Trek Crossrip Elite (2013)  £950.00

7/10

Well put together, comfortable commu-tourer with solid spec and excellent brakes

Weight 11300g   Contact  www.trekbikes.com

by Dave Atkinson   April 2, 2013  

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You'll find plenty of disc-equipped, cyclocross-inspired do-it-all bikes under a grand; they're usually a good option as an all-rounder and popular on cycle-to-work schemes. Now there's one more, the Trek Crossrip, and it's a good bike. It's not the hottest on value but as a package the Elite model we've been riding is sensibly specced and good to ride.

Alpha 100 Aluminium is Trek's base material for making bikes but the Crossrip is nicely built and finished, with neat welds and an understated grey finish. We had the big 61cm bike which felt pretty rangy with a 60.8cm effective top tube. I could have happily ridden the 58cm (59.3cm ETT) too. The head angle is 72.5° on both those bikes, slackening to 71° in the smallest size, 50cm. The 20cm head tube doesn't sound that huge for what's a big bike but the carbon-bladed, alloy steerer fork is cyclocross length so that lifts the front of the bike too over what you'd expect from a road fit. The resulting position is comfort-oriented; the stem points down so you can flip that for an even higher front if you want but I already found myself as upright as I'd want to be. Cruising in the (fairly shallow) drops was comfortable for fairly long stints, and although the bike's more upright position isn't as aerodynamic, that's not really much of an issue.

It's a chugger rather than a tight and twitchy ride, the Crossrip; think big diesel. That's not a criticism, it's simply the nature of the bike, happy to cruise along and take everything in its stride. It's not unresponsive when you stamp on the pedals or wrench the bars round, but it's happier when you take things at a steadier pace. The position and the feel of the bike is very reassuring and I'd be plenty happy doing long rides on the Crossrip, but I wouldn't be expecting to break any PBs.

Is it a cyclocross bike? Well, not really. You can generally tell whether a company thinks a CX bike will actually be used for CX by checking the gearing and tyres; here we have a road compact chainset (an FSA Vero) and wide cassette, and Bontrager 32mm hardcase touring tyres. It's a bike for tarmac and hardpack, rather than lugging round a muddy field for an hour. You could; the geometry and build don't preclude it. But if you want to race, this isn't the best bike for your grand. Other touches mark this out as more of a town bike, for example the security-conscious skewers that open with an Allen key rather than a quick release, and the urban camouflage paint job.

So it's a disc-equipped commu-tourer then. And if you want a bike for a bit of everything but mostly commuting or all-weather miles, it's a good bet. The Crossrip is a very capable bike on the tarmac and it's perfectly happy heading onto unsurfaced paths too, with the unflappable Bontrager tyres shrugging off flints and thorns. We've checked them over and they've barely registered a scratch. The payoff for that is that they're a bit heavy and, sluggish on the blacktop, but if you're sticking to better surfaces you could swap them out for a lightweight set of 28s.

Shifting-wise, new Sora is pretty good; certainly it's masses better than old Sora. There's one more ratio (nine instead of eight) which might please you but the real change is from thumbshift to proper Dual Control with the downshift behind the brake lever. It's much easier to use from multiple positions and it's a lighter action too. the engineering isn't quite up to the standard of the dearer groupsets (natch) so it's a bit clunky compared to 105 or Ultegra, but it's a big step forward.

At the back you get an 11-32 cassette; coupled with a 50/34 compact up front that's all the gears you're likely to need, unloaded at least. The Crossrip has rack mounts and, unusually for a carbon fork, low rider mounts too, so in theory you could fully load it up, but you'd want much lower gears than those specced for any heavy touring. It's a pity Trek don't offer a triple version for that extra versatility.

Then there's the brakes. The brakes are really, really good. It's the first time I've tried a bike fitted with the Hayes CX-5 callipers and I think I might even prefer them to Avid BB7s. Heresy, I know. But these are great mechanical discs. They're a bit of a faff to get set up just so, but once they're up they're super: lots of power and great modulation. They squawked and squeaked a bit when they were brand new and after every hose down but once they're bedded in you just get the nice buzz of the rotor pattern on the pads, and masses of stopping power.

In the interests of science – and since it's a big debate we all seem to be having – I tried to cook them, dragging them down the longest of Bath's descents (a mile and a half) and hauling them on at the bottom. There was a bit of fade, especially when just using the back brake with its smaller 140mm rotor, but they never felt like you'd run out of anchors. The back one could do with a better quality cable outer that doesn't compress, but that's my only gripe really.

The excellent brakes mean going downhill on the Crossrip is a lot of fun, with the confidence that you'll be able to scrub off speed daring you to push a bit quicker. The bike's good at speed, stable and reassuring with the steering direct. Once you get to the bottom of the valley and have to hoik yourself up the other side it's a bike that favours a seated approach. Getting out of the saddle and stomping up climbs feels like hard work, and it's not too hard to eke some flex out of the FSA chainset. Spinning feels more efficient.

Bontrager kit rarely warrants much of a mention at this level; suffice to say it does the job extremely well without showing off. The Race Lite Isozone handlebar is comfy in all positions and the SSR stem nice and stiff. The saddle was okay if a bit bulky, but it's easily swapped if it doesn't sit well with you.

The £950 RRP feels like a fair deal, rather than a bargain. You're getting new Sora and good discs on a nice frame and the bike as an overall package is well thought out and a nice ride. There's plenty of competition at this kind of money and the Crossrip Elite holds its own well.

Verdict

Well put together, comfortable commu-tourer with solid spec and excellent brakes

road.cc test report

Make and model: Trek Crossrip Elite

Size tested: 61cm

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frameset

Frame: 100 Series Alpha Aluminium

Fork: Bontrager Satellite Plus, carbon disc w/lowrider mounts

Sizes: 50, 54, 56, 58, 61cm

Wheels: Formula aluminium disc hubs w/Bontrager Nebula Disc 32-hole rims

Tyres: Bontrager H5 Hard-Case Ultimate, 700x32c

Drivetrain

Shifters: Shimano Sora STI, 9 speed

Front derailleur: Shimano Sora

Rear derailleur: Shimano Sora

Crank: FSA Vero, 50/34 (compact)

Cassette: SRAM PG-950 11-32, 9 speed

Pedals: Wellgo track-style aluminium

Saddle: Bontrager Evoke 1

Seatpost: Bontrager SSR

Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite IsoZone, aluminium, VR-CF, 31.8mm

Stem: Bontrager SSR, 10 degree

Headset: Cartridge bearings, sealed

Brakeset: Tektro aluminium levers w/ Hayes CX5 mechanical disc brakes, 160mm front, 140mm rear

Grips: Bontrager cork tape, IsoZone inserts

Extras: Mudguard & rack mounts

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

"The new drop-bar CrossRip is quick in traffic, sure-footed when the weather or pavement gets rough, comfortable over the long haul. Road bike? Cross bike? Commuter? Yes."

Well, at least two of the three

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Urban stealth finish is fairly hardy, welds are tidy, graphics minimal

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Frame: 100 Series Alpha Aluminium

Fork: Bontrager Satellite Plus, carbon disc w/lowrider mounts

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

dual 72.5° angles, 60.8cm ETT, 20cm HT

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

It was fine, I could probably have ridden the 58cm fine too

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Very comfy, rangy and reasonably upright

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

The platform is stiff enough, the crankset isn't the stiffest

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Yes, most of the time

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No issues

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Stable and predictable, sometimes a touch on the slow side

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
6/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
4/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
7/10

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? For a commuter, yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
7/10

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 190cm  Weight: 102kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Maybe Trek will have to adjust their pricing scheme now that they can't charge more because they're buddies with Lance Armstrong.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [188 posts]
2nd April 2013 - 15:34

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Who gives a shit about Lance, they've got Canc!

That looks a great bike, and would make commuting much more enjoyable than the joyless lump I'm currently riding to work.

posted by Steven_L [48 posts]
3rd April 2013 - 11:15

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I've looked at the Trek Cross Rip Elite but prefer the Whyte Charing Cross better Group Set (Tiagra)(and a better paint job Big Grin)

posted by Wesselwookie [86 posts]
3rd April 2013 - 12:52

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That looks bloody expensive, or poorly equipped for the price. Look around and there are £1000 Cross bikes come commuters with 105 levers and mechs.

The Merida Cyclo-cross 4-D has the same brakes and easily as good a frame and fork, but 105. It comes with cross tyres and cross crankset, but that's no big deal for commuting (a good shop will switch them for nothing), and it has all mudguard/rack mounts.

Otherwise, check out the Genesis CDF, with is about £850 £900, steel frame (more comfortable) and with Sora. Standard compact chainset and more rack/guard mounting options that you thought possible on such a bike.

posted by joules1975 [59 posts]
3rd April 2013 - 20:15

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Bought this last week, and its a good bike; i agree that there are better value options out there, but one thing i have often found over the years is that a bike can look good on paper, but not be a very inspiring ride.

I've been pretty pleased with it - Sora is nowhere near as bad as i feared (i use Ultegra on my road bike, and have used last year's Sora with the button shifters on a friend's spesh allez and didn't like them one bit), shifts cleanly (as good as the tiagra i had a few years back), and no complaints. The ride is generally good, not the quickest, but spritely nonetheless, and will be when i stick some lighter tyres on.

For me the geometry was important, standover height was a factor (this is my weekend bike, so occasionally i have to stick kid's seat on the back, and can't physically get my leg over some cross bikes!), and the general scope of the bike fits perfectly for that role. Yes, i could've got a better cross bike elsewhere, a better value bike elsewhere, but the Trek just feels 'right', so i'd recommend.

posted by neilysump [19 posts]
4th April 2013 - 12:24

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joules1975 wrote:
That looks bloody expensive, or poorly equipped for the price. Look around and there are £1000 Cross bikes come commuters with 105 levers and mechs.

The Merida Cyclo-cross 4-D has the same brakes and easily as good a frame and fork, but 105. It comes with cross tyres and cross crankset, but that's no big deal for commuting (a good shop will switch them for nothing), and it has all mudguard/rack mounts.

Otherwise, check out the Genesis CDF, with is about £850 £900, steel frame (more comfortable) and with Sora. Standard compact chainset and more rack/guard mounting options that you thought possible on such a bike.

Merida CC4: http://road.cc/content/review/74758-merida-cyclo-cross-4

Genesis CdF: http://road.cc/content/review/61480-genesis-cdf

Interestingly John didn't get on with the Hayes CX5 discs on the Merida, although I reckon the quality (and simplicity) of the cabling is really important on a mech disc, so maybe Merida skimped a bit there to get the bike under the grand. Deffo good spec for the money though and some high-quality cables and outers would only add another £30, you could ditch the cross-top levers too if you wanted

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7033 posts]
4th April 2013 - 12:47

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neilysump wrote:
as good as the tiagra i had a few years back

might be a good reason for that Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7033 posts]
4th April 2013 - 12:48

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I bought this bike a couple of months ago, and although (as has been mentioned before) it is a little bit heavy, I love it. The weight isn't a big issue on a bike like this... I load it down with panniers filled with work stuff! It's a mile muncher on roads, rough and smooth, canal towpaths and the odd field/verge. It soaks up bumps and is fabulously comfortable. Seat is great and handlebars are just right. Love the chicken brakes as it makes the bike so much more practical. I got it for £850 and for that price, I think it was a bargain. Had no problems with it, great brakes and I can't find fault with either the gear changes or ratios. It suits me down to the ground. Love Struck LOVE what it looks like in the flesh too. No regrets.

cileda's picture

posted by cileda [1 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 11:37

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