Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trek Superfly 100 AL Elite

It is quite the looker, yes?
OK, here is the antithesis of what my whole blog is "geared" towards-not only a geared bike, but one with senior citizen cushion assist. "What on earth has gotten into you?" ask...you. Has turning 43 just sent you completely over the edge of wuss cliff? YES! It is called keeping my lower back fresh for future SS endeavours. Now, I have put 98.2 miles on this bike so far and I have come away with some pretty interesting views on this whole suspension thing. Some positive and some, well just read on.

Wide load

I am going to start off by saying that this is one of the best looking bikes Trek has produced in a while. It is not coated with to much graphic landfill and doesnt have the Trek name plastered 9 times over the bike. Just a clean paint scheme. Basically, the HiFi line was dropped this year and the Superfly line was expanded.

This years offering has Trek's BB95 interface (pressfit bearing increases bb shell width) which is lighter and stiffer. Both Shimano and SRAM use plastic cups which is a bit concerning for longevity sake, but it does make sense for later removal if needed. Also in attendance is Trek's proven ABP pivot in the rear. This moves the pivot concentric to the wheel (no weak pivot point between bb and rear=no flex and longer bearing life). I did ride it with the stock offerings before calling it my own. Here is what 2600.00 gets you: Shimano 10 speed crank, SLX shifters, SLX brakes (which, I have to admit are one of the best I have used), XT rear derailleur and Bontrager parts abound-wheels (tubeless ready), stem, bar, saddle and the very cool looking and light Elite post. 100mm Fox Evolution fork and RP2 rear shock. AS new, the bike weighed in at 28.5 lbs in a large, not bad. As you can see, I have revamped the beast and now comes in at 26.2 lbs, much better.

The Ride- So now the good stuff. On my maiden voyage, I was a bit apprehensive for the simple reason that I am used to riding full rigid, but was quickly put at ease as I hit the singletrack. This bike has a very quick feel to it despite it's large profile. It soaked up small bumps as it should without a whimper. The rear took the hits well, but the front was a bit more slower to react. I am attributing this to Foxs' taking a bit of time to break in. On another note, the fork made a constant clicking noise on quick, stutter bumps. I have had this occurrence on other random Fox forks as well. Not sure what it is, but it seems to have worked it's way out. The G2 geometry worked spot on as usual. The bike handled very well on the climbs-you may want to drop the stem down to the headtube, as the stock set up sits a bit high for the steeper stuff, but is good for overall singletrack riding. I used the ProPedal option about 50% of the time on the rear. It is not a full lockout, but works very well. On the descents was where I was a bit torn. The suspension worked well, but I felt a bit of twitchiness. Now, again this was mostly in the front. Now, before being harsh, I am going to say that it was more than likely me being used to the rigid set up and not allowing the bike to do its thing. When I did "allow" the bike to do its thing, I was more confident in my descending. The ABP pivot works better than any other rear pivot designs that I have ridden, demo-ed, etc. Suspension remains fully active when the brakes are applied. Speaking of; the Shimano SLX brakes were nothing short of amazing. Great feel, and a smaller lever all made for a great pair of stoppers, some of the best-if not the best out there. At the end of the day I felt very refreshed and wanting to ride more, but I would like to remain married.

What I Would Change- As is, the stock set up is hard to beat, but for $2600 clams, I would expect a nicer rear hub than the Shimano M525 offering. This is something I would expect to see on a sub $1000 bike. The full-time spec guy must have been on vacation because the Bontrager riser bars do not belong on this bike. It is a XC rig, not an all-mountain bike-the entry level superfly has a flat bar? This puts you way too high in the front. Swap out for flat bar.

Final Verdict- This is a very good offering from Trek. It has a great spec and comes in at decent weight. This could be the one bike that can do everything from local epic rides to 12hr+ enduro races. I was very impressed with the ride-once everything got dialed in. The Shimano 10 speed drivetrain was spot on through out the ride. This is a bike worth looking at.