According to Trek, the name says it all. With bold claims that the Trek Rail 7 glides through rough terrain like it’s on rails, how does the € 5,499 eMTB fare against the competition with its Bosch motor and 29″ wheels?

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Click here for an overview of the best budget eMTB

Trek Rail 7 | Bosch Performance Line CX/625 Wh | 160/150 mm (f/r)
23.4 kg in size L | € 5,499 | manfacturer website

The Trek Rail 7 is anything but inconspicuous with its neon yellow and blue paint job. If that’s more attention than you can handle, the classic Trek design of the € 5,499 Rail is also available in a more subtle black and red. Trek rely on Bosch’s latest motor offering and power it with a 625 Wh battery. The standout feature of the battery is its quick and easy removal from the side of the down tube for external charging. The integration of the entire system is excellent in terms of both haptics and optics, with a specially developed charging socket in the seat tube and the speed sensor securely hidden in the dropout. You have the option of mounting a kickstand on the chainstay and the cables are neatly routed through the inside of the high-quality aluminium frame without ever rattling. At 23.4 kg (size L), the Trek Rail 7 is one of the lightest bikes on test despite its large 29” wheels and 160/150 mm travel. Controlling the travel is a RockShox Yari RC fork and a Deluxe Select+ shock. The entry-level Shimano MT-520 four-piston brakes perform well paired with 200 mm rotors front and rear. The components on the Rail 7 that we didn’t like include the 130 mm dropper post, which is far too short, and the Bontrager XR5 tires, which tend to wash out, especially on soft surfaces.

Trek Rail 7

€ 5,499

Specifications

Motor Bosch Performance Line CX 75 Nm
Battery Bosch PowerTube 625 Wh
Display Bosch Purion
Fork RockShox Yari RC 160 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe RL 150 mm
Seatpost TranzX JD-YSP18 130 mm
Brakes Shimano MT520 4-Kolben 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT/SLX 1x12
Stem Bontrager Rhythm Comp 50 mm
Handlebar Bontrager Rhythm Comp 780 mm
Wheelset Bontrager Line Comp 30 29"
Tires Bontrager XR5 Team Issue 2.6"

Technical Data

Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 23.4 kg
Perm. total weight 136 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 112 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount yes

Side loader
The 625 Wh battery is nicely secured in the down tube and never rattles. To remove it, you pull it out to the side and it even has an integrated handle for easy carrying. It all feels very solid!
No grip
Bontrager’s XR5 tire offers little traction when leaning it over into the corner and quickly washes out if you’re not careful.
Multitasking
The chainstay incorporates a mount for a stand and also houses the speed sensor, which is securely integrated into the dropout.
Far too short
The TranzX dropper post has a stroke length of only 130 mm. Far too short for a size L bike.
All that glitters isn’t gold
Like CENTURION, Trek spec an XT derailleur with an SLX trigger. The shifting performance would be a lot better the other way round thanks to the XT trigger’s Multi and Instant Release functions.
Brilliant
The RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock on the Rail 7 doesn’t feature Trek’s proprietary Thru:Shaft technology found on the flagship model. Even so, the performance of the rear end remains sensitive yet defined. Thumbs up!
Ergonomic
The Purion display might be bulky, but operating it is intuitive. The dropper post lever is slightly offset which makes it work well with the display.

Geometry of the Trek Rail 7

A flip chip allows you to adjust the geometry of the Trek Rail 7 by as much as 0.5°. We preferred the “low” setting on the trail, which contributes to the Rail’s exceptional handling. With a bottom bracket drop of 35 mm, which makes it the lowest on test, the rider’s centre of gravity is positioned nice and low on the bike. Like the CUBE, the Trek also has a distinctive kink in the seat tube, making the effective seat tube angle slacker the further your seatpost is extended.

No other bike on test manages to balance composure with agile and fun handling as well as the Trek Rail 7.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 410 mm 420 mm 450 mm 500 mm
Top tube 588 mm 613 mm 634 mm 666 mm
Head tube 105 mm 105 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Head angle 64.5° 64.5° 64.5° 64.5°
Seat angle 75.0° 75.0° 75.0° 75.0°
Chainstays 448 mm 448 mm 448 mm 448 mm
BB Drop 35 mm 35 mm 35 mm 35 mm
Wheelbase 1,196 mm 1,221 mm 1,243 mm 1,277 mm
Reach 420 mm 445 mm 465 mm 495 mm
Stack 626 mm 626 mm 630 mm 639 mm

Trek Rail 7 EU on test

The riding position on Rail 7 is very comfortable if you’re on flat terrain. During the course of our test, we put all the available spacers under the stem. Together with its plush and responsive suspension, raising the cockpit helps contribute to the bike’s long-distance comfort.

Pump, jump or plough through: no matter which obstacles the trail serves up, the Trek Rail descends at Mach 10 and like it’s on rails.

On climbs, the Trek positions taller riders far towards the back of the bike. It feels as though you’re pedalling the bike from behind and you have to actively shift your weight to keep the front wheel planted. If you aren’t as tall, you’ll already be in a more central position on the bike and technical climbs take a lot less physical effort. However, you’ll still have to time your pedal strokes carefully to avoid clipping them on obstacles. That is the downside of such a low bottom bracket.

But exactly that low bottom bracket positions you low and central on the Trek Rail as you descend, instilling you with confidence in steep chutes and at high speeds. So much so that the Rail has you leaving the brakes open for as long as possible. The Rail is equally happy rolling over large obstacles as it is jumping them, the suspension being plush and capable while still offering enough support for active manoeuvres. However, at slow speeds and in open corners, the handling of the Rail 7 is not as intuitive as the CUBE or Moustache. You have to get actively involved in weighting the front end, but if you do, the bike gives back what you put in and rewards you with direct and responsive handling. If you’re prepared to ride the Trek Rail 7 actively it’ll almost keep up with the Kenevo at high speeds and it’ll easily take on the RADON on flowing trails.

Tuning tips: protective tape on the seat stay to protect against chain slap | grippier tires | longer dropper post (with a short insertion depth like the models from OneUp)

Helmet Giro Chronicle MIPS | Glasses Smith Wildcat | Gloves ION Scrub | Jersey ION Scrub Amp MESH_Ine | Shoes ION Rascal Select

Riding Characteristics

7

Agility

  1. sluggish
  2. playful

Stability

  1. nervous
  2. stable

Handling

  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Riding fun

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. poor
  2. top

Application

Forest road

1

Flow trail uphill

2

Flow trail downhill

3

Technical single trail uphill

4

Technical single trail downhill

5

Downhill tracks

6

Conclusion of the zum Trek Rail 7 EU

The frame of the Trek Rail 7 is cleverly designed and of the highest quality, masterfully integrating the complete Bosch system. The Trek Rail 7 sets the bar for this group test as soon as the trail points downhill. Whether flowing or technical, it literally glides by the competition like it’s on rails while also offering plenty of comfort for long days in the saddle. No other bike responds to an active riding style as well as the Rail 7, allowing aggressive riders to push their limits. The Trek Rail 7 convinced us with its versatility, excellent handling and high-quality frame, winning the well-deserved Best in Test!

Tops

  • tidy, ergonomic cockpit
  • simultaneously composed and agile
  • defined yet plush suspension
  • super capable on the descents
  • confidence-inspiring

Flops

  • dropper post is too short
  • tires only make sense on hard-packed surfaces
  • chain slap on the seat stay

For more information head to trekbikes.com

The test field

Click here for an overview of the best budget eMTB

All bikes in review: CENTURION No Pogo E R2600i (Click for review) | CUBE Stereo Hybrid 140 HPC (Click for review) | Haibike XDURO AllMtn 3.0 (Click for review) | Moustache Samedi 29 Game 4 (Click for review) | RADON RENDER 10.0 (Click for review) | Scott Genius eRIDE 920 (Click for review) | Specialized Kenevo Comp (Click for review) | Trek Rail 7 EU


It's finally here: The E-MOUNTAINBIKE Print Edition 2020 is our third annual edition and ultimate test bible, with which we aim to help you choose the perfect eMTB. More than 250 pages of extensive buyers advice, tons of eMTB know-how as well as reviews of the 35 most exciting eMTBs and the 7 best motors. You’ll also find many helpful tips and a guide to the most exciting eMTB trends – all of this is wrapped in a high quality print format. Click here for more information or order it directly in our shop!

Words: Felix Stix Photos: Finlay Anderson

About the author

Felix Stix

Felix is chief of testing and undoubtedly one of the best test riders in the world. With a degree in sports engineering, excellent mountain bike skills, his love of technology and as a certified bike guide, Felix has everything it takes to make comprehensive and fair assessments of bikes. His legendary group tests are internationally known and feared, though they tend to be a bit longer due to his love of detail and technical deep dives. Every year, he reviews around 100 bikes, specialising in the subject of tires, motors and suspension, before putting on his skis come winter! His know-how is incorporated into each of our reviews, ensuring the quality of our work stays high!