Trek X-Caliber 29er Hardtail

4.22/5 (94 Reviews)
MSRP : $1589.99

Product Description

From the Gary Fisher Collection:
  • Frame: Platinum Series 6066 butted & hydroformed aluminum, cold-forged dropouts, G2 29" Geometry
  • Wheels: Shimano M525 hubs, Bontrager Duster Disc 29 rims, Bontrager XDX tires
  • Componentry: SRAM X.9 front derailleur, SRAM X.7 rear derailleur, SRAM X.7 shifters, Shimano FC-M521 crank, Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Suspension: Fox F80 RL 29, 80mm travel, custom G2 Geometry 51mm offset crown

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Reviews 1 - 15 (94 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Nathan

Date Reviewed: March 13, 2014

Strengths:    Great value for the money
Nice SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain

Weaknesses:    Could use a wheel upgrade(rims and tires)
Get a better saddle on it ASAP

Bottom Line:   
I am reviewing the 2013 X-Cal I got last fall. It has been a VERY GOOD bike for me so far. I have total confidence in attacking almost anything on it, even a decently large jump/drop on a super-d course.
I have not had any problems with the breaking. I know people don't like the sound the elixer-1 brakes make but that is simply a noise and not a problem. I am a mechanical contractor in my day job and I have heard plenty of machines make plenty of weird noises. This is not a noise to worry about. The rotors that come stock on the bike have have over-sized vents so what you are hearing is actually really hot air "expanding" from the holes as the rotor passes through the break pads. As the breaks heat up from use, the air trapped in the rotor holes will heat up when passing through the break pads. When the trapped air passes through the other side of the pads it noisily escapes. This is Amontons' Law of Pressure-Temperature in action. You can simply get different pads and/or rotors to get rid of this noise. The bike mechanic at the TREK store I bought the bike is excellent so I don't have any problems throttling the breaks with the Elixer levers. If you find the breaks don't modulate well blame the guy who set the bike up not the bike.
The bike weighs 28lbs with my pedals on it. Not to shabby considering the price tag.
The Mustang rims are fine but a bit heavy. After you beat them up a bit get some better rims and lower the bike weight. You could also save some weight changing the saddle and seat post.
The tires that come stock suck. Duh. Hey so do the tires that came on that new car you just bought as well.
I like the simplicity of the Solo Air Rox Shocks. Very easy to set up and they have not leaked at all during the bike's first lengthy stay in the garage this past winter.
You cannot find a better riding position on a 29er than G2 geometry. The Fuji 29er I had before handled like a tank compared to this bike. This is a very good aluminum frame and and fork set-up. I plan on owning this bike for a good while and upgrading the parts as the old ones wear out.
I looked at the 2014 line up of X-Cals and I don't think even the most expensive set up is as good as the 2013. They even downgraded the frame material. If you can find a 2011-2013 edition of this bike buy it. You won't be able to spend your money any better.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by MTB Dad a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 8, 2013

Strengths:    Ride feel,great starting point for a hardtail. SRAM stuff holds up well under hard use.

Weaknesses:    Wheels and brakes just not that great. A little heavy.

Bottom Line:   
Ok this is my third X-Cal frame as the first two Fisher X-Cal's broke, in exactly the same spot. As with the other two the selling point for me on this frame is the ride. The bike floats over terrain and climbs and descends very well. I am totally in love with the geometry. The Trek frame has a minor change to the frame where my two Fishers broke so maybe this will last longer then the other two. No worries though as each frame was replaced without issue under warranty.
I have changed everything on it parts wise so really it's not the same bike, but parts wise it held up well at the start. Go with some EA70 wheels and swap brakes to Shimano's and don't look back.
I ride this at least 4-6 days a week with 90% of it being off-road, my usual loop is 20 miles.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lots of them

Duration Product Used:   1 year

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Similar Products Used:   Numerous hardtails

Bike Setup:   Currently EA 70 F wheel,Stan's rear, full SRAM X9 2X10, Enduro X15 bb, Lynskey TI post, EC 90 stem and bars, orig. FOX RL fork updated by FOX

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Rick Goble

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2013

Strengths:    Shocks, some components.

Weaknesses:    Brakes have been very noisy since purchase. Wheels.

Bottom Line:   
This bike has had the most issues from the factory that I have ever experienced and the shop has not been very interested in repairing. They tell me that Trek is difficult to work with when it comes to warranty. My first and last Trek product.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sunny a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: December 30, 2012

Strengths:    Climbs very well, descending steadily, i am surprise and impressed with the great geometry.

Weaknesses:    Original complete bike weight is 12.5kg, after some upgrading manage to bring it down to 11kg, is still heavier compare to my Trek 9.9Elite SSL (9.4kg) but i am not complaining as i want to test out how the 29er feels.

Bottom Line:   
Overall the X-caliber is impressive, value for money, i just love this 29er...will be great to own the OCLV frame. (Upgraded to X0 drivetrain and Shimano XT brake, ZTR Crest wheelset with 12o'clock hub). To all the 26ers cyclist, do get this 29er bike and you'll be amazed.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by chasty a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2012

Strengths:    Handling, fork, rides fast, good geometry

Weaknesses:    Wheels, stock handlebar (too long), stock grips (wimpy)

Bottom Line:   
When all is good, this bike glides over the single track and fire roads and handles well for a 29er. Gives you good traction for uphills and zips downhill without instability or unnecessary drag.
Overall a very good deal and a good bike, but not without some factory decided oddities, such as the weak grips and the oddly long stock handlebar, which I can't fathom anyone not needing to cut down.
Like others have noted, there seems to be a problem with the wheels for this bike. My rear (where the hardtail exposes the problem) already had a couple spoke loss issues in the first months, and in a recent couple weekends of fast, non-technical single track riding the wheel has basically come apart at the spokes. It's getting warranteed out, so hopefully the next one won't exhibit this issue.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Darin Sims

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2012

Strengths:    Good value. Good components.

Weaknesses:    Wheels.

Bottom Line:   
I ride the X-Caliber on a medium-level difficulty flow trail a couple of times per week. There are a couple of rock gardens, and because it is located on a mountain, there are sections that are generally rocky. Perhaps because of this I have been experiencing broken spokes on my rear wheel every third ride or so. I have probably replaced 12-15 spokes in the 5 months since I bought the bike, and it occurs on both the drive side and the brake side of the wheel. I am 6'1" and 178 pounds, which may be a factor. I think, though, that the wheelset is under-gunned for the bike. It being a hardtail a stouter wheel may be in order. Other than that I have no complaints about the bike. The components work smoothly and other than being a little on the heavy side it does everything I want it to do. I will probably replace the wheelset or trade it in for a full suspension. It is probably a matter of time before I get stranded on a trail somewhere.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Arstran

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2012

Strengths:    Fork and drivetrain

Weaknesses:    Deore wheelset and no tapered headtube

Bottom Line:   
This is my second 29er hardtail but my first that is a good quality. The Reba RL fork is really nice and the rest of the componentry is pretty much mid-level. My only real complaint is the wheelset, I broke the freehub on just the fourth ride but I took it to a local Trek dealer and they replaced it free of charge under warranty. Also, for some reason Trek set this bike up with a 3x10 drivetrain which I had immediately changed to a 2x10 with all Sram X7 components.

Expand full review >>

Bike Setup:   2x10 drivetrain with crank brothers accessories

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by jpalkowetz

Date Reviewed: October 15, 2012

Strengths:    big wheels great idea

Weaknesses:    keeps breaking spokes, even got new rear wheel, spokes break all the time. Seat just broke while ridding to trail, avid 3 brakes vibrate horribly, replaced pads and rotors that helped but need constant adjustment. Overall the bike is very unreliable.

Bottom Line:   
I am so disappointed with this bike and Trek's frame warranty on another Trek bike that I will not purchase another Trek product and I am changing to a different lbs. I have owned Treks for nearly 30 years. The overall quality has become very poor and the warranty is meaningless on frames and repeat problems.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jvader a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: October 5, 2012

Strengths:    The Reba front fork is excellent, SRAM drivetrain is more than enough, juicy threes seem to perform nice. ( a little squeaky but all disc breaks are). I think for the money your getting a great hard tail that is very upgradable.

Weaknesses:    Reading other reviews I would say the stand over height for me seems a bit tall. Other than that none.

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this bike as my first 29ner hard tail. Decided to go to this level of a bike just to get out of the crappy sun tour forks they put on everything thing these days. Extremely pleased with my decision. I purchased a Trek 4500 first and blew up the front shocks in 2 weeks, warrentied them out, and they came back blown so decied to return the bike and go with this xcal on closeout. Technical stuff seemed to handle great, single track it flys down, and my buddy's on the 26 inch wheels have to jump stuff I can just plow through. Just riding around town was fun too, I have now purchased a road bike for that, but sine have 29 inch wheels and 30 gears it worked well on some hills. I constantly have been upgrading this bike and love it, if a hard tail is what you want this is a great bike! I do have the 2011 model I like the paint scheme way better.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sandy Ridge, lower hide and seek

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1150.00

Purchased At:   Bike Gallery, Lake O

Bike Setup:   Trek X Cal, wtb pure 5 seat, Thomson elite seatpost, Raceface atlas bars, ODI lock on grips, truvative hussfelt 40mm stem, easton Haven alloy 29 wheelset.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by MB a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: August 25, 2012

Strengths:    Light weight, climbs well, handles great on the trail.

Weaknesses:    Bottom bracket has fallen apart twice. Second time back to shop and they rebuilt the BB under warranty. Kudos to Bike Gallery, Lake Oswego, OR for quick fix but they told me the bearings were packed wrong and a plate was completely missing. Not good for a $1400 bike that is less than 5 mos. old.

All bolts on rear rotor with the exception of one fell out. Rotor was nearly hanging on. Only found out as their was a slight noise. Checked front rotor and bolts hadn't fallen out but were all loose. Whoever was on quality control at the Chinese factory must have been asleep. Unacceptable issues with BB and loose rotor bolts.

Front end also creaks and breaks squeak consistently. These aren't major issues but pesky nonetheless.

Bottom Line:   
Overall a good bike, but the lack of quality control is a major turn off. If you decide to purchase pay attention to a loose BB - it can go from just a little wobble to a shredded BB quickly. Also make sure to check and torque the rotor bolts (and possibly other bolts) lest your brakes fail. Should have spent more and bought a bike made in America.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by bishop29er

Date Reviewed: August 9, 2012

Strengths:    Decent components for the price
Reba fork is great
23" frame is perfect for a clyde

Weaknesses:    Noisy brakes
High Standover height

Bottom Line:   
This is my first foray into what most would consider an entry level race 29er, but not my first bike. I'm a big guy at 6'6, 230 lbs and the frame of this bike is definitely big enough. I no longer feel like a circus clown on a tiny bike. Also, while not quite as nimble as a 26", especially in tight switchbacks, this bike has been a blast on single track and technical stuff. I guess the biggest complement I can say about this rig is that I always can't wait to get back on and ride.

I've replaced the crappy saddle with a bontrager evoke r(much better) and the grips with ODI rogues(big improvement). I consider both of these things to be personal preference items, so I can't really hold it against the trek. The one negative thing, for me at least, is the standover height. Even at 6'6" I can BARELY stand flat footed off the saddle...I wish the top tube slanted a little more. I've definitely had a few less then comfortable moments when hopping off the saddle in a hurry.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Ben Akers a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: May 7, 2012

Strengths:    It's a 29'er

Weaknesses:    Like many on this review forum I have a cracked frame at the weld by the seatpost. This is clearly a major flaw with these bikes. I brought my x-cal to the lbs knowing it was under lifetime warranty so was not very worried about it. This had been my second trek mtn bike and made the purchase new for the warranty. The lbs told me it would prob be a few weeks and trek would be responsible to send any necessary parts for the changeover as they may need to send the newer frame which may not be totally compatible. I said great, call me when it's ready! 3 weeks later I get a call from the lbs that my bike is about done and it will be $505.00 to pick it up as they will need to put a new crank, headset, on and a few other parts. Needless to say I was a bit shocked and dismayed. They said I could call the trek customer service dept if I had any questions but trek had told them the compatibility was my problem not theirs. I said you have got to be kidding me, so I called trek hoping for the best, WRONG!! They were a holes, told me customers were happy to get new frame even if it costs them alot to get fixed in parts. I told them I did not want a new frame, but mine was cracked and would expect the warranty to cover whatever it takes to make the new frame work because yours is a defect as clearly alot of people are having problems with this exact crack. I then told him what the lbs shop said about trek sending whatever is needed, the trek guy told me to get them to pay for it then! I said what, why would they pay for your defective frame parts to make my bike whole? he said because they told you it was covered, at this point I clearly decided I was getting nowhere with this guy and decided to think about what to do about it. Any ideas anyone, anybody had this problem? Buyer beware, their warranty is not what they claim.

Bottom Line:   
Do not ever ever buy a trek bike!!!!!!!!!!!

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rock_Garden a Cross Country Rider from Philadelphia

Date Reviewed: January 15, 2012

Strengths:    Handling
Component spec - Sram drivetrain and Fox fork
Came ready for tubeless (Do it, its amazing) and a strong wheelset
Lot of bike for the money
Lifetime warranty that you WILL use

Weaknesses:    Needs more than 80mm travel. 100 would be ideal.
Very harsh frame
Frame weld quality issues
At just over 27 lbs its a tad porky
Mine is red, its ugly

Bottom Line:   
This review is for a 2009 model, so things may have changed since GF was absorbed entirely by Trek. The frame has a lifetime warranty to the original owner which is a good thing for me. My frame cracked at the seat tube to top tube weld. It is currently being handled by my LBS who said they see this quite often. So far so good, Trek is replacing the frame and all is well.

You can tell Fisher spent a ton of time figuring out the G2 geometry. The bike is almost as nimble as my old 26er was. It took a bit to get used to the G2 geometry, as you're stretched out over the top tube a bit more than other bikes. It's harder to get weight back on descents, you more or less sit inside the bike instead of hanging off the back. Once you get used to that you're OK though. It rolls over just about anything you throw at it. Picked a bad line up that rocky climb? No problem, the big wheels roll you right to the top. Climbing traction is through the roof ;) Descents are just delicious now that I changed out the stock Bonty XDX tires for some stickier Specialized ones and went tubeless. I strongly suggest a tubeless setup, it'll soften the strangely harsh nature of the frame's rear end. None of my Cannondales ever had a rear this harsh. It's a bit sluggish to accelerate, mostly due to the heavy wheels.

Parts spec is pretty decent. The Sram X7/X9 setup works very well. Stock saddle was an a** hatchet so I changed it out ASAP. Recommend changing the grips to something with more meat. I now have ODI lock-on Rogue's and they're worlds better than the stock Bonty ones. The wheelset on the 2009 model is bomb proof, but heavy. I haven't trued the wheels in 2 years and I beat the hell out of my bikes (granted I'm a bit lighter than some other people). As parts break you can upgrade them to better ones. I'd suggest the crankset and rear cogs as the first real upgrades to do. I switched to a Sram X9 rear when my X7 grenaded, and it has been a moderate increase in performance. The Fox fork is great but takes a few rides to find the sweet spot. Once you find it, the fork is very plush.

All in all a fun bike, but only 3 chilis for overall because if you're reading this review you're probably considering buying a used one, and the lifetime warranty won't apply to you. And the red/silver paint looks stupid.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Wissahickon

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   A bunch of top end Cannondale 26er hardtails and a Trek 4300.

Bike Setup:   Sram X9 rear, Sram 980 cassette, Eggbeater 2's, ODI Rogue grips, Selle Italia Flite Gel saddle, Specialized Captain Control 2.2 tubeless tires.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by CKPC a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 22, 2011

Strengths:    Smooth ride, not light, but not heavy. Looks sweet

Weaknesses:    Avid 3's

Bottom Line:   
After a year on this bike it has not let me down. Bought it as left over stock from the previous year. Yes I have swaped some parts since I bought it, but who doesn't.

The only issues I have had was with the crazy sweep bars and the stock Bontrager wheels and the Juicy 3's. Just couldn't keep the wheels true and the position the stock bars put my hands at sucked! At 6'1" and 200 lbs I am a large rider and I have found some wheels just don't hold up.The Stan's rims I built up with X9 hubs and they have been fantastic thus far. If you've had Juicy 3's you know why I dumped them.

The Bike climbs great and is stable at speed. Not having had a 29 before I really enjoy the ride above any of my previous 26ers. Yes a 26 handles real technical stuff better, but the 29 is superior at everything else. On my normal speed run I surpassed my best times on any of my 26ers in short order and this bike is over a pound heavier then my last 26. Bike was a great value and not sure after riding other 29ers that I'd trade it in. If you like hardtails these are a nice ride.
All in all very happy!!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1300.00

Purchased At:   Sharp Bicycles

Similar Products Used:   Numerous 26ers from Fishers, Speacialized and Klien.

Bike Setup:   Stock, but dumped the Juicy's for XT's and went to a 180 disc up front. Also upgraded wheels to Stan's Arch. Added Easton riser bars and a nice Thomson post with a Fizik saddle. Have used several different tires and currently using Maxxis Ignitor rear and a WTB Prowler up front.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Baxter82 a Weekend Warrior from Georgia

Date Reviewed: November 19, 2011

Strengths:    Reba fork, good value, 29er, decent wheelset, Fisher geometry, bonty saddle.

Weaknesses:    low end hydros, crappy bars, and grips.

Bottom Line:   
This is a good 29er for an intermediate rider not ready to drop the super big bucks on a full squish, but who still wants a high performance machine. All in all im satisfied, but like i said before it would be worth your while to swap the brakes for some bb7's or some higher end brakes. I have a major "turkey warble" issue with them. It may be the pads but Idk. Let the good times roll : )

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   blankets creek

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1450.00

Purchased At:   free flite

Similar Products Used:   none (its my first real bike)

Bike Setup:   stock, but i have aspirations to swap the brakes for some elixir 7's...

Reviews 1 - 15 (94 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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