Trek World Europe: Urban, Cyclocross, & Flat Bar road
New Crossrip urban cross, carbon 7.7FX, revamped Dual Sport hybrids & bikes you can't get over here (but we wish you could)
It wasn't all Madones and Domanes at Trek World. In fact, there's huge swathes of the show dedicated to various dutch-style and commuting bikes that we didn't really explore, since you won't be seeing them in the UK, interesting though they were. We did have a nose around the urban/commuting/cross bikes that are coming to blighty though. so here's a quick round-up.
So, where better to start our round up of those Treks that aren't Domanes or Madones than with… a Madone. Because whatever it says on the top tube, that's what the 2013 7.7FX is (check it out up top).
Flat barred road bikes are pretty commonplace these days, although most have moved away from the original concept of being simply road bikes with flat bars. These days they vary in their geometry and historically the Treks have been at the upright end of the scale. Not this one, though - this is pure flat bar road. The 7.7FX will set you back £1,300 but you're getting a lot for your money. recognise that frame?
Yup, as we said up top it's a Madone. A three series Madone, to be precise. They've not made a special frame here, just used the existing one in an H2 fit (the more sportivey one) and stuck a 10-speed Tiagra drivetrain on it. That means the 7.7 is considerably more agressive in its position than the current 2012 version and you get a full-carbon performance bike to commute on. Good news.
There's some concessions in the componentry to be able to shoehorn that expensive frame in; the brakes and chainset are cheaper units, the 2012 model has Shimano 105 and the wheels aren't super-light either. But you couldn't claim that the frame isn't worth upgrading...
The other FX bikes use a similar Alpha Aluminium frame to last year, with Isozone rear damping on the 7.5FX and 7.6FX models.
Everyone loves a disc-equipped cyclocross-ispired commu-tourer, yes? Arguably Trek were first to the party with the Portland way back when, but recently they've not been making many waves in this particular genre.
That's all set to change with the Crossrip though. There's two bikes in the range, the Crossrip and the Crossrip Elite, which retail for £850 and £950 respectively. They both have an Alpha Aluminium frame and carbon fork and disc brakes, 160mm at the front and 140mm to the rear.
The Elite has new mechanical callipers from Hayes which the Trek man was going all misty-eyed about, he reckons they're even better than Avid BB7s. The lower-spec bike has the always-dependable, but not quite as good BB5s.
We're starting to see bikes with the new Sora levers on now too; the Crossrip Elite is one. Sora's 2013 shifters get the proper STI treatment with a paddle behind the brake lever for downshifts. They look suspiciously like 2011's Tiagra levers painted black, but that's no bad thing as those were excellent levers.
The cheaper of the two bikes gets mostly Shimano 2300 running gear on the same frame and fork package. With only £100 between them we'd definitely plump for the slightly dearer one for the better transmission. And a go on those brakes which if they are as good as BB7s are definitely an improvement on the standard Crossrips BB5s.
You don't often see these sorts of bikes in cycling mags or websites but a few manufacturers do something like this and they are very popular. Trek have had a Dual Sport bike range for ages - it's the hybrid with more of an emphasis on the MTB bit of the equation or indeed the mountain bike for people who really don't need a full on off roader, but something for road and light trail use… with their 700c wheel they are also arguably an entry level 29er. This year Trek have given them a spruce up and pushed them a bit more; they told us that of all the bikes on the website at the moment, the DS range is the one getting the most attention. Certainly they make a lot of sense for people that are looking to run just one bike as they can handle road and light offroad duties. They've had a play with the geometry to make the bike a bit more engaging to ride and it comes in a range of spec levels.
Top of the DS range is the 8.6 pictured at the top, which sneaks under the £1,000 cycle-to-work ceiling and comes equipped with a Shimano SLX drivetrain. There's a Suntour fork up front with a remote lockout on the bars to keep things steady when you're climbing out of the saddle on the road, for example.
To the rear you get a version of Trek's Isozone damping system that they also use on the more expensive FX bikes. Essentially it's an elastomer damper in the seat stays that allows 20mm or so of rear wheel travel. There's no pivot, the chainstays just flex a bit.
Although the head tube is quite short, the long fork, spacer stack and bars mean it's a fairly upright riding position, just right for leisure riding and towpath/fire road excursions.
Right at the other end of the scale is the 8.1DS new for the UK and which you can have for £400. There's no damping at the back or suspension fork at the front, this bike is just a solidly specced road-going 29er-cum-flat-bar-crosser that looks like it'd be a great choice for someone who wants a do-it-all bike on a tight budget. The 8.1 comes with a 3x7 gearing set up, we reckon there's probably a niche for a singlespeed version too.
Bikes you can't buy
This beauty is called the Zector (it's also called the Zero too) and it's part of Trek's Scandinavian range. The pics don't really do it justice as it's a proper in-your-face fluoro orange. It's all gate frame and road geometry and looks smashing.
We humbly request that the Zector/Zero come to these shores, because we all want one. Please. Thanks.