Understanding the 2018 Trek Mountain Bike Range

Words by Cycles UK

on 01/08/2017 10:18:00

Trek bikes in Kauai, Hawaii 2017  Emily Shaldach, Levi Kurlander, Jenn Bast, Spencer Rathkamp

Trek won bike of the year awards from both Pink Bike and MBUK in 2017 and their 2018 mountain bikes are even better. Trek do everything from entry level mountain bikes up to professional race machines to suit all kinds of mountain bikers. There are almost 100 different mountain bikes in the 2018 Trek range, which fit into 11 main types:

  • Marlin - General Use Hardtail Mountain Bike
  • X-Caliber – Fast cross country hardtail
  • Procaliber – cross country race bike
  • Trek Roscoe - plus tyre trail hardtail
  • Stash – Long travel hardtail for big rides
  • Fuel EX - Award winning trail bike
  • Top Fuel – Flagship cross country race bike
  • Slash – Award Winning Enduro Bike
  • Session – Award Winning Enduro Bike
  • Remedy – Fun Long travel play bike
  • Powerfly – rugged electric mountain bikes

Trek have always been big on racing and sponsor professional riders across virtually all mountain bike disciplines. As a result their mountain bikes then to have a focus on lightness, speed and being race ready. Trek mountain bikes tend to particularly suit people who prioritise going fast.

Trek Women’s Mountain Bikes

Trek have changed their approach to women’s bikes generally for 2018. Rather than doing completely separate women’s models they are doing men’s and women’s versions of their main models. This means that women get to ride the same types and quality of bikes as men with the same level of specification. The only difference is that the women’s bikes have been tweaked where it matters to make them fit women. That means smaller sizing, women’s saddles and adjusted geometry.

Trek Smart Sizing

Trek use their ‘smart sizing’ system across their mountain bike range. On any bikes with a 29” wheel Trek make the smallest sizes (normally the 13” and 15” frames) into 27.5” wheel bikes. So smaller riders get smaller wheels and bigger riders get bigger wheels. Changing the wheel size on the smaller bikes allows the geometry and handling characteristics of the bikes to be maintained so that the bikes are still stable and easy to handle regardless of how tall the rider is.

Hardtail Trek Mountain Bikes

Hardtail mountain bikes are simply those with no suspension at the back. Hardtails tend to be cheaper than full suspension bikes and they are more versatile if you want a bit of an all round bike. Rear suspension adds weight to a bike and will slightly reduce your power output so if you are going to be riding on the road a lot, or commuting, a hardtail will be faster.

Trek Marlin – general use hardtail mountain bike


The Trek Marlin is the entry point to the Trek mountain bike range. Starting at £370 the Marlin is a great entry point for people buying their first mountain bike. The Marlin range are designed as a good all round cross country mountain bike. It is the kind of bike you can take out on your local trails or on visits to trail centres or enter your first race with.

Trek have always been big on the cross country race scene and the Marlin inherits some of that race DNA. The trend for many mountain bikes at the moment is to go for big travel and big tyres. A lot of Trek’s bikes steer clear of this can go for shorter travel, skinnier tyres, less weight and more speed instead. If you are likely to use your mountain bike for commuting or general riding this is a great plus point on the Marlin as it will be faster than many other similar bikes on the market.

Trek X-Caliber – fast cross country hardtail


The X-Caliber is the next bike up in the 2018 Trek mountain bike range. Again this a bike inspired by cross country race machines and it could easily be used in your local cross country race series. However the X-Caliber will do just as well at fast riding on your local singletrack. The low standover height on the X-Caliber makes it easy to throw the bike around in corners so you can really blast through the trees and trails at warp speed.

Trek Procaliber – cross country race bike


The Procaliber is Trek’s top end hardtail race machine. It is available in both aluminium and carbon frames versions and is designed for out and out cross country race speed. If you are a serious racer doing XC or marathon events then the Procaliber is the bike to look at. Even if you are not planning to race the Procaliber is a great bike for lots of UK riding. In Essex, Kent and Norfolk where a lot of the Cycles UK shops are based we get a lot of relatively flat woodland singletrack. As super-fast, responsive short travel bike like the Procaliber is perfect for these trails and will allow a skilled rider to leave their mates on bigger travel full suspension bikes in the dust.

Trek Roscoe - plus tyre trail bike


While most of the Trek mountain bike range is aimed at speed freaks the Roscoe is aimed at fun. Rather than the 29” tyres that Trek favours on most of its mountain bikes the Roscoe comes with 27.5” wheels and mid-fat tyres. These are tyres which are 2.7” wide, what would have been considered snow tyres until a few years ago. Having these massively wide tyres gives the Roscoe huge amounts of grip and the feeling of an extra inch or two of suspension. Trek sum it up as having the “capability of a full suspension trail bike with the simplicity of a hardtail”. As the Roscoe comes with a 1x chainset this is a low maintenance bike ideal for plugging through muddy British trails all winter. To add to it’s trail bike characteristics the Roscoe comes equipped with a (long travel for Trek) 120mm fork and a dropper seatpost.

Trek Stache – Long travel hardtail for big rides


Long travel hardtail mountain bikes are a peculiarly British innovation. British designed brands like Whyte tend to dominate this category but Trek are also getting in on the game with the Stache. Whereas all of the other hardtails in the Trek range are descended from their cross country race bikes the Stache takes an altogether different direction. This carbon framed, long travel hardtail is designed for big back country rides on really rough terrain. If you want to go bike packing across Scotland, or explore natural trails in the depths of Wales then the Stache is the bike for you. With a lightweight frame, plus sized tyres and 120mm forks the Stache can handle all kinds of terrain.

Full Suspension Trek Mountain Bikes

Full suspension mountain bikes soak up the bumps when riding off-road. This gives you a smoother ride, reduced fatigue and helps you to keep the power down. Although originally designed for downhill riding modern full suspension bikes are often faster than hardtails on off-road climbs as they give improved traction and allow you to maintain momentum over roots and rocks more easily.

Trek Fuel EX – Award winning trail bike


The Trek Fuel EX is what is now generally referred to as a trail bike. It is designed to be ridden offroad and to be equally capable going uphill, downhill or on the flat. This is the kind of bike that is best suited to most UK mountain biking. Like many other bikes in this genre the Trek Fuel EX has 130mm of suspension travel. Unlike many other trail bikes the majority of the Fuel EX range uses a 29” wheel. Most of Trek’s competitors are using 27.5” wheels on this type of bike as they are generally regarded to handle technical off-road riding better. Almost everyone agrees that a 29” wheel will be faster though and Trek, with their love of fast bikes, have opted for that instead on most of the range. However, they have mixed in a few 27.5” models for those who really want them. If you are looking for a capable trail bike that is super fast then the Fuel EX is a good option.

Within the Fuel EX range there is a big choice of bikes with the models under £3000 being based around an aluminium frame while the ones above £3000 are based around a carbon frame.

Trek Top Fuel – Flagship cross country race bike


The Trek Top Fuel is the bike used by their professional cross country mountain bike team. It is designed to be the fastest possible bike off-road. In keeping with most other cross country race bikes it has a much steeper head angle than trail bikes like the Fuel EX. This puts the rider in a much more aggressive position and makes then handling a lot faster. This is great on a flat out race course but not what you want if you are going to be doing a lot of big technical off-road rides. While this can limit the appeal of the Top Fuel for the kind of riding that is found in many parts of the UK the Top Fuel is more than capable of holding it’s own and it Is going to be a lot faster than the trail bikes everyone else is riding. So, if you really just want to go fast and burn off all your mates the Top Fuel is worth a look. As with the Fuel EX the base models in the Top Fuel range are aluminium and then it switches to carbon once you get over about £3000.

Trek Slash – Award Winning Enduro Bike


The Slash is another one of Trek’s award winning mountain bikes having picked up bike of the year 2017 from Pink Bike. The Slash is designed for enduro riding and racing. That means it has the ability to get you up hills but it is really designed for getting back down again as fast as possible. Like many other endure bikes the Slash has 160mm of suspension travel. Where is differs from most other enduro bikes is the use of a carbon frame and 29” wheels. This makes the bike super light and gives it the ability to really carry speed over rough ground. Again this is Trek’s race focus on display. With the Slash they have ignored some of the conventional wisdom on enduro bikes in order to make their bikes faster and have ended up with a world beating bike as a result.

Trek Remedy – Fun Long travel play bike


The Trek Remedy sits between the Fuel EX and the Slash in terms of suspension travel and capability. It is a bike you can pedal to the top of a hill and then hit all of the jumps on the way down. If your interests are really in gravity assisted riding, hitting jumps and riding everything you can then the Remedy is a bike that will open up a world of new opportunities. This is a bike designed for fun rather than absolute out and out speed and it is one of the few bikes in the 2018 Trek full suspension mountain bike range that uses 27.5” rather than 29” wheels as standard.

Trek Session – downhill race bikes


The Session is the bike used by the World Cup Winning Trek Factory Racing downhill team. It is available in a both an aluminium framed and a carbon framed version with the carbon bike being the ones used by the Trek Factory Team. The Session is built to handle the world’s toughest downhill courses at speed while providing an ultra stable platform to ride on.

Trek Powerfly and Powerfly FS – rugged electric mountain bikes


The Powerfly and Powerfly FS are Trek’s electric powered mountain bikes. All of the 2018 Powerfly uses the Bosch motors which are also being used by other major brands such as Cannondale. The Powerfly bikes are designed to get you to the top of the mountain more quickly and let you ride further and faster using the electric assist when you need it. Electric mountain bikes like the Powerfly are really starting to push where you can ride.