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Momentum Mag reviews the Trek Transport+.
Price $2,819.99 USD
Find it at trekbikes.com
US and Canada at Ride+ Trek Dealers
The Trek Transport+ is a longtail cargo bike with a 350-watt rear hub motor, heavy-duty rims, fenders, front disc brake, rear V-brake, fold-down aluminum racks, cargo bag, lights, eight-speed freewheel (13–32), 38/ 28 chainrings with trigger shifters and has a carrying capacity of 250 pounds (113 kilograms). It’s part of Trek’s Gary Fisher Collection.
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This is a great-looking cargo bike. The electric hub motor keeps heavy loads manageable and uphill rides easy. The fold-down rear low-rider racks are genius.This bike is light enough to carry and the front rack is a useful addition (and the perfect spot to load a pizza!).
The kickstand that comes with the Transport+ is barely sufficient. When loading even the smallest amount of cargo on even terrain, the bike would topple over.
Great for anyone looking for a cargo bike – as long as you have somewhere to store it because it’s probably not the best idea to leave it locked outside overnight.
The Trek Transport+ is a great bike overall. At first, I thought that this might even be the perfect cargo build. The 26″ x1.5 Bontrager H4 Hard-Case Plus anti-flat tires provide a smooth ride. The electric hub motor really evens out the hills or gives you a needed boost when fully loaded. The gear range is suited to hauling cargo around town and, with minor modification, could be set up for touring. The bash guard on the large chainring is a nice touch.
As with any electric assist, maintenance may be an issue, especially if firmware updates are needed. You won’t be able to simply plug a USB cable into the battery, only an authorized dealer with the proprietary cable can do that sort of service. Although, it’s unclear how often, if ever, it will be required. Is the motor worth the $1500 it adds to the price tag (the “plus” in Transport+)? I’ll put it to you this way: I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to riding my own un-assisted cargo bike. I regularly carry 50+ pounds (23 kilograms) of cargo up Vancouver’s hills and the motor on the Transport+ makes it easy.
As with any cargo bike, you’ll need an easy access space to store it. While it’s not as heavy as one would expect, the length makes it a challenge, especially around corners and up stairs. The high-tech gear may also makes it attractive to would-be-thieves if you park it overnight on an urban street. A garage in a house or a bike room in a condo is your safest storage bet.
It’s also a great looking bike: I really like the matte metallic bronze paint colour. It has a not-too-aggressive or too-upright riding position to keep the rider comfortable but still able to stand to peddle when necessary, unlike some of the competition. The step-through aluminum frame makes it easy to mount the bike when the cargo area is loaded enough that you can’t swing your leg over. Plus, the fold down rear low-rider racks are a stroke of genius. They’re similar to Xtracycle’s wide-loaders but with the added advantage of folding-up to keep the bike narrow enough to fit through doorways. Overall, the designers at Trek really did a good job making an attractive bike.
That brings me to the one major flaw (and what could be a deal-breaker for me): the kickstand. Assuming you manage to load the bike evenly (and that seems unlikely), take caution with precious cargo: the kickstand is too weak to be considered reliable, especially when left unattended or parked on uneven ground. My first suggestion if you buy this bike: replace the stock kickstand with something more robust. My second suggestion is for Trek: It’s positioned too far forward on the bike, making it nearly impossible to load heavy cargo without assistance. The bike consistently tipped as I loaded it, even with small loads. Look to Xtracycle’s KickBack for inspiration: the kickstand needs to be placed closer to the cargo, much wider, and all metal (yes, the legs of the stock stand are partly adjustable plastic. With the current setup, it’s as if Trek’s designers didn’t talk to people who use other cargo bikes to see what’s available or test this bike before going into full production. I really hope Trek offers an upgrade or fixes this in future versions of the Transport+. At $2800+, I shouldn’t have to even think about the kickstand, it should have been central to the design of this bike.
The Trek Transport+ is a great bike overall. Tons of cargo capacity in the rear and on the front rack. The BionX electric hub motor really evens out the hills, especially when fully loaded. The gear range is suited to hauling cargo around town and, with minor modification, could be set up for touring. It’s also a great-looking bike: nice paint color, a not-too-aggressive or too-upright riding position, step-through frame and attractive design.
Momentum Mag contacted Trek to find out what the deal was with firmware updates and if there were any changes to the kickstand in the works. Here are their responses:
[Trek] We receive firmware updates periodically from our electronics vendor. Occasionally these include mildly enhanced features. That said, it is not necessary to get updates frequently. We recommend that the dealer perform the update whenever the customer brings their bike by the store. Performing an update is simple and fast (less than 3 minutes). In the event that a critical update were to release, we notify the Ride + dealers so that they may reach out to their customers and let them know that they should bring the bike in for an update. It has been over 2 years since the last critical update was released.
[Trek] The kickstand is a challenge to be sure. Our bike design has fold down load carriers which would obscure an extra-wide kickstand like the one linked above. The kickstand that is included on the Transport has adjustable leg lengths so that the bike can lean at rest which makes the bike easier to load from one side. Usability of the bike was the first priority. We’re looking at new kickstand options but the unit that is on the bike is what will come with Transport+ in the immediate future.
This bike was generously put together by Bicycle Sports Pacific in Vancouver, BC. bspbikes.com
Chris Bentzen is a freelance creative-type and transportation cyclist from Vancouver, BC. While he definitely doesn’t need another bike, he’s always on the lookout for the perfect ride (be it cargo or for daily use). His most recent project is Hot Art Wet City hotartwetcity.com and you can find out more about him at bentzen.ca and @bentzen on Twitter.