Trek Super Commuter+ 8s Review
In 2017 Trek released the Trek Super Commuter+ 7 and Trek Super Commuter+ 8. Two high priced e-bikes geared towards city commuters.
The Trek Super Commuter+ 8 and 8S launched with a hefty price tag of $5K+, putting it out of the price range of most mortals. The 7 was a bit more affordable, but it also had a price tag of over 3K.
Now for most cyclists, I know the thought of throwing down 3K or more for an e-bike sounds crazy. For one thing, it’s cheating having a bike that assists you. Come on folks e-bikes are for people who don’t cycle and certainly not something a REAL cyclist would use.
My roadie testosterone mindset started to change for me after attending Interbike in 2017 and 2018. It was sort of a paradigm shift. I started seeing more and more e-bike companies attending and as I started testing their bikes, I found them rather fun to ride. Sometimes you just want to go for a ride without having to work. While they certainly aren’t motorcycles, that extra bit of assisted power does make them pretty cool.
When I moved to the East side of Austin, I found I needed a better way to commute than by car. We live on the other side of a divided highway and the turn around is 3 miles down the road. It seems crazy just to have to drive 3 miles out and 3 miles back just to get to the other side, but that is our predicament at the moment. I thought about a motorcycle or a scooter, but both those options can be a pain when traffic is heavy because you are still using roads cars use. Next, I thought about an electric skateboard or scooter, but their normal range can be limiting.
Luckily there is a bike trail that runs under the divided highway right by our house. So I decided my best option was to get a commuter bike and bike to work. Sounds great in theory if you don’t sweat a lot, but if you do, as I do, it’s no joy.
Having to take that dreaded sink shower every day because there are no showers at work is no fun, plus people look at you weird.
So the last option, which to me sounded like a potential winner was to look at an e-bike. As luck would have it, an e-bike company called Batch Bicycles contacted me to do a review on their e-commuter bike. This gave me the opportunity I had been looking for.
3 Types of E-Bikes
There are 3 main types of e-bikes which include
- Class 1 – These are pedal-assist e-bikes that assist up to 20mph
- Class 2 – These are throttle-controlled bikes that can travel up to 20mph
- Class 3 – These are pedal-assist e-bikes that assist up to 28mph
When I first started checking out e-bikes I wasn’t up on all the e-bike vocabulary or latest lingo. I certainly didn’t know about the class ratings and what all that meant.
My first real venture into an e-bike was in August of 2019 when Batch Bicycles sent me out their Batch Commuter bike for review. A much more affordable 2K e-bike that ticked off many of the checkboxes you would want in a commuter e-bike.
While certainly not as elegant as the Trek Super Commuter, the Batch Commuter is built like a tank. When using the Batch e-bike I quickly found that reaching speeds of 18mph was super easy, but the cyclist in me wanted more speed. As a class 1 e-bike, the max pedal assist was 20mph. Trying to get beyond 20mph without assistance is really tough. These e-bikes weigh a ton (50+ pounds) and without assistance are pretty hard to pedal around. You can certainly do it, but don’t plan on going very fast without the assistance. Because of this 20mph limitation, I started looking around to see what might be out there for Class 3 e-bikes and low and behold the Trek Super Commuter+ 8 kept popping up in searches.
Trek Class 1 and Class 3 Super Commuter Bikes
When Trek announced their Super Commuter lineup, they came out with the Trek Super Commuter+ 7 and the Trek Super Commuter+ 8. The main difference being speed, color and slight changes to components.
Obviously, with the 8 being a class 3, I kept going back to it with its 28mph class 3 setup. People really seemed to fall in love with their Trek Super Commuter+ 8 purchases. The only real negative, of course, is the price tag, which most reviewers have been very vocal about.
I thought that maybe as many cyclists do, someone might have grown tired of their purchase and wanted to sell their Super Commuter 8 for either another bike or just because it was collecting dust. I search Craigslist, and various bike sites and finally found one listed on eBay. I checked the Seller rating and everything looked legit. Best of all the Bike was listed for 3K, a full 2K under the retail price. Winner!!
Trek Super Commuter+ 8S Review
Before we get started, Trek has both what they call the Super Commuter+ 8 and the Super Commuter+ 8S. I was told that the main difference is the 8 is sold in Europe and the 8S is sold in the states. I also believe the 8 in Europe has a max speed of 20mph, but I could be wrong on that.
The Trek Super Commuter+ 8s is equipped with some pretty impressive components including
- Schwalbe Super Moto-X 650b tires
- 350-watt Bosch Performance Speed motor
- Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes
- Bosch Purion display – Shows battery level, range, and speed along with four selectable power levels (Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo)
- Supernova M99 headlight – Selectable 1600-lumen high beam and 1100-lumen low beam.
- Trek carbon fork
- 500w Bosch Powerpack battery
Trek Powered by Bosch
Trek uses reliable Bosch batteries and electronic drive units to power the Super Commuters. The Bosch ecosystem is made up of three distinct components: the drive unit, the battery, and the console.
The Bosch Performance Line Drive Unit
Starting in 2017, Bosch introduced the Bosch Performance Line Speed motor system that can put out a whopping 60Nm of torque and a top assist speed of 28 mph. Currently is the only Bosch drive motor rated to assist above 20 mph in North America. The Performance Speed motor features a composite shell and has been recognized with the Red Dot Award for outstanding product design.
Bosch is known for making killer products. I have several Bosch electric drills that I absolutely love. They never seem to fail me, so it should be no surprise that their electric e-bike motors are equally as good.
When riding the Performance Line Speed motor is fast to respond and feels really natural. As you pedal, depending on power level (Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo), the bike reacts accordingly.
I found that starting up after stoplights and stop signs, getting back up to speed was an absolute breeze. In general, I like to shift down to an easier gear at stops and then shift back up to harder one shortly after.
Bosch Powerpack 400 & Bosch Powerpack 500
The Bosch PowerPack is a 36V battery pack that powers Bosch equipped electric bikes.
The Bosch PowerPack 400 is a 400 Watt-hour battery pack, while the PowerPack 500 is a 500 Watt-hour battery pack.
The PowerPack 500 offers 20% more capacity than the 400 Watt-hour pack and adds only 3.5 oz to the overall weight of the battery. While range is difficult to estimate – Bosch has made it easier to predict your useful range with their online range calculator.
Need more range? Check out the new Bosch Dual Battery system, available on select bikes.
All Powerpacks can be charged on or off the bike using one of two Bosch chargers. The standard Bosch charger will fully charge the PowerPack 500 in 4.5 hours and the PowerPack 400 in 3.5 hours. The compact Bosch charger weighs 1.3 lbs and is 40% smaller in size than the standard charger, but takes longer to charge the PowerPacks – 7.5 and 6.5 hours respectively for the PowerPack 500 and 400.
Note: The power packs are lockable and have a side charging port to charge the battery while still attached to the bike. Take the battery off to charge it indoors.
Bosch Purion Console | Cyclometer
Trek chose the Bosch Purion Console | Cyclometer, a simple 2-in-1 electric bike controller and console – putting everything you need to monitor and control your bike in one simple package. Scroll through your current speed, assist level, range estimate, and more with the click of a button. A non-glare backlit display makes information easy to view. The Purion, combining controller and console, frees up valuable space on your handlebar for lights and other items.
The Purion allows quick access to four selectable power levels (Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo). Each power level changes the amount of assisted pedal assistance the Performance Speed Motor output. Set the level to Eco for slow riding and to save energy. Set the level to Turbo for a super-fast riding adventure.
Note: The Purion Console is pretty bare-bones and doesn’t give you much information other than speed, battery life, and range estimate. It certainly can’t compare to Garmin’s Edge 530 or Wahoo’s ELEMNT Roam.
Supernova M99 headlight
I am a huge fan of lights on bikes, especially for early morning or late evening rides. They offer both safety and visibility. Trek seems to have thought so as well. The Super Commuter 8 is equipt with the Supernova M99 headlight, a wickedly cool light that is sure to get some attention. It comes with 1600-lumen high beam and 1100-lumen low beam. Enough lumen power to flood a bike trail and certainly make you visible to oncoming traffic.
Trek Super Commuter 8S Components
The Commuter 8 has a really nice set of components and I found them all to work really well.
It comes standard with a Shimano SLX Rapid Fire, 11-speed cassette. SLX is right below Shimano’s XT component set and is a good compromise between performance and cost.
The Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes work extremely well in both wet and dry conditions. I had zero issues stopping and felt they were perfect for this type of bike.
Trek Super Commuter 8S Specifications
- Frame: High-performance e-bike frame with integrated battery
- Fork: Rigid Carbon with thru-axle
- Wheels: Formula alloy hubs, 15mm front; double-walled rims
- Front Hub: Formula sealed bearing, 15mm thru-axle
- Rear Hub: Formula sealed bearing
- Rims: Double-walled
- Tires: Schwalbe Super Moto-X, 650Bx2.40
- Shifters: Shimano SLX Rapid Fire
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore SLX Shadow Plus
- Crank: Miranda Delta for Bosch
- Cassette: Shimano SLX 11 speed, 11-42T
- Saddle: Bontrager H1
- Seatpost: Bontrager Alloy, 31.6mm
- Handlebar: Bontrager Lowriser
- Grips: Bontrager Satellite Elite, lock-on
- Stem: Bontrager Elite
- Brakeset: Shimano Deore hydraulic disc
- Battery: Bosch PowerPack 500 (500Wh), integrated in frame
- Controller: Bosch Purion
- Motor: Bosch Performance Speed, 350Watt, 60Nm
- Front Light: Supernova M99 Pure+, 1,100 lumen, w/daytime running light
- Rear Light: Supernova E3 rear light, LED
- Weight: M – 50cm 23.54 kg / 51.9 lbs
The Trek Super Commuter+ 8s is such a fantastic e-bike. Even after 2 years, it remains one of the best e-bikes on the market and can easily compete against RIESE & MÜLLERs offerings.
The biggest drawback to the Trek Super Commuter 8s is its price tag. Even though bikes are becoming more expensive, 5K is still a really hard pill to swallow for most people. I suppose for those thinking about giving up their 4 wheel mode of transportation for a 2 wheeled one, the 5K price tag is a bit easier choice to make.
I am looking forward to seeing what Trek has to offer for 2020. I am sure there will be one e-bike bike build that will wow people, but it will probably come with a steep price tag.