Trek 1.2 £649.99

Ideal starter road bike

BikeRadar score 4/5

It’s testament to the quality of some of the bikes in this price range that you can get off a two-grand carbon lightweight, swing your leg over a £650 machine and not miss a beat. It isn’t like swapping a Ferrari for a Fiesta.

With Trek’s Alpha Aluminium frame, Shimano Sora shifting and a triple chainset, the 'entry'-level 1.2 is a machine that’s more than capable of keeping up with any number of pricier Joneses.

  • Frame: Alpha Aluminium is tried and tested, and it’s reasonably light and compliant. Probably won’t win a beauty contest though (8/10)
  • Handling: Predictable, safe but not shoddy. The Trek 1.2 won’t frighten the horses but it won’t send you to sleep either (8/10)
  • Equipment: Mainly Bontrager, or 'Bontrager Approved', and should prove reliable. Shimano Sora works, although the no-thumbshift-from-the-drops can grate (8/10)
  • Wheels: Bontrager again –  smooth rolling, well built and should prove reliable (7/10)

At the Trek 1.2's heart is that Alpha Aluminium frame. Neatly finished, it offers a solid, confident ride. Solid might actually sound like we mean harsh, but that isn’t the case here – it’s solid as in reliable, predictable.

Some cheaper aluminium bikes can, and often do, err on the side of boneshaking, but the 1.2 is pleasingly smooth – the slim seatstays have enough give to iron out too much harshness at the rear and the Bontrager Approved carbon fork aids cushioning at the front end.

Handling is reassuring – the 1.2 goes where you ask it without fuss and that’s perfect for new riders looking for a safe passage through a sportive or an experienced roadie after a slightly more relaxed training mount.

For versatility the FSA Vero 50/39/30 crankset allied to Shimano Sora shifters and Tiagra rear mech is excellent. There’s enough at the top end to get you barrelling along nicely and you’re unlikely to find yourself scrabbling for gears. The one downside – you can’t reach the Sora thumbshifters from the drops.

The riding position is reasonably upright – thanks to the high, long-ride-friendly front end. The good news with that is that you’re likely to remain comfortable. The wheels too – from Bontrager, Trek’s own component brand – are good. They roll smoothly, feel strong and should prove reliable.

And the same goes for the Bontrager tyres – they provide a good level of cushioning and decent amounts of grip. They also proved nicely resilient to punctures on dodgy roads. As well as wheels and tyres you get a comfortable Bontrager saddle, seatpost and handlebar. Only the brakes are no-names, but they provide effective, positive stopping power.

If you’ve never ridden a road bike or you’re coming back after an absence and have ‘just’ £650 to spend, chances are you’ll find a lot to like in the Trek 1.2. But the same can be said if you’ve been riding something a few price points up too.

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