Trek’s new Supercaliber XC race weapon is on track for glory at the MTB World Champs

The Trek Supercaliber viewed from the side on a trail
The new Supercaliber looks familiar, but sports new geometry and lots more (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Trek’s Generation 2 Supercaliber might not look new, but Jolanda Neff, Evie Richards, Vlad Dascalu, Maddie Munro, Riley Amos and Anton Cooper will actually be racing a totally new, lighter, longer travel, slacker geometry bike in the World Champs this week.


Supercaliber Gen 1 has already got a World Championships and an Olympic Gold in it’s resume as well as multiple World Cup and National Champs wins, but it was starting to show its age. 

Like most recent race bike introductions, the new version gets slacker (by 1.5 degrees from 69 to 67.5 degrees) at the head angle and reach is increased slightly to 460mm (size large) and chainstays lengthen slightly too. The seat angle stays at 74.5 degrees, as test riders kept pushing the saddle back to slacken the angle on any prototypes they made steeper. In fact, the whole geometry was kept middling rather than mad, so it didn’t cause the Trek Factory Racing riders any biometric issues when they swapped from the original Supercaliber to Gen 2. The bottom bracket does come up slightly though as travel is boosted from 60mm to 80mm and it’s cleared to run 100 and 120mm travel forks – as well as the 110mm default length.

Trek Supercaliber G2 detail riding shot

More travel and slacker angles mean the G2 Supercaliber is ready to send it harder on modern XCO and XCC tracks (Image credit: GuyKesTV)


Not only does the unique IsoStrut shaft shock, partly recessed in the top tube, now have a longer stroke (45mm) to give more travel, but the leverage ratio is increased (from 1.7/1.8 to 2.0). That makes it more sensitive at the start and more progressive at the end. The IsoStrut is now a RockShox unit (rather than the previous Fox version with a 38mm diameter) to allow the use of Zeb fork hardware with modified SIDLuxe guts. Sag markers make the low pressure setup easier too and while pedaling is super efficient anyway, there’s a TwistLock Ultimate remote lockout if you need it.

If you’re wondering what the whole point of IsoStrut is, Trek’s design team told me that having the ‘shock’ as a structural member that’s fixed at both ends increases overall frame stiffness significantly. While the Isostrut is 130g heavier than a SIDLuxe shock with the same stroke, the overall design is over 200g lighter than the conventional rear ABP pivot and rocker linkage design of the Top Fuel according to the Trek development team.

The main pivot has also moved up 10mm to give more anti-squat so that racers using bigger chainrings don’t get a depressingly mushy feel. The frame is cleared for use with up to 38-tooth chainrings and while none of the complete bikes get a power meter, SRAM’s XX SL unit will fit even in the narrowest 168mm Q factor format.

According to Trek, staying with an extra wide PF92 press fit bottom bracket increases stiffness significantly for no weight gain as the downtube, seat tube and main pivot are all be wider and more rigid.

Trek Supercaliber G2 IsoStrut Shock

IsoStrut is now RockShox not Fox and longer stroke gives 80mm of travel but the anchored shaft and seat stay slider principle is the same (Image credit: Trek Bicycle)

Supercalorie counting

The whole frame has also been subtly reshaped based on multiple modelling processes and experience learned with the first bikes. A higher performance carbon composite has been used in places, the Knock Block steering limiter has gone and there’s no internal control trunking on the lightest SLR model.

That adds up to a claimed painted frame with fixtures weight of 1,950g – which is a 200g weight saving over the previous Supercaliber frame and 235g over the SL frame used on the entry level Supercaliber 9.7 and 9.6. That brings in the flagship SLR 9.9 XX AXS version I’ve been testing in at 9.75kg for a size large without pedals.   

With full SRAM XX SL Transmission, 1,245g Bontrager Kovee RSL wheels with the new St Anne race tires, all in one Bontrager RSL carbon cockpit and carbon railed Aelous saddle Trek have gone all out on lightweight spec though. Good to see it’s a realistic race package with a Fox Transfer Factory dropper, however, rather than the rigid post silliness of recent Specialized and Cervelo XC race bike releases.

Trek Supercaliber G2 9.9 SLR

The flagship SLR 9.9 comes in Shimano XTR / Fox fork and SRAM XX / RockShox fork versions (Image credit: Trek Bicycles)

Trek Supercaliber Gen 2 first ride spoiler alert

If you’re wanting to know what all this evolution translates to on the trail, we’ll be posting a full first ride review very soon.

As a spoiler though, the extra anti-squat, lower weight and outstanding stiffness gives it phenomenal aggressive pedaling, climbing and accelerating performance. The slacker geometry and extra travel also makes it a lot smoother and less sketchy on more technical trails. The inverted all-in-one carbon cockpit and tiny 2.1in tires, dictated by the SID SL fork, mean it definitely feels like a dedicated race bike rather than the increasing trail bike vibes some high velocity racers are sending out. While they’re sized in situ for each bike, the Zeb bushings also require a decent amount of bedding in time to start smoothing out – just like they do on the fork. Otherwise complete bike prices, weights and headline specs are below.

Trek Supercaliber G2 9.6 pack shot

The range starts with the 9.6 SL with Recon fork and an SLX / Deore parts mix (Image credit: Trek Bicycles)

Trek Supercaliber G2 Specs

  • Trek Supercaliber 9.9 SLR XX AXS: $11,699 / £11,499, weight 9.45kg (claimed), RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork, SRAM XX SL AXS, 2.2in tires, Kovee RSL wheels 
  • Trek Supercaliber 9.9 SLR XTR: $9,549.99 / £10,999, weight 9.75kg (claimed), Fox Factory 34 SC fork, Shimano XTR, 2.4in tires, Kovee RSL wheels
  • Trek Supercaliber 9.9 SLR X0 AXS: $8,999 / £8,999, weight 11kg (claimed), RockShox SID fork, SRAM X0 AXS, 2.4in tires, Kovee Pro  30 wheels
  • Trek Supercaliber 9.8 SLR GX AXS: $7,349 / £7,199, weight 11.28kg (claimed), RockShox SID fork, SRAM GX AXS, 2.4in tires, Kovee Elite 30 wheels
  • Trek Supercaliber 9.8 SLR XT: $6,999 / £6,799, weight 10.95kg (claimed), Fox 34 SC fork, Shimano XT, 2.4in tires, Kovee Elite 30 wheels
  • Trek Supercaliber SL 9.7: $5,699 / £5,699, weight 11.8kg (claimed), RockShox Reba RL fork, SRAM GX AXS Eagle  2.4in tires, Kovee Comp 25 wheels
  • Trek Supercaliber SL 9.6: $4,199 / £4149, weight 13.1kg (claimed) ,RockShox Recon Gold fork, Shimano SLX/Deore, 2.4in tires, Kovee Comp 23 wheels
Guy Kesteven

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since we launched in 2019. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Forbidden Druid V2, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg