The 2 series range from Trek is based around the same geometry as its top flight Madone. Unlike those all-carbon creations, the 2.1 is constructed with Trek’s 200 Series aluminium, and the frame’s quality is evident with nicely finished welds and a carbon fork plugged in up front.
The drivetrain is what we’d expect at this price, with Shimano 105 shifters and mechs and a lower spec R600 compact chainset, its 50/34 rings complementing an 11-28 cassette. This is gearing that will get you up and over most climbs. All the finishing components come from Trek stablemate Bontrager, with everything from the bar tape to the tyres bearing the name. The Bontrager SSR wheels have proved trouble-free, good, honest, budget items. Combined with steel beaded R1 tyres they’re no lightweights, and contribute a fair amount to the bike’s 9.2kg.
The ride of the 2.1 is good for its intended rider. Our 58cm test bike has a rider-friendly 57.3cm top-tube combined with a 7-degree rise, 100mm stem, creating a comfortable but not too sedate riding position. The handling is predictable and the ride reasonably smooth, and that comfortable position isn’t so upright that it compromises the out-of-the-saddle feel.
Climbing on a 9kg-plus bike could be a chore, but that’s not what we found. We certainly enjoyed descending on the 2.1, its combination of smooth, vibration-free front end and weighty wheelset making for a very stable and predictable ride. We found we were pushing that bit harder on long descents as the 2.1 really does inspire confidence in its abilities.
As a choice for your first foray into serious road bikes the 2.1 has plenty to offer. The quality frame has a good, race-inspired position and comes with eyelets for mudguards, making it a great year-round ride and an ideal commuter. We like that Trek has kept the same fine geometry and handling traits of the brilliant Madone for what is, essentially, its novice range.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.