BOTS Bike Review – Trek 1.1 – an excellent all rounder

Rohan Kini Reviews

trek 1.1 review

The Trek 1.1 was reviewed by Darren Reid. We wrap up the review with our thoughts on certain technical/non-technical aspects of the bike.

About Darren

Darren Reid is a pro biker from Australia who is currently in India. He is currently sponsored by Rapha clothing (the Prada of bicycling clothing) and embrocation cycling magazine (it`s a great read. Check them out). If you like what you see, you’re welcome to ping Darren and order stuff thru him.

Darren has been racing for over 20 years and is currently helping us build and improve the Bangalore Bicycle Championships. Definitely good to have someone so experienced in our formative years!

Here’s Darren has to say about his Trek 1.1

Darren’s Thoughts

Rating the new Trek 1.1 wasn’t so hard – an excellent all rounder.

A frame designed by Trek Wisconsin, a great looking paint job, a Trek Alpha aluminum frame and fork and the thoughtful eyelets in the front and the rear for racks! The generous wheel clearance also allows for mudguards which add to the versatility of the 1.1, great for the upcoming monsoons and carrying your bag and laptop to the office!

The bike has a solid entry level Shimano groupset (Shimano 2300), Bontrager components and an FSA crank. The Trek 1.1 is not a light weight racing machine, but the 23C tires, the compact design and the racing short wheel base definitely gives you a feeling of race worthiness. It is really a bike you can use for everything – you could commute to work all week with mud guards and racks, ride it home on a friday, knock down a couple of beers and convert it into a weekend racing machine. All set to ride and train hard.

A Trek road bike under 30k. Smart buy indeed!

I have had the Trek 1.1 for a couple of days – its not as light as my other racing machines, but it did handle very very well. The ride up and down our local climb, Nandi Hills, was responsive and the bike handled very well. The compact crank allows for comfortable gear ratios to climb Nandi, especially the 34 front chainring up Nandi hill which had me spinning like Lance :-)

The Shimano 2300 never missed a gear.

I also found the aluminum frame to soak up a lot of bumps where there where bad road surfaces. I’m sure it would be a good bike for long distance Brevet rides that seem to be popular in Bangalore at the moment.

Sure I could pick things I would like to change on it, but at the end of the day it’s an excellent all rounder and great value for money given that it is a Trek and that it’s priced at under Rs. 30,000.

I would say go for it!!!

Darren’s Rating

The Trek 1.1 gets out of 5

  • Components – 3
  • Style – 4
  • Race Worthiness – 2
  • Versatility – 4.5
  • Comfort and fun – 4

BOTS Thought’s

How do we review a bike ?

At BumsOnTheSaddle we typically consider quite a few parameters before recommending a bike (We recommend only those bikes that we would buy or ride ourselves).

BOTS Parameters

  • Support/Warranty – Can the brand provide good support/warranty when there are issues (most bikers have no clue about this) Are the replacements easily available?
  • Ride – How does the bike ride ? Can it handle technical terrains or does it come with a not meant for stunts sticker on it. Is the bike spec’d and does it behave reasonably for the kind of riding intended?
  • Price – How is the bike priced when you compare it with similar models/brands in the market?
  • Brand Philosophy – We also tend to look at how the brand is positioned in the Indian market – is the brand trying to sell a container full of bikes to make a quick buck? Availability of sizing options? Availability of spares for their bikes? Do they support the local biking industry? All very important when you look at long term ownership.

Like Darren mentioned, the Trek 1.1 is a very good ride indeed and scores pretty high on most of our criteria for recommending it.

We have been using the 1.1 over the last month or so and putting it thru its paces – flats, climbs, descents, commutes, races and longish brevet rides. The bike is versatile indeed! It does lack the responsiveness and acceleration you would expect out of a really good road bike, but then you cannot expect anything better at a sub Rs 50,000 range of bikes.

The bike does not have any carbon on it – which is good considering that its not built to be a speed machine. This allows the costs to be kept down.

The bike also comes with an aluminium fork. Do read our next writeup on why this could be a boon or a bane.

The Shimano 2300 rode surprisingly well. The shifts were crisp and the bike rode exceedingly well on flats, climbs and descents. The 2300 comes with a 11-25 7 speed cassette. The front crank is a 50/32 compact crank. The gear ratios might leave you out of gears and your comfort zone if you are a beginner and hitting steep climbs like Nandi. Other than that the 2300s are great!

Who should buy this bike

  • First time road biker – you have been on crappy bikes, on MTBs etc and want to experience what open roads, road bikes and spandex is all about. Without burning a hole in your pocket!
  • Looking at getting a speed machine that you can use for most kinds of riding – weekend long rides, commute, city rides, short quick training rides
  • Training – a good second bike to have for your training rides on your trainer or outside.

If you intend to do some fast racing on this, we would recommend you save a bit more and look at bikes starting in the Rs 50,000 range. It’s worth the ride and you would spend that much or more on this bike with upgrades to get you the experience you are looking for anyways.

Upgrade path

We could make a couple of changes to make this bike ride even better – in order of priority

1. Braking – change the brake shoes to something better for a better braking experience and confidence on descents.

2. Tires – swap out the entry level Bontrager tires to racier, lighter, faster tires. Rolling can improve drastically.

3. Wheelset – the entry level wheels could be swapped out for lighter racing wheels for the peppiness you experience on more expensive racing machines. Borrow a friends wheelset and see how good the frame is.

4. Carbon – introduce carbon for better handling, reducing road buzz and comfort. You could swap in a carbon fork and a carbon seatpost.

5. Group set – if you have money left in your kitty you could upgrade to a Tiagra groupset. This would reduce weight, make your ride more efficient and give you much better control over your shifting. The additional sprocket at the rear is definitely a nice to have on your climbs.

Comparable bikes in the Indian Market

all approximate prices susceptible to change

Snaps of the Trek 1.1
Credits
  • Darren Reid for spending precious time riding the bike, being a staunch bum at BOTS and helping us with everything bicycling in Bangalore.
  • Firefox Bikes – for giving us the Trek bike for this review. And for being super nice to the team at BumsOnTheSaddle and helping us in whatever way possible. We are not an easy bike shop to deal with :)
  • Sriharsha Maiya – (freelance photographer) For taking awesome shots of the bike.