Take a look at our Best Electric Mountain Bike buying guide and you’ll quickly realise that most of the major manufacturers have focussed on the premium end of the MTB spectrum when it came time to electrify the range. The E-Trends Trekker takes a different approach, being a hardtail electric mountain bike that offers around 30 miles of smiles on a single charge, while electrically assisting the user up to the UK legal limit of 15.5mph.
The relatively small 7.5Ah battery is neatly stashed into the bike’s downtube, but it can be removed by inserting the provided key, making it possible to plug into a socket in the house, office or garage, where it will fully recharge from a domestic socket in four or five hours.
But hey, let’s not get too bogged down with the tech specs just yet because most folks buy a bike based on how good it looks, don’t they? In this respect, the “all black everything” approach taken by UK bike brand E-Trends is a relatively safe approach that shouldn’t put too many people off. But what's it like to ride? I spent a week finding out and suffice it to say that while nobody is going to call this the best electric bike of all time, or even of this month, it does pack a lot in for rather small amount of money E-Trends is asking…
- VanMoof has a 30mph ebike speeding this way – although it doesn‘t arrive till ‘22
- I tried the Xiaomi Mi Smart folding electric bike – another ebike bargain
- Carrera Impel im-2 from Halfords is probably the best value ebike around
Well, you get a lot for your money here, but the ride is not fantastic. There are three pedal assist modes that are accessed via a brittle little LCD display. Pressing the buttons on this isn’t anywhere near as easy as it should be.
More irritatingly, the E-Trends Trekker doesn’t give you the required surge of torque from first turn of the cranks that I want from an ebike – even a leisure/commuter machine like this one. That surge would make it easier to set off and get the 22kg mass of the bike moving, but it's not to be found here.
Possibly even worse, electric assistance kicks in at bizarre points and I often found that you’ll not get much in the way of shove and then all of a sudden, it comes in all at once. Sometimes this was even after I had stopped pedalling, which was disconcerting to say the least.
Sure, nobody can realistically expect the super smooth, controllable and intelligent assistance of the Angell ebike or the similarly futuristic GoCycle G4i in an ebike costing under £900. But seriously, the Trekker should do better than that.
- Don't need electrical assistance? Here are the best mountain bikes around
- ... as well as the best mountain bikes under £500, for those on a budget
- New cycling accessory fits in your pocket and solves all your bike storage problems
With many eBikes of this nature, there’s a sweet spot between human power and electrical assistance, where the rider can gently rotate the legs and balance the power of the e-motor to cruise along at a set speed. It is very difficult to achieve this on the E-Trends Trekker thanks to the sporadic delivery from the electric motor
As for the gearing, this is a seven-speed set-up from Shimano with the brand’s R:7S Rove shifter, which requires twisting the handlebar-mounted shifter to move up and down the gears. It’s utter pants and almost impossible to get it sitting on a gear without spitting and misfiring constantly.
In fact, I found that there were only probably three gears that were properly useable, including the highest and lowest gears, as well as a gear somewhere in the middle. I tried fine-tuning the Shimano set-up at home but quickly lost patience. Three gears is enough for more commutes, it seems.
Going back to the styling for a moment, the 'unisex' (dipped) crossbar could be a off-putting for some. Personally, I just found it a more comfortable way to get on and off a bike. But then that might be because I have very short legs. The remainder of the bike is fairly nondescript, with a bunch of unknown or budget brands providing the finishing kit. Skinny cranks from Prowheel, unbranded front forks and very cheap-looking tyres from a Chinese manufacturer I’ve never heard of don’t really do much to inspire confidence.
A e-fellow bicyclist here at T3 tried the sub-£1,000 Pure Flux One bike recently and remarked on its hipster styling and it’s true, it does look good. The carbon belt drive and the flashes of white immediately make it look and feel like a more premium product when stood next to the E-Trends Trekker, despite the latter packing front forks and an integrated battery pack.
Unfortunately, the cheap styling carries over into the way it rides.
As for off-road shenanigans, I wouldn’t recommend it, despite what the faux-knobbly tyres might be suggesting. The front suspension doesn’t have much in the way of travel and completely drops out under the weight of the front wheel when it is lifted off the ground. It makes a bit of a racket too, which makes it feel like you’re hurting the bike. It’s definitely not the sort of thing you want to send down the side of a mountain, partly because it could disintegrate and partly because it probably won’t get you back to the top again.
Overall, the E-Trends Trekker it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than most of the other eMTBs on our buying guide but it’s also on the poorer side in terms of performance. There’s nothing in the way of connectivity, no built-in lights, a very basic computer and, most importantly, a motor that delivers power in such a bizarre way, it makes it less enjoyable to ride.
Although it's fine for commutes and leisure rides, especially for anyone who hasn’t ridden an ebike before, it hasn’t got the chops to handle the really tough stuff or off-road forays. What this bike is probably geared towards above all is people who live near hilly, potholed streets rather than mountains and woodland trails. The suspension takes some sting out of speed bumps and holes in tarmac, while the gears can help you get up hills – although of course, the idea of ebikes is that the motor is meant to do that for you.
There are better sub-£1,000 ebikes out there, and they're the ones that provide fewer features, not more. For me, there was just too much that was mediocre about this E-Trends E-MTB and, I suspect, a lot that could potentially go wrong if I rode it for longer than just a week.
- I rode the super sleek Angell ebike and it is one of the very best
- I can't stop thinking about how sexy the new Ribble Ultra SL R road bike looks
E-Trends Trekker price and availability
The E-Trends Trekker is currently available to buy on Amazon UK (opens in new tab)for £895.63 and that's the cheapest we've found it so far.
Unfortunately, E-Trends is a UK based company, so currently doesn't offer the Trekker in any other markets.