The FLX F5 Trail is a budget e-MTB and we often worry when we hear that word.
Budget can sometimes mean cheaply made and they’re often littered with problems.
The FLX FX Trail doesn’t fall into that category – it bucks the trend by providing decent enough quality, but without costing a fortune.
It’s largely a cycle touring bike, which is an expanding area of the e-MTB world, with more and more people looking to head out on long-distance adventures.
So is this bike good enough to be trusted on a cycle touring trip?
Let’s find out in our FLX F5 Trail Review.
The FLX F5 Trail is a commendable e-MTB for a bargain price.
It has immense power in the motor and a sizeable range in the battery, while also offering some decent touring bells and whistles, such as the luggage rack and comfortable geometry.
You also have a pair of brakes you can trust.
However, it’s a weighty beast, takes a long time to charge back up, has absolutely zero playfulness, and is limited in the simplistic suspension – there are also issues with the drivetrain.
You’re paying under $2,700, so what do you expect? Not perfect, not rubbish.
FLX F5 Trail Review
The FLX F5 is a heavy-duty touring e-MTB, which offers bags of stability and a lot of robust features.
It’s aluminum-framed and with that comes quite a bit of weight – the bike totals on the scales at 27.67kg.
Clearly, that’s quite a hefty beast and it loses a lot of maneuverability as a result – the bike isn’t made for technical or close combat style riding amongst the trees.
It’s better suited to open trails, forest roads, and dirt tracks, which you might sit for hours on, churning through the kilometers.
It’s geared up for adventure, with a luggage rack fitted to the rear end of the bike, which has immense weight-bearing capabilities.
That opens it up to longer-distance touring, weekend camping adventures, fishing trips, etc. – along with being a useful asset for hybrid commuting.
It’s a bulky machine though, so if you want to take on complex-style trail riding, this isn’t the e-MTB for you.
ℹ️ One thing to be mindful of is that the bike only comes in one frame size and you can then adjust the set-up to get lower or higher to the pedals or closer to the handlebars etc. – not ideal for nailing down a positioning on a bike and it could be ill-fitting for some riders
You can choose between two battery options on the FLX F5 Trail at the point of purchase – a 650Wh and an 840Wh.
During our review rides, we rode with the more expensive, 840Wh model.
The battery is provided by Samsung, with a Lithium Ion model – it isn’t the most highly advanced battery and it contributes to the overall heavy weight of the bike.
If you’re wondering what is the range of the FLX bike? It does achieve a decent distance – we found we could push out over 80km on a flatter route and less than 80km on hillier terrain.
That allows for some decent days out in the saddle, but there is a downside – the battery takes around 6 hours to charge back up to full.
So if you are heading on a touring style cycle, which the bike is made for, you could find yourself a bit stumped if you’re out in the middle of nature and need to charge up for 6 hours – that’s a long sit at a local pub or café.
Something to certainly be mindful of if you’re out touring and we would definitely advise planning ahead accordingly – ensuring you have decent overnight stops with electricity where you can get back up to full juice.
The FLX F5 trail is an absolute monster in the motor department.
It comes with a 500Wh Bafang M600 motor, which throws out a quite frankly ridiculous 120Nm of torque.
That dwarfs many normal e-MTBs and certainly offers a lot more kick than many bikes of a similar weight.
The sizeable motor helps reduce the overall weight concern and it has the power to push you up some really steep inclines.
It’s best suited to long straight inclines – the bike’s weight and enormous power simply don’t cope well when things get technical on the trail – it’s far too heavy.
The overall power figure is astonishing though and it’s something to celebrate for sure.
Although powerful, it isn’t the best-designed motor – it only offers one setting, which I guess we would describe as raw power – so not the best for trying to manage your effort or tweak the assistance mode to suit the terrain or battery health.
The C240 Bafang Display is simplistic but does one key thing correctly.
You get your amount of battery life left displayed as a percentage and that is a big relief to us.
That helps a rider to target their effort and assistance use perfectly and it’s important when out on a longer distance touring style ride.
You’re also provided with your speed and the kilometers covered data.
No thrills, but it does one important thing right.
The FLX F5 Trail is a hardtail e-MTB and it comes with 130mm of travel in the Suntour XCR forks.
The hardtail is an important factor in helping the bike feel comfortable over longer distances, which is useful for the touring capabilities of the bike.
A spongey back-end suspension often is energy-sapping, but the FLX doesn’t have that issue.
The front end offers enough travel to be able to cope with some lumpy terrain, but again, without offering too much give, so you lose traction and speed.
The forks really aren’t anything to write home about – the set-up is okay at best and reflects the price you’re paying for the overall package.
It does enough to take some bumps on the trail, but if you want to take your new FLX Trail to some wilder terrain, the bike will soon struggle.
The suspension offers enough to cope with the extra weight you might attach for a touring cycle or weekend adventure – aside from that, it’s a bit lackluster.
The FLX F5 Trail comes with 27.5-inch wheels at both the front and the rear.
The rims are custom-made and a simple fixture, making them a little weighty, and the tires are provided by Maxxiss, with their Forekaster Cross Country models fitted as standard.
These offer a toothy tread, which works hard in unsteady conditions and they offer you the firm footing you need while out in all weather.
They also have a decent amount of shedding ability so you don’t feel sluggish when cycling over long distances.
The wheels provide stability and can cope with carrying a reasonably heavy load – that’s again important for touring purposes.
The FLX F5 Trail is fitted with a pair of Magura MT5 Hydraulic Disc brakes.
Magura simply don’t make poor brakes – they’re a solid component, which copes with all the demands you throw at them on this e-MTB.
They’re responsive, have good heat dissipation, and are durable – it’s everything you need for the types of riding you’re doing.
The FLX F5 Trail comes with a 10-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain.
The lack of an 11th and 12th gear is a bit of an issue for the heavy weight of the bike and you sometimes feel like you’re churning quite hard to get over a rise on a hill.
However, that pain is eased by that monster motor (if you have battery left).
It’s another average component, which does just about enough, without excelling.
The price is very cheap for a capable e-MTB and although there are areas that are distinctly average – overall it isn’t bad and there are some decent features in the mix.
It’s a fraction of the price of many other e-MTBs and you can still enjoy a decent length of ride on it, you have a powerful motor and it’s adventure-ready thanks to its luggage racks and touring features.
It’s a steady bike, which doesn’t exactly offer fireworks, but it isn’t awful either.
At $2,699 we think it does the job.
FLX F5 Trail Facts & figures
|GEOMETRY & FIT
|SEAT TUBE LENGTH
|582 - 681
|HEAD TUBE LENGTH
|HEAD TUBE ANGLE
|SEAT TUBE ANGLE
|BOTTOM BRACKET HEIGHT
|SEAT STAY LENGTH
|Shimano Deore 10-Speed Derailleur
|170mm 40T Front Chainring
|203mm Magura MT5 Hydraulic Disc
|Velo Flat Rubber with Lockers
|Velo FLX Branded
|SEAT POST COLLAR
|31.6mm Aluminum Quick Release
|300mm / 31.6mm (Length / Diameter)
|13 Gauge Stainless Steel
|Maxxis 27.5' Forekaster Cross Country
|48V 17.5AH Samsung Lithium Ion Cells
|6 Hours @ 4AH
|500W Bafang Mid-Motor
|C240 Bafang Display
|Speed Display, Range, Odometer
|61 lb (27.67 kg)
|10.5 lb (4.76 kg)
|RATED WEIGHT CAPACITY
|275 lb (124.74 kg)
|6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
|Bottle Cage, Fenders, Rear Rack
|Press and Hold
|Wide Selection of Accessories
How Does it Compare?
The cycle touring corner of the market is a growing one, so let’s put out FLX F5 Trail up against another bike made for big adventures.
We’ve decided to put it up against the Trek Powerfly 7 Equipped.
The Trek costs $6,266 – $3,567 more than our FLX F5 Trail.
For that, you get a more advanced bike in quite a few areas. Firstly, the Trek is lighter than our FLX, coming in at 25.12kg, instead of 27.67kg.
You also get one of the best batteries on the market – a 625Wh Bosch PowerTube – although it’s smaller than our FLX battery in terms of wattage, its performance is far more advanced and the bike is lighter, so you can push out more kilometers on one charge.
The Trek’s battery also charges back up to full health more quickly than our FLX Trail, in around 5 hours.
The Trek comes with a Bosch Performance Line CX motor, which can throw out 85Nm of torque, that’s less than our enormous Bafang model on the FLX Trail, but the usability is far more advanced – there are numerous modes of assist and the power delivery is smooth and intelligent.
There isn’t a lot to split the two suspension set-ups – both bikes have a hardtail and the Trek has 120mm of travel in the SR Suntour Zeron 35 forks, compared to 130mm in our FLX SunTour forks.
Both setups have their limitations but are geared up for touring-style cycles and both encourage traction.
The Trek has Shimano M6100 brakes, which actually are a little less impressive than our Magura MT5s, but you get a much better 12-speed Shimano SLX M7100 drivetrain, which is far more advanced than our 10-speed offer.
The Trek is geared up for touring-style adventures like our FLX is, with luggage racks and other fixtures to help make long adventures in the saddle possible.
Overall, the Trek is a much more technically advanced e-MTB, however, you would expect that when paying more than $6,000.
It’s certainly a better ride, but if you’re on a lower budget the FLX F5 Trail, isn’t vastly off the pace.
We decided to put the bikes up against each other to show you what was available if your budget stretched a little further.
The FLX F5 Trail is a budget cycle touring style e-MTB, which has a few components that reflect the low-cost design.
However, there are some aspects to commend – the motor is very powerful, the touring capabilities are good in terms of frame design and durability, plus you get a decent pair of brakes.
It’s a bike which knows what it’s made for and it doesn’t try to let you stray away from that, even remotely.
It’s not a bike for lumpy and bumpy terrain, but it’s comfortable in a flatter open trail for long hours, with luggage or adventure essentials strapped to the rear.
If you’re on a lower budget, this is definitely worth considering if you want to go on a cycle touring adventure – it’s far from perfect, but it’s considerably cheaper than many other options out there.
Time for you to saddle up and prefer for an adventure.