Also featured in Issue # 26 | March-April 2015
Superfly 5 by Trek Bike landed in India a while ago and our test pilot Jeewan got a chance to bomb this bike. Trek claims that their Superfly lineup is crazy-light and the fastest! Trek has applied a “Smart Wheel Size” theory in this range. It means different wheel sizes for different frame sizes. 27.5” on 15.5” frames, 29er on 17.5” and up. We tested the radioactive yellow 17.5 frame size with 29 inch wheels… hated and loved by many.
Trek Superfly lineup is available in Aluminum and Carbon frames which borrow features from their high-end SL. The super light hydroformed “Alpha Platinum Aluminum” frame also features tapered headtube, post mount brakes, Press-Fit bottom bracket, Closed Convert dropouts, and internal routing which are not too common on bikes available in India. The frame does look neat and racy with shorter chainstays and low profile.
That Alpha Platinum Aluminum sounds fancy, but that’s supposed to be a premium quality aluminum sourced by Trek Bikes which is continuously cold extruded and butted at multiple points for weight reduction and more strength. The welds on this frame are smooth which we really like and the company has done a good job to eliminate extra weight from the bike which was clearly visible.
Slight confusion was there when the bike was shown to the general audience who spotted E2 written on the headtube and G2 written on the fork. So to clarify: E2 simply means Tapered steerer tube and G2 design has more slack / offset in the crown which is supposed to quicken the steering control. This fork design is only available on Trek Bikes as of now.
Fork: Trek Superfly 5 comes equipped with a RockShox XC32 fork with G2 geometry and features Solo Air Spring, Rebound, PopLock remote lockout. This fork offeres 100mm travel and is decent for amateur riding. Although the bike comes with a tapered headtube, the fork comes with standard 1/18 steerer. The performance of this fork is decent, however an upgrade with tapered sterrer is recommended if you intend to use the bike seriously or for racing.
Hub | Rims | Tyres: The anodized blue Bontrager hubs are of good quality. These sealed catridge bearing hubs have smooth rolling. The 28 spoke Bontrager Mustang Elite rims are designed with offset spoke bed and are tubeless ready with 29 X 2.20” Bontrager XR 1 Expert tyres with a tread pattern good for light offroading.
Drivetrain: Trek Superfly 5 is equipped with Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur, Sram X7 front derailleur, Race Face Ride crankset with 36/22 chainrings, Shimano HG50 10 speed cassette with 11/36 ratio, KMC X10 chain and Shimano Deore shifters. Shimano has always been a smooth operator and we had no complaints with the drivetrain performance in this package.
The Cockpit: is loaded with Bontrager low riser bar and Bontrager Race Lite Stem. The FSA integrated IS-2 integrated headset comes with alloy catridges and a reducer as the fork comes with a 1/18 steerer. The Bontrager Race grips are not adequate for longer use. We would expect a pair of lock-on grips considering the bike pricing.
Trek Superfly 5 comes with Shimano M447 hydraulic disc brakes with 180 front and 160 rear rotors. Few competitive brands in India are offering better brakes and higher drivetrain in this pricing.
RIDING THE SUPERFLY 5
Smooth, slack and efficient for cross country riding! That’s the first impression you get after the first ride. The bike definitely feels light on the trails however, there were many occasions where we felt the need of better suspension and brakes considering the money one would spend on this bike. The slack geometry and the newer frame design proved useful while descending. While it may not be the easiest bike if you fancy flying and spending airtime but the experience on climbs and local trails was good enough compared to the competitive brands available in the Indian market. Although we are not labeling it “The perfect bike out there” but we reckon the smaller wheel size variant might be a little better performer than the 29er version.
Coming to the riding comfort… The fine geometry equipped with Bontrager Evoke 1.5 saddle was absolutely surprising especially on those long days. We actually loved it and after riding the bike at several locations we would rate this bike 8/10 for riding comfort but would give 6/10 for overall handling.
This package costs INR 1,13,990 in India and seems bit pricy considering more better components offered by other brands in this price, but the design stands out but is that what everybody looks for?
Final verdict: Trek has been making fine bikes with a lot of research. Trek Superfly series is one of them and we would recommend this bike to our audience. The overall ride and build quality is great but the price seems to be on the higher side compared to other brands offering similar or higher specs in India. But if you are a loyal to the brand and willing to upgrade the fork and brakes of Superly 5; this can be one hot 29er out there.