With a fair degree of inherent ﬂex at the back of the frame, balanced by an elegant Bontrager carbon bladed fork, the Trek 1.9 doesn’t take too kindly to blunt treatment. But if you treat it like a white vinyl-top Cadillac, with easygoing grace and style, you’ll be cruising with a smile.
The Ride: Composed and graceful, if not that exciting
Just about every inch of the Alpha Black tubing gets some kind of shape-shifting treatment designed to optimise performance at its chosen location. The result? The 1.9 is luxurious and comfortable, with a nice light touch at the front thanks in part to a 73.5 degree head angle and 5.7cm of trail.
Generously wide Bontrager Race alloy bars with a nice square bend on the tops promote a well-controlled stance. Not only graceful and stately when cruising along in a straight line, it was good at following our ‘dance steps’ too, being easy to tip over-centre with a light touch while both climbing and accelerating.
Just don’t expect any massive rewards of extra speed, because at nearly 9kg in weight (8.78kg/ 19.3lb for a 56cm frame), it carries a bit more heft than some of its competitors. In fairness, this is simply a reflection of its £1,200 price tag.
Frame: Aluminium at its most elegant
From pretty humble beginnings in the late 1970s as a small frame and bike building outﬁt in
The Trek 1.9 represents the top end of a refreshed range of bikes based around smooth-welded, hydroformed and mechanically-shaped aluminium tubes.
Construction is top notch, while the paint scheme seems to elicit mostly positive reactions, especially from female cyclists. The white enamelled motif with blue and baby blue graphics picks up styling cues last seen in the early Eighties BMX scene, and for a brief time in 1986/87, when Shimano introduced the pearl white enamelled Santé groupset, famous for being the first to offer 8-speed indexed shifting.
Components: Solid and well designed with a luxurious feel
For the money you get a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and brakes, complemented by some intelligent and unique Bontrager ﬁnishing kit, in particular the 27.2mm diameter carbon seatpost.
A well-proven and versatile triple chainset with 172.5mm arms and 53/39/30 rings helps on hilly terrain and does away with what can be annoying gaps on compact drivetrains.
Attention-grabbing white enamelled Bontrager Race wheels show advanced design touches with paired, bladed steel spokes, an asymmetric rear rim and sealed cartridges, but they could stand to go on a diet.
They’re shod with tough Race Lite 23c tyres that offer increased puncture resistance at the expense of road feel and grip. Their hard rubbery compound took a while to scrub down, but still never stopped chirping when pressed on over damp polished surfaces, or the screaming downhills and wet cobbled sections of our test loop.
It’s a comfortable and light machine, though the ride is somewhat uninspiring; not the fastest bike we’ve tested, though it’ll climb and accelerate when asked.