Trek Boone 5 review

Posted: April 14, 2014 by kirisyko in Bike, Cyclocross
Tags: , ,

Trek's Boone 5 – at home among the rough stuff

Trek introduced its radical scissor-framed Domane to tame the cobbles of the Northern Classics – and to create a smoother cycling experience for sportive riders the world over. But can the same technology extend its bump-eating prowess to the rougher, tougher world of cyclo-cross to create the ultimate all-rounder?

Highs: Smooth, controlled all-rounder

Lows: Only one complete bike option

The Boone shares the geometry of Trek’s alloy Crockett’cross bike – as well as its ‘remember the Alamo’ naming policy – but its unique IsoSpeed decoupler is a steal from its road range. The result is a ride that flows smoothly across the sort of staccato root and rubble sections that would have had our bones rattling on a conventional ’crosser.

The extended ‘Ride Tuned’ seat tube pivots back and forth around the top-tube decoupler, allowing you to glide over trail trauma with a smoothness that’s initially hard to believe. Meanwhile, its sub-kilo frame, BB90 bearings and chunky stays give a powerful kick and rapid acceleration. There is some saddle bounce when you’re grinding at low revs, but as you can turn the pedals smoothly rather than bouncing around, you can apply power more consistently.

In contrast to the rear end’s remarkable smoothness the fork feels rigid, but the rolled-back dropouts still remove more sting than with most disc brake sets. There’s no juddering or twist under braking either, while the handling is steady enough to exploit the Boone’s boosted rough terrain speed without seeming sluggish. It’s also light enough to feel lively, with fast-rolling but mud-cutting performance from the Bontrager CX3 tyres. The wheels and tyres are tubeless ready, which reduces the likelihood of punctures while increasing smoothness and grip.

The setup is based around Shimano 105, with the 11-30 Tiagra cassette and FSA’s Energy 46/36 chainset providing a broad gear range. Avid’s BB5 brakes are light for cable discs and the Bontrager cockpit and saddle are comfortable. Details such as the seatmast sealing the seat tube against rear wheel spray, large tyre clearances and a chain guide plate reinforce its ability for off-road racing or rough-stuff forays. Switch tyres and its responsiveness and low weight also mean it’s no slouch on road. Add ‘hidden’ rack and mudguard mounts and the Boone is a truly superlative machine that combines excellent comfort, great performance and oodles of versatility.

It’s a shame that the only options in the UK are the Boone 5 disc complete bike and a cantilever frame option – the US has several more models.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand andZinio.

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