Rail 5 Gen 2 Review

Robb Dorr
Written by Robb Dorr
Co-founder, Cycling Enthusiast
trek-rail-5-deore-blue

29 mi

RANGE

20 mph

TOP SPEED

4 hrs

CHARGE TIME

52.7 lbs

WEIGHT

Mid-drive

MOTOR TYPE

Rail 5 Gen 2 Review: Takeaway

For the price, there isn’t much to compete with the Trek Rail 5 Gen 2, short of the Gen 3 version on sale in 2023. It comes with great specifications and will shred the trails with contempt. The powerful Bosch Performance CX motor kicks like a mule, and all the components come together on this e-bike so you can have as much fun as you can with your clothes on.

Ideal for...

Downhill trail riding without a shuttle to get you back up
Overlanding and cross-country
Shredding tough mountain trails

E-Bike Overview

A top-end heavyweight trail shredding machine, the Trek Rail 5 Gen 2 is designed to attack trails in every way. A 150mm, long travel shock and fork will take even the biggest jumps without bottoming out. Riding uphill and down is supported with the 130mm travel dropper post so you can adjust your posture perfectly.

When it comes to maneuverability, the Trek Active Braking Pivot (ABP) system ensures grip even as you touch your brakes in cornering. The 4-piston Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are powerful enough to control your descent even in the steepest and wettest sections.

Built for high-octane downhill riding, the Rail 5 will boost you uphill like a bull thanks to the 250W Bosch Performance CX motor that offers up to 85 Newton meters of torque. You’ll keep on riding uphill for miles thanks to the 500 Wh battery.

Between the motor and battery is the simple-to-use Bosch Purion controller. This offers the new eMTB mode that’ll give you just the power you need as you need it without constantly adjusting with your thumb.

Reasons to Buy

If you’re after a big, heavyweight eMTB that’ll shred the downhill sections like a pro and get you back up the mountain with equal disdain for the terrain, this is the right e-bike for you.

Built to be agile and quick when you pedal hard and tackle bends with optimum performance, it also has a big beast of a motor to get you back up. The 12-speed, 10-51 pedal drivetrain offers a range of ratios from flying like your life depends on it downhill to riding up the hardest of slopes. Fear nothing on the mountain on the Trek Rail 5 Gen 2!

Things to Consider

Looking at Bosch’s real-world range calculator for this e-bike, the 2023 Rail 5 Gen 3 has a 625 Wh battery that might get 20 miles on eMTB mode. That’s on soft, forest hillside terrain. If you want to hurt your legs and go on Eco mode, you might get 29 miles. Neither ranges are insufficient but are something to consider if you were planning on a longer day in the saddle.

Specs

Motor
Bosch Performance CX, mid-drive
Battery
Bosch PowerTube 500 Wh
Frame type
Long travel dual-suspension
Shock
RockShox Deluxe Select +, 150mm travel
Fork
RockShox 35 Gold RL, 150mm travel
Dropper post
Size S 100mm travel - M, L and XL, 130mm travel
Pedal drivetrain
Shimano 12-speed, 10-51t cassette
Brakes
Shimano 4-piston hydraulic, 203mm rotors

The specs above come from the manufacturer and may vary from what you’ve experienced. Notice something that needs correcting? Let us know.

Ratings

Power
5/5
5

Offering a brutal 85 Newton meters of torque, the Bosch Performance CX motor is one of the leading eMTB motors, period. Lightweight and powerful, combined with the big, 51 t cog at the back, this e-bike can handle nearly every incline short of a vertical sand cliff.

The Trek Bontrager off-road tires are grippy and will handle dirt and mud alike, perhaps making this a year-round sport if you like getting caked in the brown stuff.

Range
4/5
4

Playing with the Bosch range calculator shows that eMTB mode and Turbo mode offer the same range. It’s only when you start going very easy on the power settings that you start seeing better mileage.

On a flat road run, you may do 50-60 miles per charge, but this e-bike isn’t built to ride to work on. It’s designed for terrain that would break most other e-bikes. As such, the range is good compared to other similar hardcore eMTBs.

Comfort
5/5
5

Essentially, the Rail 5 Gen 2 is as comfortable as you’re going to get for an eMTB of its caliber. Sat in a comfortable trekking position, you’ll be able to throw your weight around into turns and jumps. The remote-controlled seat dropper post helps with uphill and downhill sections.

The Rail 5 Gen 2’s long travel shock and fork are there for the bike to tackle big jumps and can be tuned to your average weight. The Active Braking Pivot (ABP) system ensures grip even on downhill turns, helping you keep your speed up on those sections.

Durability
4/5
4

An e-bike has a number of components that need regular care such as the pedal drivetrain, disc brakes, and shock/fork. The tires aren’t tubeless or tubeless ready, so you’ll do well to put Slime or a similar compound inside. Also, consider stocking a couple of spare tubes for your ride.

Trek offers lifetime warranties on most of its parts. Bosch and RockShox also offer good warranty terms.

Style
4.5/5
4.5

Standing solid and proud, the Trek Rail 5 Gen 2 is a master of the mountain. It looks like it will handle aggressive downhill sections, and its components suggest that this is the case. It’s offered in two color schemes: crimson and black or Miami green and black — perhaps his and hers colors if you’re lucky enough to be a couple who enjoy the sport together.

Our Research Methodology

We personally research and test every e-bike featured in our reviews and guides to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn how we review.

About Our Editorial Team

Robb Dorr
Written by Robb Dorr
Co-founder, Cycling Enthusiast
Robb is a massive cycling enthusiast who has more than 20 years of non-motorized cycling experience. He started eBikes.org to lower the barrier of entry to cycling and reduce the intimidation people can experience when getting into the cycling world.

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