The Trek 7.9FX is the full-carbon, money-no-object option among flat-bar road bikes. It's an expensive, lightweight, super comfortable mile eater. You can ride it in town, but riding it between towns is more fun.
Ride & handling: super comfort but strange bar
The Trek 7.9FX is a luxury grand tourer among flat bar road bikes. I just can’t stress enough how comfortable this bike is. You could commute on it, but you’re really doing it a disservice by riding it for less than 20 miles; the real quality of this bike is its mile-eating capabilities.
The surprisingly short top-tube and wide bars don’t feel like they’re set up for big ride comfort, but the compliant frame and fork (and bars) and the excellent wheels will have you wondering where the ride went.
The bars are silly-wide though and that affects the ride adversely. The Spinaci-type extensions do give a useful second handhold, but the cons outweigh the pros here. To fit them in, the bars have grown to a huge 25 inches, much too wide for a sporty bike such as this.
You can’t cut them down, and what’s worse is that even then there isn’t enough room for decent wide grips, the upshot being that the paddles of the SLR770 10-speed shifters rub on your thumbs the whole time. You need the second hand position just for some respite.
It’s not really built for load carrying, and in town it’s personable without excelling; you won’t have the fun you would on the Cinelli Hoy Hoy Rats, and you won’t feel as safe as you would on the Cube Hooper.
If Trek specced a decent carbon flat bar instead of the interesting-but-flawed aero set-up – the riding position is too upright to get much advantage anyway – then it would be a better and faster bike.
As it stands, it’s a great choice if you have a long commute and plenty of riding time at the weekends. The extra cash over most flat-bar bikes certainly buys you a better bike – whether it’s the kind of bike you need is another matter.
Frame: beautiful but sensible
The 7.9FX's frame is beautiful. The full monocoque carbon construction features an organic curved down tube and thin stays that meet at a massively oversized bottom bracket shell. The down tube and triangular top tube both feature internal cable routing.
At 3.1lb it’s a very sensible weight for an urban bike frame, though I’m sure Trek could have made it lighter. The fork is light too, but again it’s a very sensibly specced 687g Bontrager rather than a more exotic and fragile unit.
For a large bike, the top tube is quite short. The cross weave carbon finish and reserved decals complete the classy look. Mudguard, rack and two bottle bosses are included.
Equipment: good news
Other than the bars, which we've already dealt with, it’s good news. The 105/Ultegra 10-speed transmission is slick and sexy, the thumb shifters excellent when they’re not wearing holes in your thumbs.
The Shimano Deore V brakes feature cartridge pads and are a vast improvement over the cheaper units on some other round-town bikes. I expected a better saddle than the rather generic Bontrager specced, but it’s comfortable enough.
Wheels: quick & racy
The Trek has real race wheels, the same Bontrager Race units that you’ll find on the £1900 Madone 5.1 road bike. They’re well built, light, and quick. You wouldn’t want to tour on them, though, and Trek has sensibly specced Bontrager 700x28c tyres to take some of the sting out of uneven surfaces.
The wheels and tyres have proved themselves to be very capable in town, as well as coping with some rough and muddy back lane excursions. They’re not the stiffest, with some brake rub evident out of the saddle, but the speed of acceleration in traffic more than makes up for that.