Trek, or more speciﬁcally Gary Fisher, were the ﬁrst big name to really ‘get’ 29ers. This understanding of the big-wheel phenomenon is clear from their design philosophy. Their bikes look different and ride differently to other 29ers.
Highs: The Superﬂy is easy to ride fast and easy to ride slow
Lows: It needs a bigger front tyre
Buy if… You want a go-anywhere, do-anything racer with upgrade potential
Trek’s commitment to carbon is one of the longest-standing in the industry. Their Optimum Compaction Low Void (OCLV) monocoques have 20 years of iterative tweaks to offer frames that are stiff, light and blessed with a comfort factor that makes many other bikes feel like church pews.
Gary Fisher’s G2 geometry reduces trail (the distance between a line to the ﬂoor through the centreline of the steerer and a line falling vertically to the ground), which Trek use to increase steering stability. Many mountain bikers like this characteristic, as it enhances performance and conﬁdence on steep or loose surfaces. Add in a tapered head tube for a stiffer front end and a wide, strong, press-ﬁt BB90 bottom bracket, and the Superfly frame is ready for your power.
The Shimano transmission and brakes mix eye-catching XT rear and SLX front derailleurs, a non-series triple chainset, SLX brakes and that solid workhorse, a RockShox Reba fork. The rest of the bike is a trip through the Bontrager catalogue, with everything from grips to tyres from the Trek component arm. No one liked the overuse of blue anodising, which cheapens an otherwise tidy bike. We’d like a slightly more aggressive front tyre too.
All of our testers commented upon the Superfly’s easy-riding nature. It goes exactly where it’s pointed, exploiting whatever grip the fast-rolling 2.2in Bontrager 29-1 tyres can ﬁnd. The Trek gets you doing the basics right – climbing in the saddle without having to over reach, carving turns, railing around uphill switchbacks and letting you take liberties on line choice. Not having to jig about in the saddle to bring both wheels into play is refreshing.
This bike has a proven track record for performance, with the same frame being ridden to numerous World Cup podium spots. That the Trek was also popular with less experienced riders speaks volumes – it has a true pedigree not just as a speed machine, but for riding on dirt. There are more glamorous bikes, but few that ride as well as the Superﬂy.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.