Trek 920 Ultimate Adventure Gravel Bike Review

Reviewing bikes is something I’ve always wanted to do, but reviewing a bike that’s already 3-4 years old by the time I get it usually doesn’t warrant an online review. This Trek 920; however, is my first new bike I’ve ever owned. And with it being the first new bike I’ve ever owned, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoy riding this bike. I’d even go as far as to say as it made me fall back in love with riding bikes. The Trek 920, advertised as Trek’s go-anywhere adventure touring bike, lives up to its name.

A little background on my riding style. Grew up riding BMX, like most teens. Transitioned to road riding while in college (2010) in Pennsylvania and began to take it seriously when living in New England (2014). Picked up mountain biking in 2017 while riding the rooted, hilly trails of Connecticut. Moved to Utah in 2019 and currently live in Park City, UT where rides consistently involve 2,000 vertical feet of climbing and technical/fast descents. I like to go fast both uphill and even faster downhill.

TECH SPECS

First off, this rig comes standard with 29″x2.00″ tires. For reference, your burly mountain bike is probably running tire widths of 2.20″-2.40″. So right away you’ll notice how much traction and gnarly trail you can cover with these beefy tires. Sure, they won’t roll as well as a skinny tire or a gravel tire, but those tires won’t get you into half as much adventure as these will.

Second, the drivetrain. Equipped with SRAM S7000 Shifters up front, SRAM X5 front derailleur in the middle, paired with SRAM GX rear derailleur in the back. Tied in with a 11-36 10-speed cassette, this drivetrain runs surprisingly well with minimal maintenance needed. At first, the SRAM DoubleTap shifters were hard to get used to, but after a year on the bike, I really like the technology. Plus the range on this drivetrain is pretty astounding, and much needed when you have a fully loaded bike on a tour.

Last, the frame & setup of the Trek 920. This bike was designed and built to haul your gear into the backcountry and not only survive, but thrive. Sure, you can strap anything to a bike, but if it’s not designed to carry that load, you’ll feel like the bike is going to collapse under the weight. Or worse, get weighed down by the bike before you even load it up with anything. The spec weight of this bike is a super light 28.41 lbs. Sure, heavy compared to a road bike, but it’s not that, it’s an adventure bike. And you’re road bike would snap under the impact I’ve put this thing through.

The Ride Experience

I’ll be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as a one bike quiver, but the Trek 920 being designed as the go-anywhere adventure touring bike, it comes pretty damn close. So I actually won this bike in a contest held by Outside TV Campfire Contest in October 2018. Since winning the bike, I’ve ridden it all over Park City. At first, it was just my commuter bike and used to go get groceries. But that was only because I didn’t know it’s full capabilities.

Treating this bike like a mountain bike, I’ve taken this bike on the Glenwild, Round Valley, and Utah Olympic Park singletrack, where it not only handled well, but rode surprisingly well. I’ve never climbed technical sections with such ease before due to how efficient a rigid frame bike rides. Long traversing sections were so much fun, with the monster tires eating up all of the smaller bumps allowing you to just cruise at the high altitude. Then come the descents. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s sketchy. Without front suspension, and with those drop bars, your center of gravity is really forward on the bike. Little drops and features, that you wouldn’t even notice on a mountain bike, tend to throw you for a whirl and get exciting. This is also the part where biking became fun for me again, having to really pay attention to all the line choices instead of letting my suspension eat it up. With that being said, I tend to stick to blue trails for my descents so that I don’t get into anything over my head (or go over the bars).

Riding this bike like a gravel bike, well obviously it was born for that. Just last week I rode a gravel rail trail section where this thing rolled superb and kept the tire side down in some of the looser gravel sections. The dirt felt hard to me, but I don’t think a skinny tire bike could make it very far on the trail, not without a few spills and punctures. Having the option to cruise on a gravel trail, at 15mph, chewing up miles is a unique experience and one that you simply cannot get on a road bike or mountain bike. Plus, it’s just fun to knock out your Strava climb times on gravel climbs that you normally ride with your mountain bike.

The touring capability of this bike was unparalleled to anything I’ve loaded up and ridden. Having toured around the White Mountain National park on a bike that was inefficient and weight 95 lbs fully loaded, was a nightmare to say the least. This bike was the exact opposite. I loaded it up for a bike-ski-tour micro-adventure in Park City during the early spring, and it couldn’t have ridden any better. The added weight, albeit awkward, of my ski setup was barely noticeable as I climbed the bike path trails from my home to the ski area. Even with the snow and rain that was falling, the bike braked perfectly, kept the tire side down, and didn’t have me exhausted by the time I had to click into my skis. I’ve yet to do a full bike tour with this bike, but after everything I’ve ridden on it, I can’t wait.

Conclusion

As I mentioned before, I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as a one quiver bike, but the Trek 920 gets damn close. If you’re looking to get a bike that you’ll spend most of your time riding roads, dirt roads, gravel trails, and light mountain biking; well this bike is your perfect fit. Looking for adventure workhorse bike that will get you into some serious fun in the farthest sections of the backcountry, I’d go with this bike. It really has made riding fun again, because now I get excited to go fast through rocky and dirt trails that my full suspension mountain bike wouldn’t even notice the features. And even riding this thing to and from work, I can just zone out and ride without worrying about cracks, holes, or dirt sections that I’d panic if I hit on my road bike.

This is my first bike review, I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll leave the real technical reviews to the guys at PinkBike.com and the other professionals. This was just my experience on the bike.

Comments

  1. Adri Manhave says:

    Nice review! Thanks! This bike has my attention, I will read a few more reviews and decide after that.

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