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Trek X-Cal 7 - first ever mtb?

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Trek X-Cal 7 - first ever mtb?

Old 09-13-16, 06:11 AM
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crazyravr
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Trek X-Cal 7 - first ever mtb?

So I am a roady and do cross. Recently I took my cross bike Giant TCX SLR for major offroading and and loved it, despite the fact that I had to walk it as it would just not make it over large rocks etc. So now I am looking for my first ever mtb. Local shop recommended the Trek for my price range. What do you guys say about the bike, components etc?
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Old 09-13-16, 10:44 AM
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This revieew from BikeRadar seemed the most reasonable; less gushing, fewer adjectives, and some actual criticism: Trek X-Caliber 7 review - BikeRadar USA

These others were more the typical reviews, wherein every bike, no matter how crappy, is a wonderful machine which will offer joy way beyond the rider’s ability level:
Trek X-Caliber 29er Hardtail Reviews - Mtbr.com
Mountain Bike Action Magazine | Bike Test: Trek X-Caliber 29er
Trek X-Caliber 7 Review - MBR

Looks to be a decent entry-level hardtail 29er. I don’t know much about the market, as to whether it is a good deal.

Here are the only parts of any of the reviews I cared about (both from BikeRadar):
Given the entry-level price of the X-Caliber 7, something had to give – and in this case it was the drivetrain, and what a smart decision that was. The industry norm is to spec a high quality drivetrain, save money elsewhere and let the customer make their purchase decision based on the level of Shimano equipment. But the truth is that the Shimano parts are the cheapest to replace and the most likely to get damaged, so instead Trek have invested in longer lasting, more crucial components, such as the brakes and fork.”

and
The X-Caliber frame is no doubt the highlight of the package, made with Trek’s Alpha Gold aluminium. With heavily shaped and butted tubes, sparkling paint, an internally guided front derailleur cable and a fully housed rear derailleur cable, this frame would be befitting of bikes twice its price.

To me this is the perfect combination. Upgrading a drivetrain over time can be cheap (used via EBay, or buy a while groupset from one of the UK dealers) and cassettes and chainrings will wear out and get chewed up anyway, but if the frame is crap, hanging good parts off it make it expensive crap.

If BikeRadar is to be believed, this is a decent frame with crap gear, which is the perfect combination---ride it until you want to either improve it or sell it and both options would make sense.

If I were going blind into such a purchase, I would look at the Big Three and compare what they offer at this price point, looking for the best frame first and a decent fork second.

Oh, the fork: “The SR Suntour XCR fork featured well-sized 32mm stanchions and helped the X-Caliber hold its line though corners and rock gardens. The suspension was basic but effective. A fixed rebound setting offered a balanced feel without harsh spiking or excessive packing down between hits. We found the spring on a medium test bike was ideal for a 70 to 85kg rider, offering respectable control over both small and large bumps.

Basically any entry-level suspension bike, expect to spend several hundred dollars for a new fork in the first year .... I think SunTour might still offer deals on upgrades, and after a year of riding, you will probably want one (based on personal experience with other bikes.)
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Old 09-13-16, 10:51 AM
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I would look at a bike with full air fork.. for about $400 more you can get a Giant Stance FS with full air both ends. That is what I ride. I have made a few mods and am up to about $1800 now, but started out for $1300.
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Old 09-13-16, 11:07 AM
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The X-Cal 9 has an air fork. I am happy with mine, but found it used locally for a good price.
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Old 09-16-16, 06:11 AM
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Thanx guys. No one else wants to chime in here?
The difference in price from X7 to X8 is $300CDN for me so pretty hefty.
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Old 09-16-16, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyravr View Post
Thanx guys. No one else wants to chime in here?
The difference in price from X7 to X8 is $300CDN for me so pretty hefty.

You do pay a little more for the Trek name, but it is because they earned their good name. Certainly the X9 is better the X7, but if you have never ridden a full air fork bike, you won't miss it. Bottom line, X7 is a decent bike that will last. If you like and can't afford or justify spending more, go for it, ride, enjoy.
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Old 09-16-16, 12:34 PM
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actually the first mountain bike ever was the breezer #1

Breezer 1 Mountain Bike | National Museum of American History
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Old 09-17-16, 05:57 AM
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crazyravr,,cool name..

Buy your bike and get out there, This won't be your last bike. Get out there and fill your skills bag up.

I know two riders who know the 'Great truth' about mtb's.
One started on that level Trek your getting, rode It two years, got good. Then he moved up just one level to a $700 Trek hard tail, still on that for one year now and just went tubeless. He Is very happy and has ton's of fun spanking guys on $3,000 full squish trail bikes.

I know another, he rides a single speed single rear rim brake cross bike he built for less than $700.
He waits for some hot shot on a $5,000 or more bike to make a comment like, "This next trail Is a true black diamond, very technical, I think you better pass, you don't have the brakes or the bike for that."
When they come out at the end he is still on their back tire...

My Point, That Great Truth about mountain biking and many will flame me but I don't care because I've seen it for myself first hand,,,,

It ain't the bike, It's the engine~

FWI:
Your chain Is gonna make a bunch of noise smacking the front derailleur cage and the chain stay.
Wrap the chain stay In an old tube or a Lizard skin,,google that,, doing this will cut the noise by more than half..

Last edited by osco53; 09-17-16 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 11-11-16, 10:12 PM
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Disclaimer: I work for a Trek retailer.
The Xcal 7 is certainly a pretty nice bike, with a nice drivetrain and brakes, and is definitely appropriate for cross country style riding for most people.
As mentioned by other riders, the biggest upgrade over the Xcal 7 would be something with an air sprung fork. This is a bigger deal if you're uncommonly heavy or light, as replacing the spring on a Rockshox fork is actually kind of costly. An air sprung fork can be set up to the appropriate spring rate for your weight and riding style. Additionally, an air spring will require progressively more force to compress as the fork moves through its travel, which can make the fork less likely to bottom out while still having good compliance to small and moderate sized inputs. The Xcal 9 is Trek's most affordable hardtail with an air sprung fork. The other major upgrade is running tubeless. Slightly nicer bikes (Xcal 8, for instance) will have tubeless ready rims, which will set up tubeless much easier and more reliably than the rims on the X7, and considerably nicer bikes will come with tubeless ready rims and tires, and just need to be set up. The difference in ride quality and traction from running quality tires tubeless is significant, in addition to self sealing most minor punctures. The rest of the bike is also really meaningfully upgraded as well, but that's what will make the largest difference to trail handling.

Any the bikes we're talking about will handle offroad way more aggressively than a cross bike (and I'm someone who loves tackling technical trails on a cross bike). It has to be mentioned that an entry/mid level hardtail isn't similar in downhill ability to a trail hardtail or full suspension bike, and if your goals are likely to turn to technical terrain and aggressive riding, it may be economically advisable to buy a trail bike if you're likely to want (and actually buy) a different bike down the line.
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Old 11-12-16, 05:55 AM
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Note to all, don't forget the Suntour upgrade program.
You first time buyers with those crappy suntour xr/xcr or what ever they are, those forks will flex and bottom out all over the place. As your skills and speed move up you will look down and see your front end move In a scary way. The firts sign of this Is you having to make constant steering corrections when pushing hard. Corners will feel scary and on the edge as the fork twists and vibrates.
The fork I speak of actually has a label, lawyer speak, down low, sezsumthinlike "Warning, This fork Is Intended for beer runs to the local quicky mart and rides on the MUPS with the kiddies.

https://www.srsuntour.com/pages/upgrade

I did this on my first $650 hard tail 29er.
The Raidon fork Is every bit a $350 fork, $225 mounted,, must go thru your LBS,,rules they have.

This upgrade transformed my bike into the near equal to any $1,000 Hard Tail...
I could haul azisis In the corners and keep up with others
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