Pros: Frame and fork are great
Cons: This bike isn't all that great for everyone.
All in all this is a great bike. The carbon OCLV frame rides better than I thought and is stiffer than most metal-based frames. The geometry on this bike is spot on and the fork works great giving 80mm of travel while still being svelte enough to serve as a good cross country fork.
I was initially hesitant to use this as my main bike especially after using a Ti DEAN for seven years. My first real ride disproved that theory immediately. This bike is great and carbon, specifically Trek and their OCLV, has come a long way and can suffice as real material for an off-rode bike. I will admit, though, I still cringe when I get chain suck as I worry about damage to the frame. I didn?t cringe nearly as much with my Ti frame, though. Nevertheless, time will be the real test.
Having said all the great things about the frame, there are some real chintz components on this bike and Trek should have known better. First, the brakes are Avid. When dialed in they do their job well ? it?s just chintz to give your top-of-the-line hardtail bike these brakes. Trek should have stuck with either Shimano XT or XTR brakes. Second, the 1.8 Bontrager tires might be OK for West Cost riding, but I live on the East Cost and these things need to go right away. I?ll forgive Trek for this one as probably more people purchase this bike for the West Cost. Third, I?m over six feet tall and as such I took the extra large frame size. Like I said, the geometry on this bike is great, but receiving it with 175mm cranks is unforgivable. Bontrager (or trek since they own them) doesn?t make any other size than 175mm. OK, fine, I understand why the bike didn?t come with, say, 177.5mm cranks, but now this plus the tires are starting to add up. Which leads me into my fourth problem with this bike, the wheels. Don?t get me wrong, these wheels are well built and are suitable for over 90% of the people that would purchase the 9.8. In fact, they are just what the person who would buy this bike would like. Problem, is, though, not everyone fits in this neat box and now it's draining a hole in my wallet. Having said that, though, 24 spoke front wheels are simply not acceptable since I weigh almost 200 pounds. Again, for most people this will work, but for heavier, taller racers this bikes has some features that need to be changed immediately. For the money, I honestly expected a little more and as such I can't give this bike a five star rating on value nor overall. Remember, at 6'3" inches and 190 pounds I'm still fairly skinny and can move and climb (five-time tour winner Indurain was about the same size). This bike, though, is not set up for me to race out-of-the-box.