Are Trek Mountain Bikes Any Good?

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Trek is one of the biggest bicycle manufacturers in the US and they sell their bikes around the globe from Europe to Asia. Bikes made by Trek are considered to be high tech and the company is also into the business of making bicycle accessories as well as mountain biking gear. Being in the bicycle manufacturing business for more than 4 decades, Trek has earned a reputation of being an innovative bicycle manufacturer and they have been introducing new technologies in the world of cycling. Even though Trek is one of the first manufacturers to make mountain bikes majority of riders who have not ridden a Trek made mountain bike are skeptical about the quality of their mountain bikes and whether the company is a credible manufacturer or not. Here is why Trek mountain bikes have earned a reputation for high-end off-road machines:

  • Suspension used in Trek mountain bikes is designed to match the frame and the conditions in which the bike is meant to be used.
  • Trek’s mountain bike designs are based on their racing experience that comes from competing in professional mountain biking events.
  • They have a premium build quality which makes Trek Mountain bikes a reliable option for competitive off-road riding.
  • Trek has a scientific approach towards their bike designs and their bikes are made and tested in state of the art facilities.

There are plenty of reasons that make Trek an excellent choice for mountain bikers around the world. Did you know Trek was also the pioneer of female-friendly bike designs and they are still one of the very few companies that make mountain bikes specifically for females along with customizable accessories that make the bikes more women-friendly! But that is just the tip of the iceberg as there are many more reasons that make Trek made mountain bikes the best choice for everyone, from a beginner to a professional rider.  In this article, we are going to tell you about each and every reason that makes Trek bikes so great.

Trek bikes come with state of the art suspension systems

The suspension technology developed by Trek for its mountain bike range has become a benchmark for comfort and stability in the world of off-road riding. The full suspension modern mountain bikes that Trek sells are fitted with suspension systems that are developed and patented by Trek bikes.  They free the rider from issues that are common with traditional full suspension mountain bikes. Here are the different types of suspensions that you are going to find on a Trek mountain bike.

  • Active Braking Pivot rear suspension system: Every rider who has an experience of using traditional suspension has faced the problem of rear shocks locking up when they go on brakes hard. This problem occurs due to the suppression of front shocks and the extension of rear shocks when brakes are applied. The result of rear suspension extension makes the rear tyre bounce, reducing the contact of the tyre with the ground. But Active Braking Pivot or ABP does exactly what it sounds like as this system is meant to keep the suspension active when the bike is going over the obstacle by keeping the tyre in contact with the surface. This system helps separate the drive train components from the braking system by adding a separate pivot point that is used for connecting the rear suspension to the rear wheel. Benefits of the ABP suspension include more responsive braking and better handling on corners.
  • RE:aktiv: Ever felt the frustration of loss of paddling power as you paddle uphill because your mountain bike’s suspension dampens the power you apply through the paddles? Well, that is a problem the research and development team at Trek bikes have solved in the form of RE:aktiv suspension system. This system is highly adaptive and it eliminates the need for locking and unlocking your suspension according to your riding needs as it only gets activated when the terrain is demanding enough and does not dampen your paddling input unnecessarily. Some key benefits of RE:aktiv suspension provided by Trek bikes include smoother handling with less paddling input loss and better cornering ability.
  • Full Floater suspension: Suspension travel is something that is both useful and inefficient at the same time. With more travel in suspension, the rider has to put in twice the effort when paddling especially when going uphill or during a climb. That is where the Full Floater suspension designed by Trek is beneficial since it has more travel than regular rear suspensions. It gives the rider the ability to ride on any terrain but at the same time Full Floater suspension prevents loss of paddling power making the ride more efficient. If you are doing a lot of jumps then this suspension system can really help you because unlike regular suspension setups Full Floater suspension will not hit rock bottom in case of a hard drop.

The Full Floater suspension’s name comes from the way the shock is positioned on the frame of the mountain bike. Instead of being mounted directly onto the frame of the mountain bike Full Floater suspension is instead floating freely away from the frame of the bike and it is attached to the frame using two pivots that allow the shock to travel a lot more when needed and it is more responsive compared to a normal suspension.  The best part about this free-floating shock design is that it can be tuned according to the requirements of the rider and the riding conditions. Another advantage of this shock system is that it is positioned right in the middle of the mountain bike and this allows for better balance since the rider doesn’t have to counter the weight of the suspension system while taking turns.

Trek mountain bikes have some of the lightest and well-built frames

A strong and well-built frame makes a mountain bike reliable and gives the rider confidence needed to push the boundaries. Trek has been working with carbon fiber mountain bike frames since 1991 so by now it is no surprise that they have not only excelled in mountain bike frame technology but they have patented new materials for mountain bike frames which make Trek mountain bikes some of the lightest bikes on the market but their frames are tough at the same time. Different types of frames Trek uses in their mountain bike frames are as follows:

  • OCLV Carbon Fiber Frames: These frames are claimed by Trek to be the lightest mountain bike frames ever made by the company. Trek uses the finest carbon fiber to make the OCLV frames which ensures that these frames are much lighter than any of their metallic counterparts. OCLV stands for Optimum Compaction Low Void and the name comes from the way OCLV frames are designed by Trek. These frames are made by joining carefully sized and shaped carbon fiber pieces and joining them together by applying high pressure and exposing them to heat. This process results in a frame that is not only able to withstand any impact during rough riding conditions but keeps the rider comfortable at the same time. Another great thing about these carbon fiber frames made by Trek is that they have little to no gaps between the layers of carbon fiber that are joined to make the frames. This results in reliable and extremely resilient frames. The OCLV frames of Trek match the aerospace standards when it comes to the low gap between different layers of carbon fiber that make up the frame.
  • Aluminum Frames by Trek: Aluminum frames are the most common type of frames found in mountain bikes. Aluminum frames are affordable and reliable and provide a lot of responsiveness because they tend to be rigid. But one problem with traditional aluminum mountain bike frames was that they didn’t provide a lot of comfort to the rider. Unlike carbon fiber, aluminum is not very good at absorbing impacts and this makes the ride bumpy and can cause the rider to get tired easily. But engineers at Trek have produced Alpha Aluminum frames for their range of mountain bikes which allow for a more responsive off-road ride without compromising on the comfort of the rider. These Alpha aluminum frames made by Trek work in two ways; by being both stiff in points on the frame that don’t need to absorb impacts from the terrain while being flexible at points where impact needs to be absorbed. The aluminum frames being made by Trek make it possible for the rider to get the most out of the mountain bike without spending too much money on a carbon fiber frame.
Three Mountainbikers Having a Break

Trek uses the hydroforming technique to make complex aerodynamic frames for their mountain bikes which is not possible to achieve using any other technique. When it comes to the aesthetics of the frame, Trek doesn’t compromise on styling either because they have developed a welding technique called “Invisible weld technology” which makes sure that the frame does not show any welding points. But it is not just the looks as the welding technology used to make aluminum frames at Trek makes sure that the joints are strong.

  • IsoSpeed Frame: One of the most futuristic frame designs to come out in recent years. IsoSpeed frame design is considered to be a giant leap from traditional frame design that has been used in mountain bikes for almost half a century. IsoSpeed frame reduces the reliance of the mountain bike on suspension systems by giving the frame itself the ability to absorb most of the impact from the terrain making the frame perfect for off-road riding over long distances. This frame design by Trek is also extremely light because of the lack of rear suspension gear as the frame is able to absorb all the vibrations and roughness of the terrain. The IsoSpeed frame works by allowing the seat tube to move freely because it is not joined with the top tube of the frame. This method makes the frame as responsive as possible when needed while absorbing the force of impact from the terrain.

IsoSpeed frame design has dominated the off-road racing scene ever since it was introduced by Trek bikes and the majority of off-road racing events have been won on bikes with Trek’s IsoSpeed frame which goes on to show how effective this design really is. IsoSpeed frame doesn’t just provide rear shock dampening, this design also provides front handle dampening by allowing the steerer tube to flex and absorb impacts without the need of a front suspension system.  This frame design allows the rider to ride for longer periods of time over uneven terrain without getting tired. But most importantly, you don’t have to worry about replacing the suspension part and maintenance of the suspension because IsoSpeed frames require little to no maintenance and Trek is even offering a lifetime warranty on their IsoSpeed frames which makes it more reliable and affordable than the traditional frames with heavy suspension equipment.

Trek Mountain Bikes have an aerodynamic design

Trek bikes are made after careful testing in wind tunnel in order to make them as aerodynamic as possible so that the wind resistance the rider has to face is as low as possible. The process of designing involves running computer simulations to find out the least air resistant designs and shapes possible and after passing the test of software the bikes are then tested in the wind tunnel and also on track to get the most accurate data about the aerodynamic capabilities of the bike. But for now, the aerodynamics are being applied mostly to the speed bike models of Trek and the technology is expected to trickle its way into mountain bikes in the future.

Two Mountainbikers on a Trail

How do Trek Mountain Bikes compare with the competition?

Among the competitors of Trek Mountain bikes, Giant Mountain bikes are considered to be the closest competitor since they make bikes in a similar price range and the features provided by both of the companies are almost similar. So it is only fair to compare mountain bikes made by Trek and Giant in order to give you a better idea about the differences in their performance and quality. Both of these brands are some of the top mountain bike manufacturers in the industry and below is a brief comparison of both of these companies based on different key aspects.

  • Build Quality: Since Giant also makes some parts for Trek mountain bike that is why we are only going to focus on the bikes which are exclusively made by Trek and Giant for this comparison. Trek Mountain bikes are often considered superior compared to Giant mountain bikes. Users of Giant mountain bikes complain about the lack of rigidity in the frame as well as the lack of strength in the frame. The reason for this might lie in the manufacturing process of both brands as Trek is using modern techniques to manufacture their bikes. So when it comes to design and build quality of frame, Trek is the leader in both carbon fiber as well as aluminum mountain bikes.
  • Suspension quality: As we have explained above the suspension of Trek mountain bikes is kept at a high standard and therefore the suspension of Trek mountain bikes is considered to be more effective under load and rough riding conditions. Especially when it comes to heavier riders’ Giant bikes tend to provide less shock absorption and the suspension compresses more than usual under excess weight. While a properly tuned Giant bike suspension can be effective for most off-road applications as well but when it comes to high performing suspensions Trek takes the lead with their wide range of specially designed suspension systems that are designed to tackle each riding style.
  • Quality of parts: Giant bikes produce all kinds of components for their own bikes and they also supply mountain bike components to other companies which give Giant mountain bikes an edge when it comes to high-quality parts. From brake pads to cables, Giant mountain bike use in-house build parts on their mountain bikes. Trek mountain bikes use parts from other manufacturers including Giant which makes it difficult for them to maintain the standard of their parts. Another advantage Giant mountain bikes have over Trek is that since they produce parts in bulk for themselves and other companies, the cost of their parts is lower which makes it cheaper to replace parts of Giant mountain bikes compared to Trek’s mountain bikes.
  • Aesthetics and styling: Just by looking at a Trek made mountain bike you can tell that it has been designed to look good while maintaining functionality. That is why it is no surprise that Trek mountain bikes have a reputation of being good looking machines while on the other hand Giant focuses more on quality and reliability than looks. Designers at Trek pay extra attention to tiny details that have a huge impact on the overall looks of the mountain bike. For example, Trek uses specially designed welding methods to weld their aluminum frames together leaving not a single weld mark or blemish on the joints which give the bike a premium look. But at the end of the day whether a person likes a mountain bike’s design or not depends on personal preference and taste.
  • Professional racing heritage: When it comes to performance in professional off-road racing Trek mountain bikes are way ahead of Giant mountain bikes in off-road racing. In fact, Trek mountain bikes have been dominating major off-road racing events since 2012 and the racing success of Trek mountain bikes translates into their regular bikes as well in the form of better suspension design, aerodynamics, and lighter frames. So when it comes to performing in a real competitive environment, Trek is ahead of Giant mountain bikes by leaps and bounds.
  • Pricing: Pricing is where Giant mountain bikes beat Trek because Giant mountain bikes provide more features at a lower price and in fact, Giant has been reducing the retail prices of their mountain bikes in past few years while Trek is not only selling their mountain bikes at a higher price point but there isn’t a lot of options available on their mountain bikes that fall in a lower price range. So unless you are willing to spend around $1000, you won’t find good value for money while Giant mountain bikes provide more value for money even with their lower-priced bikes.

Both of the competitors have their pros and cons but Trek has positioned themselves as a premium brand and you can think of Trek mountain bikes as BMWs of the mountain bike world. So unless you have a higher budget you are better off going with a Giant mountain bike as you can get more features at an affordable price but if you are a performance-oriented rider and budget is not an issue then Trek is the way to go.

Two Mountainbikers on a Trail

Trek mountain bikes are built around people’s needs

Being the pioneer of modern mountain bikes Trek is undoubtedly a serious option for you if you are shopping for a mountain bike. Trek was one of the very first companies to start producing both aluminum and carbon fiber mountain bikes and by now they have gotten pretty good at what they do since they have been making mountain bikes for 40 years now. One of the most noticeable reasons Trek mountain bikes have become so popular is because the company designs its products based on consumer needs after carefully analyzing what the riders are looking for in a bike. A senior leader of the Trek team and also the current president of the company John Burke is famous for his vision of making the company consumer-centered rather than focusing on profits and size of the company. The innovative vision of the company’s leaders and founders shows in the company’s product line in the form of industry-leading mountain bike designs and attention to detail in every aspect of the bike.  From their ISO speed frames to ABP suspension systems, there is no doubt that Trek makes great mountain bikes with cutting edge technology.

What are some of the best mountain bikes by Trek?

Trek makes mountain bikes for all kinds of off-road riding including cross country bikes, trail bikes, and downhill-specific machines. Trek has a wide range of bikes specifically designed for each type of riding scenario and here are the best mountain bikes that trek has to offer based on the intended riding purpose.

  • Trek Top Fuel: This mountain bike is purpose-built to handle fast-paced cross country racing over various terrains. It features improved handlebars and stem and comes with a full suspension setup and you can buy the bike with either Aluminum or carbon fiber frame depending on your preference. So if you are into long-range multi-hour riding, Trek Top Fuel is a great option.
  • Trek Fuel EX: When it comes to handling trail riding, Trek Fuel EX provides the perfect blend of stiffness for climbing uphill along with an ideal amount of suspension to handle any jumps. It comes with the latest RE:aktiv suspension system that allows maximum paddling efficiency but also has the ability to soak up the terrain abuse keeping the rider ready for another lap of the trail.
  • Trek Session: For total confidence when going downhill at high speeds Trek Session 9.9 is what the professional downhill riders use. It comes with adjustable suspension that can be dialed in according to the difficulty of the track and the depth of the jumps. This bike combines all the best technologies that Trek has to offer into one complete package and with this bike, there is no downhill track that is not rideable.

Mountain bikes designed by Trek are versatile in their use and therefore you can use them for a variety of purposes which makes them a good option if you are into multiple types of riding styles. Also with the right accessories, you can customize your Trek mountain bike according to the type of riding you are most interested in.Conclusion: Trek mountain bikes have stood the test of time and they have made a reputation for being a premium high-quality mountain bike manufacturer. But just like anything else in the world you get what you pay for and Trek Mountain bikes are no exception as they cost more as compared to other brands of mountain bikes. So it is a good idea to assess if you really need a purpose-built off-road machine and you should also test out a few other options when making your decision of buying a mountain bike. Since Trek mostly focuses on racing and most of their mountain bikes show that they are race-inspired, you can find plenty of cheaper alternatives, unless you are going to be doing serious off-roading on your mountain bike