Long travel and super light. Is the Trailster the trail riders secret weapon?
The Bergamont Trailster range is based around bikes with 140mm/150mm of rear wheel travel, with a geometry that emphasises a more all-mountain/enduro bias.
Ask most British riders to name a Germanic bike brand and most would answer with a brand beginning with a C or a Y. Bergamont is another Teutonic name that has probably slipped under the radar for most of us, but slowly their range of bikes is starting to make their way onto our shores. The Bergamont Trailster 10.0 that we have been spending a lot of time on has now been superseded by the Trailster Elite
Bergamont has used high modulus carbon for pretty much every part of the Trailster’s frame, even down to the linkage plates. This certainly helps towards its impressive overall weight of 12.59kg.
Bergamont has equipped the Trailster with Fox’s middle brother Float 34 suspension fork. Running at a full 150mm of travel, it’s the black-stantioned Performance model that’s present on the Trailster 10.0. This particular fork might come with the more basic Grip2 damper unit but it offers a much more user friendly three position compression adjustment. For riders just wanting to ride more and fiddle less it actually makes more sense.
Supporting and matching the fork we have a Fox Float Performance EVOL shock. Producing 150mm of travel, it provides a balanced feel to the bike, sharing as it does, a similar compression tune.
If there’s one thing that’s attractive about the Trailster 10.0, it’s the spec sheet. It has a mix of some pretty choice parts from the likes of Shimano, Rotor and Sun Ringle. Shifting duties are performed by the heavyweight Shimano XT M8000, by heavyweight we mean the function is definitely of the clunky and solid variety. It’s unusual to see Spanish company Rotor specced on the Bergamont. Their aluminium REX4 cranksets are pretty distinctive looking and provide a plenty stiff and strong platform for dealing with the sort of hammering the bike can expect. We weren’t, however, impressed with the Rotor bottom bracket as it started creaking loudly after just a few rides.
Sun Ringle Duroc wheels are some of our favourites, having scored a perfect 10 in their wider versions. An these have taken a hammering over the test period with the hubs still spinning smoothly. The same can’t be said for the rims however. For a bike designed around enduro and all-mountain use, the narrow 27mm width hasn’t withstood the battering and both wheels have needed re-tensioning. The rim width also affects the tyre performance, making the 2.35″ Maxxis Forekasters much more bulbous in profile and prone to folding at low pressures. Answer’s Pro Taper handlebar has a very comfortable position but some riders might find the 750mm width a little lacking compared to the 780mm+ usually specced on this type of bike.
Best bit of the Bergamont Trailster
The standout highlight of the spec sheet has to be the Manitou Jack dropper post. It might only have 125mm of drop but it has performed flawlessly throughout the 6 months+ the bike has been in use. The push actuated thumb lever has benefited from a little square of grip tape to make its gloss finish easier to handle but that is the only complaint. It is completely play free and despite total neglect continues to behave reliably every ride. Currently only available OE, I contacted Manitou who have implied that it might be available to buy from the new year.
The first thing that strikes you about the Trailster is how flickable and chuckable the bike feels, thanks mainly to the low weight and the responsiveness of the Sun Ringle wheels. On longer, flatter trails it’s a bike that responds well to a bit of oomph, maintain momentum is a doddle. Whereas some similar mid-travel bikes can feel a little sluggish in these situations the Trailster keeps rolling without exhausting you of energy. Take it onto steeper and more techy trails and it doesn’t feel quite as composed. Here a slight nervy feel takes over. Instead of feeling flickable it feels jittery and the shortcomings of the more basic shock dampeners come to the fore. I managed to take the bike to the rocky trails around San Remo and Finale Ligure and at times the overall feeling was like my fillings were being rattled out.
And here’s where another quandary presented itself. Despite being stiff in terms of transferring impacts the frame has a tendency to wander, with the rear triangle suffering from a touch more flex than I would really like. It felt like the rear wheel would push off line with the merest hint of an impact. This is also a by-product of the lower weight and lightweight wheels, whilst a heavier bike is less likely to be deflected off line. One issue that certain didn’t help the Trailster’s cause was the tendency of the pivot bolts to work themselves loose over the course of a ride. Most of them where an easy fix but to gain access to the main pivot bolt you need to remove the chainring. Not an easy task out on the trail. Of course Loctite will fix this but it should be something addressed at the factory.
So it might sound like I wasn’t happy with the Trailster but actually it is a pretty fun bike to ride. The geometry is pretty much bang up to date with most mid-travel bikes and in fact the reach is a touch longer than even the latest Canyon Spectral at 467mm compared to 460mm. It really likes to spend time in the air whenever possible and for most UK trails it will reward you well.
Most of the issues are with spec choices, in fact the new 2018 equivalent Trailster Elite actually addresses some of the issues such as the creaky Rotor BB and the slightly odd choice Maxxis Forecaster tyres. Replacing them with SRAM Descendent and a Maxxis Minion DHF/Aggressor combo. It also has the uprated Sun Ringle Duroc 35 wheelset with a much more appropriate 32mm inner rim width.
There's a lot to like about the Bergamont Trailster 10.0. It's a super fun bike to flick around and has a lively, playful quality. The frame does need a little regular TLC with pivot bolts loosening with frightening regularity plus it would benefit from a suspension tune with less low speed dampening. A few spec choices let this version down, but thankfully most issues have been addressed on the latest Trailster Elite version.