Want a bike for getting about town? The £3,800 Trek Super Commuter+ 8 is a top-dollar option for your city riding, and its performance is pretty stellar, although we’d like to see a bit more function and less form from the rear rack.
"There’s no reason to hit the snooze button when your morning commute feels like a dream. Super Commuter+ is the electric bicycle that makes getting where you need to go exactly where you want to be", says Trek of this bike. "The Super Commuter+ pairs our most advanced e-bike technologies with Bosch’s longest-lasting battery for a ride that redefines the experience of getting around on two wheels."
The Super Commuter+ is available in two builds. The one that we're testing here, the 8, has a Shimano XT derailleur drivetrain and a wide-ratio 11-42T cassette. For £200 more you can have the bike in a similar build, but with Nuvinci's continuously-variable planetary rear hub. Both versions have their pros and cons: derailleur drivetrains are more efficient and make taking the rear wheel out to change punctures really easy. Hub gears require less regular maintenance and your chain will last longer. Which is best for you will depend on what your priorities are.
Both bikes share the same motor, though: Bosch's top-of-the-range Performance Line CX unit. Pushing out 75Nm of torque, the CX has been a firm favourite over the last few years in mountain bike circles, and it's popular on performance-oriented city bikes too. Trek have specced the higher-capacity 500Wh semi-internally-mounted PowerPack too, to extend the range as far as possible.
Trek don't publish a range estimate for the Super Commuter+, instead pointing you at the Bosch Range Assistant tool, which allows you to play around with a bunch of variables to get a range estimate. Anyway, we found that the Trek’s range was in line with other 500Wh Bosch bikes, not surprisingly. In hilly Bath that might be as little as 40km depending on what mode you’re in and what climbs you’re tackling, but generally you’ll get 60-80km out of a charge, more if you live somewhere really flat.
Finishing kit is mostly from Trek's partner brand Bontrager, and it's good quality stuff. The Super Commuter+ 8 is available in five sizes – 45cm, 50cm, 55cm, 60cm and 65cm, covering riders from 1.5m up to over 2m. You should be able to find one that fits.
Coralie says: It's a very powerful bike, this one. On my first ride, it was so powerful I nearly slid off the seat backwards. So applied the brakes, only to nearly slide off the seat forwards: the brakes are very effective too!.
I found the Super Commuter+ to be very comfortable. It’s nice and stable and the big tyres made it feel secure on the road. The integrated light was bright enough to improve visibility while cycling on dim roads.
Any downsides? Well, It's quite heavy, so more difficult to manoeuvre into a parking space/garage. And whilst the wide handlebars manage it more stable, they are so wide that it was only just possible to squeeze through the gates to the cycle track. Changing gears was fine, but a little bit clunky sounding, and not quite as smooth as on the Pinnacle I rode at the start of the year.
The battery life was very good, with one charge a week more than sufficient.
Dave says: So, I didn’t really ride this one. Well, I did, a bit, but the extra-small 45cm frame isn’t exactly ideal for a big strapping lad like me. It’s less important that an e-bike is exactly the right size for you then it is with a normal bike, but still. There are limits.
There’s lots to like about the spec level here, and for not much south of £4,000 you’d expect that. The motor and battery are top of the range, and that means plenty of power for even the steepest hills, and lots of range to boot. It is a bit of a beast though; that was more of an issue for Coralie than for me, but it’s worth noting if you’re smaller of stature. Our 45cm bike weighs in at 22.5kg which is actually okay for a full-spec city bike with a big battery, but somehow it feels heavier than that: maybe it’s the squat look, wide handlebars and big tyres that make feel like more of an effort. Once you’re moving, though, there are no worries at all.
Trek have opted for a rigid carbon fork on the Super Commuter+, which both improves its aesthetic and drops a bit of weight: If you're worried that the ride might not be as comfortable with the rigid fork then the 2.4" Schwalbe Super Moto-X tyres should put your mind at ease. They're one of my favourite big-chamber e-bike tyres, and they're also extremely resistant to punctures.
The motor, transmission, lighting and tyres are perfect for an everyday commuter: Trek see this bike as the kind of thing you’d commute on every day. With that being the case it’s a shame the rear rack isn’t a bit more sturdy: okay, the integrated rack/guard at the back looks good but it’s a bit limiting in terms of actual load carrying, and if you’re getting a bike like this instead of running a second car, for example, you’ll probably want it to be as versatile as possible. That’s really the only part of the bike that feels a bit form over function. Other than that you’re getting what you pay for: this is a high quality, well-thought-out machine with a price tag to match.