Trek X-Caliber 7 Review – Does It Have X-Factor?

If you are shopping for a mountain bike under 1000 Dollars or so, the Trek X-Caliber 7 might be one 0f the bikes you could be looking at. After all, Trek is one of those brands that a lot of people look at, especially in that price bracket.

If you are an avid biker, you know all too well just how the nature of your ride can make or break your experience. When it is time to head off road, you’re going to want a true mountain bike. What you’re looking for is:

  • Durability – off-road cycling can be bumpy. Your ride should be able to withstand whatever comes your way when you hit the tracks.
  • The right wheel size – mountain bikes have evolved and no longer come with the standard 26-inch wheels. You can now go for a 27.5-inch wheel option or a 29er. Your wheel choice affects your performance in various ways. To take a broad view, a smaller wheel size often goes with faster acceleration, lighter weight and better manoeuvrability. Bigger wheels on the other hand are essentially more efficient, with better traction and attack angle. They also favour taller riders while the former are more favourable to shorter riders.
  • The right suspension type – while riding a full suspension bike may sound interesting, the bike will be heavier because of the extra tubes and pivots at the back, plus the additional rear shock that further adds to the weight of the bike. This is why many riders find the hardtail option more appealing.

Ideally, you’re looking for something built with off-road use in mind. That’s where the Trek X-Caliber 7 comes in.

Expert tech just where you need it

The X-Cal 7 packs quite a few expert specs that are particularly beneficial to a biking enthusiast who is just entering the game.

For starters, it comes loaded with the new range of big 29-inch wheels. This means that you have more traction on the road, additional comfort and confidence whenever you hit the rough local trails. This explains why the Trek X-Caliber 7 is the perfect point of entry for fast cross-country riding.

Beginners in the world of cross country racing will find these 29ers to be quite appealing. The shallower, better attack angle means that the wheel can roll over objects on the road more easily providing the rider with easier control of the bike in the bumpy terrains.

Durable, lightweight alloy frame

When you hit the trails at a competitive level, one key motivation is always to win. With its lightweight frame and build quality, the X-Cal 7 has been built to make it easy for you to win – the bike is built with performance and speed in mind.

The X-Caliber 7 boasts Trek’s proprietary Alpha Silver Aluminium that has been continuously cold extruded to a single thickness to guarantee the much-needed durable performance. This choice of alloy and the technology allows for the forming and shaping of tubes into a lightweight final product – the frame.

G2 Geometry for superior handling

Added to the tough trail-ready parts, the X-Caliber 7 frame is built with Trek’s race inspired G2 geometry to give the bike nimble handling, superior climbing, cornering and descending. Even more importantly, the geometry ensures that the rider has great stability at high speed descent, even while winding the tightest single tracks.

100mm RockShox fork

One of the exclusive race-ready builds that have been loaded into the lightweight frame is the high quality RockShox fork with a lockout feature and 100mm suspension ports to take the edge off bumps.

The suspension lockout feature means that the rider has valve blow-off ­adjustment options with regards to how stiff or loose they want the compression force to be on the bike. The feature is particularly important in enhancing pedalling efficiency on flat trails or while climbing.

At those extended road sections where efficiency and not bump absorption is more important, you can easily use the lockout feature to keep your fork inactive and be able to pedal more efficiently. Then, when you start speeding downhill, you have the option to unlock the fork to ensure smooth descent even through the roughest terrain.

This is a feature that is available only with high end forks, making Trek’s X-Caliber 7 a fairly high-end bicycle.

Shimano drivetrain

Another notable component highlight on the bike is the 2×9 Shimano 27-speed drivetrain, touted to be greatly dependable. The system is more robust and better suited to modern mountain biking requirements. The drivetrain offers crisp, reliable shifting and a wide range of gears that enable the rider to tackle just about any terrain.

Hydraulic disc brakes   

The X-Caliber 7 beats most bikes in its price range with its special hydraulic disc brakes. You’ll be happy to know that these are braking systems that normally come with higher end bikes. Nonetheless, buying an X-Cal 7 entitles you to that rare exception – so you can enjoy awesome stopping power in practically any conditions.

Unlike cable brakes that are characterised by friction as a major downside, hydraulics is significantly easier to modulate, effectively eliminating the problem.

This braking system means that you are getting more force delivered to the brake pads, hence the more stopping power for a comparatively smaller input. The pad retraction when releasing brakes is also much faster and more predictable compared to the cable based braking systems.

Even better, the moving bits in hydraulic brakes are virtually maintenance free since grit and grime cannot get in to jam them up due to the sealed nature of the hydraulic system. Not to mention how easier it is to set up and/or adjust hydraulic brakes with the right tools. In contrast, cable braking systems take a lot of tweaking and testing to set up properly.

Trek’s Smart Wheel sizing

Trek likes to emphasize that riding their brands means riding the fastest wheels with the best possible fit. The reason for this is, the company pairs the right wheel size with each of their frame sizes – ranging from extra small to double extra-large.

While this strategy ensures that everyone, regardless of how tall or short they are, gets to have their best fit in bike size; it further means that everyone is able to get the fastest wheel that fits their bike.

The right wheel size paired with your frame size gives you the perfect combination of responsiveness and control. That’s one beautiful thing about Trek X-Caliber 7.

Wider Boost141 hubs

For increased wheel strength and better tire clearance, the X-Cal 7 is loaded with wider Boost141 hubs standard for higher-end wheelsets. The hubs make it easy to upgrade the wheels on this bike in case you’re considering a quick way to increase performance.

The Boost141 hub spacing also allows for shorter chain stays, increased agility and clearance for wider tires. This makes the back of the bike a lot easier to flick around corners as the shorter chain stay equates to a shorter wheelbase. So, the rear wheel won’t be trailing any further behind you despite the bike being a 29er.

Internal cable routing

Trek utilizes internal routing of cables on the X-Caliber 7 to keep everything clean and shifting smooth. The sleek internal routing also protects the cables from premature damage.

Apparently, with the front derailleur cable routed inside the heavily shaped and butted tubes comprising this bike’s frame, the fully housed and internally guided rear derailleur cable, added to the sparkling paint on this bicycle – most people get behind the idea that this bike could as easily sell at twice its price.

Dropper Post Internal Routing

There is even a port for internally routed dropper post. Dropper posts allow you to be more efficient, faster and safer equally when riding downhill and when climbing uphill.

With the dropper post, you will have full leg extension when climbing and as soon as you start descending, you can quickly push the lever to drop the saddle out of your way for more maneuverability.

The X-Caliber 7 frames are equipped with the right exit and entry points to accommodate internal routing of your stealth seat post. The sleek internal routing of the cables also ensures that the cables are protected from premature wear and tear, in addition to accommodating any dropper post upgrades.

A ride built to last for a lifetime

Overall, Trek’s X-Caliber 7 bike is fast and built to last. Trek is in fact so confident in the quality of this feature-packed bicycle that they have backed it with a life warranty. This means the X-Cal bike comes with what’s conceivably the industry’s best warranty and loyalty program.

Last words

Well, there is a lot to like about the X-Caliber 7 bicycle. If you are looking to hit the local single tracks as a hobbyist biker or the start line as a cross-country rider, few other bikes can beat the X-Cal 7. It is a bike that is built to go fast or keep you out on the trail all day; whether on a cross-country racing, 24-hour racing, or even a marathon.

Of course, the bike doesn’t come without its share of limitations. Like any 29er at its price range, some features are likely to wear out sooner than, say, an X-Caliber 8 or 9 would. Like the manufacturer says, the X-Caliber 7 will easily get you hooked to mountain biking if you aren’t already. So, it’s perfectly recommended to try it out for yourself.

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