Trek X-Caliber 29er Hardtail

4.24/5 (111 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 (111 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: January 30, 2017

Strengths:    Good Geometry
Rides Nicely
Trek Warranty
Great for Upgrading

Weaknesses:    Awful wheels, got warranty replaced
Derailleur was not clutch, as specified by Trek
Little heavy
Brakes aren't the most powerful

Bottom Line:   
I've raced this bike, ridden it on long hard rides, and spent many hours in the saddle. Some things I've learned.
1. The wheels are terrible; it got to the point that I was breaking several spokes on easy rides, I got warranty wheels, it was handled very well
2. Almost immediately I got a narrow-wide chainring; neither of the 2 chainrings were a size I liked. It was very easy to go to a 1x by getting a new chainring. Was immediately so much better.
3. Seatpost has a little give in it, really helps smooth the ride
4. Came with a 29x2 stock rear tire. Was absolutely awful on all terrain. Put a 2.2 on and it has been much better.

Expand full review >>

Similar Products Used:   Trek Mamba
Trek Wahoo
Trek Marlin
Redline Monocog

Bike Setup:   SRAM NX 11 speed drivetrain
29x2.2 tires
otherwise all stock

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Aj

Date Reviewed: October 13, 2016

Strengths:    Solid frame and decent components line up. Rides great, wonder full cornering.

Weaknesses:    Freehub, spokes, shock, cassette & brakes.

Bottom Line:   
2016 X-caliber 9. With in the 1st Mont I blew out the shock 2 times before upgrading it. I also chewed thru a cassette in the 1st month. About 3 months in I started eating up freehand. 5 to be exact. Then went thru 2 set of wheel upgrades due to this. I also upgraded the front brakes to a bigger rotor. The stock was too small to stop me.

Now with that said. The bike rides great and handel's well. Frame is solid and other components are good. Nice and light and geared well for a 2x10.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   750 miles

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Single track flagsta

Similar Products Used:   Trek 3700, Trek 4300

Bike Setup:   2016 Trek X-cal9
Rock shox Reba rl
Bontager Rhythm comp front wheel
Stan's notube arch rear wheel with 3.30hub
190mm front brake rotor
Bontager XR3 tires tubeless

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by wegorz a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2016

Strengths:    Great frame, comfortable, great climbing, steady and smooth steering

Weaknesses:    Spokes - keep breaking almost all the time, till fully replacement. Low cost components (chainset, breakes, fork)

Bottom Line:   
X-Caliber 8, 2015. After 5kkm, chainset needed replace. Brakes was totally mistake on 29" bike. With my weight ~87kg, 160 rotors originally mounted Shimano M395 brakes couldn't stop me.

So, after some mods:
- replaced spokes -> SAPIM
- replaced brakes from M395 to SLX '15 with ice-tech XT 180mm rotors
- replaced chainset from SRAM S800 to SLX '15
- replaced fork from RS XC32 100mm, to RS Reba DualAir 100mm
- replaced cassette and chain from ? KNC to SRAM PG1050 with PC1051

I would rate this bike to 5/5. I even sold my Banshee Rune, just cause this Trek give me great fun. It's suitable on almost every track. Great climbing in this XCal is new (best so far) experience. You just literally are able to go any rideable hill, knowing that only barrier is your mind. Just go and, replace some parts ;)

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   11 april 2015

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Hookooeko
Giant Trance 3
Giant Reign 2
Banshee Rune

Bike Setup:   Bontrager Mustnag Elite rims, sapim spokes, formula hubs
X7/X7 with X5/X5 shifters
Rock Shox Reba DualAir 100mm, G2, 9mm
SLX 2015 breakes
SLX 2015 chainset 36/22
rest -> original Bontrager components

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by HanSolo a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: August 21, 2016

Strengths:    It looks so cool...
Great G2 geometry. Very nice to ride. Quite comfortable, for a sporty MTB. It's fun - cornering, climbing, descending, all of this. Nimble and fast even with its size and geo (69' 21,5' 29er). Good components, not only "for the price".
Weight - 12,9kg
Stunning look of X-Cal 9 blue/orange/black 2015 y/model

Weaknesses:    Saddle -didn't fit me at all.
Nylon platforms - just a thing to replace, cuz it's just kinda starting kit pedals.
Frame head is not tapered -but it's not an issue for me...

A bit loudy braking when wet.

Bottom Line:   
I purchased my Trek X-Caliber 9 after season for less than 3/4 of Trek web page price.
It's the best looking X-Cal ever and one of best looking MTB at all. No kidding. 2015 blue/orange/black - take a look.
Bike rides great. I smile every time I take it again. Easy, fun, comfortable, 12,9kg Everything works perfectly fine after 3000km made. First casette/chain set, lasted for 1700km.
What could be better than that? Maybe X-Cal 10 if they would make one.
No issues, not at all.
Beginers - yes, because it's comfortale and easy bike. X-Caliber 8 and 7 can be also good deal.
Experienced riders - yes, X-Cal 9 more likely. Yes because it won't broke so soon and every piece of this setup works great.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   My own section on Warmia - north Poland

Duration Product Used:   10 months

Price Paid:    $740.00

Purchased At:   Local bike shop.

Similar Products Used:   Cube Acid 29er, Scott Scale 960, Scott Scale 50, Kross Level B6

Bike Setup:   Alpha Gold Alu G2 frame. 21,5 inch size
Components are great. Front derailleur-SRAM X7, rear derailleur Shimano XT Shadow, Shimano Deore brakes, Shimano Deore drive train with Race Face Ride crank set.
RockShox XC32 100mm solo-air fork.
Replaced drive train with Shimano XT, kevlar tires and Selle Italia Shiver saddle and it's under 12,9kg. That's for a 21,5' frame size of entry level 29er!!!
Others are entry level Bontrager parts.
Quite light Mustang TLR Elite wheels are tubeless ready.
I changed handlebar for an orange, rised- Dartmoor Nitro, pedals are Dartmoor Stream now and saddle - Selle Italia Shiver.
Tires are mud type Bontrager 2,2' XR1. For longer allround rides I pick Kenda Small Block 8 in 1,9' but for tough trails I pick XR1 -they do the job.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by gigolfer a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: January 17, 2016

Strengths:    Solid component group for the price, Rigid frame and the finish is beautiful.

Weaknesses:    Tires are good for dry hardpack but not for loose gravel or wet and the drivetrain struggles with hard shifts

Bottom Line:   
Last year I purchased a cheap department store bike to see if I'd like mountain biking and I got hooked so after shopping around I bought a new XCal 8. It seemed the best value for what I wanted one $1000 budget. The bike allowed me to enjoy riding so much more than the cheap 26" department store bike. The XCal is efficient uphill and pretty stable on the single tracks I ride. Even though the fork is a RockSock coil spring, it works well at dampening most hits and I've taken the bike off drops 2' feet without issue. My only complaints are the tire grip on wet or loose conditions and hard gear changes. In all fairness to the bike the gear changes might be more user inexperience with not shifting early enough. Overall I'm very happy with my XCal which I ride ~30 miles per week. It allowed me to become a much better rider and now I'm ready for my first FS bike ;-)

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Outfitters

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by kristijan

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2015

Strengths:    beautiful frame(xcaliber 4),lightish(14kg without pedals) and one of the best and finest geometry in 29er world and very smooth and responsive ride

Weaknesses:    suntour fork m3030,its not too bad,actuly gives 75mm travel as advertised,but flexy,no lockaut and heavysh

Bottom Line:   
i use to have german bike wich wose lighter,but traded him old for new in bikeshop and i didnt regret it! trek is simply faster,smoother and i Loove the frame! In my country you can buy tens of diffrent bikes brands,mostly german,polish,american etc,but i choose this one!If i hade more budget i wood buy xcal 7 but...Enyway a realy fantastic frame a class of itsown and beautiful smoot ride!With little better fork and lighter and faster tires it would be truly fantastic bike! I ride tested the german bike wich wose 200 hundred dollars more,but xcal ride wose better!And most important this bike rides like is kilo or two lighter wich is very good!Fantastic Gary Firher geometry!Thank's Gary (sorry for my english,not my native language;-)

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by FB

Date Reviewed: January 26, 2015

Strengths:    Drivetrain surprisingly decent (although, it is heavy)
Brakes work really well for the price point
Fork surprisingly decent

Weaknesses:    The wheels are atrocious, mine failed first day on the trail (200lb rider) and caused injury
Very unforgiving
Tires are poor

Bottom Line:   
This is for the 2014 X-Caliber 8.

The long and short of it is, I wish that I had just bought a higher quality, but used bike instead of getting a new X-Cal. There is nothing about these bikes that left me with a good feeling afterwards.

By far the -WORST- part is the wheelset, if you search around you'll find numerous instances of riders over 195lbs tacoing the front wheel. In my case, I came off a 3 -INCH- drop and the whole thing just folded over, sending me over the bars and a few inches from serious injury. I ended up replacing it in with a $250 (so 1/4th of what we paid for the bike) front wheel (Arch Ex) which held up really well. After spending over $1k on a bike, I shouldn't have a wheel fail the first day on the trail and have to buy a $250 wheel just to make the bike safe. Clearly Trek observed this, too, because they changed the wheel for 2015.

The tires are pretty bad too, at least I had a lot of issues with them losing traction at the worst possible time. I think moving to a 29x2.2 in the rear would help a lot, the 29x2.0 just doesn't cut it, for the trails I ride anyway.

Lastly, the fork isn't horrible, but an air fork would be a nice upgrade over the coil, mainly for ease of adjustment. Having to tap out the coil spring is kind of a pain and doesn't allow a lot of adjustment. I have to admit, though, I was surprised at how well the fork did most of the time, given it's limited travel and lower price point.

To be frank, I believe this is a city bike with some off road capabilities. I've read plenty of others that do "hard" trail riding on these bikes stock, but I don't see how. I found the bike to be very unforgiving of mistakes and in need of upgrades before you can do any serious trail riding with them (wheels, tires, as mentioned before). By the time it's all said and done, you'll end up spending another $600 on a ~$1000 bike.

The positives? If you really want a hardtail and plan on keeping it for a while, you could put a new wheelset, fork, and drivetrain on it progressively and eventually have a pretty decent hardtail. These bikes are great candidates for a 1x conversion too or even SS.

These are entry level bikes and priced as such, you get what you pay for, but I think they could do a lot better in some of the most important areas (fork, wheels) while still coming close to the same price point.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by BlueLgihtening a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: August 14, 2014

Strengths:    ( For X cal 4) This bike can take a beating. It is light and nimble. Great bike for the money. Can handle tech and tight turns.

Weaknesses:    Replace the pedals ASAP, you won't regret it.

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike a few months ago and rode it mainly on pavement, gravel, and grass until about a month ago. I took it on a trail with plenty of crazy downhills and climbs (98% technical) and the trail beat the snot out of me, but this bike just wanted more. This is a tough, light, nimble bike. Great handling but the pedals suck, replace them immediately. I use Freeride platforms on my bike and they have saved my life because of their grip. If you are a beginner or on a budget, get an X-Caliber 4, you won't regret it.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Colvin Run Trail, VA

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $550.00

Purchased At:   Warrenton Bike Stop

Bike Setup:   Trek X-Caliber 4 with Diablo Freeride Pedals

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gary a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: June 26, 2014

Strengths:    The price is good for what you get, rolls well, brakes and shifters work well (smooth), tires are great for my style of riding

Weaknesses:    None yet

Bottom Line:   
I am new to the sport, last year I picked up a dept store mountain bike to see if it was something I wanted to get into more heavily...I did...the Mongoose was heavy and had 26 inch wheels with traditional brakes. It felt small. I had trouble with the shifting on that bike as well, lots of grinding and late shifting, not going into the gear it was showing on the shifter, etc...Those issues made me go looking/shopping this spring and after researching Diamondback, Cannondale and some others I settled on Trek...specifically the X-Caliber 5 and it has been flawless in the few weeks I have owned it, I don't shred trails by any means but it takes the bumps, gets really dirty and keeps on working well, which is all I can ask for. Also, the frame is light compared to the other bike I had, it rolls nice and climbs flawlessly. No weld breaks, or rim and tire issues. I put on about 75 miles a week typically. I highly recommend the bike!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Eastern Trail

Duration Product Used:   1 month

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   CycleMania-Portland,

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   See factory specs, I haven't changed anything

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

Date Reviewed: April 20, 2014

Strengths:    Features and price

Weaknesses:    Pedals are cheap but I think Tarek assumes you will replace them anyway.

Bottom Line:   
This is my first foray into a 29" MTB. I actually purchased a X-Caliber 6 ($750.00 MSRP)—not the X-Caliber 9. I am primarily a recreational cyclist wanting to do some trail/mountain biking. As such, I was looking for the best bang for the buck under $1,000.00. The X-Caliber 6 fit the bill precisely. In assessing the bike, understand what you are purchasing and what you are not purchasing (i.e., a 29" MTB under $1,000.00). Yes, you can spend more on a better bike, but you would probably have to spend a significant amount more to purchase a bike where the components make a significant/noticeable difference to the average weekend cyclist. At the time I purchased the bike (April 2014), this one was the cheapest one with: 1) 29" wheels; 2) hydraulic disc brakes (worth the extra money); and 3) locking front suspension. I also found the bike surprisingly light and the frame to be plenty stiff. It was very nimble, notwithstanding the 29" wheels, due to Trek's design of the frame. An absolutely great MTB for first timers.

Expand full review >>

Purchased At:   Griffin Cycles in Be

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.

Reviews 1 - 15 (111 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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