Trek 1120 Review| Custom Racks For Unbeaten Tracks

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First published in Issue 124 of Singletrack Magazine, this Trek 1120 was reviewed as part of our Long Haulers test of bikes with racks. For when you really want to carry everything and the kitchen sink.

Words by Antony de Heveningham. Photos by James Vincent.

Probably the closest thing the bicycle world has to a cult standard is the 29+ wheel. They’ve never really caught on outside a small audience, but the bikes they adorn have always enjoyed fierce loyalty. One such machine is Trek’s Stache, a 29+ hardtail that caused quite a stir when it was released back in 2015. It might not have torn up the rulebook, but it gave the pages a good crumpling and won the affections of riders who wanted to play one day and race the next.

Trek 1120
In case you didn’t notice the racks, they’re orange.

Trek’s success with the Stache has given it the confidence to introduce more 29+ bikes into their line-up. The Trek 1120 fuses the Stache with one of Trek’s burly tourers, with a product that will either have you planning an adventure, or uttering a sigh of resignation and quickly flicking to the next article. Assuming you’re still here, let’s take a closer look.

The Trek 1120 has an alloy frame, hydroformed in an angular ‘I can’t believe it’s not carbon’ style. Plugged into the head tube is a rigid carbon fork with an aluminium steerer and crown, and the front rack attaches to this via four M6 bolts. The fork legs also feature three-bolt mounts for cargo cages such as Salsa’s Anything Cage.

The frame’s front triangle has two more sets of three-bolt cage mounts (which also work with regular bottle cages) and a two-bolt mount in the seat tube for good measure.

The rear rack attaches relatively near the top of the seatstays, although there are additional mounts for a regular rack near the dropouts. There are also fixings for mudguards, if you can find any with enough tyre clearance.

The frame bosses take a mix of M6 and M5 bolts, which should be relatively easy to find replacements for. However, it would be nice if the bolts were all the same thread – this would enable you to cannibalise a replacement from elsewhere on the bike if you lost one on the trail.

Trek 1120
Loaded

The L-shaped front rack is rated to 7kg and designed to take bulky items in a dry bag, but I also found a large Carradice saddlebag mounted up nicely. There are some metal nubbins on the rear of the rack that help locate luggage straps, and two rubber bumpers on the sides that may or may not save your frame’s downtube in the event of a hard crash.

The rear rack is rated to 15kg, and works in tandem with two specially designed holsters, which are included with the bike. These are made from a tough rubberised material, and hold a medium-sized dry bag. Webbing straps loop around the back of the rack and secure using aluminium hooks. There’s a large range of adjustment, and the holsters are designed so that the weight sits lower than conventional panniers, while keeping plenty of heel clearance. You can also strap additional gear to the top of the rack, which tilts forward slightly to keep everything secure.

The racks feel reassuringly overbuilt. The do add around a kilo to the weight of the bike, but they’re easy to remove for unladen riding. The fork and front rack are also available separately if you want to mule up your existing bike.

While it would be easy to describe the 1120 as a Stache with racks, the frame has had a few tweaks too. The head and seat angle are steeper, the BB is lower and the chainstays are longer (although they’re still on the short side for a tourer). The sliding dropouts allow you to adjust the wheelbase by 20mm or so, which could be useful if you want a more stable feel, or even to run the bike singlespeed.

The 29x3in Bontrager Chupacabra tyres may look like the sort of thing that CERN fires particles around, but they weigh in at under a kilo each and are tubeless-ready. They’re mounted on tubeless-compatible 48mm SUNRinglé Düroc rims laced to own-brand cartridge bearing hubs: all fairly sensible parts, although I’d politely question the decision to go with 28-spoke wheels on a bike that’s designed to be an ultra-reliable load carrier.

Elsewhere on the frame there’s a sensible mix of internal and external cable routing, and a kinked downtube should you wish to fit a suspension fork. The 1120 also comes with a 125mm Bontrager Drop Line post as standard. We’ve had some issues with the durability of Bontrager’s droppers in the past, and regular maintenance is advised, although it does have straightforward cable-operated internals and a nice solid lever.

The controls are attached to a fairly narrow set of Bontrager Crivitz handlebars, which have a swept-back shape that encourages a relaxed upright riding position. Unusually for this day and age when bikes seem to come with components from one stable, Trek has specced a Shimano SLX cassette and shifter, a Race Face crank and SRAM brakes. The drivetrain offers a 30T x 46T bottom gear, which should be low enough for most riders. Trek has also opted for a press-fit bottom bracket and although ours was trouble-free, aspiring world travellers may want to look at a conversion option.

The Ride

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Trek 1120 Specification

  • Frame // Alpha Platinum Aluminium
  • Fork // 1120 Adventure HCM Carbon
  • Hubs // Bontrager Alloy, 110x15mm front & 148x12mm rear
  • Rims // SUNringlé //ACCENT// Düroc//ACCENT// 50 SL 28-hole
  • Tyres // Bontrager Chupacabra, Tubeless Ready, 29×3.00in
  • Chainset // Race Face Aeffect, 30T Direct Mount Narrow Wide
  • Rear Mech // Shimano SLX M7000, Shadow Plus
  • Shifters // Shimano SLX M7000, 11-speed
  • Cassette // Shimano SLX M7000, 11-46, 11-speed
  • Brakes // SRAM Level T hydraulic disc
  • Stem // Bontrager Elite, 31.8 mm
  • Bars // Bontrager Crivitz, 31.8 mm
  • Grips // Bontrager Race Lite, lock-on
  • Seatpost // Bontrager Drop Line 125 (100 on 15.5in size)
  • Saddle // Bontrager Montrose Comp
  • Size Tested // 17.5 in
  • Sizes available // 15.5, 17.5, 19.5, 21.5
  • Claimed Weight // 14.17kg/31.24lbs

Review Info

Brand:Trek
Product:1120
From:Trek
Price:£2400
Tested:by Antony de Heveningham for 3 months

Antony de Heveningham

Singletrack Contributor

Antony was a latecomer to the joys of riding off-road, and he’s continued to be a late adopter of many of his favourite things, including full suspension, dropper posts, 29ers, and adult responsibility. At some point he decided to compensate for his lack of natural riding talent by organising maintenance days on his local trails. This led, inadvertently, to writing for Singletrack, after one of his online rants about lazy, spoilt mountain bikers who never fix trails was spotted and reprinted on this website during a particularly slow news week.

Now based just up the road from the magazine in West Yorkshire, he’s expanded his remit to include reviews and features as well as rants. He’s also moved on from filling holes in the woods to campaigning for changes to the UK’s antiquated land access laws, and probing the relationship between mountain biking and the places we ride.

He’s a firm believer in bringing mountain biking to the people, whether that’s through affordable bikes, accessible trails, enabling technology, or supportive networks. He’s also studied sustainable transport, and will happily explain to anyone who’ll listen why the UK is a terrible place for everyday utility cycling, even though it shouldn’t be.

If that all sounds a bit worthy, he’s also happy to share tales of rides gone awry, or delicate bike parts burst asunder by ham-fisted maintenance. Because ultimately, there are enough talented professionals in mountain bike journalism, and it needs more rank amateurs.

Comments (4)

    Is the 3″ tyre the maximum this frame will take or is there room for a bit bigger?

    Out of all of this niche W*nk I strangely covet that bike. I have no idea why..

    Bontrager Chupacabra’s = dentist/doctors bill.

    @jobro – I haven’t eyeballed a set of 29×3.25″ tyres so I don’t know how much bigger they measure up in the flesh. I did try the bike with tougher, grippier tyres but I didn’t feel like the trade-off in weight and rolling resistance was worth it, particularly with a load on board.

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