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Just In: Trek 1.2

A £650 aluminium road bike with a Shimano Sora 9-speed drivetrain

The £650 Trek 1.2 is the middle of three bikes in the US brand’s aluminium 1 Series. The last Trek we reviewed was the high-end, low-weight £5,800 Trek Émonda SLR 8 so this is an altogether different proposition.

All three bikes in the 1 Series share the same 100 Series Alpha Aluminium frame that’s built to Trek’s H2 fit. That means the ride position is designed to be sporty and efficient, but not as extreme as Trek use for their H1 fit. With H2 you get a slightly taller head tube and a slightly shorter top tube so the handlebars are a little higher and a little closer to your body.

We have the 58cm 1.2 here for review and it comes with a 19cm head tube, a stack height (the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) of 59.8cm and a reach (the horizontal distance between those points) of 39.1cm.

If that’s a load of gobbledygook to you, it just means that the frame geometry is designed to put less strain on your back and neck without the need to whack a load of headset spacers underneath the stem. Doing that really doesn’t help a bike’s handling.

It’s a fairly busy-looking frame with a squared off upper edge to the down tube that makes it resemble that of Trek’s more costly Madone. The top tube slopes towards the seat tube junction and tapers down as it does so. You get mounts for a mudguard and a rack that will be useful if you want to ride the bike year round and maybe carry stuff to work and back on a daily commute.

The fork is Trek’s own with carbon legs and an alloy steerer. It also comes with eyelets for fitting mudguards.

The most affordable model in the 1 Series is the £575 1.1. That one comes with a mostly Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset.

Pay the extra £75 for the 1.2 and you move up to a largely Shimano Sora 9-speed groupset. With previous versions of Sora, you performed shifts via a finger lever and a thumb lever that was positioned on the side of the shifter body. The shifters worked fine but ergonomically they weren’t great.

Now Sora offers you Dual Control shifting meaning that everything is done by swinging the brake lever across or moving the smaller lever that’s tucked in behind it. This is the same system as you get with Shimano’s higher level road groupsets, although the gear cables run externally from the shifters rather than underneath the bar tape.

We summed up the entire Sora groupset in a test on by saying, “Now with proper dual control, Sora is fantastic value and as good as it's ever been. Only the brakes let it down.”

The brakes on the Trek 1.2 aren’t actually from the Sora range, though, these are no-name dual pivot units. We’ll certainly be paying close attention to their performance when we get the bike out on the road.

The chainset is another deviation from Sora. It’s an FSA Vero square taper design made with cold forged aluminium alloy (AL6061-T6) crank arms and CNC machined chainrings (AL7075-T6). You can go for triple chainrings or the compact version that we have here with 50-tooth and 34-tooth chainrings. This is matched up to an 11-28-tooth cassette so you get some pretty small gears that should see you right on most climbs.

The wheels, from Trek’s in-house Bontrager brand, are Tubeless Ready, meaning that they’re suitable for use with tubeless tyres and no inner tubes if you want to go down that route at some time in the future. The 23mm wide Bontrager T1tyres aren’t compatible with a tubeless system, though, so you’ll need to upgrade them first.

The handlebar, stem and seatpost are all alloy products from Bontrager’s range and the Affinity 1 saddle is from Bontrager too. A quick thumb test suggests there’s some fairly deep padding in there.

Weight? Oh yes, we always give you the weight. Our Trek 1.2 hit the Scales of Truth at 9.48kg (20.9lb).

We’re obviously not expecting the 1.2 to behave like the Émonda that we recently reviewed but we’re hoping that it’ll put in a strong, solid performance out on the road. We’ll soon find out because we’re just about to get the saddle height sorted and hit the road. We’ll be back with a review as soon as we’ve got some big rides behind us.

If you want to know more about the 1.2 in the meantime, head over to

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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