Trek flags its CrossRip range as for ‘workday commute to weekend adventure’, a machine for ‘any surface, any weather, any ride’. Yikes, that’s quite a lot to live up to. We tested the least expensive in the three-bike range, the CrossRip 1 with Sora shifters and mechanical disc brakes. If you’ve got the cash to splash, the range is topped by the £1650 (approx. US$2050, AU$2790) CrossRip 3, complete with Shimano 105 and hydraulic discs.
The geometry is typically touring-/commuting-/gravel-friendly, with even the smallest model having a wheelbase well over a metre long, and much shallower head-tube angles than a typical road bike, all of which serves to slow down the handling. And though the top-tube is longer than some rival machines, the result is still a reasonably upright and back-friendly ride.
At first glance the gearing looks like a typical compact chainset with a wide-ranging 11-32 cassette, but the chainset is actually a 48/32. The result is an interesting and practical gearing choice one for a generally urban-focused machine, and is well suited to day-to-day riding and commuting.
You might be reaching for lower gears if you’re thinking of selling up and riding around the world, but for most topography it’s more than adequate.
The tyres, too, should prove fine for most of the riding this bike is likely to encounter. The 32mm width of the Bontrager H5 all-rounders offers a good balance of comfort and protection without adding too much weight. They’re fine for poor tarmac, mixed surfaces and forays on to dirt and gravel, and Trek has also gone down the tubeless-ready rim route.
One feature that we really appreciate on the Trek, and something we think more commuter bikes should have, is its cross-top – or ‘in-line’ – brake levers. These are designed to work with a traditional drop bar, giving you a secondary braking position riding on the tops.
Unlike those spindly 1970s’ style ‘suicide levers’ these actually work, giving you the same amount of braking power as the levers on the drops. The narrower handhold means they’re not ideal for high-speed braking, and there are real estate implications on fitting lights, GPS and computers, but these are great for any riding that’s not heads-down, heart-pumping hard, particularly in city streets.
The rest of the Trek’s kit is pretty similar to other rival bikes at this price point. Shimano’s 9-speed Sora does its usual solid no-nonsense job, even if it lacks the smoothness of Shimano’s 10- and 11-speed offerings. The brakes are TRP Spyres, which offer plenty of power and control whatever the weather, and are some of the best non-hydraulic stoppers out there.
If your riding doesn’t encompass anything competitive and you’re not looking for an expedition-type tourer, Trek’s CrossRip bikes could be your friend.
The CrossRip 1 is snappy enough for urban riding, and tough enough and comfortable enough for longer, more adventurous rides. It has fittings for racks and guards – and bags of clearance – and those extra brake levers come into their own in urban environments.