The Trek Skye SLX impressed with its tuned fork and wheels size specific approach in the £750 women's category in the Hardtail of the Year test
Trek takes a wheelsize-specific approach to the Skye range. As such, the two smaller sizes get 27.5in wheels, while the 17in and 18.5in bikes roll on bigger 29in wheels. At 5ft 4in we ended up on the 15.5in frame running 27.5in (650b) wheels.
The suspension is also tuned with size in mind; there’s a lightweight spring in the RockShox XC32 fork to suit smaller riders.
It was also the only bike in the test that didn’t require cutting down the seatpost in order to fully drop the saddle for descending — curved seat tubes and bottle-cage bosses on the other bikes all necessitated the services of a hacksaw.
A standout feature on the Trek is its weight or, more accurately, the lack of it. Even with the coil-sprung fork it was still the lightest on test. There is a quality feel to the ride of the frame too, and the suspension fork felt incredibly supple, sucking up bumps big and small alike.
The Trek Skye felt remarkably small, despite the fact we’d adhered to Trek’s sizing recommendations. With less room up front, and a more upright riding position, the steering felt a little light at times.
Conversely, on descents and drops, the compact dimensions made it easier to chuck around. This extra agility meant that you could suddenly be further forward on the bike than was comfortable.
Yes, the increased visibility and comfort of the more upright riding position will inspire confidence in novice riders, but the lack of length in the frame starts to work against you on more technical terrain. As such, we’d definitely recommend going up a frame size.