Trek 6500 Review

The Trek 6500 is based around an Alpha Gold Aluminium frame, which has a good strength to weight ratio thanks to cleverly formed tubing that is butted and manipulated to achieve lightness without sacrificing durability or rigidity. The frame looks composed and well made thanks to the smooth welding techniques employed during the finishing stages by Trek. But since this frame is a common feature of the 6 Series mountain bikes, it is necessary to examine the components in order to determine what makes this model different.

I’ve owned a Trek 6500 for over 20 years and can testify that it rides just as good as the day I bought it. It’s been well-used but lovingly cared for, serviced & cleaned regularly and in return gives me constant joy!

First up is the RockShox Reba RL dual air spring front suspension. This has a remote lockout feature allowing you to use the full 100mm of travel or cut the shock out completely and get a stiffer, more rigid experience at the front end. The suspension itself operates smoothly, which means that you can take on unforgiving terrain and save your body from being beaten about by the bumps and jumps that you may face.

Since this is a hardtail model, you get plenty of stiffness at the back end, resulting in efficient power transfer and traction that makes the Trek 6500 a good choice when you are facing climbs and sprints. A number of different components from Shimano, including the Deore derailleur and M552 crank, are utilised to make up the drive train. This leads to a good array of slick shifting gears being opened up to the rider, so you can see your hard work pay off in forward momentum and not be left spinning the wheels fruitlessly. The lightweight frame gives constant feedback and feels like a thoroughbred.

Complementing this setup are the Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic disc brakes that give you precision speed control and all weather performance. Shimano M525 hubs, Bontrager AT-850 rims and XR1 tyres are a good value oriented and stable selection of components for the wheelset.

The Bontrager Evoke 1 saddle lets you ride comfortably and also make the most of the Trek 6500’s eager handling through the Low Riser OS handlebar. In fact, many of the components have been chosen from Bontrager in order to give the bike a togetherness and consistency that might otherwise be absent if it was put together from a more disparate range of kit.

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It is worth judging mountain bikes against equivalently priced models rather than looking up or down the range to see how they stack up. When the Trek 6500 is considered alongside its contemporaries, it certainly looks competitive in terms of components, with the Shimano transmission and Bontrager wheelset all meeting expectations in terms of price and performance. The frame in turn is an asset of the bike since it gives you the right kind of lightness to help you push yourself further for longer. It still has the core stability that is suitable when novice riders are looking to build their confidence and move on to the next step in off-road competition.

What the Trek 6500 really does well is invite riders in and not overwhelm them with features, functions or extraneous bits of kit. It lets you get back to basics and enjoy the simple pleasures of taking a mountain bike through mud, gravel, dust and tarmac. If you are thinking about using it for races, this is certainly an option, but it is approachable enough to appeal to an audience that is content to simply ride during their free time and have fun in the process.

Trek 6500 Specifications

  • Front Fork: RockShox Reba RL dual air spring, lockout, rebound, 100mm travel
  • Rear Shock: N/A
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Deore
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT M780 Shadow
  • Gears: 30
  • Chainring: Shimano M552, 42/32/24T
  • Cassette: Shimano HG62-10 11-36T 10 speed
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX M660-10, 10 speed
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels: Bontrager AT-850 disc
  • Tyres: Bontrager XR1 Expert, 26×2.2″