Just over a year ago our test riders tossed a leg over the highly anticipated Trek Procaliber 9. The bike was a rocket ship, and if it had wings, it would likely blast right through the stratosphere.
To most, the high-performance machine was an out-of-reach price tag, unless you were a sponsored racer. Luckily, Trek is quite aware of this and offers its flagship cross-country hardtail with multiple build packages, bringing the cost down to a much more approachable price.
The Procaliber 8 has an aluminum frame, drastically reducing its MSRP while still providing racers with top-notch performance. So, the final question remains: can this aluminum cross-country hardtail hold its own against a sea of eager race bikes?
Trek Procaliber aluminum gets faster with IsoSpeed decoupler upgrade
This bike is also well suited for kids looking to join their local high school mountain bike team due to its reasonable price. The Procaliber 8 has an aluminum frame with a hidden trick up its sleeve. What sets the Procaliber apart from any other hardtail is its IsoSpeed decoupler. The technology was then transferred into the mountain bike line and trickled down to even the most entry-level Procaliber. Trek also designed the Procaliber with Boost hub spacing, internal dropper-post routing and an extended range of frame sizes, from Trek also uses its Smart Wheel Size system, which places Trek, wanting to keep the Procaliber 8 at an affordable price, was limited as to the parts it could use, but the engineers managed to put together a build kit that spent money where it counts.
The bike has a RockShox Reba fork with a remote lockout and a cross-country-inspired cockpit with a millimeter stem and millimeter handlebars. Setting up: It takes little effort to get the Procaliber ready to hit the trails. We pumped up the air chamber in our RockShox Reba to the recommended pressure printed on the lower left fork leg, which put us right around percent sag.
We then adjusted our rebound accordingly. The IsoSpeed decoupler requires zero attention, making setup on this bike a breeze. Moving out: The Procaliber screams cross-country with its long stem and narrow bars. The idea behind G2 was to use a custom offset fork to provide precise handling at low speed without compromising high-speed stability.
Where the Procaliber really shines is over chattery small bumps that would normally beat up a hardtail rider. The IsoSpeed decoupler is no gimmick and does an excellent job of damping trail vibrations. The Procaliber is no slouch when the trails point up and rewards riders with a smooth and fast feel. The super-low-range gearing was favored by our test riders, and while we believe 1x drivetrains are the way to go for almost every rider, many racers looking to purchase this bike will appreciate having double rings for steep climbs and sprint finishes.
This is an agile cross-country bike that likes to dive into sharp turns and carry lots of speed out of them. We were quite shocked at just how well the fast-rolling 2. Descending: It quickly became apparent that the Procaliber was made for speeding its way up climbs and traveling fast through flat sections.By Colin Levitch. Trek is adamant that the Procaliber is not a soft tail.
Previously, the IsoSpeed decoupler was reserved for the pricey 9-series carbon fiber models, however, a few months back Trek revealed it was trickling the bump-eating technology into the more reasonably priced alloy frames.
The Procaliber 8 is the highest spec alloy version of the frame and, without bottle cages or pedals, it tipped our scales at Replacing the normally fixed joint where the top tube meets the down tube, the IsoSpeed decoupler is essentially a pivot that allows the seat tube to flex independently of the rest of the frame.
So how does it translate to the alloy frame? Aluminum manufacturing has come a very long way since the bruisers of old, and engineers can shape and tune the tubing almost to the same level as carbon. The real value is the way the bike handles small bumps and general trail vibrations that would otherwise make their way up to the saddle.
My local trail network is pretty rough and rocky, and on a hardtail it can really take its toll on your body, especially your lower back. With the vertical compliance relying on flex in the seatpost rather than the seatstays, the rear feels stiff and snappy, and no energy is wasted with increases in power.
Combined with the mm fork and a 51mm offset, the big wheeled Procaliber 8 was nimble at low speeds when things got technical, while still offering a stable, confident platform to attack corners and berms at high speed. Speaking of tubeless, the Duster rims combine with the Bontrager XR2 rubber snapped into place with a track pump and a bit of elbow grease on the first try — easy peasy.
With the small knobblies they roll along almost effortlessly but there is a definite trade off when it comes to braking and cornering traction. If you throw something with a bit more substantial tread on the front, the XR2 would make for a fantastic rear tire. At the front, the RockShox Reba RL, complete with a cable actuated lockout remote, has quite a stiff spring rate at the top of the travel.
For racing this is ideal to prevent any loss of power, but without race plates something a bit more supple is appreciated.
Combined with the geometry it allows for an aggressive position while still providing plenty of leverage to muscle the bike around. Trek has done a fantastic job trickling the IsoSpeed decoupler down into the lower end alloy frames. This is not a case of me-too-ism, instead, Trek has worked to tune these lower end bikes to make the most out of this technology.
Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his father a former European pro convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he can often found exploring singletrack or grinding down a gravel road.
Trek Procaliber 8 review Alloy hardtail complete with IsoSpeed.
In the lab with Madone IsoSpeed
Our rating. November 16, at am. Trek Procaliber 8 review. Our review Trek has done well to trickle the IsoSpeed technology into its lower end aluminium frames without compromising its advantage Buy if, You're after a racy XC hardtail complete with IsoSpeed but don't want to fork out for the high-end carbon frames.
Pros: IsoSpeed decoupler adds tangible rear end softness; stiff frame; compact rear end. Cons: IsoSpeed only effective when seated. Skip to view product specifications. Colin Levitch. Daily Deals. Subscribe Now.
The best saddle bags Carry tools and other kit in comfort. You may also like. Buying Guides. Best mountain bike helmets for trail riding.Lititz rec center swim lessons
Best mountain bike how to choose the right one for you.Some users report that IsopSpeed equipped headsets have excessive creaking — see link above.
Some users report that IsopSpeed equipped bikes have excessive cable rattle — see link above. Some users report that IsopSpeed equipped bikes required additional bearing maintenance — see link above.
What is Trek IsoSpeed Technology? Technology In Short. What is Trek IsoSpeed? To the casual observer the biggest difference between road and mountain bikes has been the size of the tyre and attached suspension.
Over the last few years however, these strict definitions have started to erode in the pursuit of adventure and comfort. The Trek IsoSpeed system has two components:. On IsoSpeed equipped bikes the seat tube and top tube are not physically attached but are mechanically joined by the rear decoupler. This means that the seat tube has a range of rearward moving helping to absorb the shocks of riding on things like cobbles, rough roads or gravel.
There are a couple of implementations of the platform depending on the bike model — the Emonda uses a slightly different implementation with more adjustment along the top tube owing to its unique frame shape and rarefied price point….
Front Decoupler Headset. The front decoupler is slightly more complicated. The Front IsoSpeed is a proprietary headset collar with a rocker that sits in the top of the head tube and bolts into the steerer tube via an assembly that includes a couple of bolts and a preloaded spring.
Note that some bikes may have the rear decoupler without the front headset decoupler.TREK Procaliber 9.6 2020
The very fast and very beautiful Madone SLR 9. IsoSpeed Flagship. The CrankBoutique team have only had occasion to ride one IsoSpeed equipped bike — a Domane on some very smooth roads south of Sydney. The first time you hit a patch of corrugated or fractured tarmac you understand what IsoSpeed does.
Rather than undulations deflecting the front wheel, it absorbs and nullifies the effect of quite big hits, keeping the wheel straight and giving a smoother ride. Bike Radar. Towards the middle and softest setting was my preferred mode and I could altogether forget I was riding such a racing machine, let alone an aero road bike that more often than not is too hard to ever be called comfortable. Cycling Weekly.Our crossiscoming series continues with a look at the re-designed, race-specific Trek Boone RSL carbon cyclocross frameset and bike.
The original Boone model was developed with input from Katie Compton, and with her 14 straight national championships, looking at the latest Boone model at Nationals has been an annual Cyclocross Magazine tradition. This past year, the team rode aptly colored bright yellow Boones with Bontrager wheels. We took a sneak peek at the new yellow Boones last summer while at Trek Headquarters doing a preview of World Cup Waterloo.
Most obvious—and of most interest, based on my experience—is the addition of the front IsoSpeed decoupler. Trek also added flat mount disc brake mounts, front and rear 12mm thru-axles and made the frame sleeker and lighter. Trek offers the new Boone as both a Race Shop Limited frameset and in two complete builds.A12x vs a12z vs a14
Trek provided Cyclocross Magazine with a test bike built around the Race Shop Limited frame similar to the one ridden by the Telenet Fidea team, Compton and the other professionals.
The build includes SRAM Force 1 components, a set of Bontrager alloy tubulars and a white paint scheme that is a bit more muted than the yellow Telenet frames. I have ridden the Boone RSL on cyclocross courses, in the snow when conditions allowed and put the front IsoSpeed decoupler to work on some Midwest singletrack.
Read on for impressions of the ride and review of the newest Trek Boone. This approach is not unique to Trek, with other companies such as Specialized and Cannondale following the race-specific trend.
Unlike other companies, Trek added front and rear compliance to their bike to help smooth out efforts on bumpy courses. The fork is all-carbon and features a 12mm thru-axle and flat mount disc brakes. Trek gave the frame a makeover to make it sleeker and lighter. Trek claims a 56cm frameset weights 4.
For reference, the Boone disc frameset has a claimed weight of 4. Sleeker is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion, the new frame design does have nice lines and the sleeker appearance Trek sought to design. Fall is coming, and the sleek Boone RSL frame is likely to stand out. Another race-specific aspect of the design is the narrow chainstays.
Trek claims they have room for 38mm tires, although I measured the gap around the tires at 48mm, which means 38mm tires would be a bit of a tight squeeze. The Boone RSL frame has narrow chainstays with claimed clearance for 38mm tires.
Trek Procaliber 6 review
The Boone RSL frame features a removable section along the down tube that can house batteries for electronic shifting setups. The Trek Quick Connect water bottle cage can be easily removed and replaced on race day.
Based on my anecdata, the most inquired-about change to the new Boone is the addition of the front IsoSpeed decoupler. The front IsoSpeed follows a long tradition of companies trying to add compliance and shock absorption to rigid frames.Using similar technology to their road and cross bikes, the Procaliber benefited from increased compliance due to the separation of the top tube and seat tube.
That was limited to the carbon SL version of the Procaliber — until now. Built with Boost spacing in the rear and Boost in the front, the frames all see a mm travel suspension fork with G2 geometry with the exception of the Claimed weights are It should be noted that all aluminum Procaliber frames have a lb weight limit.
Those were the 9. This is my first time working at a Trek dealer in 20 years of being a shop wrench. Holy crap is this stuff a pain to work with. ISOSpeed just sucks and is flimsy. As a mechanic who has worked in Cannondale, Specialized, Santa Cruz etc. Looks like lots of praise in this thread for the ProCal….
There are specific procedures that Trek provides techs to follow. You need to get up on the latest training modules and demand greater learning and skill from yourself, so that you get optimal results. If you are, you will be happy with their products. We have never had an isospeed decoupler fail while being ridden. Adapt, overcome, and marvel at the Trek quality. I find it to be just the opposite. But the others I have. I can honestly say in the past years Trek has made some of the best product out there.
Before that it was good just nothing special. Now they are on leading edge and setting a lot of trends in the mountain bike world. My Boone is stiff as a board.By Guy Kesteven. The bottom of the dramatically offset asymmetric seat tube is also almost completely flattened to form a leaf spring segment, to help soften blows from the trail. You get mounts for two bottle-cages too. The rear stays have no braces, to give max mud clearance.
Despite its complex frame and low price, the Procal 6 has a good spec. The Judy Gold is smooth, well-controlled and relatively light, thanks to its full-alloy construction.
The XG cassette is heavy in weight and feel compared to Shimano, but the shifting through the t gear range is simplicity itself and gives great drive efficiency.
Brakes are the basic but utterly dependable Shimano MTs. The rest of the kit is Bontrager, including the distinctively backswept bar.
That bar makes a huge difference. By sweeping your hands further back, it mimics the effect of a shorter stem, so the 90mm unit feels more like mm.
As for the IsoSpeed system, it definitely, visibly works. If you hit a big lump, the seat tube bulges forward and the post sways back to help you ride out the blow. It takes a lot to get it moving too.Metene glucose meter review
Dropper compatibility and the ability to fit fatter tyres give the Procal 6 more aggressive-terrain potential too. Our rating. March 10, at am. Trek Procaliber 6 review. Latest deals.Chakkar in
Pros: Stiff, accurate frame; dropper and bigger-tyre friendly; Judy fork and Eagle gears; shock-shrugging IsoSpeed. Skip to view product specifications. Guy Kesteven. Daily Deals.The Takeaway: The Procaliber 9. The Procaliber 9.
That super-light frame rolls on tubeless-ready carbon Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 wheels, an anomaly in this price range. The tradeoff for a killer carbon frame and carbon wheels on a sub-4K bike is the drivetrain. The IsoSpeed decoupler, unique to Trek, is an interesting feature. It adds vertical compliance by creating a hinge of sorts between the seat tube and the top tube, allowing the former to move independently of the latter.
But make no mistake, this is no snake oil. The IsoSpeed adds so much compliance you can actually see the seat tube moving under you if you bounce on the saddle. To be fair, some of that flex comes from the carbon seat post, which further adds to the vertical compliance. Initially I was put off by that soft feeling.
By comparison the Procaliber 9. In early test rides, I misdiagnosed this bike as dead and lifeless. However, once I became more familiar with the Procaliber 9. The claims of vertical compliance were real.
The more time I spent banging around the rough and rocky trails of my test track, the more I realized this bike was still just as lively as other hardtails, but the rough edges I was accustomed to were gone. The Procaliber line consists of three bikes, and the 9. This bike is a super deal for anyone who already has a nice set of wheels they really like.
If aluminum frames are your jam, the Procaliber 6 warrants consideration. On paper, the Procaliber 9.
A slack degree seat angle also runs against the grain, especially next to the aggressive 74 degrees of the Specialized.
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