Trek’s plus-tyred hardtail is a really fun and versatile, fully-featured package for the price.
Trek Roscoe 9 specifications
Frame: ‘Alpha Gold’ aluminium
Fork: RockShox Recon TK w/ lockout and 15mm Maxle axle, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7000 w/ Race Face Æffect cranks and Shimano Deore XT M8000 rear mech (1×11)
Wheelset: SUNringlé Duroc 40 SL rims on Bontrager hubs
Tyres: Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance TLR Addix 27.5×2.8in
Brakes: Shimano M365, 180/160mm rotors
Bar: Bontrager, 760mm
Stem: Bontrager Rhythm Comp, 65mm
Seatpost: Bontrager dropper
Saddle: Bontrager Evoke 1.5
Weight: 13.6kg / 30lb, large size without pedals
Rear rack mounts are a bonus if you commute by bike or want to give bikepacking a go Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Trek Roscoe 9 frame
The Roscoe frame is shared across five bikes (three men’s, two women’s) and it’s a super-versatile chassis. Trek’s shaped, tapered ‘E2’ head tube combines with flattened, hydroformed main tubes to form a stiff but not stinging front end.
Tapering, bridge-free chainstays and seatstays help the bike skim where you’d expect a slam and give tons of tyre space, and the Boost-width (148mm) QR back end can take 29er wheels in place of the stock 650b+ hoops if you want.
There’s internal cable routing for a Shimano side-swing front mech in case you want to go twin-ring, two sets of bottle bosses, rear rack mounts and even a kickstand platform.
Trek Roscoe 9 kit
While the £1,000 Roscoe 8 and £800 7 use fixed posts, the 9 gets a 125mm-stroke Bontrager dropper, which also makes use of the internal routing. Add Shimano gears with a low-ratio 28t Race Face chainring, a 760mm bar and a 15mm-axled, 32mm-legged, 120mm-travel RockShox Recon fork, and you’re looking at a good package for the price.
Despite having a large choice of wheel and (particularly good) tyre options from its Bontrager in-house brand, Trek has opted to equip the Roscoe with 40mm (internal) SUNRinglé rims and fast-rolling, dual-compound Schwalbe Rocket Ron 27.5×2.8in tyres.
The Roscoe’s plus tyres boost grip and comfort, and make it a real giggle on intermediate trails Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
Trek Roscoe 9 ride impressions
Plus tyres are a great idea on a trail hardtail. As long as you get the pressures right (I’d suggest starting at 15psi on this particular set-up, going slightly higher for heavier riders on rockier trails and lower for lighter/smoother use), that extra air volume out back sucks up hits to save your rims and rump on tougher trails.
It keeps more rubber on the ground more of the time, too, which means better grip for a given tread pattern and compound. Counter-intuitively, the way bigger tyres deform over and around rocks and roots rather than bouncing off them also means they roll faster on rough ground once you’ve got them going.
That’s certainly the case here, as the Roscoe holds speed really well and never felt draggy. The big tyres also hide the primitive fork damping pretty well, and while the geometry isn’t radical (a 68-degree head angle, 440mm reach and 1,155mm wheelbase on the large), you can properly rag the Trek on natural trails or nurtured red routes.
Trek’s Roscoe 9 Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
While a shorter stem would give a more agile feel, the 65mm stock one works okay with the head angle and bar width. The tyres (and rims) are tubeless ready, so it’d be easy to add even more smoothness and puncture proofing. They’re fairly lightweight, though, and working them hard through turns creates carcass stress marks almost immediately.
Once you start pushing into black-rated territory, you begin to reach the limits of the brakes and the fork’s compression control too. And on techy climbs you need to sit on the saddle nose to offset the very slack 71-degree seat angle and stop it looping out. But none of that got in the way of me having a right good laugh on the Roscoe whenever I rode it.
Trek Roscoe 9 early verdict
Versatile rather than radical in geometry terms, but a properly fun, well-balanced all-rounder.