Table of Contents

Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Review

Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Gen 2

Table of Contents

The downhill, enduro, and general trail markets are very well catered for in the world of electric mountain biking.


There are 100s of different bikes vying for people’s attention in these sectors, however, the cross-country community is often overlooked.


A good XC bike requires speed, good handling, and light overall weight – not always easy to achieve with an e-MTB.


Trek stepped up to the plate in recent years with its E-Caliber range. The 9.6 Gen 2 is the second incarnation of their lowest-spec XC bike, with the original no longer for sale on their website.


The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 has dropped considerably in price over the past few months, which is a reason to take note. 


Does it strike all the right notes? Or is it a flop?


Saddle up, it’s time to get to grips with our Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Review…

Our Verdict


A leading XC bike, which strikes all the right notes for fast-paced cross-country riding.


The bike has halved in price on the Trek website in recent months and that makes it a complete bargain.


The bike is made for speed, with a featherlight weight, aerodynamic design, powerful motor and great pedalling efficiency.


It can’t take big hits or offer an all-day riding range, but it is specifically designed for head own XC riding and it delivers big style as a result.



Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Gen 2 Review

Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Gen 2 parts

Price: $3,999


In our intro, we mentioned the need to keep the weight down and the company has managed to do that wonderfully with the Trek E-Caliber 9.6.


The bike weighs in at 18.48kg (in a size medium, which we rode on our reviews), which is very light for an e-MTB.

OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame & stays

It’s partly thanks to the company’s OCLV carbon frame – it’s an ultra-strong, ultra-light carbon compound, which manages to balance strength with weight.


You can get the bike in four frame sizes – small, medium, large and extra, large – all of which have a similar geometry.


Speed and ease of handling are at the forefront of the bike’s geometry design – it feels very well-balanced, but playful at the same time.


You have several adjustable elements, which elevate the riding experience, with a dropper post introduced (unlike previous incarnations of the bike).


The bike feels pacey and the aerodynamic qualities mean the bike moves seriously quickly. The handling is ultra-responsive too and, at times, you forget you’re on an e-MTB.


The perfect frame composition for a spritely XC bike and it feels beautiful to handle. A good start to this Trek E-Caliber review.


The Trek E-Caliber is fitted with a 250Wh Fauza Evation battery.


To keep that overall weight down there is always going to be a compromise and reducing the weight of the battery is one.

50Wh Fauza Evation battery

Trek did this intentionally – obviously for weight purposes, but also to try and make the bike feel as natural as possible out on the trail and as close to a normal MTB as possible.


This bike has been purposefully designed to offer an authentic mountain biking experience, rather than creating a powerhouse of a machine.


You can achieve a top range of around 50km on one charge, it isn’t mind-blowing, but the trade-off with the low weight is worth it.


Plus, it’s worth remembering that XC rides tend to be short and fast. Rather than, long-distance all-dayers.


One truly excellent feature is that you can take out the battery altogether, reducing the weight further, and the bike can just be ridden as a normal mountain bike – an excellent idea, which almost makes it two bikes in one.


Without the battery, the bike only weighs 15.5kg, seriously light.

ℹ️ This isn’t a bike for people who need lots of electrical assistance. The battery size is designed to offer a little helping hand but certainly isn’t capable of giving you an all-day ride. If you want a lot of assistance, this isn’t the bike for you.


The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Gen 2 is fitted with the Fauza Evation Trail motor, which emits up to 58Nm of torque.


Like the battery, the motor pairing was chosen to offer a natural feeling e-MTB experience.

Fauza Evation Trail motor

The power delivery is outstanding, working intuitively with your pedal strokes so they kick in smoothly and die off when you need them to.


That gives you a fantastic level of control over the bike and you feel very much in charge of its movements.


The motor has 3 modes of assist – Breeze, River and Rocket – they are the equivalent of an Eco, Trail and Boost respectively.


The Rocket mode can be pretty damn powerful, particularly with how light the bike is, so you actually don’t need to use it much.


Despite only having 58Nm of torque overall, the bike manages very well on the climbs thanks to its lightweight, sporty layout and suspension pairing (which we’ll come to shortly).


Like the battery, you can also clip out the motor.

Motor Display

Fauza Remote BX controller

The motor display on the Trek E-Caliber 9.6 is a letdown.


It’s fitted with the Fauza Remote BX controller, which is located on the handlebars, and has an ease of use to flick between the modes of assist.


The amount of battery like you have left is shown on the controller as 5 LED lights – this is our absolute pet hate in the world of e-MTB displays.


What on earth is wrong with a percentage figure? The lights essentially account for 20% of the charge, which creates a degree of unnecessary range anxiety – not ideal.


You can hook the display up to the Fauza smartphone app and you can then use your phone to curate your data view – with many other options.


However, this relies on you buying a mount for your phone, and having it out on show as you ride, which during an accident could lead to damage.


We prefer having a display mounted on the bike, rather than a smartphone.


The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 comes with 120mm at the front and 60mm at the rear.

RockShox 35 Gold RL
Trek IsoStrut Fox Performance shocks

It isn’t a lot of travel, but it’s the ideal sort of set-up for XC riding. The very low amount of travel at the back end ensures you have a lot of traction and can pick up pace easily.


It doesn’t feel spongey, so it’s economical effort-wise on the flats and climbs.


Meanwhile, you have a bit of give at the front to take some moderate lumps and bumps, which you’re likely to encounter on a cross-country route.


The bike comes with RockShox 35 Gold RLs at the front and Trek IsoStrut Fox Performance shocks.


We’re impressed with the fork pairing. It does the trick nicely for an XC bike, with enough travel and length in the fork to dampen a lot of turbulence on the trail.


If you want to take on adventurous terrain, with big drops and impacts, this bike isn’t for you. It’s made for pacey XC riding and the suspension set-up has all the right qualities for that sort of riding.


Bontrager Kovee Comp 23
Bontrager XR3 Team Issue

The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 comes with 29-inch Bontrager Switch wheels and Bontrager XR3 Team Issue tyres.


The 29-inch set-up helps build up traction and provides a comfortable riding experience. They have a reasonably slim tread to ensure you there isn’t too much rolling resistance and they have great shedding properties.


It doesn’t quite have the playfulness of a mullet set-up, but it wouldn’t perform well on the flats if it did.


A good set-up for an XC bike.


Shimano 4-piston MT420 brakes

The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 is fitted with Shimano 4-piston MT420 brakes.


These do the trick nicely for a bike that has a low weight and not too much power in the motor.


No thrills, but tick all the right boxes.


The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 is fitted with a 12-speed Shimano Deore M6100 drivetrain.


A reliable drivetrain set-up, which offers ultra-responsive shifting and reliability – exactly what you need during many hours in the saddle.

Price - $3,999

The bike has reduced considerably in price on the Trek e-mountain bikes website in recent months.


It previously cost $6,649, so it has nearly halved in price, which makes it an exceptional deal.


The top-spec model in the range comes in at $14,000, but many of the core components on this bike are the same as that top-spec bike – including the frame, battery, motor etc.


The bike is an outstanding option for people who want to go XC riding and is a complete bargain at this price.


The E-Caliber is the leading XC range of e-MTBs and this bike offers slices of that ingenuity for a knockdown price.


We’re seriously impressed with this electric Trek mountain bike.

Trek E-Caliber 9.6 Gen 2 Facts & figures

Size configurations

rider height
S155 - 165 cm

5'1" - 5'5"
74 - 78 cm

29" - 31"
M165 - 176 cm

5'5" - 5'9"
79 - 83 cm

31" - 33"
L177 - 188 cm

5'10" - 6'2"
84 - 89 cm

33" - 35"
XL188 - 195 cm

6'2" - 6'5"
89 - 91 cm

35" - 36"

Full Specs

OCLV Mountain Carbon main frame & stays, IsoStrut, tapered head tube, Knock Block, Control Freak internal routing, Boost148, 60mm travelRockShox 35 Gold RL, DebonAir spring, Motion Control damper, remote lockout, tapered steerer, 44mm offset, Boost110, 15mm Maxle Stealth, 120mm travelSize: S
Trek IsoStrut, Fox Performance shock, air spring, DPS 2-position remote damper, 235x32.5mm

Size: M , L , XL
Trek IsoStrut, Fox Performance shock, air spring, DPS 2-position remote damper, 235mm x 32.5mm
Max compatible fork trave
Backlit LCD with charge indicator, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal assist level, clock, and more
Wheel frontWheel rearSkewer rear
Bontrager Kovee Comp 23, Tubeless Ready, 6-bolt, Boost110, 15mm thru axle, 29''Bontrager Kovee Comp 23, Tubeless Ready, Shimano Microspline freehub, Rapid Drive 108, Boost148, 29''
Skewer rear
TireTire partRim strip
Bontrager XR3 Team Issue, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewall, aramid bead, 120tpi, 29x2.40''Bontrager TLR sealant, 6ozBontrager TLR
Max tire size
Frame: 29x2.40", Fork: See manufacturer
E-bike systemBatteryCharger
Fazua Ride Trail 50 motorFazua Evation battery, 250WhFazua Evation charger, 90-120V
Fazua Remote bX
ShifterRear derailleur*Crank arm
Shimano Deore M6100, 12 speedShimano XT M8100, long cageSize: S , M , L
E*thirteen E*spec Plus, 170mm length

Size: XL
E*thirteen E*spec Race alloy, 32T, 175mm length
CassetteChainMax chainring size
Shimano Deore M6100, 10-51, 12 speedShimano Deore M6100, 12 speed1x: 32T
Bontrager Arvada, hollow chromoly rails, 138mm widthSize: S
TranzX JD-YSP18, 100mm travel, internal routing, 31.6mm, 361mm length

Size: M , L , XL
TranzX JD-YSP18, 130mm travel, internal routing, 31.6mm, 425mm length
Size: S
Bontrager Comp, alloy, 31.8mm, 5mm rise, 720mm width

Size: M , L , XL
Bontrager Rhythm Comp, alloy, 31.8mm, 15mm rise, 750mm width
Bontrager XR Trail Comp, nylon lock-onSize: S , M
Bontrager Rhythm Comp, 31.8mm, 0 degree, 60mm length

Size: L , XL
Bontrager Rhythm Comp, 31.8mm, 0 degree, 70mm length
Knock Block Integrated, 62-degree radius, cartridge bearing, 1-1/8'' top, 1.5'' bottom
*Brake*Brake rotor
Size: S , M , L , XL
Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc, MT4100 lever, MT420 caliper

Size: S , M , L , XL
Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc, MT4100 lever, MT420 caliper
Size: S , M , L , XL
Shimano RT66, 6-bolt, 180mm

Size: S , M , L , XL
Shimano RT66, 6-bolt, 203mm
WeightWeight limit
M - 18.48 kg / 40.75 lbs (with TLR sealant, no tubes)This bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 300 pounds (136 kg).

* Please note – spec applies to all sizes unless listed separately

How Does it Compare?

There aren’t many players in the electric cross-country market.


Trek is very much at the forefront of a new movement to try and satisfy the XC riders out there, while many companies focus on downhill, enduro and trail riding.


That makes comparison hard, but we’ve decided to look at another super light bike – the Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp. This is more of an enduro bike, but it gives you an indication of another manufacturer targeting the super light category, which in itself is fairly new for the e-MTB industry.

Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp

The Turbo Levo SL Comp has a lightweight carbon frame, weighing in at 19.4kg, just shy of our 18.48kg bike.


The Specialized bike comes with a custom 320Wh battery, a little more juice than our 250Wh model, and you get a custom motor, which can kick out 35Nm of torque – much smaller than our 58Nm.


The Specialized is super playful though and far more aggressively set out. It’s made for descending, technical terrain and some of the more challenging routes out there – not for fast-paced XC routes like ours.


The Specialized has 150mm of travel at the front and the rear as a result, which really makes it a very different bike altogether, compared to our low level of travel.


The Specialized is much more capable of taking impacts and big drops, meanwhile, our Trek is far more capable at speed and climbing.


The Levo also comes with super strong SRAM brakes, a top-end SRAM drive train and a pair of 29-inch wheels.


It’s another great and light bike, but very different to our Trek E-Caliber 9.6. The Turbo Levo SL Comp comes in at $4,499, considerably more than our ride.


Both are excellent bikes. It’s simply a case of being clear about what sort of riding you want to be doing – XC (Trek E-Caliber 9.6) or enduro (Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp).

You can read our full Turbo Levo SL Comp review here:

Final Thoughts

The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 is an excellent electric cross-country bike and the company is charting fairly new territory by taking on this challenge in the e-MTB market.


There aren’t many excellent electric XC bikes about, but this is certainly one.


It’s super light, sporty, fast-paced and it has a decent sized motor to weight ratio. You don’t have the biggest battery, but it does offer a natural ride experience and you can even clip it out altogether – 2 bikes in one.


It’s well thought out from top to bottom, minus a little hiccup with the display, but that’s an easy fix.


The price of the bike has also halved in recent months and that makes it a complete steal.


If you want to go XC riding, this delivers on many levels.


Better get out and give her a ride!

If you enjoyed this review then make sure to check out our other Trek reviews.




How much does a Trek E-Caliber 9.6 weigh?

The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 weighs a super-light 18.48kg.

How much does a Trek 9.6 weigh?

The Trek E-Caliber 9.6 weighs 18.48kg.

What is the difference between Gen 1 and Gen 2 E-Caliber?

The Gen 2 is slightly lighter by 0.3kg and the bike has been made more aerodynamic, with a few tweaks to the geometry and the wheel tread.