Trek introduced their Ticket range this year, with the aim of combining an all-round, general purpose bike with the looks and feel of a dirt jump machine. The middle Ticket 20 model lived up to this billing and proved to be a good one-stop shop for many uses.
It's not the ideal rig if you’re into dirt jumping or street riding, but it’s not hopeless – it will happily jump off kerbs and run a set of steps on the daily commute to work. Where it really shines though is at the trail centre. It’s great for knocking out a fun loop, and hitting all the jumps they dare put in your way.
Ride & handling: Fun trail ride that makes a passable dirt jumper too
The Ticket is definitely more a trail bike than jump machine. The position on the bike is basically the same as a modern hardtail trail bike – with a mid-length, dropped top tube, decent width bars and a short-ish stem.
With three chainrings up front and full saddle height adjustment on tap, this is just the Ticket on the ups. You’re in a commanding position when cruising around singletrack too, and the bike wills you on to get the hammer down.
The fast-rolling, street-orientated Bontrager G1 tyres fly along dry trails, but soon lose grip on muddy ground. We lopped about 60mm off the seatpost so we could drop the saddle fully for descending and fun time, but still had enough post to give a good height for full cross-country pedalling.
The Shimano gears are as smooth as ever and braking power is boosted by the upsized 180mm front rotor. We were worried initially by the lack of damping in the RST Launch T8 fork, but it copes admirably until speed really picks up.
There’s a noticeable top-out thud, but this is only experienced when a heavy compression is followed by fast extension, like when jumping. The fork manages to use all of its 100mm (3.9in) of travel, remaining active and ramping up nicely so it doesn’t dive through corners or compressions.
The 75mm stem – short for a cross-country bike but a little too long for proper dirt jump action – and slightly steep (for a playbike) 71-degree head angle don’t detract from the playful nature of the bike when hitting descents or trail centre jumps, but equally, they don’t make you really want to hang it out and get loose.
Down at the local jump spot, the bike is more than willing to get up and airborne, although your position isn’t ideal and you never really feel at home. It has to be worked hard to make it perform on the pump track, and doesn’t flow as we would like.
Having said that, this is a very cross-country-able bike and it’s an added string to its bow to be able to perform so admirably in a jump park.
Frame & equipment: Basic frame and fork with slick stop-and-go components
The Ticket uses Trek’s own Alpha White 6000 series aluminium tubing. It’s a pretty basic frame, with plain gauge tubes and very little in the way of manipulation or shaping. The dropouts are pretty skinny, cross-country style numbers, and the only concession to harder use is the open-ended gusset under the down tube at the head tube juncture.
The top tube is slightly dropped, which adds useful clearance on our 44cm (17.3in) size sample bike. The frame also carries full mudguard and rack mounts, giving added versatility. Meanwhile, classic 71- and 73-degree head and seat tube angles, and an average Joe effective top tube length of 22in, show that this bike certainly isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Plugged into the front end of the Ticket is a basic RST Launch T8 coil-sprung fork with 100mm (3.9in) of undamped travel. A decent width 690mm bar is held in place by a 75mm Bontrager Earl stem. Trek sensibly leave a full 30mm of spacers on the steerer for an ample adjustment range.
Shimano take care of gears, with a Deore mech upgrade out back. There’s a full complement of 24 gears on offer, the presence of which certainly widens the Ticket’s versatility. Shimano are also on hand for stopping duties, in the form of their basic but adequately performing M486 hydraulic disc brakes.