Trek 1120 Review: Footsteps of Giants

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The Trek 1120 follows in the same 29+ tracks that many bikepacking-specific rigs forged ahead of it, but this bike cuts its own trail with an innovative front rack, a thoughtfully designed rear harness system, and surprising trail prowess… all at a lighter weight than we expected. We’ve been quietly testing one over the last few months; here’s the full review.

With additional photos and insight by Ryan Sigsbey

With multiple companies creating bikepacking-specific bikes around the 29+ platform, it’s as if bikepacking has an official tire size. Bear in mind, big wagon wheels aren’t for everyone, and there are plenty of 27.5+ bikepacking rigs too, but it’s no surprise that this legacy continues to thrive… for plenty of reasons we’ve already covered within this site. It all started with the Krampus in 2012, and then came the Surly ECR, which was sort of the first big-tired purpose built bikepacking bike. It was only a matter of time before others created variations on the theme: The Chumba Ursa 29+, the Carver Gnarvester, Salsa’s Deadwood and Woodsmoke, the Bombtrack Beyond ADV, and the Why Wayward. There are a few others as well, and probably more to come.

  • Trek 1120 review, Racks
  • Trek 1120 review
  • Highlights
  • Frame/Fork: Aluminum/Carbon
  • Seatpost: 31.6mm
  • Bottom Bracket: PressFit 92
  • Hub specs: 148 x 12mm (R); 110x15mm (F)
  • Max tire: 29×3″
  • Weight (L w/racks): 29.4 lbs (13.3 kg)
  • Price: $2,499

Following suit, the 1120 was a natural progression for Trek. The Wisconsin based titan has a longstanding history of making bikes in the adventure travel and touring category. First the 520 and 720 touring bikes became classics back in the early 80s. Then Trek found success with its more recent gravel and dirt-drop tourer, the Trek 920. It only made sense to add a couple hundred to the naming schema for a big-tired bikepacking rig. And this they did with a bang, creating a 29+ rig that is quite a departure from all the rest, even their own Stache.

Before we dig in, let me clarify the nature of this review. I’ve had this bike since August, but an injury/surgery/recovery kept me off of it for a couple of months. Then I got about a dozen rides in with it and had a bit of a relapse… from which I am still recovering. So, I enlisted the help of Ryan Sigsbey, a friend, photographer, bikepacker, and creator of the Trans-WNC. Ryan took it for a week or so, gave it a few rides and took it on a bikepacking trip to add his perspective. As such, this isn’t a long term review. Instead you’ll find an in depth analysis and a couple different perspectives regarding our experiences using it, comparisons, technical details… and, as usual, plenty of photos (don’t miss the new carousel galleries).

Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking

  • Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking
  • Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking

Newfangled Racks

There’s a lot to talk about with this bike, so let’s start with the 1120’s two most prominent features, the bright orange tangles of metal at its fore and aft. These proprietary aluminum racks provide a very stable platform for strapping all sorts of gear. They also eliminate the need for a standard seat pack and handlebar roll by offering innovative means of attaching equipment and drybags to the bike. In general, they allow the bike to carry more stuff than with a standard bikepacking setup.

The Front ‘Cradle’ Rack

Load capacity 7.03kg/15.5 lbs | Weight 441g
The Trek 1120’s unique fork-mounted front rack is designed to cradle a large dry bag or an assortment of other cylindrical objects — think tents, fishing rod tubes, sleeping mats, etc. This places the load just a scoach lower than a conventional handlebar roll, which, in theory, lowers the center of gravity and increases stability. The rack is incredibly user-friendly, very stable, and does a great job preventing bag and cable interference, which is its biggest innovation. It also eliminates the need for handlebar straps, which frees up valuable real estate on the bars. All the same, the chunky aluminum rack adds about 441 grams that wouldn’t be there with a handlebar mounted bag.

  • Trek 1120 review, front Rack
  • Trek 1120 review, front Rack

The Trek 1120 front rack is heftier and sturdier feeling than I expected. Constructed from heavy duty aluminum tubing welded to a thick mounting plate, the rack attaches to the Carbon Adventure Fork with four beefy hex bolts in a unique trapezoidal pattern. When attached it feels rock solid. After initial use and inspection, I would certainly trust it on a big trip. One of its most interesting features are the protruding columns on the underside and back of the rack (these are also present on the rear rack). These rounded pegs serve as strap guides that work really well at keeping the straps from sliding and the load in place.

Ryan and I stumbled upon what we think is the ideal system for this rack. The main bag, as shown, is the large dry bag from a Salsa Anything Cradle Kit. It’s a pretty big bag that can hold up to 15 liters, according to Salsa. The Revelate Salty Roll would work equally as well. To cinch it down we used two 32” Voile Straps which provided a very secure and tight fit. Honestly, this is probably the most stable feeling system I’ve ever tried on the front of a bike. That being said, the options really are endless with this rack. I could even see wrapping up a Hyperlite day pack and using that as the roll, or a combination of items such as a tent and another roll bag.

Ryan: The front rack is very straightforward, and with the use of a dry bag and a couple Voile straps, lashing down your load couldn’t get any easier. There are some nice details on the rack to keep the straps right where you want them. The rack is pretty beefy, and maybe a little overkill for most loads, however it provides a very solid platform.

The Carbon Adventure Fork

Rake 51mm | Axle-to-crown 510mm
The suspension corrected fork is called the Trek 1120 Adventure HCM Carbon Fork. It is made up of a carbon fork and crown with a bonded alloy steerer tube. The fork features 110mm BOOST spacing as well as triple accessory bosses on either side and rack mounts just above the dropout.
 A lot of people have been asking about this fork… specifically whether it will be available to purchase on its own. Right now the ‘Trek Carbon Adventure Fork’ is the only carbon fork being made with triple bottle mounts and 110mm BOOST spacing. Apparently the fork is available through Trek dealers as a crash replacement. But, it’s not going to be marketed, meaning that it is not likely there will be too much stock available at any given moment. The suggested retail prices are $399.99 for the fork and $131.99 for the rack. Specs are as follows: rake is 51mm, axle-to-crown is 510mm. Part numbers are 561208 for the fork and 560997 for the front rack.

  • Trek 1120 review, Carbon Adventure Fork
  • Trek 1120 review, Carbon Adventure Fork

As far as performance, the fork is stiff as expected. It’s not as bump absorbent as the noodly MTB carbon forks of old or many of the modern gravel forks. However, I would expect this from an expedition worthy MTB fork. And, it does soak up some of the chatter.

One thing Trek missed in their design is the addition of dynamo wire routing. However, the fork has two tiny drain holes, one on each side, that could perhaps be drilled out to allow routing through the fork with a top-cap charger such as the Sinewave Reactor. Of course, this would void the warranty, and I have no idea if it is definitely possible. Otherwise, the carbon fork has all the right features, including triple mount bosses, rack mounts above the dropout, and there is even a threaded hole at the back of the fork crown to mount a fender.

  • Trek 1120 review, Rear Rack
  • Trek 1120 review, Rear Rack

Rear Rack and Harness System

Load Capacity 12Kg/25lbs | Weight 695g (Rack), 271g (per harness)
The rear rack is quite interesting as well. Unlike most rear carriers, it only mounts to the upper portion of the 1120’s seat stays via four bolts, two welded bolt mounts that are threaded perpendicular to the stays and two long bolts that screw directly into mounts on the stays. Overall the rack feels solid and generally secure. One might assume that the upper bolt mounts would be subject to stress, but it seems like the longer bolts do more of the work. Two long bolts came loose during Ryan’s bikepack, but we think they might not have been torqued properly to begin with. He was able to easily tighten the screws and everything stayed secure.

  • Trek 1120 review, Rear Rack
  • Trek 1120 review, Rear Rack
  • Trek 1120 review, Rear Rack
  • Trek 1120 review, Racks
  • Trek 1120 review, Rear Rack

The 1120 comes with two drybag harnesses designed in tandem with the rear rack. Each one secures to the rack with two wide velcro straps and four compression webbing straps that also serve to batten down the load. The harnesses seem very well made from what appears to be hypalon with a plastic hard backer and barstitched webbing with metal compression buckles. Each fits a dry bag ranging from 5 to 10 liters in volume (8L recommended). The setup is similar to having two small rear panniers — albeit far more taut and secure — and allows a bit more packing space than that of a traditional seat pack. This concept was developed to clear the space between the seat and the top of the rack, facilitating the use of a dropper seat post… or for smaller riders who simply can’t fit a large bag between the saddle and the top of a 29+ wheel/tire. It also lowers the weight that would normally be carried in a large cantilevered seat pack. When the real estate atop the rack is included, this system can double the load potential of a more “traditional” seatpack setup. However, with the rack and harnesses weighing in at 1237g/2.7lbs, it more than doubles the weight of a seat pack such as the Revelate Terrapin (539 grams).

As mentioned, the rear rack also provides an angled upper platform that’s useful for strapping down cylindrical items such as a tent or sleeping pad, without interfering with the 1120’s 125mm Bontranger dropper seatpost. Ryan lashed on a 5 liter Sea To Summit Big River Dry Bag containing spare warm clothes and such, and I tried it with my Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1.

Ryan: The rear harness system was a little finicky at first and wasn’t nearly as easy as the front. The harnesses velcro to the sides of the rack to keep them temporarily in place. Then, once you stuff a dry bag in the harness, you have to loop the webbing around the rack and hook the buckle in. Do this to the other 3 straps and then your all set. It takes a little bit to get used to, but after unloading and reloading a few times I got the hang of it. I was using 6 and 8 liter dry bags and they seemed to fit pretty well. Anything bigger might be a squeeze. There’s extra space to attach a tent, sleeping pad or an additional dry bag to the top of the rack as well.

Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking

While Out Bikepacking

Although I wasn’t able to take the 1120 out on a multi-day bikepacking trip (for reasons mentioned earlier), I did set it up in various configurations and even rode it partially loaded a couple of times. The first thing that stood out to me is how tight, solid and stable the luggage systems are. The front rack is clutch. There would be little love lost if I could use it in lieu of all other handlebar harnesses or rolls from here on out. It’s nice to not worry about handlebar straps, or interference with cables and other such accessories. That said, with the proprietary mounts, this rack isn’t an option with a suspension fork, or any other fork for that matter. It’s also pretty specific to roll-style bags or cylindrical items that can’t be opened on the go.

The rear rack and harness system is also quite sturdy. It is probably one of the most movement/rattle/wag free systems I’ve used, the closest being the Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion. It’s clear that Trek’s engineers did their homework and focussed on creating a system that moves the weight down, while still maintaining the bike’s agility, maneuverability, and dexterity on tight and twisty singletrack.

Ryan: Since the racks are mounted much lower on the bike than a normal seat pack or front roll bag it really brings the center of gravity down and provides a more stable ride. That coupled with the dropper post means you can really lean into turns and keep up speed. These features also help to keep the bike rubber side down on steep descents. In addition, the solid rear rack eliminates any tail wag that can sometimes be experienced with standard seat bags. Generally that isn’t a big deal, but with this setup it’s removed altogether.

  • Trek 1120 review
  • Trek 1120 review

Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking

Trek 1120 vs Surly ECR

When I saw early photos of the 1120, I immediately wondered whether it has a similar geometry and feel to the Surly ECR, the original 29+ bikepacking beast. The answer is yes, to some extent… but it’s also quite different. Comparing the large ECR with the 19.5” 1120, the ECR is shorter in both directions. The 1120’s stack height and reach are a little bigger — 642/451mm respectively — than the ECR at 633/420. But, the Trek is also steeper overall with a seat tube angle of 73.5° and the head tube at 70.3°, whereas the ECR’s angles are 72.5 and 70°. Minor differences, but I was generally happy that the seat tube angle is steeper on the 1120. This, in effect, lengthens the 1120. So even with a 21mm shorter chainstay (425mm when the wheel is slid forward in the Stranglehold dropouts), at 112.7cm, the Trek’s overall wheelbase is still 1.6cm longer than that of the ECR. Otherwise, they have matching effective top tube lengths, and the BB drop on the 1120 is 5mm higher than the ECR’s at 80mm. This is a welcome difference, as the ECR is generally limited to 3” tires due its unusually low BB.

Honestly, I thought the 1120 felt similar to the ECR as far as its stance. However, it does seem a bit more nimble and spritely on the trail… probably owed to its lighter weight (approximately 2-3 pounds lighter, with racks) and shorter chainstay (and that was at the long setting for the dropout).

Trek 1120 vs The Stache

The Stache is Trek’s flagship 29+ hardtail. The 1120 borrows a lot from the Stache in terms of overall look and design. The most obvious similarity is the signature mid-stay chainstay layout — designed to place the drive side stay over the chain to allow a shorter chainstay length. However, the 1120 has a slightly longer chainstay than the Stache (425-440mm vs 420mm on the Stache). The Trek 1120 also gets a slightly shorter top tube, a 3mm lower BB, and a steeper 70.3° head angle (versus the 68.4° HTA on the Stache). All this is likely Trek’s recipe to account for the added gear weight, increase climbing performance, and mold the 1120 into a more ‘dirt-road touring’ friendly platform than their ultra-fast, trail-shredding Stache. In fact, according to Trek, “The 1120 is based on the old Stache [that had a slightly steeper geometry that the current 2018 model]… we chose to stay with the steeper geometry of 1st gen to recognize that this bike will generally see much lower average speeds than a typical unloaded Stache.”

The Trek 1120 as a Trail Bike

Trek bills the 1120 as a touring bike. But judging by its the dropper seat post, short chainstay, and hydro brakes, they also want it to be able to double as a trail bike. Pondering the Trek 1120 as a dedicated trail bike will probably not be relevant to a lot of folks. If you can’t imagine slinging a rigid bike around on your favorite trails, then that’s that. However, a lot of people are looking for one bike to do it all, and the 1120 will likely be tasked as such. I could even envision some folks swapping the fork for a suspension fork until a big bikepacking trip is in order.

Trek 1120 review, bikepacking

When considering 1120 as a quiver killer, the main thing that it has going for it is its relatively steep seat tube, low BB, big cushy tires, and of course, the short chainstay. As mentioned, at 425mm it’s only a hair longer than that of the Stache. However, the relatively steep head tube doesn’t exactly match. I personally would have preferred it a little slacker than 70°. That said, even with the Stranglehold dropout in the back position, the bike felt surprisingly stable during the few occasions I took it rack-free down local descents, such as the Black Mountain Trail and Ridgeline. The 1120 felt generally comfortable and capable for a rigid bike, which usually means slowing things down anyways. I don’t think this is a do-it-all bike for mountain bikers who have a discerning palate when it comes to trail geometry, but it’s certainly capable. It’s also worth noting that if you were planning on swapping a suspension fork when not in bikepacking mode, you could theoretically employ a Cane Creek Angleset to make that HTA a little slacker.

As far as the frame material, the Trek 1120 frame is welded from Trek’s own Alpha Platinum Aluminum. As Skyler found with the Kona Big Honzo, it’s hard to pinpoint the difference between aluminum and steel when there are 3” tires separating the frame from the bumps. The bike is stiff. And it’s also very light. The combination of these two traits makes it feel pretty responsive for a 29+ bike.

One thing I’ve always hated about aluminum is that ‘tink’ sound that randomly happens when a seatpost or something else is loose. Steel is far more dull and less obtrusive, and carbon just sounds like something is creaking. Aluminum can kind of be unnerving, IMO. I noticed the tink a couple of times on the 1120. Not sure exactly where it was coming from, but it went away after a while. With aluminum, it always helps to keep bolts and fittings greased and tight.

  • Trek 1120 review
  • Trek 1120 review

Ryan: As a newcomer to the plus tire world, I was amazed at how the tires absorb much of the small trail chatter. Cruising over small roots and rocks was a breeze and as long as I kept up momentum, the bike felt as if it would roll over most anything.

The more upright position, rigid fork and backswept handlebars are certainly features that lean more towards an off-road adventure bike than a trail slaying ninja like it’s bigger brother, the Stache. The bike does have a more nimble feel than I expected and handled a smorgasbord of terrain with a fair amount of ease.

The 20mm longer chainstays [while in the back position as we kept it] and the almost 2 degree steepened head tube angle in comparison to the Stache give the bike a much more stable feel, one that also provides more comfort on longer days in the saddle.

  • Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking
  • Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking
  • Trek 1120 Review, Bikepacking

Trek 1120 review

  • Trek 1120 review
  • Trek 1120 review

Build Kit

A few other frame highlights include a tapered head tube, internal derailleur and dropper post routing, and Trek’s own Stranglehold dropouts which allows the chain stay length to be fine tuned from 525-540mm. According to Trek, this also means that you could run a compatible 12 x 142 Rohloff hub.

The Trek 1120’s build, as expected, has a selection of Bontranger components. However, Trek made some nice choices in the bike’s bombproof drivetrain featuring mostly Shimano SLX components with a wide-range 11-46 11spd cassette paired with a RaceFace 30t chainring. This provides a granny gear with about 19.9 gear inches for loaded travel even with the voluminous 29×3″ Chupacabra tires.

There were a couple components I didn’t like. First off the Bontrager Crivitz handlebars… Unlike a lot of folks, I am just not a comfort/sweep bar convert. Even if I were, at 690mm, these bars aren’t wide enough. I am also not sold on the Sun Ringle Rims/Chupacabra combo. Both are fine while riding. While they came set up tubeless, I broke the seal when testing the new Wolf Tooth tire lever tool. It was not easy to reset the bead, to say the least. That leads me to think the tolerance isn’t quite tight enough on the rim, or the Chupa is off. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please leave a comment.

The spec also might be a little confusing to some. On one hand, with an innovative rack system, sweep bars, distance-oriented geometry, and loads of mounts, this bike is without a doubt a dirt-road touring machine that on the outset screams for big adventure in far off places. However, I would argue that the out of the box components don’t speak the same language. The dropper post, 28-spoke wheels, PF bottom bracket, and hydraulic brakes are odd choices for such endeavors. The latter is not much of a concern these days (especially for weeks or month long trips), and the other two can be remedied (if the PF BB is a concern, check out Wheels’ threaded options). On the flipside, with a short chainstay, hydro brakes, and a dropper post, the 1120 has several ingredients that make it look like a trail bike. But, the steep head tube angle and comfort handlebars don’t quite seal the deal. Nevertheless, despite the 70° headtube, I was pleasantly surprised how well the 1120 did when unloaded on the trail. So in essence, in some ways, the parts match the bike, and in others they don’t.

Here is the full build list.

Wheels

  • Front Hub Bontrager sealed bearing, alloy axle, Boost110
  • Rear Hub Bontrager alloy, Boost148
  • Rims SUNringle Duroc 50 SL 28-hole
  • Tires Bontrager Chupacabra, Tubeless Ready, Inner Strength sidewalls, aramid bead, 29×3.00″

Drivetrain

  • Shifters Shimano SLX M7000, 11 speed
  • Rear derailleur Shimano SLX M7000, Shadow Plus
  • Crank Race Face Aeffect, 30T Direct Mount Narrow Wide
  • Bottom bracket PF92
  • Cassette Shimano SLX M7000, 11-46, 11 speed
  • Chain Shimano HG-601

Components

  • Saddle Bontrager Montrose Comp
  • Seatpost Bontrager Drop Line 125, internal routing, 31.6mm (15.5: Drop Line 100)
  • Handlebar Bontrager Crivitz, 31.8mm
  • Grips Bontrager Race Lite, lock-on
  • Stem Bontrager Elite, 31.8mm, 7 degree, w/computer & light mounts
  • Headset Integrated, cartridge bearing, sealed, 1-1/8” top, 1.5” bottom
  • Brakes SRAM Level T hydraulic disc

Pros

  • The front rack and fork are unparallelled and offer several major advantages over typical handlebar mounted bags. Plus the fork is quite nice with two sets of triple bosses.
  • With racks, this size large Trek 1120 — set up tubeless — weighs 29.4lbs… incredible for a big-footed bike with two chunky, well built racks.
  • A well conceived geometry leaning more toward distance dirt tourer.
  • Good choice of drivetrain components for bikepacking and dirt touring.
  • Rear rack and harness system are a nice way to add a little more volume compared to a typical seat pack… all while slightly lowering the center of gravity. And it’s rock solid.

Cons

  • The PressFit bottom bracket will likely be one of the biggest gripes about this bike. But, as mentioned in the Norco Search XR review, there are ways around this being a risky (or squeaky) affair.
  • Playing the devil’s advocate, the aluminum frame will likely be the second con. While it’s not as vibration dampening and repairable as steel, it’s certainly lightweight.
  • The frame triangle doesn’t quite jive with size large universal fit frame bags. The best bet is a custom bag if you want a frame pack.
  • I would prefer a rigid seatpost and a price closer to $2k. But, considering you get two racks, the harnesses, and don’t necessarily need any bikepacking bags, it’s actually not a bad deal.
  • If it were up to me, the front-end would be a little slacker.
  • Size Tested Large (19.5″)
  • Weight (as tested with tacks) 29.41lbs (13.34kg)
  • Rider Height/Weight 6’0″/170lbs (1.83m/77kg)
  • Place of Manufacture Taiwan
  • Price $2499.00
  • Manufacturer’s Details Trek

Wrap Up

Ryan: The Trek 1120 is a great bike for off-road excursions and anywhere you could use a little extra float, think sandy desert arroyos or loose trails. It’s comfortable, stable and provides a solid platform for strapping gear and a low center of gravity to keep you in control. I’m not sure this is the do-all bike that Trek states on the website, however it does provide a very stable off road touring option that can take you off the beaten path without having to invest in a plethora of specific bikepacking bags.

As Ryan mentioned, I’m not sold on the idea that this is a perfect do-all bike. Although Trek doesn’t necessarily claim it as such, they certainly based the build kit and spec around the idea that it’s both a dirt-road expedition bike and a modern trail bike. But, I’m afraid this approach makes the 1120 fall short at the extreme definition of each. That being said, with a few minor tweaks the 1120 can be adjusted to serve either purpose.

Ultimately, Trek’s rack systems are very smart and well executed. This is what will sell this bike. The front rack and fork is spot on. And as some riders can’t quite get their pack list down to the standard kit, or others need bigger kits or space for more water, or smaller riders need an alternative packing option, the 1120’s harness system and rear rack provides a very innovative, functional and solid solution.

When I started testing this bike the first thing that came to mind was The Baja Divide… or other such long-distance, sandy, water-starved bikepacking routes. For such trips 29+ tires are the perfect choice. And having all the gear you need on the two racks frees up five bottle mounts for water storage. The Trek 1120 begs for such pursuits. Out of the four bikes I currently have at my disposal, if I were to head out on the Baja Divide tomorrow, I’d happily swap the handlebars, saddle and seatpost, and set out with the 1120.

43 Comments
  • Kyle Trebotich

    I bought this bike last December (merry xmas to me!) and I absolutely love it. I agonized for a long time comparing not the ECR, but the Krampus. I wanted a 29+ platform that was for sure, but I wanted something to rip on singletrack and (as you suggest as an ideal ride) the Baja Divide. I eventually settled on the 1120 for a few reasons. 1. I LOVE the fit. I’m 6’2″ with a relatively short inseam but a long reach. The standover on this is super accommodating and the reach is long as I like it. I ended up with the 21.5″. 2. The rack system: really well executed. I love the simplicity of being able to use rolltop bags. Eliminating the bumblebee butt of seatpost bags is a dream. 3. Singletrack versatility: although you may not sing its praises here, I thoroughly enjoy the 1120 unloaded. Inspired by your Gila River Ramble route, my buddy and I went out to tackle it a few weeks ago. Had an amazing time, but ended up having to duck out in Superior due to us making really crappy time. Rather than leave AZ back home to Chicago, we decided to spend the rest of our time riding at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Pitched our tents and left our gear behind. Had an absolute blast on the singletrack there. The dropper post came in handy not only on the singletrack, but there are really technical switchback descents on the AZT. The dropper came in with the clutch, combined with the really tight (no bumblebee sway!) rack system. Was an absolute dream. Thanks for your write up dudes! Exciting to see a more experienced opinion on the 1120. Top tip I didn’t see addressed though… the front rack holds a six pack with a cargo net perfectly, and the bag holsters in the rear fit growlers like a glove.

  • Andre Gumilang Tukiran Putera

    How abt putting dropbars on it?

  • Could work. It has a higher stack than something like the Sutra LTD… but about 30mm lower than the Fargo (for that reason, I’d do the Fargo if I really wanted drop bars… but that’s personal fit preference),

  • Nice tips. Glad to hear you made it out on the Gila… such a beautiful route. Thanks for the feedback!

  • For a boosted carbon fork with triple bottle bosses have a look at the Prong fork by Travers in the UK.

  • mikeblodgett

    would it be possible to put a 1120 fork on a trek stache?

  • Yes…. but, the Stache is specced with a 120mm 29+ Pike. I can’t find its AC height on a quick search, but the 110mm 29+ Pike has an 533mm ACH. So, assuming the AC height of the 120 is around 545mm, putting the 1120 fork on it will effectively steepen the head tube angle and lower the BB. Not necessarily a bad thing though…

  • Ah yes, thanks.

  • mikeblodgett

    thanks for the answer and research. I am a huge fan of the website.

  • The reach on the 1120 is designed around flat bars (451mm on the 19.5), and therefore mostly way too long for drop bars. You’d have to size down to get anywhere near a short enough reach to work with a reasonable stem length. The ECR’s 420mm reach is ~30mm less in an equivalent seat tube; more doable for a drop bar conversion, but still on the long side. The Sutra LTD that Logan mentions has geometry designed around drop bars, with reach numbers in the 390-400mm range.

  • Kevin

    I bought this bike a few months ago. I took it out bikepacking for the first time in 7 degree weather and snowing. I left the bike pretty much stocked with the exception of the grips. I added Ergon GS1 grips. The bike handled excellent in 3-4 inches of snow on a gravel road and some single track. I personally liked the dropper post but it was my first time using the dropper post. I did add Salsa anything cage to both sides of the front fork. Used the Ortlieb frame bag 4L in the middle, but since I have ordered a custom triangle bag from Rogue Panda (they have the measurements for a 17.5 Trek 1120) for some added room. I used Sea to Summit 8L dry bags in the rear and 4L Sea to Summit on the front fork. A Ortlieb handlebar bag in the front and SOL tarp on the top of the rear rack. With that as I was loading things I had plenty of room and made me feel like I was forgetting something. I am not sold on the handlebars but I still have them on there for now, not bad but still I need to get use to them. The saddle I did not like the one that came with it so I am trying a few different ones now. The wheels were easy to setup tubeless but not sure if because of 28 spokes, they do not feel real solid, however I had no issues to date with them. Time will tell. The racks are great and lots of mount points. I now added a 64 oz Kleen Kanteen to the bottom tube and used Wolf Tooth B-Rad to make room for tire clearance. Overall I am happy with the bike but need to go out and do something epic on the backcountry. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/98060071e6f27e59f577ac3bce43a84d20de378c56f6038bcdc0a57ef8702ce6.jpg

  • Seems like the 120mm 29+ Pike has a 543mm AC, unsagged. The 1120 fork is 510mm. Using 20% sag as a baseline, the Stache comes out at about 519mm for comparison’s sake.

    Considering a rigid fork doesn’t lower the BB more in use, I would feel very comfortable using an 1120 fork on a Stache. Definitely better than the aftermarket Bontrager Bowie fork at 495mm.

    Using these same calculations in the other direction, a 100-120mm fork would work well on the 1120. Using a 120mm fork would slacken the static head angle by about 1.5º, but would also put the BB height above that of the Stache.

  • sure thing. I typed it in a hurry on the way out the door, so see @disqus_g2KMtHTS0V:disqus’s comment for more thorough explanation. Also, it’s worth noting that – I just found out — The 1120 fork was in fact was designed to be used on the Stache and the shorter AC height would in effect result in a Stache that is closer in geometry to the 1st generation Stache. This, according to Trek, strikes a good compromise between the steeper 1st generation Stache and the 2nd gen Stache geometry (lower, slacker).

  • martin

    Thank you for that great review! One of that standard questions: how tall are you both and how the 19,5 frame is fitting? Thanks in advance.

  • Plusbike Nerd

    I am disappointed that the bike came with very wide i45mm (i = internal width) rims. With narrower i32mm rims (like the Sun-Ringle Duroc 35’s), you could reasonably mount up tires from 2.3-3.0in wide and save some rim weight also. With a very light, fast-rolling set of 2.3in tires, this bike would make a fine gravel bike. Switch to wider tires for bikepacking and mountain biking. It’s really sweet when your rig can do triple duty as a mountain, bikepacking, and gravel bike. With the i45mm rims you’re limited to 2.8-3.0 wide tires. Just because the original Krampus’s and ECR’s came with i45mm rims doesn’t mean that they are ideal. A narrower rim provides the opportunity for many more tire width options and more options have become available in 2.5in, 2.6in and 2.8in wide tires. I’ve been running 29×3.0in tires on i35mm rims for a couple of years and they work great but, when these tires wear out I’m going to try 2.6’s. The rack systems is total rad and with only four simple bolts, each rack could easily be removed when your not bikepacking.

  • Skyler

    Some Surly Extraterrestrial 2.5s would pair just fine with the 45mm rims, I suspect, for more gravel road riding.

  • ronan carter

    I was admiring the closeups of the racks and thought, anyone with some files, a blowtorch, pipe bender and a drill could in theory bend up, mitre and braze similar racks based on their bikes mounting options, particularly any bike with braze ons for canti’s and a rear rack could copy this perfectly while the front would rely on brazing a nut to a steerer spacer for the top mount then the bottom bolting to the front rack bolts, or any other method like hose clamps and tape for suspension forks

  • V-twin

    You know the saying, “if it were that easy, everybody would be doing it..”?

  • Awesome review, was really waiting to read it here. Thanks for fork and front rack part numbers, I will try to get those for my Farley.

    I believe 1120 can be a great bikepacking bike for those who want to do more backcountry exloration with non-technical trail riding involved. Duroc rims are affordable and solid. There are little options for 29″ 50mm alloy rims and Durocs considered among the best with plenty of feedback from riders. Same for the Chupacabra’s – these are fast-rolling tyres great for dirt riding. Bontrager/Sunringle SRX hubs aren’t awesome but decent. BB can be easily upgraded to recently introduced SRAM Dub BB. I would upgrade Sram Level T brakes to Guides with SwingLink because Level T/TL brakes have pads sitting very close to the rotor and thus have clearance and rubbing issues, especially in wet or muddy conditions.

  • Martin, I’m 5’10” and although at first I was thinking it might be a bit big, it actually fit really well.

  • I’m 6′ even and it fits me well; although it felt a little small at first with the stem angled down. I would guess that if you are over 6’1″ you might think about the next size.

  • The front rack is interesting but what’s the ‘innovation’ of that specific rear rack over a more traditional one? Back in the day when I built up the Fargo Mk1 and seat packs where still a pretty niche thing I just mounted a Tubus Vega and strapped a standard dry bag on top. Worked pretty well and compared to the 1120’s rack the Tubus has a bigger load capacity, is lighter and more versatile (I could always opt for traditional panniers for regular touring). If my current bike had rack mount eyelets I think I would go back to that setup…

  • ronan carter

    Very good point, I often wonder if home made custom racks could take off in the bikepacking world

  • The innovation is in the harness system that holds two 8L dry bags higher up and angled to allow more maneuverability (and still allows a dry bag to be strapped atop the rack). It also holds them extremely tightly which is quite different than two loose, hook-on panniers.

  • V-twin

    “Thanks for fork and front rack part numbers, I will try to get those for my Farley.”

    Unfortunately they won’t fit. The frame and fork of the 1120 have unique mounts to accept the racks.

  • I believe they should fit without issues. Front rack is mounted to the fork only, not frame. And the fork is basically a standard tapered boost fork with mounts.

  • martin

    thank you very much!

  • JRobertM

    I realize this may be a silly question, but what is the tube diameter of the rear rack? I’m wondering if with the little braze-ons to keep the rear harness from slipping, one might be able to use small ortlieb panniers and adjusting the attachment clips so that they rest on the braze-ons. Of course the pannier would be at an angle, but if the adjustable tabs fit the spacing I don’t see too much of an issue, especially if the trip itself were on well maintained gravel and dirt roads. I really enjoy technology, but as an outdoor professional, I really have an issue with accumulating too much gear and want to employ a “use what I’ve got” strategy. Has anyone tried panniers on this rack?

  • I very seriously doubt this would work, to be honest. It seems like it wouldn’t be big enough and might even stress the racks out. Keep in mind that the harnesses come with the bike and the rack, so it’s not like you have to buy anything else.

  • Jesse Hawk

    Have been drooling over this bike for a while now. I finally saw one in person at a shop the weekend just before this review came out. Seeing it in person and reading this review sealed the deal for me! Bike arrived yesterday and I’m looking forward to taking it out in the snow this weekend to see how 29+ does vs fatbike on fairly packed singletrack. Got plans for lots of trips with the misses this summer as well, can’t wait!

  • Mike

    Had a similar experience on the Gila. Those were some looooonnng desert miles.

  • Nuno Castro Brazão

    Hello Kevin, I can see that you have the front cage for bags fitted to the front fork. Which brand is it, is it from TREK? Or another brand?
    Thank you, best regards
    Nuno

  • Kevin

    Hello Nuno. I am using Salsa Anything cage with Sea to Summit 4L dry bags. To secure them I am using Voile straps, not sure the size but I believe 20″. Hope this helps.

  • xyrandus

    I had the same wheel/tyre combo stock on my 2017 Stache. It was my first time doing a tubeless setup and I was amazed how easy it was, got a seat first time with a track pump without adding any tape or anything.

    The wheels definitely aren’t that strong, I’ve broken two spokes so far. But I blame at least half of that on the bike being so damn fun to get airborne!

  • Stephen Poole

    After doing a little bikepacking on the Stache, the 1120 seems like a really good idea! There’s very little room between the tyres and seat rails/bars for bags on the Stache, and this fixes things at both ends. At the rear I had frequent contact between the Revelate Terrapin and tyre (tyre to saddle rails = 225mm), but surprisingly no contact at the front – only because the fork didn’t reach full travel. Also, I think it’s a lot easier to cinch up a Viscacha tightly enough to stop movement and deformation due to better strap placement than the Terrapin; on the latter, making the dry bag removable compromises strap and buckle placement a bit. No big deal if you’ve got plenty of clearance, but on a Stache or small frame…

  • JRobertM

    Thanks Logan! One last question: what size Superwedgie is that?

  • That’s the small…

  • Minh Trương

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dcbf167a69f27d9b17a0fd1e54322757585af2deaa715074a74c35f28382cca3.jpg
    It’s my 1120 and I’am really satisfied with it.
    Greeting from VN.

  • David Hernandez

    Has anyone who owns this bike had any issue with the rear rack being off center? Got mine early this week and for starters the rack was difficult to attach. Once on, though it cleared both sides of the tire, a little outward pressure caused the drive side of the tire to rub the rack. That was only while testing on a local trail and unloaded, but I could get rub on almost any corner. Seems the mounts on the rack itself are not squared up to those on the bike. I did make sure the dropouts where both even and all that jazz… just curious if anyone else has had this issue and maybe I’m missing something. Besides that issue, the bike is fantastic, love the way it handels on the trail so far unloaded. The full squish may sit in the garage a little longer than its used to.

  • Nick Trombetta

    Curious if anyone has swapped the stock bars for drops?

  • Richard Wolf

    I set up my Stache 5 with the 1120’s rear rack. Used p clamps and hose clamps to attach it. Super solid and works great! Have hundreds of bikepacking miles on it.
    I ran my Stache rigid for a while since that is the way it came and while I liked some aspects of it I much prefer a suspension fork for not only trail riding but bikepacking. I did the White Rim in a day thing last year with my rigid 29er bike and it beat me up. Bikepacking demands long days on the bike and multi day efforts. A suspension fork (and for me a thudbuster) makes and keeps the bike plush and comfortable.
    You can order the rear rack from any trek dealer.

  • Interesting. Post a pic of how you used the clamps, if you don’t mind…

  • Richard Wolf