Hi it’s Calum again just giving you a little info on my lovely new 2012 trek elite 9.8 provided by Alpine Bikes.
The trek is a lovely super light race bike (off-the-shelf spec weighs in at 24 lbs) which comes with a 2012 Shimano xt group set, 2012 Fox Evolution Series 32 Float RL forks (with handlebar controlled lock-out), Bontrager race light wheels and full Bontrager parts. Through their OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void - !!!!!) carbon frame, trek have found the balance of rigidity and flexibility perfectly, with the bike being super-fast up the climbs and feeling very comfy on the descents.
One of the best features I feel the bike comes with is the 15QR thru axle – my first venture into this. This provides the bike with a more rigid and stable feeling and it is also quicker to take the wheels off, so that means it’s great if you puncture during a race. One of the other great things the bike comes with is its 2X10 Shimano XT drive train. Again a first for me, but this gives you a wider choice of gears so that you can climb up the steepest of hills and still have the big gears for the descents whilst saving a whole load of weight.
When I first went out on the bike it was going to be my first time on an XC bike with risers (Bontrager carbon rxl) and I was fairly anxious. Fortunately they have a super low rise and I didn’t notice it at all on the climbs. But on the descents they were fantastic down all of the super steep stuff at Innerleithen and even on the faster stuff at Glentress. When you combine this with slightly slacker head angle and low bottom bracket you get a really stable steed. So next year I think I will be sticking with the risers (Bontrager rxl riser).
The bike comes with Bontrager race light wheels and they are great for training and also maybe racing – I am thinking about using them as my wet weather racers. They are very light and stiff and come with a nice set of fast (Bontrager XR1 Team issue) tyres meaning they are great on the climbs and grippy on the descents. Still to test them on the muddy stuff though!
The only small criticism I have about the bike is the Bontrager Evoke saddle. It looks great but I find just isn’t comfy, and it is a wee bit weighty.
I am a bit of a weight freak so with Alpine’s ‘tech-meister’ – Jake Law, set about a weight loss campaign. To be honest the machine is pretty light out of the box, but the substitution of a Selle Italia SLR saddle (beautiful in matching black and red) and my race wheels (ZTR Crest rims with hope 2 hubs), we managed to get the whole package down to 22 lbs – magic!
The elite’s paint job in black and red with the occasional white panels matches the best, but I am not one to pass up an opportunity for a wee bit of pimping. So, Alpine’s ‘pimp-meister’, Jake Hood and I will be on the case over the next month or two to get the machine looking its best for the new season starting in February/March.
So on the whole I love the bike and am sure it will do me more than proud next year. I will keep you posted on what’s been going on.
Thanks for reading,