Trek Elite 9.6 Review
The Trek Elite 9.6 is a mountain bike designed for riders who want to take on races and be in with a chance of securing a solid finishing position, ie. not winning. However, it is still specified and priced to be within the reach of emerging cyclists who may not have a huge amount of competitive experience under their belts but still have the desire to explore their potential and have some good times on track and trail.
The Trek Elite 9.6 features a full carbon frame with the super wide BB90 bottom bracket, allowing it to be stiff and lightweight with power transfer that is going to be very useful when climbing or sprinting. The OCLV material used in the frame is specifically designed for mountain biking purposes, so it will not be overly soggy or soft, letting you take hits and tackle the twists and turns effectively on a durable platform.
The RockShox Reba RL dual air spring shock on the front fork of the Trek Elite 9.6 has 100mm of travel along with remote lockout for on the fly stiffness. An alloy steerer is hardwearing and also a more affordable option than choosing a carbon alternative.
You get a comprehensively capable drivetrain with components from the Shimano Deore range, making sure that each shift is handled quickly and with race friendly precision. You also get Shimano Deore M596 hydraulic disc brakes, which is really what you want to see from a bike of this type. Hydraulic brakes offer enhanced precision and control, whilst the discs at the front and rear mean that environmental hazards and inclement weather will not compromise this system.This model is ready for anything.
Shimano SLX M665 alloy hubs, Bontrager AT-850 rims and XR1 Expert tyres join forces to keep the wheelset of the Trek Elite 9.6 durable and suitable for whatever might be thrown up by the trail ahead. You can sit comfortable on the Bontrager Evoke 2 saddle atop the Rhythm Elite seatpost. Controlling the direction of the bike will be simple thanks to the Bontrager Race Lite Low Riser handlebar.
The Trek Elite 9.6 is able to provide impressive weight savings on a hardtail bike, which might not otherwise feature such a comprehensively light frame. The lower weight and use of carbon could have proved problematic when it comes to stiffness and handling, but thankfully the designers have taken steps to address these concerns and nipped them in the bud. In its standard form, it is ready to race and eager to accelerate and climb with the best of them.
The power delivery becomes an apparent benefit of this bike as soon as you get onboard, because you will be able to feel the difference that a light carbon frame makes if you are graduating from a weightier alloy mountain bike. The hardtail arrangement means that you are able to dig in for the climbs and come triumphantly out on top.
Whilst there is little doubt that the Trek Elite 9.6 is going to appeal to those who want to race, it still holds the ability to pique the interest of a rider who will be using it more generally, for leisure and commuting as well as off road competitions. Whilst it may be a little bulkier than the more expensive models in the 9 Series, it manages to retain most of the features and functions whilst keeping the price down to a level that should help many people afford this kind of experience. Speed and stability come in this package and for mountain dominance, it could be the right choice for you.
Trek Elite 9.6 Specifications
- Front Fork: RockShox Reba RL, Solo Air, remote lockout, 100mm travel
- Rear Shock: N/A
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow
- Gears: 30
- Chainring: 42/32/24T
- Cassette: Shimano HG62 11-36, 10 speed
- Shifters: Shimano Deore
- Brakes: Shimano M596 hydraulic disc
- Wheels: Bontrager AT-850
- Tyres: Bontrager XR1 Expert, 26×2.2″