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Trek Crockett 9 Review

In this follow up post to the first look I wrote on the Trek Crockett, I’m going to start by saying that I’ve enjoyed this bike enough that I’ve now bought it. When Trek got in contact to ask if I was ready to return the bike, I decided that I’d rather get my credit card out than box it up and send it back

Mid ride muddy-ness

Mid ride muddy-ness

Since my first look post, I’ve spent more time out riding the Crockett in a variety of terrains and situations.  I’ve spent more time off road and also I’ve swapped out the stock Bontrager wheels and tyres out for some Kinesis Racelight Disc wheels with 28mm Continental GP4000S II tyres and done some winter road riding too. For me the Crockett continued to perform in every type of riding.

On the road it was lots of fun. The Kinesis wheels are very good and the 28mm GP4000S II are comfy and quick. I rode the Crockett hard on a group ride with some friends, who were mainly on aero bikes with deep section wheels and I had a lot of fun trying to keep up. Although outgunned by faster lighter aero machinery, the Crockett was a fine companion on the road.

A key reason why I’ve taken the plunge and bought it is that I’ve really enjoyed the geometry. As I mentioned in my first look post, it’s not quite as long and low as many other options out there and after a recent bike fit, I’ve been looking for shorter reach and a higher stack in any bike that I’m considering adding to my own fleet.

Geometry Comparison

Geometry Comparison

As you can see, compared to my current road bike benchmark (the NeilPryde Nazare/Alize), the reach of the Crockett is only 2mm longer and stack is 6mm higher and this works really well for me. The size 56cm Crockett even shipped with a 100mm stem making me feel comfortable on the bike from day one as I use same stem length on my road bike.

I said in my first look post that my biggest issue with the Crockett is the pricing, particularly in this spec. It goes someway to making up for this by being a great looking bike with a spec that works very well. I’m not planning on changing anything on the bike at present – everything works and it’s mostly what I would have picked by choice or at least nothing bothers me enough to feel the need to spend money to replace it.

Rear disc brake design is post mount and neat

Rear disc brake design is post mount and neat

I’ve mentioned my love for the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes specced on the Crockett 9 before. They’re amazingly good off road, simply marvellous. On the road ride with my buddies, it was wet/drizzly and I had so much more control at any braking point it was staggering. In fairness they were on deep section carbon wheels and caliper brakes which are at their worst in wet conditions.

The Bontrager finishing kit works well too. The bars and bar tape are comfortable and feel good in the hand – the shape is good. The carbon seatpost contributes to a level of ride comfort that still pleasantly surprises me every ride.  The only negative of the carbon post is that the finish has scratched easily, especially running a light on the seat post on a muddy day. But it’s a Cyclocross bike, it’s going to get muddy and a bit scuffed.

Trek Crockett 9 drive side view - great colour scheme!

Trek Crockett 9 drive side view – great colour scheme!

The paint finish on bike still makes me smile each time I get it out of my garage, it’s a terrific colour and I think it looks expensive (which it is!)

The Bontrager Paradigm R saddle also works perfectly on the bike. I’ve had a bit of an odd relationship with this saddle. I’ve tried a few models in the range of road bikes but this is the best it’s worked for me on a bike. It’s staying.

Cable routing detail, Trek Crockett 9

Cable routing detail, Trek Crockett 9

Whilst Trek have recently tweaked the Crocket range to include new colours and specs, this is still the model I’d have chosen as being the top of my wishlist – in fairness it’s now a close call with the red SRAM 1×11 spec.

Some might argue that the 15mm front through axle and quick release rear are not cutting edge, I like the combination a lot and it’s very easy to live with. I’m also told by those that race that the quick release rear makes turbo warmups very easy. The post mount disc brakes are no longer cutting edge either as the market is now moving to the newer flat mount design but post mount brakes work perfectly and will be around for as long as I have the bike (in my opinion).

The Crockett frame (and fork) give a really nice ride quality, the bike feels light and sufficiently lively on the move with good feedback. It’s stiff but comfortable to ride and with lighter wheels would be very spritely.  Certainly when I swapped out the wheels to the lighter Kinesis Racelight Disc, the bike accelerated better and was fun to ride on the road. Ultimately, it’s the ride quality that you fall for with any bike and I’ve been really impressed by the Crockett. It feels very well sorted and flatters my inability off road. It’s a pleasure to ride and it’s a bike that feels like it’s working with you on each ride in an unflappable way.

Trek Crockett 9 rear 3/4 shot. Mud clearances are good for a race bike!

Trek Crockett 9 rear 3/4 shot. Mud clearances are good for a race bike!

As I’m not racing, the Bontrager Affinity Comp’s wheels seem tough and roll well even if they’re not the lightest. They’re wheels that give you the impression that they’ll take a beating for years without complaining. Time will tell. They’re staying on the bike for the foreseeable future.

The Crockett is also a flexible bike. I can fit mudguards to it (it has hidden mounts) so it can be a winter training bike if I want it to be. It’s Di2 compatible if I feel so inclined and it’s also 1×11 compatible.  The Crockett 9 also has the full carbon fork – including the steerer that most of the bikes in the range don’t seem to have. That’s a win for me for sure.  There is also good clearance for different tyre sizes and should run to at least 38c wide without any trouble – maybe as wide as 40mm depending on the brand.

So what’s the downside? Well it’s the retail price. I still think £2,200 is too high. Certainly for this price I’d have preferred to see the bike with an Ultegra crank and a step up the range in wheels. Then I think it could have carried the price a bit better. Fortunately there is a range of price points, build and colours to choose from, so there’s a Crockett for most budgets.

20151213_125721Even better, if you do want to build your own, Trek have dropped the price on the frameset to £550 retail and added a purple colour which is great if, like me, you couldn’t own a pink bike J The purple looks pretty too and I think you could build up a really tasty and versatile bike to your own perfect spec for sensible money.

There’s now a new colour for the Crockett 5 disc, retailing at £1350 complete which looks interesting. There are 5 options for complete Crockett bikes between £1250 and £2,200 as well as the two frameset options at £550. There’s also Trek’s lifetime warranty, which is probably even more beneficial on a bike designed to be used off road.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Trek Crockett 9, so much that I’ve bought the review bike rather than return it. This is something I’ve never done with a review bike before. I was definitely in the market for a Cyclocross bike and this one won me over. It was a combination of a great geometry for me, that was close enough to my road bike but still gives me the option to try a race or too if I want to. It also rides well on the road, is versatile and future proof with a spec that was close to perfect for my needs and preferences. It looks great in the 9 spec too with a classy paint job.

Me, in between crashes :-) Still smiling though

Me, in between crashes 🙂 Still smiling though

But leaving all else aside, I’ve just really enjoyed riding it. It’s fast, fun, stiff, responsive and comfortable. It’s been a pleasure to ride and a terrific companion every time I’ve taken it out.

You can find out more here: http://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/bikes/road-bikes/cyclocross-bikes/crockett/c/B242

You can buy one from here: http://tidd.ly/16542a37

If you’d like to go back and read my first ride review as well, you can find it here: https://girodilento.com/trek-crockett-9-cyclocross-bike-first-ride-review/

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