The Trek looks amazing and has a decent spec, it’s just a shame the frame isn’t more trail-focused

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Trek X-Calber 8 2016


  • Quality frame and spec


  • Fork is under sprung for frame size


Trek X-Caliber 8 (2016) review


Price as reviewed:


The Trek X-Caliber 8 is available in a smart wheel size, which simply means the 13.5in comes with 27.5in wheels and the larger sizes get 29in. It makes a lot of sense and more manufacturers should follow suit.

With its baby blue colour scheme and sleek alloy frame the X-Caliber 8 looks like a class act. There’s no bridge between the seatstays so it has excellent mud clearance, and Trek also fits a smaller diameter 27.2mm seatpost for more ‘give’.

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Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the saddle down very far and it got in the way when descending. We also rode most of the steep stuff with our weight too far forward, thanks to an overly long 90mm stem, steep geometry and under-sprung RockShox Recon fork.

The coil-sprung Recon comes standard with a medium coil spring, but it really needs a firm spring. We did a trawl for them online, and couldn’t find any. There’s also very little that can be done about the steep head angle and high bottom bracket.

The X-Caliber 8 gets a full SRAM 2×10 drivetrain with an upgraded GX rear derailleur, powerful Shimano Deore disc brakes and a quality set of Bontrager wheels.

Trek fits a 2.2in front tyre and a narrower 2.0in on the rear; the fatter front tyre adds grip and cushioning and the skinny rear is faster rolling and easier to accelerate.

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The Trek looks amazing and has a decent spec, it’s just a shame the frame isn’t more trail-focused.



Frame:Alpha Gold aluminium
Fork:RockShox Recon Silver, 100mm travel
Wheels:Formula hubs, Bontrager rims, Bontrager XR2 29x2.0/2.2in tyres
Drivetrain:SRAM chainset, X5 shifters and GX r-mech, X7 f-mech
Brakes:Shimano M355
Weight:13.47kg (29.70lb)
Sizes:13.5, 15.5, 17.5, 18.5, 19.5, 21.5, 23in
Size tested:19.5in