We tested the 2011 Trek Superfly Elite early this year and found a lot to like, including impressively low weight, a stout backbone, superb handling and good ride characteristics. The 2012 Superfly Pro expands on what was good, fixes a few niggles and moves even further upscale for what we expect to be a cross-country rocketship.
The frame is mostly carried over – which in this case is a good thing – but Trek have added their OCLV Mountain and Carbon Armor technologies for improved impact resistance. The puffed-up tube diameters and tapered front end should yield the same sharp handling and pedal responsiveness as before. Nearly 100 percent carbon construction keeps the weight to a not-too-low 1,340g for our medium tester.
Both the headset and bottom bracket bearing seats are molded right into the carbon structure – saving weight and also minimizing complexity – and while the dropouts are carbon, too, bolt-on aluminum plates are used for better long-term durability and easy replacement if needed.
This year's Superfly Elite switches from the SRAM X0 of our 2011 test bike to a Shimano Deore XT package but our new Pro model goes all-in with a SRAM XX group, which helps bring the total weight of our tester to a paltry 9.66kg (21.30lb) – and once we convert it to tubeless, that figure will drop even further.
Trek have heeded one of our gripes from last year, replacing the quick-release dropouts with a 15mm through-axle setup for 2012
Other component highlights include a RockShox SID XX 29 fork with remote hydraulic lockout, tubeless-ready Bontrager Race X Lite TLR Disc 29 alloy clincher wheels, a carbon wrapped Bontrager Race X Lite seatpost, a pleasantly wide Bontrager Race X Lite Carbon Big Sweep flat bar, a Bontrager Race XXX Lite molded carbon stem and Bontrager's comfy Evoke 4 titanium railed saddle.
Despite losing a full pound relative to last year's Elite, some wise choices in spec should actually make this year's Pro more capable on a wider selection of terrain. Tire size has grown to 2.2in-wide Bontrager 29-1 Teams with their versatile, low-to-medium profile tread blocks, new 15mm through-axle dropouts up front should improve steering precision over technical terrain, and last year's horrible Bontrager foam grips have been replaced with the ESI silicone foam grips that the Subaru-Trek team have used for years.
All this performance does come at a high price, though. Retail cost is US$6,829.99 but at least as far as we can tell right now, the only thing you'll need to add before hitting the trails or toeing the start line is a pair of pedals.
Rather than go with hugely oversized chainstays and ultra-spindly seatstays, Trek have opted for more moderate dimensions all around
Belt drive and internal gearing on the Soho Deluxe creates the perfect match for commuting
Trek's Soho Deluxe promises ultra-low maintenance for the time-strapped urban commuter. The Gates Carbon Drive CenterTrack toothed belt requires no lubrication, the Shimano Nexus eight-speed internally geared hub guts are far more protected from weather than on a conventional drivetrain, and the front disc and rear drum brakes should work far longer than regular rim brakes before any service is required.
From the look of things, the Soho Deluxe should be a true grab-and-go machine that's ready when you need it but won't require a lot of attention in between. Initial test rides have also proven it to be remarkably quiet – so much so that Trek should perhaps consider a bell as standard equipment. The rear hub features a roller clutch mechanism instead of conventional toothed pawls, the belt generates nary a whisper of sound as you pedal along, and aside from the light click in the shifter, even changing gears is a virtually noiseless operation
Aside from the aforementioned bell (and kickstand), Trek look to have done a good job of making the Soho Deluxe commuting-ready, with factory-included fenders, chain guard and rear rack, plus a rubber padded top tube to protect against scratches and dents when locking the bike up. Armored Bontrager H2 Plus tires are standard fare as well, and their reflective sidewalls offer some reassurance when riding in low light. The Soho Deluxe isn't especially lightweight at 13.92kg (30.66lb) all in but pricing seems fairly reasonable at $1,319.99 considering the hardware included.