Product Reviews July 29, 2011

Trek 1.2 Bike Review

Trek 1.2: A Review (Of Reviews)

Reviewing a bicycle is a tricky business. It is almost entirely dependent on technical knowledge to elevate it above the standard of a piece of schoolwork from the hand of a seven year-old.

“This bike is nice. It has good wheels. The colours are pretty.”

Of course, you could reasonably argue that if you don’t have the necessary technical expertise, you shouldn’t review bicycles. But I wasn’t going to let a minor detail like that put me off. Plus, I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve. Unlike a lot of proper reviewers, I actually own the subject of my review and have done now for 3 months or so. Secondly I suspect most reviewers, whilst putting the bicycle through its paces to an extent necessary to comment on it, have not competed in a 24-hour endurance cycling event to test capability in such conditions. Before you ask any difficult questions about why that would or should be necessary, I shall move on.

Despite these gimmicks, I was still somewhat lacking in the lexis and syntax consistent with a useful bicycle review. So what follows is more a review of a few other reviews I have located about the wide world of the internet with my own erudite thoughts crudely inserted or, to give it it’s proper name, plagiarism.

As an entry-level cyclist, it was a relief to find the Trek 1.2 described almost universally as an ‘entry-level’ bicycle. Before I wrestle with what precisely makes it ‘entry-level’ from a technical perspective, I can actually add some relevant insight here. I am the embodiment of entry level. If the first few paragraphs of this article had not made that clear already, I have owned bicycles and am capable of propelling them in the vague direction that I wish to travel but, beyond that, my cycling discourse lacks a little in sophistication. I should be as at home on a £700 machine as I am discussing the conceptual art of Joseph Kosuth, but this is not the case. The Trek 1.2 is a very easy bicycle to get along with.

On the road, the ride is smooth and comfortable. Primarily, when not competing in 24-hour cycles, I am using it to commute along the undulating streets of south London which puts particular strain on the Trek to deliver smoothness and comfort, but this is a challenge it appears to be equal to. This is, I’m told, down to the seatstays and Bontrager approved carbon fork and I am in no position to argue.

Said commute also requires a bicycle that handles persuasively but can additionally let you put the hammer down on a rare stretch of tarmac not populated by broken glass, abysmal drivers or cavalier Boris-bikers. The Trek 1.2 can be that bicycle. A review by Jamie Wilkins of Cycling Plus reassures me that the Trek 1.2 “won’t frighten the horses but it won’t send you to sleep either” which I think is tantamount to the same sort of thing. Even if it isn’t, I am delighted that I am unlikely to find myself fleeing petrified equines or waking up to find myself about to collide with the rear of the number 155.

I’ve stalled long enough. Let’s get down to brass tacks. Or, if you’d prefer, Shimano Sora STI shifters which, combined with the compact chainset, deliver a range of 18 gears, provide me with “a wide spread ratio option unfound on any other entry-level bike”. This is good news, The bad news, apparently, is that you cannot reach the Sora thumbshifters from the drops. I can concur with Jamie Wilkins that this is true but, true to my entry-level ways, was fairly sure this was either a) normal or b) a consequence of my child-like hands. What I am sure of is that you’re looking at alloy dual pivot brakes front and rear, because told me so, and that despite the notable crime of not being disk brakes, they ain’t half bad. My experience of disk brakes is much like my experience of BASE jumping and heroin, but these brakes have proved themselves more than adequate when an Addison Lee cab overtakes and immediately turns left across me, and this happens on average about once a week.

The consensus is that the Alpha Aluminium frame is solid but not glamorous. Jamie Wilkins suggests that readers may be worried he is being “harsh” by describing it as “solid” but, frankly, I would be concerned if the frame was anything other than solid. The Bontrager wheels are also praised for their smooth ride and resilience.

The theme running through the reviews that I have read and one that is consistent with my own practical experience is the Trek 1.2 is a versatile ride that is great value at £650 - £700 and as suited to your entry-level raconteur as it is someone who has the faintest idea what they’re talking about. Reliability crops a fair bit too, and whilst it has only been three months in my possession, the Trek 1.2 has been rigorously employed in that time, averaging 70 miles per week. Throughout, the performance and comfort have remained gloriously consistent; whether we are talking about a 7.5 mile jaunt to Tooting and back or circling the Goodwood Motor Circuit for the 45th time in 24 hours, this bicycle is a joy to ride. 

I’m not sure how many more bicycles I’ll be invited to review as a result of this shambles, so it seems superfluous to create my own ratings system. Regardless, I give the Trek 1.2 my highest and lowest ever rating: seven thumbs up. Oh, and the colours, in case you were wondering, are pretty.

Quoted Sources: – review by Jamie Wilkins, Cycling Plus

Words - Lukey

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