Trek Speed Concept 2.5 tri bike review

Sharp and comfy entry-level tri bike, but let down by its wheels

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5

(Images: Jonny Gawler)


Since 1976, there’s been no disputing the racing record of Trek. In both cycling and tri, their podium list is very impressive.

Their top-of-the-range Speed Concept 9 is a known flyer, but how much of that speed informs their entry-level tri bike?

The build

The first impression of the Trek’s frame is that it looks fast. The deep-profiled truncated tubing is right on the money with current aero thinking and carries right on up through the carbon seatpost (although, if you look a bit closer, some very ugly welding does make you question how much love has gone into building this frame).

Compatibility with the SC Speed Box on the top tube is a trickle-down bonus and the carbon fork will also accept a SpeedTrap sensor. Even on top-end bikes, we’re often left a bit cold by wheels and these ones are no exception. We’re not sure what ‘Bontrager Approved’ means exactly and, although they’re probably robust trainers, they’ve no place on a race-day-ready speedster.

The groupset is SRAM Apex and sits somewhere between Shimano 105 and Tiagra price-wise. A full compact 50/34t chainset and 11-28t cassette is novice- and hill-friendly, while the SRAM 500 TT bar-end shifters won’t disappoint. The Bontrager cockpit offers plenty of adjustability and a fairly neat front end.

The front brake is a standard non-branded road caliper, but the out-of-the-wind, chainstay-mounted rear brake is an appreciated aero touch. A long Vision Aeromax tri saddle tops off the build and should provide a comfortable aero position.

The ride

The Bontrager cockpit and variable offset seatpost make dialling in your ideal ride position easy and the Trek just about accommodated our leggy 190cm frame.

Spinning out of the village and over a couple of rises, the Trek immediately feels sharp and race-ready. Through initial tight corners up on the bullhorns, its handling immediately impresses and, rather than having to be manhandled off a straight line, it wants to corner and does so extremely well.

Settling down on the aerobars for some straight-line cruising, the rough roads mean a bit of bucking from the rear end but, for an alloy TT bike, the front-end buzz is remarkably low.

The ride position feels aero and powerful, while the Vision saddle is amazingly comfortable when perched on its nose. You genuinely get a sense of the frame slicing through the air, encouraging you to ride hard knowing that little of your effort is going to waste.

Shifting from the SRAM groupset is precise and predictable, but the shifters are a little on the stiff side. Hitting some power climbs, its nimbleness comes to the fore again. Jumping from aerobars to bullhorns, it leaps forward with impressive stiffness and power transfer. It climbs far lighter than its 9.72kg weight and performs especially well on shorter out-of-the-saddle efforts.

On longer-seated drags, there’s a dullness and lack of fizz. The finger of blame for that has to be pointed at the far-from-inspiring wheelset. Fortunately, you’ve got the spinning-friendly 34/38 bottom gear that, even with square wheels, should at least get you up any hill, even if not especially quickly.

When descending, the Trek is an absolute joy, with the speed-scrubbing power of the brakes a rather pleasant surprise. Combine that with its sharp handling and stiff acceleration out of the bends and you’ve got a bike well suited to technically challenging courses.


Handling: 87%

Sharp, nimble and remarkably road bike-like in feel.

Spec: 72%

Plenty of drip-down aero features on the tunnel-proven frame, but poor wheels.

Value: 74%

There are better on-paper deals, but would they ride as well?

Comfort: 81%

Surprisingly good for an alloy TT bike.



Contact :