About The Bike
The bike on test was a Trek Crockett 5 Disc, which sits in the middle of Trek’s cyclocross range. Above it sits the recently released Boone, which is now the weapon of choice for Sven Nys and Katie Compton. On the other end of the range is the commuter oriented Crossrip. The capabilities of the Crockett range are clearly illustrated by the fact Katie Compton has ridden the bike to World Cup victories and World Championship podiums.
The Crockett is manufactured from aluminium and finished with a catching pearlescent white paint job. Considering the bike on test is part has been part of Trek’s demo range and ridden daily for the past few months, I was impressed by how well the finish has held up.
The front end of the bike features a tapered head tube which is now standard on most ‘cross bikes. The fork has a larger than normal rake, however the rake is offset with rear racing dropouts. The aim is to manage the ride quality, much like old school steel forks. The disc brakes bosses are direct mount with the use of cylindrical spacers which is a really nice and simple finishing touch.
The frame has a massive elliptical downtube that is open at the bottom bracket. This design simplifies the the internal routing of the front derailleur cable. The rear brake has the ability to be run internally or externally, the later option would simplify the set up hydraulic systems. The bottom bracket shell supports an internal BB86.5 bottom bracket. The chain stays have been directly butted to the BB shell, so the frame lacks any shelf to gather mud. The rear derailleur cable is also internally routed through the top tube for a nice clean finish. The rear brake calliper is mounted internally, which improves heel clearance and mud guard mounting.
The last feature of the frame that deserves a mention is the simple integration of mud guard mounts. The threaded bosses when matched with the eyelet allow quick and easy mudguard installation. In my books this is a simple additional that massively improves the bikes versatility. I am impressed that this feature also make it’s way to the Boone.
The groupset on the bike is Shimano 105 with FSA Energy cranks which is standard at the $2000 price point. The brakes are Avid BB5s with 160mm rotors front and back. Bontrager supply a tubeless ready centerlock wheelset, and tyres. The bike has been finished with Bontrager components, a catching blue anodised seat clamp and headset spacers along with an integrated chain catcher.
Riding the Bike
Before taking the bike out for its madmen voyage I decided to test how “tubeless ready” the rims were. With my benchmark tubeless ready Kenda Slant 6s, a very tight fit was achieved and the tyres were inflated first time with a track pump. After the “overnight at 60psi” test failed, closer inspection revealed that the joint in the rim was leaking air. This was simply resolved by making sure the joint was the lowest point next time the tyre was inflated. I was happy with the system and tested in the field. No issues were experienced at all with the setup
Unfortunately my first ride on the Crockett was frustrating, lots of little things annoyed me. The front brake rubbed when ever I got out of the saddle, the cables got in the way of my hands and rubbed my knees. On top of this I was suffering out the back of the group all day long. I was disappointed as on paper the bike was awesome but I wasn’t blown away riding it. My main issue was that bike lacked the snappy acceleration you expect on a ‘cross bike. I felt my heavier everyday ride, jumped out of the corners quicker. By the end of the ride my shoulders definitely didn’t agree to 44cm bars after 15years of 42s.
Once I had recover from my suffering, I closely examined the bike. The following changes were made.
1. The cable were fixed with electrical tape. (In the bikes defence, it is a demo bike that needs to suit all sizes and shapes. As I had the stem slammed there was excess cable that could easily be shortened).
2. Swapped out the wheels with my Stan IronCross wheelset, this dropped 800g of the bike.
3. Adjusted the front brake and crossed my fingers. (As I have a love hat relationship with the Avid BB brakes.)
My next outing on the Crockett was a 30min hit out on a combination of both Capital Cross courses. It didn’t take long for the bike to make sense to me, and live up to my earlier expectations.
The race wheels single handily transformed the bike. It had the snappy acceleration that you expect from a ‘cross bike. It felt like the power you laid down, you got back in forwards and sometimes sideways motion. I found myself riding in a punching fashion, I was rapidly burning my box of matches and having fun in the process.
The handling was a standout of the bike. The bike changed direction with ease, even through the nastiest switchback combinations. The steering was very precise, which can be attributed to the massive head tube. Time and time again it would go exactly where I pointed it. The most fun was had railing the fast off camber corners. The predictable agility of the bike was a standout and is not something I have found in all the bikes I have ridden over the years.
As we all know, ‘cyclcross isn’t all about riding the bike, sometimes you have to run. The elliptical shape of the downtube could have been implemented to aid in lifting the bike and/or improved mud clearing abilities as a mate suggested. The flatted top tube gave good purchase for quick dismounts.
The the bike does a great job of hitting the sub $2000 price point (RRP $1999). The frame is exceptionally presented and the components specced do the job well. Little things like the mud guard eyelets set it apart from the masses. In terms of handling, the geometry is refined for the demands of ‘cross. With light wheels on, I had a blast racing round the park. All and all the package has great potential.
Now to address my criticism of the wheel set. In order to hit the price point some compromises must be made, the wheelset is how it is done with the Crockett. This is no different to the CAADX that Greg and Claire ride, or the Crux we reviewed(which is up in the next price bracket), all of which have been exclusively raced with light wheels. If you race the bike regularly getting a set of race wheels will be your first upgrade if you don’t have some already. Presenting the bike with nice wheels would put it in a whole new price bracket. The conclusion I have drawn is the factory wheels are great for commuting and every day riding, and it is no different to any of its peers. From a usability perspective the success I had run the wheelset tubeless was an added benefit.
In terms of fit, the bike was a little big for me. I sit between a 56 and 58. After reviewing the Crockett, I would select a 56, not the 58 on test. The measurement from the saddle to tops of the bike fitted, but the reach on the 44cc bars was the problem in my case. For most people over 180cm 44cc bars makes sense, much like putting short cranks on small bikes. It was confirmed that the 56 bike comes with my preferred 42cc bars.
In summary the Trek Crockett is a well presented bike with attention to detail that helps differentiate the bike from others in the price bracket. If you are after a bike to ride to work all winter and race when ever you can, the Crockett is well worth considering.
Word and Photos – Paul Aubrey
Disclaimer: Trek provided this bike for review. Trek do no advertise on this site or sponsor any events we are associated with.