Trek 1.1 £550

Dependable road ride

BikeRadar score 4/5

Trek have brought their experience to bear on the 1.1, producing an excellent budget-priced racer. Its short wheelbase makes it a fast, fun bike to ride and even with an aluminium rather than carbon fibre fork, it's a far from harsh ride.

  • Frame: Trek Alpha Aluminium frame and aluminium fork in a good looking glossy finish. Has mudguard eyelets and clearance, and mounts for a rear rack increase versatility (8/10)
  • Handling: The short wheelbase and light weight make this a nimble beast with fast but not twitchy handling (8/10)
  • Equipment: Shimano 2300 combined with an FSA Tempo compact chainset and loads of solid, functional kit from Trek-owned Bontrager (7/10)
  • Wheels: Bontrager tyres, Bonty-approved rims and 23mm tyres form a fairly lightweight wheelset for the price (8/10)

The Trek 1.1 has American pedigree and Far Eastern manufacturing skills behind it, with the chassis sporting a ‘Designed in Waterloo, Wisconsin’ label and the large welds typical of Taiwanese frames, with a bold, bright, tough-looking paintjob. Trek clearly have confidence in their products too, as the 1.1 comes with a lifetime guarantee.

There’s no carbon fork, with aluminium doing the job instead – and a very good one too. Though Lance Armstrong’s name is closely associated with Trek, the 1.1 isn’t purely a race machine. It comes with 23mm tyres, but there’s room to fit wider rubber or a set of mudguards. There are also mounts for a rear rack and eyelets for front and rear ’guards, adding to its year-long, all-rounder status.

The components are mainly Shimano 2300 and Bontrager. Levers and both mechs are Shimano, with Bonty in charge of handlebar and tape, stem, seatpost and tyres. The chainset is FSA’s compact Tempo, a 50/34T setup paired with a Sun Race 12-25 cassette. The resulting 37-113in range might be a little narrow for some.

Less keen climbers or those returning to cycling might appreciate a lower bottom gear for tackling severe climbs more comfortably, while the top gear won't please power pedallers. It’s a pity that a triple isn’t offered as an option. The Trek has quite a short wheelbase which contributes to some sharp handling, though some toe overlap could result.

Neither the fork nor the seatpost is carbon, but we still found this a comfortable ride. It’s quite compact, which helps take the sting out of poorer road surfaces, and this combined with its decent weight means it’s one you could tackle sportives on. The wheels are conventional 32-spoke designs with Bontrager semi-deep section rims, paired with 23mm Bontrager tyres, which we liked.

It’s hard to see how you could significantly improve the Trek 1.1. True, a carbon fork would be nice and trim a little more weight, but this is so well designed that you don’t really notice its absence. And some might prefer a wider gear range. But it’s well made, looks great, and you can see why the 1.1 has proved so popular. It might not make you the new Lance Armstrong, but you’ll have no reason not to get out and ride.

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