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American premium bicycle manufacturer Trek made its debut in the Indian market in March, 2018. The brand set up stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru and launched their bicycles with the most basic one selling at Rs 20,000, and the most expensive one at Rs 1.70 lakh.
It aimed to revolutionise the premium bicycle market in India with its premium and vivid range of bicycles with a product offering for almost all kinds of people. DriveSpark got to ride the Trek DS 1 and Trek Marlin 4 for nearly a month and here is what we think about it.
Bicycles manufactured by Trek have an aura around them, and the way it is designed and built attracts attention from people in all walks of life. Trek bicycles are not just technologically advanced, but they also look the part.
The Trek DS 1 is an attractive bicycle even when in its raw form, with only the frame on it. Additions like the black aluminium spoked wheels, the bontrager tyres, the Shimano drivetrain, etc, and the bicycle becomes all the more striking to look at.
To make it better for us and to invoke the feelings of jealousy and desire in other bicycle riders, the Trek DS 1 we had came in this stunning Green-Light paint job. The only other colour option available on the Trek DS 1 is Metallic Charcoal and to be honest, the Green-Light colour we got is a lot better and more attractive.
Bringing the perfect balance to the aesthetics of the almost neon-green bicycle are contrasting black graphics that have neatly been painted and then lacquered onto the frame. Attention to detail is what makes buying a premium bicycle worth the money.
The Trek DS 1 unlike other bicycles in the market does not leave the control cables untidy and dangling. It has been designed with provisions to allow the gear shift cables to run on the insides of the aluminium frame.
The black handlebar with ergonomically designed handgrips further add to the styling element. Other functional elements like the Disc brakes and the front suspension also make the bicycle look good.
Trek DS 1 Features:
Trek claims their bicycles are the world's most technologically advanced and the Trek DS 1 comes with a host of features to prove just that. The Trek DS 1 comes with an Alpha Gold Aluminium frame.
The Alpha Gold frame is made of high-performance lightweight aluminum alloy and is continuously cold extruded and butted for weight reduction and superior strength. The front end of the bicycle is suspended by an SR Suntour NEX suspension fork with decent amounts of travel.
The fork allows for pre-load adjustment as well. A smooth-shifting Shimano Altus 21-speed drivetrain drives the rear wheels. The gears are spaced well except for the first gear. More on that later. The bicycle rides on Bontrager LT2 all-terrain tyres that provide decent levels of grip and the bicycle is braked by disc brakes up front and at the rear.
Ride And Handling:
The most important aspect to be considered while purchasing a bicycle is how well it fits the rider and how it rides. Well, we're pleased to tell you that the Trek DS 1 is available in a variety of frame sizes and the size chart is available on the Trek website as well.
The bicycle also rides rather brilliantly. The day the Trek DS 1 was delivered to us, I couldn't wait to take it for a little spin and immediately took it for a short spin even before bringing it inside the gate.
The Trek DS1 is a dual-sport bicycle. It was designed for both off-road and on-road usage and we tested it on both terrains. Its lightweight Alpha Gold aluminium frame makes things extremely easy on the road.
It is easy to pedal it up to speed and keep it there thanks to the smooth-shifting Shimano Altus 21-speed drivetrain. It is quite a smooth ride on tarmac especially because of its Bontrager LT2 tyres. These are considerably slim tyres with a thinner profile, making it more suitable for road usage.
While the slim tyres made it easy and smooth on paved surface, we started doubting its capabilities off the paved surface. The Trek DS 1 is equipped with Tektro M280 mechanical disc brakes at the front and rear and these ensure quick braking capabilities irrespective of weather conditions.
The initial bite is not as great as I would have liked, but the effectiveness is felt in a linear manner until the time the wheels lock up. It is at this point that one realises that it is a good thing to have a powerful initial bite missing, as it definitely would lock up the wheels.
The front wheel never locked up on tarmac and it gripped quite well. An extended use of the front brakes with a slight shift of rider weight ot the front would result in a nice stoppie which I did quite a lot to be honest.
The Trek DS 1 behaves pretty well then on tarmac, but its behaviour completely changes off the road. Once off the road, the suspension starts working overtime to keep the bicycle stable. A little extra force on the brakes tends to lock the tyres up including the front end. This phenomena turns out to be fun for seasoned riders, but could be disastrous for those who are new to off-road cycling.
The frame, suspension, brakes and gearing system holds up quite well when off the road. The downer here though are the tyres. The same tyres that were a boon on paved surfaces lose grip off the road quite easily. This is because of one simple reason - insufficient contact patch.
Mountain Terrain Bikes and All-Terrain Bikes come with fat tyres because the wider the contact patch is, the more grip the tyre will be able to offer. This is also the reason why off-roaders deflate their vehicle's tyres to a certain degree before venturing off the tarmac.
Slightly deflating the Bontrager 700x35c tyres that came with the DS 1 too didn't help a lot off the road. Grip is lost on gravel and mud. The Bontrager Connection alloy 32h wheels too feel delicate off the road.
We have to keep in mind that this is not a hard-core off-road bicycle and that it is designed for both on and off-road usage. The Trek DS 1 is designed with a large tyre clearance so that those who take their off-roading seriously can mount MTB tyres on the aluminium rims. Going the extra mile and getting those MTB tyres fitted should make a world of difference to the Trek DS 1 off the road.
Shimano Altus EF500 shifters move the Shimano Tourney TY51 front derailleur and Shimano Altus M310 rear derailleur, shifting the drive chain between the cogs smoothly. All gears except one are evenly matched and result in rapid progress on and off the road. The one gear that is unevenly matched is the first cog.
The size difference and difference in number of teeth between the first and second gears is so big that one could easily fit in an extra gear in between. This however, is not a disadvantage and has been done on purpose. With the first gear having so many extra teeth, it is designed for effortless use off the road and on inclines.
The Trek DS 1 is a premium Dual-Sport bicycle that makes commuting and cycling long distances easy. It is lightweight, weighing in at around 13.66kgs and is made of high-quality materials.
It retails at Rs 37,999 and that is a lot in the Indian bicycle market which is still evolving and catching up with the premium bicycle segment. The Trek DS 1 is definitely worth the price tag it comes at as it has quite a few premium features and it allows one to have fun while being safe.
Stephen Neil Thinks!
With an increasing emphasis on health and fitness, a pretty large section of the urban population in India is taking to leisure and long-distance cycling. Trek too entered India, focussing on providing a great buying and ownership experience while promoting leisure and competitive cycling.
With bicycles like the Trek DS 1, i is obvious that Trek is doing just what they promised. The best way to stay fit and still have fun and reduce pollution while at it is, cycling and Trek has a variety of bicycles in its portfolio to help you do just that.