Trek Bikes Reviews
Trek 7.0 FX
Ah, the humble bicycle, does it even need an introduction? I'd say so, because this is no ordinary bicycle. Well, conventionally it is; it doesn't have its own stereo system and set of indicator lights (why ever not?). By ordinary, I mean your standard Tesco's own, bright gold, steel heavyweight tragedy - that gives you a good few months ... of steady riding. This however, the extraordinary, is quite sublime; slick, solid, speedy, silver and sexy (I can say that, it's mine); the Trek 7.0 FX.
Now normally I wouldn't make such a fuss over a brand, but to disregard this one as nothing more than a 'maker of bicycles' wouldn't just be wrong; it would be a criminal offence. Ever heard of Lance Armstrong? Yes indeed, his bikes are made by Trek. Of course, we've all heard of David Beckham and Nike, and have probably all got one product with their tick of approval, but I just wanted to make one thing clear; Trek are right up there at the top when it comes to the cycling world. Cue a truly sensational biking quote from Trek themselves:
'The bicycle is the most efficient form of human transportation. It can combat climate change, ease urban congestion, and build human fitness. It brings us together, yet allows us to escape. And it takes us places we would never see any other way.'
For me, that quote pushes through two notions: that cycling is an efficient means of transport and undoubtedly a very viable part-solution to many environmental problems; and that the brand to go with is Trek. Not only can they persuade people with their emotive words, but they take issues with the environment very seriously indeed, implementing various initiatives; 'we [Trek] continuously evaluate our manufacturing processes and business practices to be sure our actions, and those of our employees, reflect our better-world goals'. These initiatives include using green energy, smarter shipping strategies and employees commuting by bike (well, you'd hope so wouldn't you?). I'm just trying to convince you that cycling is splendid; and that cycling with Trek is magnificent.
The FX 7.0 comes under the category of 'bike path' on the Trek website, and is very much in between being a hybrid and a road bike; a road bike is, surprisingly, designed specifically to be used on the road, whilst hybrids are supposed to be more versatile, adapting to both road surfaces and more off-road trails and paths. Of course you can use the FX on off-road paths, it won't suddenly dismantle itself into a box ready to be sent back to your supplier; it's just not built for it, that's all. I suppose it's in the same way that a Ford Focus wouldn't be suited to a dirt track as a Land Rover Discovery would be, for instance.
This is very much a commuter's bicycle. Being a hybrid-type design of a bike, you don't have to lean forward as you do on a racing bike (they're the ones you'll often see on television). What I love about the FX is how it brings the best of two designs into one (reminds me of Hovis' 'Best Of Both' - or not). Firstly, it brings with it the 'traditional' and more commonly found upright riding geometry, as aforementioned. None of this racing bike leaning, or penny-farthing wobbling; surely neither can be good for your back? Rather, it's simple, it's comfortable and it's just the way I like it. The seat is easily adjustable, with a twisting device which rids the need of one of those annoying metal tools which just always gets lost; just make sure you tighten it well, otherwise you'll be twisting round with every corner that you take. Yes, it's fun at first, but after a while...just trust me.
Secondly, the wheels. Now, at this point I should say that I'm really not an expert in bicycles; I'm somebody who wanted a bike to use for commuting to work, and my girlfriend's house (which is just over 3 miles away). So if I said, 'Alloy hubs w/Clix; Bontrager 550, alloy 36-hole rims', that might not mean much to you, or to me. However, I know a bit, and what I don't I can research! 'Clix' is a wheel release system, allowing for removal of both your wheels in just seconds. However, the benefits for a commuter's bicycle; not much. If you're going to be locking your bicycle up in a public place then you'll have to ensure the frame and both wheels are locked up, which is rather annoying. This is more of a racer bike feature, and whilst it's not incredibly frustrating, the way the bike is advertised does contradict the reasoning behind such a feature. Nevertheless, Bontrager is another brand that only speaks in quality, with a quick slogan reference that sums things up nicely; 'Lighter. Faster. Stronger.' (reminds me of a certain Daft Punk song).
Looking at it from my terribly uneducated perspective once again, the wheels are a convenient in-between from racer to, say, a much more 'typical' bike. Racer wheels are agonisingly thin; you feel like you're constantly cycling on a tight rope. Your standard and 'typical' bike is likely to have much thicker wheels, ones that will happily adapt to any surface, but not specialise in any particular one. The FX, whilst designed for the road, does seem to be the in-between, with much thinner wheels, but not scarily thin. They allow for faster riding; the thinner the tyre and the better quality the material, the lighter and more efficient it will be, thus providing fast-rolling wheels, and fast get-to-work times.
Whilst your handlebars, saddle and wheels are all Bontrager developed, both the brakes and the gears system are made by Shimano; Trek seem to have a theme of unquestionable quality going on here... Integrated in the FX 7.0 is a 7 speed Shimano EF50 trigger, which is superb. Whilst there's only a certain amount of ingenuity a developer can carry out with your brake handles, the way in which the gear-change has been developed is just wonderful. It uses a trigger mechanism, which just feels like you're pressing the trigger buttons on a PS3 or XBOX 360 controller, every single time; it's awesome! It works incredibly well too, and adds to the ability to gain top speeds with this bike, as well as of course quick acceleration, as you glide through the gears.
The design of the FX 7.0 is simple and effective, just the way I like it. The colour is described as 'matte silver' - it's silver. It has been said many a time to me that this bike is 'rather feminine' - 'neutral', is the phrasing I'd use. Doesn't look half bad either. The finish of the paint work hadn't even been considered by myself due to there simply being nothing to question; the quality shines through this bicycle. The versatility of it must also be appreciated. Unlike many racing bikes, you can easily install mud-guards on the FX 7.0 (very, very useful for the commuter), as well as having plenty of room on your handlebars for lights too. Speed and versatility seems difficult to come across in cycling, but the FX 7.0 just handles it so well.
Overall, I have to say that I'm really pleased with the Trek FX 7.0. You may well jump out of your seat when I tell you that this bike will set you back in the region of £300, even with it being an entry-level for its kind. However, when you consider that your cheapest road bike won't be any less than £500 then it does start to put things into perspective. Indeed, if you're not going to use it at least a few times every week then perhaps the price-tag will seem outrageous; but if you have a regular commute to work, to a friend's, or even just as a daily means of exercise, then I really can't recommend this enough. With a design of such simplicity yet such versatility, components of exceptional quality, and a brand that stands by the unquestionable finish of all its products, the Trek FX 7.0 is a bicycle that will last, but will also happily rack up the miles as you sail through that traffic jam that you were once part of!
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I know that a lot of people are struggling with their finances, but imagine this, if you treat yourself to the Trek 6700 I am reviewing here, you would save absolutely tonnes of money on expensive fuel bills, tax and insurance. On top of the great savings you will have a load of fun and get fit at the same time. The purpose of ... this review is to really show you that there are worthwhile alternatives to those cheap bikes. You know the sort, the ones that come in a box, like flat-pack furniture and you spend an age putting them together, never really knowing if you have missed an important part. With mountain bikes, you really do get what you pay for. In the Trek 6000 range, you can get a really decent ride starting at £550 for the 6000, going all the way up to £950 for the 6700 that I have the pleasure of riding.
You get the same Alpha Black Aluminum frame, but you get massive component upgrades that make the bike lighter and more responsive. On the front the RockShox Recon Race Solo Air suspension forks offer up 100mm of travel, that can be adjusted to vary the amount of rebound as well as locking them completely (which you make well do for road use). The gear shifters, crank, brakes, front and rear derailleur are all Shimano SLX. This really makes sense and is what drew me toward the 6700. Rather than a mix and match affair, Trek did this model right. Although SLX is meant to be one step under their XT offerings, I think it is not that far behind. It is light, gear changes are very smooth and the hydraulic disc brakes are awesome. Those disc brakes offer up a 160mm rotor on the back and 180mm on the front. In my tests, both dry and wet, they have given me wicked stopping power. They are also my first experience of disc brakes, so it was really nice that I could easily adjust the reach of my brake levers without messing around as much as I would with V-Brakes.
The tyres on the 6700 are really chunky. The Bontrager Jones XR, 26x2.2/2.25" really offer superb amounts of grip. However, I have spent a bit of time on the road and they do not roll that well, so I may well change them for my road use. The saddle, seatpost, handlebars and stem are also Bontrager branded. Again, this makes sense as they are pretty high quality and also make the bike look very nice. Bontrager welded rims finish off the superb look, with a very nice paint job carried out by Trek. The white frame with red and black decals really does look the part. The weight of the complete bike is very light indeed and makes it a joy to use, very manageable. This is another area that you will find it hard to compete in at this level. Certainly cheaper bikes are a LOT heavier.
It is the quality of components and superb finish to the frame that really makes the Trek 6700 stand out from the crowd. It is quite lively to ride, with the saddle being the only thing I would really like to change (just a little too hard for me). On road it is plush, but struggles because of the tyres. Offroad it is a real pleasure to ride, it just eats up all the mud and handles inclines with ease. The power you can get down through the pedals and into the drivechain simply rockets the 6700 ahead of the pack. If you can afford it, go for one, if not then look at a little lower down the range. Please don't buy one of these cheaper supermarket bikes with big suspension, just because it looks good. With the Trek 6700 you are investing just as much in a superb frame, it just so happens you get superb components too. £950 is a lot to pay out for a bike, but after months of riding, I am glad I spent the extra on this particular model.
Note: I am the original author of this review at www.geekanoids.co.uk
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Trek 1200 Double 2006
Preamble *********** From May 2008 through to August 2008 my other half and I have competed in several sportives ranging from 50 miles to 80 miles. Using our trusty mountain bikes we generally manage to average around 13.5 mph to 14.0 mph - although it is really hard work and exceptionally tiring. Whilst on these ... rides we were overtaken by other cyclists on proper drop handle barred racers at nearly twice our speed and without even breaking a sweat!
After struggling in the wind during the Suffolk Coast ride I decided it was time to purchase a racer.....
Looking for the first racer is a mind field. There are loads of different bikes for different budgets and everyone has their own opinion as to what is best. Being a complete novice I set what I thought was a reasonable budget of £300 - although I later discovered that this needed to be increased quite significantly to get anything that would last.
I spent hours researching, joining forums (I highly recommend Bike Radar) etc in order to find the ideal bike in my budget.
Whilst taking my trusty steed of a mountain bike to Pauls Cycles in Dereham I thought that I'd better have a quick look at the small selection of racers in the shop. It was there I saw it...... The Trek 1200 in black and red.
I knew the Trek name and knew that they were generally a good, quality brand. That was it though.
The price was £799 which was way over my budget, but because it was a 2006 model I could have something knocked off it. The bike was described as 'shop soiled' since it had fallen over and had a tiny scratch on the frame. If the bloke hadn't told me this I would never have noticed it despite looking over the bike thoroughly. This led to a further discount being applied.
To cut a long story short I ended up paying £450 for the bike (although we had to purchase a Giant SCR for my other half at the same time - although this was discounted too. However a significant saving was made and I love the fact that a lot of the road bike fraternity are so snobbish that they have to have a 'new' bike each year and the manufacturers change the models on an annual basis, even if it only means changing the colour scheme!!) and walking out of the shop with a big grin on my face.
Trek is an American company which was started in 1976 in a barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
By 1980 the company had outgrown it's original factory and moved to new premises. The owners decided to keep the company in its 'home town' of Waterloo.
In 1982 Trek started producing road racing bikes and the 750/050 series was born.
Trek became global in 1989 and the first overseas subsidiaries were formed in Great Britain and Germany.
By 2005 Trek had the largest dealer base with the bikes being available in 90 different countries. At that time Trek had 10 subsidiaries and over 70 distributors.
Arguably, it was the 'great' Lance Armstrong who raised the profile of the Trek brand within the road racing community. In 1997 Lance Armstrong was dropped from his European cycling team after being diagnosed with cancer. What a mistake that was....
Lance Armstrong joined forces with Trek and In 1999 became the first American on an American bike riding for the American team to win the Tour De France. Lance's popularity was so great that the bike developed for the American team, the OCLV carbon 5200, became the biggest selling road bike ever.
Trek 1200 Spec
The Trek 1200 is described as an entry level racer although it does have a few high spec components to it:
The frame is a Trek Alpha SL butted comfort aluminium frame. Whilst not the lightest frame around it is still noticeably lighter than that of my mountain bike, and being a recreational rider I would not notice the difference in weight to other entry level racers in its class.
Most of the bikes in the price range of the Trek 1200 have aluminium forks as standard.
The Trek comes with a carbon fork with alloy steerer which are usually associated with more expensive bikes. Again, whilst being a recreational rider I would not notice the difference between the carbon or aluminium it is nice to say "my bike has carbon forks".
The Trek comes with Shimano gears which is good because they are well known for their quality and reliability, as well as being easy to work on. In addition to this, I do not like the shifters on Campag gears.
The Trek has Tiagra gears and a 105 front and rear mech. Whilst these are not at the upper end of the Shimano gear range the are still a higher spec than most bikes in this class which have Shimano Sora all round.
The trek has Shimano Tiagra Sti gear shifters. This means that both the gear shifter are levers, as opposed to one being a lever (easily reachable wherever the hands are on the handlebars) and one being a small button on the hoods (difficut to reach when on the drop bars, if like me, you have small hands).
The Tiagra Sti gear shifters also allow the use of the Shimano flightdeck cycle computer which has the added advantage of showing cadence.
Most bikes in this class have lower spec Sora gear shifters (where one is a lever and the other a button).
The Trek has a Bontrager Select crankset with 53-39 chainrings. This means that it is a double chain ring instead of a triple.
A triple chain ring = more gears which (according to the forums) is better for beginners as the extra number of gears should mean that the rider should always be able to find a gear which s/he can easily spin (i.e rotate without getting too tired too quickly and build up lactic acid in the muscles).
After a few rides I now understand what this means. With my double I am on the largest cog but using the first 2 or 3 cogs on the rear. Being near the extremes (i.e the largest cog on the front or back and the smallest on the other) results in a tight chain which decreases the life of it.
If I had a triple I would be on the middle cog on the front and probably the 4th - 6th cog on the rear to achieve the same gear. There would be less stress on the chain and it would last longer.
Since I do not use my Trek every day to commute (like many cyclists on the Bike Radar forum) riding in the extremes will ot make that difference to me since I do not cover the mileage. I only way for me to get around this is to persevere and strengthen my legs so that I can spin the higher gears on the rear cog and the front ring.
The Trek has 32 spoked wheels with black anodised Alex rims. It is the wheels that ets this bike down, however, these cheap wheels are common on entry level race bikes.
Unless you're under 10 stone (unfortunately I'm a bit more of a porker than this!) the wheels tend to flex quite a bit if you put a bit of extra weight on them. I find this a problem when hill climbing - although living in Norfolk there aren't that many about which is a good thing!
I have also had the wheels flex when going over pot holes. I know that you should always avoid these on a racer and 9 times out of 10 I do, but there are the odd occasions when they are unavoidable.
Changing the wheels is not a difficult task and it is usually one of the first upgrades most cyclists make to their bike. I'm hoping that good old Santa will bring me some nice new wheels for Christmas.
The Trek comes with Bontrager Select 700x23c tyres as standard. Although I have had no problems with them yet (they haven't lost air or been prone to punctures) they have only seen nice, dry summer roads. Once the autumn/winter arrives and the road surface worsens I will have to see what happens.
Forum research/reading (I'm well and truly hooked on Bike Radar) confirms that these are not a popular tyre compare to Michelin, Continental etc but I am not going to change them until I need to, and since these are my first racer tyres I have nothing to compare them to.
One thing I would point out is the 23 cm width is very narrow and does lead to a harsher ride than 25 cm tyres. I can confirm this since my other half has 25 cm tyres on her Giant.
The Trek has Bontrager Sport handlebars. Like all racer bars these are dropped (i.e the ram horn shape).
After riding a mountain bike since I was a kid riding with dropped bars is quite strange at first. The bent forward and low riding position ("riding on the drops") does take some getting used to and it does hurt but after a couple of rides the pain goes and it does feel a lot more natural. I now find it more comfortable than the upright position when riding my mountain bike.
When riding on the drops I find it difficult to reach the brakes due to my small hands. This can be a bit unnerving especially when riding downhill where it is possible to reach quite high speeds (I'm a pure beginner and going down Norfolk hills (sorry... slopes) I reach just over 30 mph.
If back pain does set in when riding on the drops it is possible to ride on the hoods (the top part of the bar) and get the upright position back. Riding on the hoods is slower than on the drops - although it is still quicker than riding a mountain bike.
The stem is the metal tube between the frame and the handle bars. The Trek has a Bontrager Select stem as standard, and to be honest, I don't know if this is good or bad.
One thing I should point out is that the stem is quite short and leads to a very compact (almost "cramped") riding position and I'm only 5' 7" with quite a short upper half. This stem size would not be suitable for taller riders or those with a longer upper half although the stem is easily replaced.
The Trek comes with a Bontrager Race Luxe saddle. This is nothing special in the world of racers, although being razor thin it is actually quite comfortable (obviously not as nice as sitting on a mountain bike seat).
The Trek has a Bontrager Carbon seat post which is unusual for racing bikes in the entry level class. The carbon seat post is a weight saving measure only, so, being a recreational cyclist and not a time trailer means I don't really see the benefit, although carbon fibre is prettier than painted aluminium in my opinion.
All racing bikes tend to have clipless pedals. These pedals require specific cycling shoes with cleats on which attach themselves to the pedal via a locking system. The Trek has Wellgo Clipless road pedals which are about the size of a matchbox.
Being attached to the peddles is weird and takes a lot of getting used to, especially riding in town (where you are constantly start/stopping) or on small country roads where there are lots of junctions to stop at.
I changed the pedals straight away to those where they are clipless on one side and normal on the other. These are a lot larger than the Wellgo (they need to be since 'normal' pedals need to be big enough to get a large proportion of the foot on) so there is an effect in aerodynamics. As stated before, I am a recreational cyclist, and would not notice the difference. Besides I feel a lot more confident with my current pedals.
What's it like to ride?
Compared to my mountain bike (which although not a top spec model it is fairly high up there) the Trek 1200 is so easy on the road. It is possible to go further, faster and with less effort. A direct comparison between the two is not possible since the two types of bike are so disparate - like chalk and cheese.
The mountain bike can be likened to the original Land Rover (the ones which were designed for off road but could be used for on road as opposed to the new style which are designed for on road but can go off road) in that it is a "plodder". It'll go anywhere but not at speed and it takes a lot of juice (or effort) to get there.
The Trek can be likened to a sports car in that it is quick, nimble and you'd never take it off road.
The Trek is not as comfortable to ride as a mountain bike. The stiff frame and no suspension means that all vibrations are channelled along the handle bars. A good thing is the drop handle bars allows for several hand positions that can help to alleviate any arm/wrist/hand cramps.
Every pot hole, drain cover etc ridden over on the bike is exaggerated and this, combined, with the razor style saddle generally leads to a sore backside for the first few rides. I was walking like John Wayne for around two weeks! Padded shorts are an absolute must have.
I found that riding on the drop bars took a little getting used to and had stability problems at first. The trick here is to persevere it does get much easier very quickly and I now feel more confident on the drops on the racer than on the flat bars of the mountain bike.
The Trek is fast it is necessary to get used to the speed. Doing 15mph is effortless and speeds of 30mph + are easily achievable down hill (even the tiny hills of Norfolk!).
The first time I saw 30mph on the computer I nearly needed a new pair of pants! There I was doing the same speed as a moped in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt knowing that if I fell off I would be picking bits of gravel out of my backside for the next year (Yes.... I have crashed a motor cycle and had gravel rash and I was wearing fully protective clothing).
There are loads of upgrades available for this bike. The most common ones include:
1)Gearing (putting a higher spec on there such as Shimano 105 or ultegra)
2)Wheels (putting on lighter, and hence faster, wheels)
3)Tyres (putting on narrower, and hence faster, tyres)
There are many other 'cosmetic' changes including changing the stem, changing the saddle, changing the bars etc. etc.
The cost of upgrading varies greatly and depends what is changed. For example changing the gearing to Ultegra involves changing gear shifters/chain rings/front mech/rear mech/chain/cassette and is likely to cost around £400 (I didn't pay much more for the whole bike!).
Rather than changing the wheels (which isn't that expensive and can be transferred to other bikes) and the tyres (these will need to be changed at some point anyway) I can't see the point in any other upgrades since I am a recreational cyclist only. I, and probably 80% of other owners, would not see significant benefits in upgrades.
If a significant upgrade is required then it is cheaper to buy a new bike with the higher spec components already on it.
During the few months I have had my Trek I have had no problems with it whatsoever. I have covered just over 2,000 miles so it has had it's first service at the bike shop. I got this for free (since the first service is usually free from the bike retailer) although the next one is going to cost me £25 plus any parts that are going to be required.
My brief ownership has shown that racing bikes require a lot more looking after than mountain bikes. For example the tyres need to be at the correct pressure (around 110 psi) otherwise they bulge and rub on the brake pads. The chain needs to be lubricated regularly. Brakes wear out quicker (due to higher speeds) and tyres last around 1,800 miles (I have never had to replace a tyre on my mountain bike!).
Owning a racer will mean you need to be accustomed to bike maintenance. It is all part of the fun. If you are looking for something to ride, put in the garage, ride, put in the garage etc and never have to do anything to it, then the Trek 1200 - or any other racer for that matter, is not for you.
My Trek 1200 is a 2006 model so will be difficult to get hold of. I'm lucky in that being vertically challenged and requiring a small frame there was one in the bike shop. Mr 'average' will find it harder as popular sized frames will have long gone.
The Trek 1200 has been discontinued and replaced by a newer model (hence the stonking discount I got). This is not a problem since parts are readily available should anything go wrong.
Buying an older model bike is by far the best way forward, regardless of the marquee/brand. You get a higher spec price for a lot less money, and the snobbery factor in the road bike community means that many cyclists want the 'new' model and manufacturers exploit them by bringing out a new model each year (some of the changes are minimal and often only involve a change in colour scheme!).
Lance Armstrong has helped to raise the profile of the Trek and whilst some want the Trek (so that they can play at being Lance) others don't (they do not want to be seen to be wanting to be like Lance). Lance's involvement has meant that a premium can be charged for a Trek racer. When I got mine I didn't even know that Lance rode a Trek (shows how much I follow cycle racing!)
Trek are a great brand and the bikes are very good quality with high spec components. I have had no problems whatsoever and would highly recommend a Trek to anyone.
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Manufacturer: Trek / Type: Bikes
Manufacturer: Trek / Type: Bikes
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