With chunky tyres and a dropper seatpost, the Trek Roscoe certainly inspires confidence and boosts control
Launched back in 2019, the Trek Roscoe 6 is definitely showing signs of ageing. Yes, it’s had a fresh lick of paint and some specification updates since then, the biggest change being the addition of a dropper seat post. Other than that though, it’s essentially the same bike that now costs £1k rather than £675. But is it good enough to be added to our best hardtail mountain bikes guide?
Trek Roscoe 6 need to know:
- Massive 2.8in Kenada tyres on smaller 27.5in rims boost confidence and control
- The Trek Roscoe 6 gets a 130mm dropper post as standard
- Shimano Deore 10sp drivetrain and 11-46t cassette
- The wider 141mm Boost quick release dropouts provide extra tyre clearance
But it’s not the jump in price or the front derailleur mount that instantly date the Roscoe 6. It’s the 27.5in wheels shod with voluminous 2.8in tyres. Every other bike in this category has made the switch to 29in wheels with narrower tyres, so has Trek simply backed the wrong horse?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a closer look at the frame. Manufactured from Trek’s Alpha Gold aluminium the Roscoe comes in six unique sizes, XS though to XXL.
Dig into the number though and again the Roscoe looks dated with an elevated BB height and relatively steep head angle. It’s a good thing then that the generous reach and short chainstays have stood the test of time.
Yes, the seat angle is a little too laid back to provide an optimum position for seated climbing, but it does open up the top tube measurement so the bike feels roomy in every other situation.
Fatter tyres need fatter forks to provide the necessary clearance, so the Roscoe 6 comes with a SR Suntour XCM 32. It’s coil sprung and listed as having 120mm travel, but grease marks on the chrome steel upper tubes indicated that we never managed to get more than 100mm travel out of it.
No bad thing, as the firm spring rate helped prop up the front end and maintain better overall geometry for shredding. The Suntour fork also has no rebound damping adjustment, so limiting its movement with a firmer spring is a crude, but effective way to maintain control. On the plus side, we welcomed the additional stiffness and security of the 15mm bolt-thru axle.
Like Specialized, Trek has its contact points dialled. The Bontrager Arvada saddle is firm but comfy and we can’t emphasise enough how good it is not having to stop and fiddle with a dodgy quick release seat collar every five minutes.
Yes, the action of the 130mm TranzX post feels a little crude, and it also adds at least half a kilo to the overall weight of the bike, but it’s worth it.
The balloon-like 2.8in Kenda Havok tyres, and especially the fatter inner tubes, increase the overall weight too, so combined with the wider 35mm rims the Roscoe 6 weights in a portly 15.57kg, making it the heaviest bike in test by quite some margin.
With its off trend wheel size and heavy overall build, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Roscoe 6 couldn’t hang with the cool kids. And while it’s never going to be Semenuk’s first choice in the Trek range, this bike can clearly hold its own.
With a much larger footprint, the semi-slick 2.8in Kenda Havok tyres provide tons of traction, up or down. And when you factor in the additional comfort of the bigger tyres, especially on the rear, we think bike manufacturers were too quick to turn their backs on the Plus size standard, especially for entry-level hardtails.
Granted there’s no escaping the overall weight of the bike on the climbs, but on flowing single track the reduced rolling resistance of the wider tyres more than makes up for it, by providing a faster, smoother ride with increased control, especially on more rowdy descents.
So the bigger tyres give us the confidence to ride around any shortcomings in the frame design, but there was simply no escaping the cacophony coming from the front end of the bike.
We’re not sure if it was loose bushings in the Suntour fork or the spring rattling inside the fork legs, probably a combination of both, but when combined with the cables rattling inside the downtube, there was no need for a bell as everyone could hear you coming from miles away.
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Dated it may be, but we had a total blast shredding the Trek Roscoe 6. The Plus size tyres give you the confidence to charge hard on the descents, and also manage to find traction where others falter on the climbs. Best of all, with the 130mm dropper post fitted as standard, the optimum saddle height is never more than a thumb press of a lever away. The Roscoe 6 is not without shortcomings though. It’s heavy, and the SR Suntour fork sounds like a sack of spanners from new, so we don’t hold much hope for its reliability long term. Maybe it’s time for the Roscoe to go mullet?