For a new rider who is unsure about a road bike’s handling, the Trek 1.2 could be a great solution, as its slow steering makes it stable at slow speeds.
Ride and handling: Cushioning and stable
All our testers commented on how well the Trek 1.2 rode in terms of comfort and stability.
While not super stiff or quick to turn (attributes a racer might look for), the Trek 1.2 was easy to steer at slow speeds, and felt comfortable and stable riding over rough pavement and on choppy dirt roads.
Frame: Neutral frame with extra-stable fork
Two things set the Trek apart from the other seven bikes in our “Best Road Bikes Under $1,000” test. One, the bike has the slowest steering of the bunch, more akin to an easy-riding cruiser that a twitchy track bike. And two, the Trek comes in more sizes than any in our test: an 8-size array runs from a tiny 43cm to a towering 62cm.
Equipment: A beginner-friendly arrangement
As with all the bikes in the “Best Road Bikes Under $1,000” test, the F85 features a compact 50/34 crank (a standard crank has bigger 53/39 chain rings). The cassette is 11-28.
Chain rings and cassette cogs have an inverse relationship: bigger chain rings mean more gear, more speed and more effort, while bigger cassette cogs mean a smaller gear, less speed but less effort – especially when going uphill.
Bottom line: the Trek 1.2 can get you up and down mountains without blowing out your knees or your lungs.