Trek 69er singlespeed review£1,600.00

For those seeking speed rather than comfort

BikeRadar score3.5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

US singlespeed superhero Travis Brown has epitomised top-class single-gear racing for years. All his experience is distilled into this unique machine, but it’s not one for comfort seekers.

The most interesting aspect of the frame is its wheel size concept. The 69er uses a 29in front wheel with a 26in rear to create, as Trek says, “the inverse mullet – party in the front, all business in the back”.

Ride & handling: Super-swift but bruisingly stiff

It’s obvious that the monster-width pipes of the 69er will be super-stiff. Just how bruising this frame is still comes as a shock though. There’s such a direct foot-to-trail link that everything else we’ve ridden recently seems positively noodley.

Weight is reasonable for an off-the-peg 69er at 24.2lb (11kg) and the smaller rear wheel accelerates quickly. Add the smooth rolling front wheel and you’ve got one of the purest race dragsters around.

The most obvious casualty from all this speed is comfort. Standing won’t help either – this thing is so stiff it can bruise the soles of your feet. Front and rear wheels react differently to the trail too, with the back wheel getting kicked around and hung up on stuff the front just flows over. However, a loss of rear traction is inevitable with the quicker acceleration of this unusual format.

The race-ready 69er sacrifi ces comfort for out-and-out speed: the race-ready 69er sacrifi ces comfort for out-and-out speed
The race-ready 69er sacrifi ces comfort for out-and-out speed: the race-ready 69er sacrifi ces comfort for out-and-out speed

Frame: The most holistic singlespeed around

The 69er frame has been around for a while, but it’s still the most holistic singlespeed frame solution around. While the weight-saving butting and cutting inside the frame is hidden there’s no mistaking the extensive hydroforming on every tube – even the seat tube flares to full BB shell width. 

Big braceless chainstays and wishboned seatstays keep the rear tight while hollow-section terminals carry the dropout sections with inbuilt screw adjusters.

Fox forks keep the front dialled, whatever the rear’s up to: fox forks keep the front dialled, whatever the rear’s up to
Fox forks keep the front dialled, whatever the rear’s up to: fox forks keep the front dialled, whatever the rear’s up to

Equipment: Classy Fox fork and Seventies-style detailing

Fox’s F29 RP24 100mm fork with custom Bontrager crown offset gets the party started. Bontrager also provides the singlespeed-specific chainset and single-cog cassette with neat chainguards on each end. 

The ovoid link Shimano chain is super tough and flex free. We’re big fans of Bontrager’s fat, tubeless-ready Duster tyres, which with the broad tubeless-ready rims let you run lower pressures if the frame proves too painful. 

The wide, flat bar gives power-assisted steering without raising hands too high. Kit is colour co-ordinated with the frame, with brown rims, brakes, grips and saddle backing up Seventies psychedelic graphic detailing.

Avid’s elixirs are a potent cure-all for all control ills: avid’s elixirs are a potent cure-all for all control ills
Avid’s elixirs are a potent cure-all for all control ills: avid’s elixirs are a potent cure-all for all control ills

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

Related Articles

Back to top