TREK Fetch+ 4 Review: Overview
TREK offers a full range of electric bikes, and their cargo bike offerings are worth noting.
Transport is slowly changing in cities worldwide, and the cargo box e-bike is becoming increasingly popular. This type of bike has yet to become widespread and known by everyone, mostly because people haven’t had the opportunity to try it. Also, it’s a very new category of e-bike that is not easy to transport around to show everyone as it almost has the presence of a small car.
We headed to a TREK test center in Florence, Italy, to try out and test the TREK Fetch + 4. What we did not tell them was how we would test it. We had a real challenge in our mind to see what was possible with this bike, so we took another test bike we had to give back to another shop across the other side of town. To get there, we were going to use the TREK Fetch+ 4.
In total, we needed to carry about 80 lbs with us to the other side of town, pushing the bike’s limit in traffic and pedestrian zones.
The key components of the Fetch+ 4 include its aluminum frame that is bolted together and the large container “box” on the front.
This box can be configured in different ways, including with specially designed seats for transporting small children. These seats have a four-point harness that keeps a 55 lb child secure. Children should also wear a cycle helmet when being carried.
A cargo bike‘s handlebars are separated from the front wheel by a precise and progressive cable system that gives very good control at speed and also in tight spaces when moving the bike around. The bars also have comfortable grips to reduce vibration.
The gears are hub gears that can be adjusted according to the need to start from a dead stop or ride slowly or faster according to traffic conditions. These are driven by a Carbon Gates belt drive, which is silent and clean in operation. These are known for a long life.
Tektro provides the hydraulic brakes, and they have a slightly thicker rotor fitted to them. They are very powerful and have good modulation for gentle control.
The Suntour front suspension fork and the special Trans-x hydraulic suspension seat post offer comfort for riders and cargo on rough urban surfaces. Even potholes are dealt with well.
This e-bike uses a large rear wheel and a smaller front wheel to improve maneuverability. Although it’s not possible to see the front wheel when in motion, the rider can feel where it is through the bar.
The bike includes lights and fenders front and rear for extra visibility and damp running. There is also a small wheel lock for immobilizing the bike for short periods when stopping while in use if left unattended.
The finish on this e-bike is top quality with good-looking welds, a nice fit of all components, and a silent ride with no rattles, bangs, or creaks.
It’s quite a heavy e-bike, but remember, it can carry 160 lbs of stuff plus a rider. With this in mind, it also has a very strong kickstand mounted underneath the box, which the bike sits on when parked. We found it easy to operate.
Bosch Motor, Battery, and Display
The Bosch Performance Cargoline motor worked efficiently and silently. We never felt it was strained or in difficulty. It has a completely different software tune compared to an offroad motor. It supports up to 460% and can be tuned in the Bosch Flow app.
The range also surprised us with the 750Wh battery as it was efficient considering the weight we were carrying. Weight is the most considerable influence on e-bike range, and this bike was excellent considering you are moving up to 450 lbs in weight around, including up gentle hills.
Accelerating away from a stop was easy. It was similar to riding a traditional bike, except it was quieter as the drive system is a carbon belt drive with zero oil and dirt.
The range of this e-bike for us was good, and we think on a gentle up and down, you could have a 15-mile range in each direction with a substantial load. Obviously, the range is greater the lighter the load you carry and the flatter the route you ride.
The motor can be tuned via the smart system app. Your phone holder can charge your phone on the bike when used, and the app also provides mapping and dashboard data, including speed, mode, and range. It was an excellent idea as the phone also acts as a digital lock for the bike. On the left are the power switch and battery levels, which are easy to operate and color-coded according to which mode you are in.
We would class this as more of ride comfort and handling, as the Fetch+ 4 is meant to be ridden by everyone. It has an upright riding position and a long wheelbase. The long wheelbase gives a lot of stability at all speeds and allows cornering just by leaning the bike.
The load is held low to the ground, increasing stability when riding. The suspension is surprising because the bike rolls well through rough ground and does not feel like it is stopping.
Riding In The City
Our test aimed to determine how useful this e-bike could be. We rode about 10 miles across town carrying a bulky load and consumed about 40% of the battery in this distance.
The bike was stable even at low speeds and was very easy to start with the hub gears, which could be changed even when stopped. This is an essential system to have on a heavy cargo bike.
Braking was surprisingly strong with or without a load; we stopped quickly on all surfaces and remained stable. It was easy to keep the bike upright with a heavy load, and with walk mode active, it was effortless to move the bike about. It comes with a small lock that allows us to block the bike, plus the digital lock of the motor. It is hard to steal this bike if you stop for a few minutes outside a shop.
We rode the bike through the middle of Florence, where there was lots of traffic of all types and cars and people. We rode on a mix of cycle paths, ordinary roads, and some gravel streets in parks. The bike handled all of these surfaces and locations well. You must pay attention to road position on narrow cycle paths to avoid smaller bikes coming the other way. Cornering, including in alleys, was easy, and riding on rough pavè was comfortable as the seat had suspension, and the front fork provided suspension comfort.
We found ourselves moving at the speed of the city traffic and very safe. We noticed because this e-bike was very large, everyone could see us. Also, drivers gave us space and were considerate, even in a frenetic city like Florence, where drivers can be very aggressive.
We found the gears and motor ideal starting from a dead stop, even up hills. When steep, we recommended pushing the bike using the walk mode, which worked well. Getting the bike on and off the stand was easy, although a smaller individual might struggle with the bigger weights.
We had to follow a diversion at one point for a road closure through the middle of Florence and were in the middle of an area with many people for a short time. We found that experience surprising, with no one being scared of the cargo bike near them and people moving calmly out of the way; it was a more pleasant experience than using a traditional bike. We pushed the bike at certain points at walking pace. Respect is the most crucial factor concerning other road users.
The pedaling experience is smooth, and the motor takes up much of the effort in Turbo mode. The power is also delivered smoothly, with the bike accelerating up to the limit quickly and maintaining speed with minimal effort.