At first glance the Trek 720 is a bike that very much wears its heart on its sleeve – well, if by ‘sleeve’ you mean fork legs, since that’s where you’ll find the two custom neon-yellow dry bags and the giant plastic water bottle cages they sit in.
Ample, well-thought out luggage room
That may fly in the face of the current fashion for putting weight up high in extended saddle packs, bar rolls and frame bags. But while that may keep your stuff dry through three-foot deep rivers, it’s less ideal from a handling point of view. By contrast, ensuring luggage weight is kept as low as possible, and in line with the front fork means the Trek handles well whether it’s loaded with bags or not.
And while they don’t look much at first, you’d be amazed at how much stuff you can cram into them – certainly enough to cover you for a weekend away with a roof booked over your head, or even lightweight bivvying if you just stick to the essentials. The only thing to watch is that you tighten the straps securely – especially if you’re riding light – as otherwise the bags can jump out of their clips and drag on the floor.
There’s a lot more to the 720 than its lurid luggage carriers, though. In fact, you can side-step this part of the Trek’s anatomy altogether, since unlike a conventional fixed rack, the bag mounts unclip instantly to leave you with a sub-10kg disc-braked road bike.
And a decent-quality one, too: the excellent frameset includes a fork with tapered triangular blades that sync neatly into a big rounded belly, and a flat-backed down tube complete with over-and-under bottle cage mounts.
It ends with subtly arched skinny-as-steel seatstays side-blended into the top tube in a way that looks similar to the pivoting IsoSpeed decoupler of Trek’s Domane endurance bike.
Narrow rubber doesn’t do the 720 justice
That rear end and the extension afforded by the slim seatpost definitely help take some of the bumps and bruises out of rougher roads and tracks, and the broad Bontrager bar has shock-absorbing inserts under the tape to further reduce vibration and fatigue.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t shine through as clearly as it should because of the Bontrager AW1 tyres Trek has gone with. While they’re listed at 28mm, the specimens on our test bike only measured 26mm wide even on the broad, tubeless-ready rims.
Yes, that helps to keep the weight down, but means even average road surfaces felt rough compared with fatter-treaded competitors we were riding alongside the 720. Off-piste pleasure is even more limited, as the firm, thin rubber rattles and ricochets around, costing you significant speed in the process.
There’s room in the shaped stays for much wider, and a swap to 35mm transformed the Trek into a far more fun and forgiving ride. And apart from initial acceleration – which is already adequate rather than amazing due to the soft frame – it came at no obvious loss of road speed, and definitely improved rough-surface momentum and control.
As a result, we’d definitely advise bartering for a tyre swap before you buy – although given that full Shimano 105 transmission, powerful TRP hybrid disc brakes and bags are already included, the 720 still represents decent value even if you have to upsize the rubber yourself.