Another of my Christmas reviews and before anyone emails me, I know that a lot of people are struggling with their finances, but imagine this, if you treat yourself to the Trek 6700 I am reviewing here, you would save absolutely tonnes of money on expensive fuel bills, tax and insurance. On top of the great savings you will have a load of fun and get fit at the same time.
The purpose of this review is to really show you that there are worthwhile alternatives to those cheap bikes. You know the sort, the ones that come in a box, like flat-pack furniture and you spend an age putting them together, never really knowing if you have missed an important part. With mountain bikes, you really do get what you pay for. In the Trek 6000 range, you can get a really decent ride starting at £550 for the 6000, going all the way up to £950 for the 6700 that I have the pleasure of riding.
You get the same Alpha Black Aluminum frame, but you get massive component upgrades that make the bike lighter and more responsive. On the front the RockShox Recon Race Solo Air suspension forks offer up 100mm of travel, that can be adjusted to vary the amount of rebound as well as locking them completely (which you make well do for road use). The gear shifters, crank, brakes, front and rear derailleur are all Shimano SLX. This really makes sense and is what drew me toward the 6700. Rather than a mix and match affair, Trek did this model right. Although SLX is meant to be one step under their XT offerings, I think it is not that far behind. It is light, gear changes are very smooth and the hydraulic disc brakes are awesome. Those disc brakes offer up a 160mm rotor on the back and 180mm on the front. In my tests, both dry and wet, they have given me wicked stopping power. They are also my first experience of disc brakes, so it was really nice that I could easily adjust the reach of my brake levers without messing around as much as I would with V-Brakes.
The tyres on the 6700 are really chunky. The Bontrager Jones XR, 26x2.2/2.25" really offer superb amounts of grip. However, I have spent a bit of time on the road and they do not roll that well, so I may well change them for my road use. The saddle, seatpost, handlebars and stem are also Bontrager branded. Again, this makes sense as they are pretty high quality and also make the bike look very nice. Bontrager welded rims finish off the superb look, with a very nice paint job carried out by Trek. The white frame with red and black decals really does look the part. The weight of the complete bike is very light indeed and makes it a joy to use, very manageable. This is another area that you will find it hard to compete in at this level. Certainly cheaper bikes are a LOT heavier.
It is the quality of components and superb finish to the frame that really makes the Trek 6700 stand out from the crowd. It is quite lively to ride, with the saddle being the only thing I would really like to change (just a little too hard for me). On road it is plush, but struggles because of the tyres. Offroad it is a real pleasure to ride, it just eats up all the mud and handles inclines with ease. The power you can get down through the pedals and into the drivechain simply rockets the 6700 ahead of the pack. If you can afford it, go for one, if not then look at a little lower down the range. Please don't buy one of these cheaper supermarket bikes with big suspension, just because it looks good. With the Trek 6700 you are investing just as much in a superb frame, it just so happens you get superb components too.