Trek Electric bike FAQ

Learn everything you’ll need to know about electric bikes right here. Click on a category you’re curious about, and we’ll show you all the frequently asked questions and answers under that topic.

Not finding what you're looking for? Get in touch with us to get all your questions answered.

What is an electric bike?

Electric bikes (also known as e-bikes and electric assist bikes) amplify your pedaling power thanks to an electric drive system. There are many different kinds of e-bikes, but all of them use an electric motor and battery to help you power your bike. Most have what’s called a controller that lets you choose the amount of power the system provides.

Is an e-bike right for me?

Electric bike vs regular bikes
Yes! Regardless of your cycling skill level, e-bikes open up new doors for navigating your city. E-bikes ease all the small hassles of getting around: the motor flattens climbs and eases headwinds so you can measure your efforts to keep from sweating through your clothes. You don't have to hunt (or pay!) for parking, just find the nearest bike rack. You can put a rack on your e-bike and load up on groceries or run other errands. A scooter can't do that.

Electric bikes vs electric scooters
Electric scooters are compact and easy to maneuver in the city. Scooters shine on short, intra-city trips when you want to get somewhere faster than you can walk, but they won’t necessarily replace car trips. Plus, they’re more dangerous and less regulated than electric bikes, and they aren’t always available when you need one.

Electric bikes vs cars
Cars can take you on much farther and faster trips, you have to worry less about weather conditions, and you can haul a lot. But cars are much worse for the planet than e-bikes are, and cars are more expensive initially and over time—consider maintenance, gas, licensing, and insurance costs. Plus, you aren’t getting exercise and you have to deal with traffic and parking.

Anatomy of an electric bike

E-systems across brands generally consist of a few similar components: the motor, controller, battery, and sometimes a display. While these are the most obvious visual elements, there are also some things going on behind the scenes to ensure the e-bike performs as expected like a power or torque sensor, sensors monitoring speed, and sensors monitoring the system overall.

Learn more on our New to Ebikes page

How do electric bikes work?

Pedal assist e-bikes work by amplifying the power you put into the pedals. The motor will not activate unless you are pedaling, and the degree to which the motor assists you is determined by the assist level you choose (often in increments like Eco, Sport, Turbo)

How fast do electric bikes go?

The e-assist will shut off at either 20mph (25kph in Europe) or 28mph, depending on the model and where it is being sold. You can still pedal the bike to a faster speed, but the motor will not be assisting you.

What are electric bike classes?

Electric bikes are divided into three main types or classes based on what sort of motor they have, whether or not they have a throttle, and how fast they go. It’s important to know which classes of e-bikes are legal in the areas where you’ll ride.

Class 1 electric bikes (low-speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle)
A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.

Shop Class 1 ebikes

Class 2 electric bikes (low-speed throttle-assisted electric bicycle)
A bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.

Class 3 electric bikes (speed pedal-assisted electric bicycle)
A bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 28 mph.

Shop Class 3 Ebikes

How far can e-bikes go?

Electric bike range is dependent on several factors and can be very complicated to calculate. Some factors you can control, and some you can’t. Controllable factors include the size of your battery, the efficiency of your motor, the level of motor assist you select, and how much weight you’re carrying. Uncontrollable factors include wind, weather, temperature, and terrain.

How batteries affect range
The bigger your battery, the more capacity you have to go farther or go faster. Battery power is measured in watt hours (Wh), the higher the Wh the bigger the battery capacity.

How motor efficiency affects range
The efficiency of your e-bike’s electric motor impacts how much of your battery’s energy it uses. A high-quality, efficient motor will draw less energy from your battery, while an inefficient motor will draw more energy and reduce your overall range.

How level of pedal assist affects range
What assist mode you select directly affects your range. For example, eco mode provides the least amount of assist, and draws the least amount of power from the battery. Turbo mode provides the most assist, and draws the most power from your battery. Therefore your range in eco mode is longer than in turbo mode since turbo will drain the battery more quickly.

Long range electric bikes
Long range e-bikes are e-bikes designed for long-distance rides and trips. They typically have large capacity batteries, such as 500Wh or 625Wh, and efficient motors that help you maximize your range. Some Trek e-bike let you add a second battery to further increase range! Insert links to: Bosch RangeBoost batteries, TQ auxiliary batteries, Hydrive auxiliary batteries.

The general range estimate for an e-bike varies from 20-100 miles on a single charge. Yes, it’s really wide! That’s because there are so many factors that can determine your range. We recommend using Bosch’s range finder to help you figure out a more accurate range estimate for your potential e-bike and the conditions you'll ride in.

Already have an e-bike? Use the Trek Central App or the Bosch eBike Flow app to get range estimates based on your route, assist level, and current battery percentage!

Bosch range finder

What kinds of electric bikes are there?

Electric hybrid and commuter bikes look like "a regular bike" with flat handlebars for intuitive control and an upright riding position for a commanding view of your surroundings. Some are offered in a "step-thru" frame option as well, allowing you to step through the frame to mount the bike instead of having to swing a leg over saddle. They often feature wider tires and lots of mounts for things like racks, bags, and fenders, offering more utility for replacing car trips.

Electric road bikes are made for longer rides, and feature curved handlebars that allow you to get comfortable by changing hand positions mid-ride, or getting lower in the handlebars to get out of the wind. While entry level models may come with mounts for bags and racks, higher end road e-bikes forego some of these utilitarian features in favor of light weight and speed.

Electric mountain bikes allow you to get up the mountain or farther into the trail system easier, and reduce the need for a shuttle. Trek makes several different styles of e-MTB. Rail is a high-power, long-travel mountain bike with lots of torque. Fuel EXe uses a smaller, much lighter motor that doesn't produce as much torque, but feels a lot more like a standard mountain bike on the trail. Powerfly is Trek's e-MTB with the least amount of travel, and can be set up with fenders and racks for use as very capable "SUV style" hybrid.

How’s the ride?

Trek e-bikes simply amplify your pedaling effort. They pedal like a regular bike, but the wind is always at your back and hills melt away.

Electric bikes are basically just electric-powered motorcycles, right?

No, electric powered motorcycles use a throttle to engage the power. Trek e-bikes are pedal-assist, so input to the pedals and selected ride mode determines the level of assist. Riding an electric bike with pedal-assist is incredibly intuitive, and anyone who can ride a bike will immediately feel comfortable on one.

What’s the best part about an e-bike?

Electric bikes break down barriers to riding like hills, hot weather, and fitness. Most importantly, they are incredibly fun. Ride farther, carry more, see more, and explore the possibilities that come with a little extra power.

What’s a Watt hour?

A Watt hour is a measurement of battery capacity. Think of it as the “size of the gas tank.” The more Watt hours, the more energy is stored in the battery.

Learn all the ebike basics

Can ebikes work in the rain / get wet?

Every e-system in Trek's lineup is made to be ridden year-round in all weather conditions. We do recommend that you wait to charge your e-bike until it is dry.

Learn more about ebike care and maintenance

How do you turn the battery on/off?

Typically your on/off switch is on your controller on your handlebars. This will activate your whole e-system and battery. The battery is connected to the system and turns off when the system is off.

How long does it take to charge?

It takes approximately 3-5 hours to charge an ebike battery, depending on the state of the battery prior to charge and which charger is being used. The bigger the battery, the longer it takes to charge.

How to charge ebike battery?

The ebike battery charges like any personal computer or cell phone: plug the charger into a wall outlet and connect the charger to the battery. Trek e-bikes don’t require you to remove the battery to charge, but it’s always an option - if you lived in an upstairs apartment and didn't want to take the entire bike up to your floor, for example. Lights on the display or side of the battery indicate when it is completely charged.

Is the battery waterproof?

All batteries are sealed to stop water ingress from any kind of wet weather you could encounter on a ride, but do not submerse your battery.

Can I lock the battery?

Yes, the battery is either locked to the bike and a key must be used to remove it, or it is built into the bike in such a way that removing it would require removing several other components.

What if I lose my battery key?

Battery replacement keys are available through your local retailer.

Does pedaling an electric bike charge the battery?

No. You can only charge via a standard outlet and approved charger.

Will the lights still work if the battery is dead?

Yes. The battery management systems stop the motor from drawing power when the battery’s capacity reaches a certain point, but there is still enough power to operate lights and shifters for a short period of time.

Will it cost money to recycle my battery?

When you buy a new e-bike or an e-bike battery, you pay a $15 recycling fee, so all you have to do is drop off your battery when it's time to recycle.

Learn more

E-bike battery replacement

Replacement batteries are available from your local Trek retailer.

Buy. Ride. Recycle. How it works

When you buy a new e-bike or an e-bike battery, you pay a $15 recycling fee, so all you have to do is drop off your battery when it's time to recycle.

Learn more

Why it’s important

In the United States, over 12 million electric bikes are estimated to be sold between 2020 and 2030. That means 12 million batteries will go directly into our landfills if they aren’t responsibly recycled.

How do I know when my battery needs to be replaced?

You’ll know your battery has reached its end of life when it doesn’t work as effectively as it used to. You might notice your battery doesn’t charge as quickly, isn’t as powerful, or doesn’t take you as far as it did when it was new. This degradation happens gradually over the life of the battery.

What if I already have an e-bike?

If you already bought your e-bike, we’ll happily recycle your battery free of charge.

Flying with ebike questions: batteries often can’t be checked when flying (depending on size, check with airline), shipped (or are ridiculously expensive to ship)

Due to airline and government safety regulations, the large batteries found on e-bikes are incompatible with air travel.

However, some airlines allow you to carry on a battery up to 160Wh - the size of the TQ HPR Range Extender battery. This means you could remove the 360Wh internal battery from your TQ equipped bike, check your battery-less bike, and carry on the 160Wh Range Extender battery. Please confirm this strategy with your airline before buying tickets.

Increase your range

All Trek e-systems give you the ability to purchase and mount a range-boosting auxiliary battery. TQ and Hydrive's range extenders are water bottle sized batteries that simply slot into a bottle cage. Bosch offers a whopping 500Wh RangeBoost battery that mounts seamless onto the downtube on some models.

How much farther can I go?

Compare the capacity in Watt hours (Wh) of your current e-bikes internal battery to the Wh on top for a given Range Extender battery. For example, if you ride a Bosch e-bike with a 500Wh battery and you buy a 500Wh Range Extender battery, you'll double your distance!

Are Trek Ebike Batteries safe:

Yes! All of our e-bike batteries can safely be charged and stored in your home. Here are a few ways our batteries meet and exceed industry standards:

Lithium ion batteries are everywhere these days, so you won’t be surprised to know there are many suppliers and manufacturers. And like anything that’s manufactured, there are companies that do it right and companies that do it quickly and cheaply. The batteries on Trek e-bikes come only from Tier 1 manufacturers, which means they’re supplied by companies that have the highest requirements for quality, the best documentation, the longest qualification timelines, and the most experience manufacturing.

Every battery you’ll find on a Trek e-bike has a sophisticated battery management system (BMS), which is like a communication pipeline between the battery’s cells. It’s constantly monitoring and regulating, ensuring each individual cell is performing with top-level efficiency without overheating. BMS is crucial for safer battery operation, and it’s also important for ensuring you get the longest possible life out of your battery.

The e-systems on all Trek e-bikes are third-party tested to meet leading e-bike safety standards, and we’re proud to say we only use systems that pass stringent UL 2849 certification. The testing required to obtain this certification is extensive and rigorous. From temperature to shock to vibration, our e-bike components go through the ringer to make sure you get a safer, high-quality e-system.

What’s the advantage of mid-drive motors?

This configuration keeps weight centered and low for predictable handling and improved ride quality. They ride more like a regular bike.

How many assist modes are there?

That depends on which e-system you go with, but there are typically several levels of assist, starting with a low-assist, energy saving "Eco" mode and usually going up to a sporty "Turbo" mode.

You can use the Trek Central App or Bosch eBike Flow app to customize the motor to your preferences.

Assistance level customization

Customize assistance levels using the Bosch eBike Flow app for Bosch bikes or the Trek Central App for Hydrive and TQ bikes.

How do I turn walk assist on? / Does the bike have walk assist?

TQ mountain bikes: cycle up to the WALK mode using the handlebar mounted controller, then press and hold the UP button to activate walk mode

Bosch smart system bikes: Hold down the DOWN button on the LED remote until the display indicates walk mode, then move the bike forwards, backwards, or sideways to start the motor. The motor will stop when your remove your finger from the DOWN button.

Hydrive: Hold the DOWN button on the controller for two seconds to activate walk mode. Once activated, hold the UP button while pushing the bike to use walk mode. When finished, hold the DOWN button for about half a second to turn off walk mode.

What apps work with my ebike? How do these apps work?

Trek e-bikes using Bosch Smart System motors can be used with Bosch's eBike Flow app. All other Trek e-bikes connect to your phone via the Trek Central App. Both of these apps allow you to do things like update firmware, customize your motor settings, and get range and route data.

Where can I ride my electric bike?

You can ride an electric bike on many trails and bike paths, but be sure to check with your local authorities for clarification. Speed e-bike regulations vary by country, state, and city. In the US, check out People for Bikes’ state-by-state guides and resources here.

Do electric bikes require a license or registration?

Depending on where you live, speed e-bikes (those that can reach 28mph/45kph) may require licensing or registration. The rules are changing quickly, so it’s best to check with local authorities for clarification, or check out People for Bikes’ state-by-state guides here.

Learn more

Street Legality

Depending on where you live, speed e-bikes (those that can reach 28mph/45kph) may require licensing or registration. The rules are changing quickly, so it’s best to check with local authorities for clarification, or check out People for Bikes’ state-by-state guides here. Always ride with respect for other road and path users, and never exceed posted speed limits.

Learn more

Registration and insurance of ebikes

To register your Trek ebike, visit our Registration page.

What service is required?

Maintenance is generally the same as with any other bicycle. Lithium ion batteries perform better at room temperatures and battery life degradation may occur if left outside in extreme temperatures, so we recommend storing them indoors. The e-system itself doesn't require any maintenance besides periodic firmware updates via the Trek Central App or the Bosch eBike Flow app.

Which car racks work with my ebike?

There are several e-bike racks for cars. Check out our handy rack finder for tips and recommendations.

Car Rack Finder

What precautions should I take when traveling with my ebike on a car rack? (battery terminal plugs, dummy batteries, saran wrap, temperature, etc)

While not a requirement, if your e-bike's battery is easily removable, we recommend taking that off and storing it in the car to reduce the bike's weight, making it easier to get on and off the rack. Once the bikes are on the rack, ensure that all accessories and the battery (if you choose to leave it on) are secure. Your e-bike is made to be outside in the elements, so you don't have to worry about covering anything up.

Winter storage: state of charge, temperature, is my battery removable

Your battery likes to be stored at room temperature. For long-term storage, keep the charge level at about 50%.

Can I access my bike's diagnostics, or do I have to go to the retailer? (This can lead to what will my retailer charge to plug my bike in to diagnostics?)

Yes, we'd advise you take it to your local Trek retailer to have then run diagnostics on your bike.

Find your local retailer

Can I/my retailer change the max assist speed?

No. Max assist speed is set at the factory to follow your local laws, and cannot be changed.

How do I set up my suspension on my e-mountain bike

Setting up suspension on an e-mountain bike is easy - just plug a few details into the Trek Suspension Calculator and you're good to go.

Trek suspension calculator

Tips for safer e-bike riding

E-bikes look like regular bikes, but pack a lot more power. Watch this video for some practical tips for safer e-bike riding.

The basic tips:
1. Start slow
2. Brake sooner
3. Brake lightly and evenly
4. Ride with extra care
5. Follow the rules of the road

Know your route

One of the many awesome things about using electric bikes for commuting is that you can choose a longer route on safer roads (or a more scenic route!) and still get where you’re going on time. It’s best to plan your route ahead of time, and maybe even ride it on a weekend or day off to see how long it takes, how much battery is consumed, and whether or not you like it.

Research your route using the Trek Central App which allows you to map out your ride while showing you how far you can make it with your preferred assist mode and current battery level. Also, consider getting a handlebar mount for your phone or GPS if you want turn-by-turn directions.

Pro tip: you can always stop into your local bike shop for route advice!

Optimize your e-bike range

Besides simply using a lower level of assist, there are a couple tips you can use to optimize your e-bike's range on every trip:

Find a comfortable cadence that works for you and your e-bike. The lower your cadence, the harder your motor is working. Find that juuust right balance.

Just like gas mileage in a car, starting and stopping is a battery life killer. Try to pick routes that have fewer stops. When you do need to stop, be sure to shift into an easier gear so your motor can get moving again without needing to use as much torque.

Finally, keep your tires inflated and your chain lubed!

Know how to pack for your ride

Every ride should include a few essentials: Front and rear lights, a flat kit, and a cell phone. When you're heading out for a longer trip, don't forget about ride snack and water, warmer clothes and/or rain gear, and some cash for the post-ride ice cream stop.

Learn more about how to pack for a ride

Properly secure your e-bike

Protect your investment and all its parts. Buy a good bike lock and use it! Make sure the lock goes through the frame when you're locking your e-bike to a bike rack - don't just lock a wheel, as the wheels are easily removable.

Park your e-bike in a well-lit area, if you have an easily removable battery, bring it inside.

Bosch e-bikes with smart system are compatible with extra security features like the eBike Alarm and ConnectModule. These components are sold separately and require a yearly subscription, but let your find your bike via GPS if it is ever stolen.

See our selection of bike locks

Compatible rack/fender questions

Many Trek e-bikes come stock with fenders and racks, and if they don't, nearly all have mounts for fenders and/or racks. Adding fenders and racks to your e-bike increases its utility, allowing you to ditch the car even when there are puddles on the road or you have more than backpack-full to carry. Any rack or fender designed for a standard bike will also work on an e-bike.

What’s the warranty?

Like all Trek bikes, the frame is covered by a limited lifetime warranty. As far as e-system warranties: Bosch offers a warranty of 2 years or 500 cycles; TQ and Hydrive offer a warranty of 2 years.

Read our full warranty details

How will I get my ebike?

All our bikes will be fully assembled, tuned, and ready for pick up whether you shop in-store or online. Some of our dealers offer home delivery as well.

Home Delivery Details

Need to get your bike home on your own vehicle? Make sure to take a look at our car rack finder to match your vehicle with perfect bike rack.

Try the Car Rack Finder

Where can I buy an electric bike?

1. You can stop into your local Trek retailer and chat with us in person, test ride, and get hands on help.

Find a bike shop

2. You can shop all our bikes online, see what’s in stock locally, and purchase bikes from your local Trek retailer. We'll ship your bike to your local Trek retailer where our expert technicians will assemble, inspect, and prep your bike for pick up. All for free. Some of our shops even offer delivery to you at home.

How much are electric bikes?

The cost of electric bikes ranges from brand to brand. Trek e-bikes cost more because they are built to a higher safety standard - literally. Every e-system in Trek's lineup is certified to UL-2849, an international standard offering electrical and fire safety certification by examining e-bikes’ electrical drive train system, battery system and charger system combinations.

The parts on Trek e-bikes are also higher quality, from powerful hydraulic disc brakes ensuring you can come to a stop safely to frames we guarantee to last a lifetime, everything is made to handle the increased stresses of e-bike service.