Strengths: Fast, accelerates like nothing else, very stiff but still comfortable, great 10 speed SLX groupset and Avid Elixir R brakes, plush Fox Alps forks, good stock wheels and oh, did I mention that it is fast?
Weaknesses: Bonty XR3 - extremely slow, a little heavy for the price?
I have the 2011 version. I am a lightweight XC racer and I don't have a lot of money to spend on bikes.
Man this bike is fast. I changed the sluggish Bonty XR3 tyres for considerably faster WTB Wolverines. I also changed the stock Bonty wheelset which is surprisingly light. The stiffness of the bike in conjunction with my lightweight wheelset results an a bike that accelerates remarkably fast. It just feels amazingly fast through technical sections, the slacker head angle (70 degrees) improves handling considerably at higher speeds without sacrificing too much manoeuvrability at lower speeds, which doesn't matter any way because I won't be going slow on this bike at all :p. The Fox Alps fork is nice and plush and does a good job of soaking up the bumps. The bike is amazingly stiff but is still comfortable, larger volume tyres help though. The bike climbs great as well.
The 3x10 speed SLX groupset is great, haven't had any problems so far. The Avid Elixir R brakes do a great job of slowing me down, I lost some power however when I changed the stock rotors - I had to because the Avid ones are centre lock. Make sure you take some of the washers out if you change the rotor because the stock front one is 185mm, not 180mm.
The bike seems a little bit heavy for the price, but I suppose some weight has to be added for the stiffness. Oh, I have to mention that I went for a ride on a hilly tarmac road, my usual road cycling training ground - and my average speed was actually faster! Well, the same. Even with my WTB Wolverines vs road slicks! Maybe it was that I have to be faster now that I can't blame the bike.
The best thing about this bike though is not that it gives me some of an advantage over my old bike, it is the fact that I want to get on it everyday and go for a training ride. This will give me the biggest advantage overall.
Bike Setup: As stock except for xxx lite seatpost and race x lite bars.
SLX groupset, Reba forks, running tubeless with bonty super juice.
a Weekend Warrior
from Spotsylvania, Virginia
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2008
Strengths: Awesome frame.. very light. Best warranty in the business from Trek. An amazing bike. Race ready out of the box. The Rock Shox Rebas are Sweeeeeeet.
Weaknesses: I replaced the juicy 5 brakes's with juicy 7's. replaced sram x-7 with x-9s all around. I did the replacements because i had previously bought these parts for a bike build. I had to buy this Trek on Ebay because it was an awesome price i couldnt pass it up--- so i bid and won. But really,,, there are no weaknesses. Think of it this way--The best bike rider in the World rides Trek
Awesome race bike..... Very pricey at retail.. I just lucked out. I highly recommend this bike.
Bike Setup: Trek 9.7 Carbon frame. Avid Juicy 7 brakes 7"rotors, SRAM x-9 front and rear derailleurs, and Bontrager handlbars.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bucks UK
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2008
Strengths: Light, very strong, obviously stiff yet still comfortable.
Weaknesses: Chainstay guard ripped off by chainsuck, a few paint chips, small inner triangle restricting second water bottle.
OK so I've changed a few things since I bought it but the frame's the same and it is a great hardtail frame. No less comfortable than the Merlin Ti, I've done the 100mile South Downs Way in rock hard, dry conditions with no back pain or numbness. If I was comparing it against a full susser then I'd concede that it is slower as you hit the bumps rather than soak them up and continue rolling but that's another argument. As a hardtail comparison then I'd say that when carbon is done right it is a great ride and ideal for mtbing. The longevity issues will come to light in a few thousand miles but once I've completed the 2008 Trans Germany on it, I'll know more! See www.thesprocket.co.uk/blog