistance is unnecessary, he or she can remove the entire Evation drive, replacing it with a hollow down tube insert and enjoying a classic pedal-powered XC mountain bike that weighs 6 lb (2.7 kg) less. The non-electrified aspects of the bike are modeled after Trek's Supercaliber XC bike, employing the same IsoStrut structural rear suspension design with 2.4 in (60 mm) of travel. The E-Caliber features slightly longer, slacker geometry than the Supercaliber, and a longer-travel 120-mm fork, both tweaked around its electrified design.
Like other Trek bikes, the E-Caliber comes in a full range of models, starting at $6,500. The range-topping $13,000 E-Caliber 9.9 XX1 ASX is the one that gets buyers down into 34-lb territory (34.8 lb/15.8 kg with a pre-production medium-size painted frame, according to Trek's spec sheet). This top build includes a carbon frame, SRAM XX1 Eagle ASX wireless electronic drivetrain, Fox Factory rear shock and RockShox SID Ultimate fork.
For more info on other E-Caliber models and specs, you can jump to the Trek source link below, but we suggest you first watch the E-Caliber devour ridge-splitting singletrack, muscle through boulder fields and wade through rivers in the quick clip below — definitely got us more excited for digging into the details.