Saturday, April 14, 2007

Trek 1600 Review

Almost every day, somebody comes to this blog looking for a review of a Trek 1600. I had a hard time finding any information on the bike before I purchased it too. This post is for you 1600 review seekers.

I've been a mountain biker since 1989, and have ridden many different mountain bikes over the years. I had a Raleigh Grand Prix 10 speed as a kid in the 80's, but I just putted around on it. Road biking had always been in the back of my mind, but I never really got a chance to give it a try. I got an old Specialized Expedition touring bike from my dad last year, and that was my first real taste of road biking. The Expedition is 26 pounds, but was easy to put a lot of miles on. It got me thinking of how a lighter, more modern bike might feel.

Kristy and I decided to give Road Biking a try and both bought 2007 Trek 1600's. We were looking for a bike that wasn't too expensive, since we figured mountain biking would still be our main bicycling discipline. At the same time though, we were looking for a bike that would perform well, and not have us wishing for upgrades soon after the initial purchase. There were a few bikes at this price point, all with similar componentry. We decided to go with the Treks, since they were readily available for testing at our local shop. The Trek also seemed to have a bit more for the buck.

The bike retails for around $1,300, but we got them for $1,100. For this price you get an all aluminum frame, a carbon fork and seat post, Shimano 105 component group, and a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur. The total weight of the bike with Shimano SPD pedals is around 20.5 lbs.

Kristy has had her bike since the Fall of 06, I got mine the beginning of this year. Both of us have several hundred miles on them. I was worried that an all aluminum frame might be too harsh on the road, but after several long distance rides, I have no complaints. The shifting has been pretty much flawless. The 10 speed rear cassette is great for finding the perfect cadence, and the shifts are crisp and precise.

I'm used to mountain bike braking performance, so I'm not sure how the brakes compare to high end brakes. The brakes aren't what I'm used to on my mountain bikes, but it's certainly not bad either. I just wonder if it could be improved in this area. Maybe just a brake pad change would do the trick.

Most bikes come with cheaper tires, so I suspected this bike would be the same. I took the front tire off to weigh it, and sure enough it was a wire bead tire, weighing 285 grams. It looks like similar tires with a Kevlar bead weigh in at around 220 grams, so it would be a cheap upgrade to shave a 1/4 lb off the wheels.

The bike handles well and is comfortable for all day rides. The handlebars appear to be bit higher than a racer might have them. In fact the top of the bars is about level with the seat. This helps with neck comfort on long rides, but also gives you the option of being more aerodynamic in the drops. The handling on fast descents is good too. The front end of the bike feels stable, and top speeds are only limited by my level of bravery. I think the handlebars could be a bit better ergonomically designed. The bend in the drops is a bit tight for my hands. Bars that I've tried with a flat section in the drops are more comfortable.

The carbon seat post is a nice touch, and the seat is firm but fairly comfortable. The grip tape and hoods are nice, but not as good as the Specialized offering in this price point. The Allez that I checked out in the shop had more cushioning in the bar tape. But again, this would be a cheap upgrade.

Bottom line: This bike is for you if you're looking for a bike with enough performance to keep you happy, but won't bust your bank account. If this was my only bike, I may have been willing to spend more, but since it is one of the many bikes in my collection, the price was just right. I've really grown to love road biking because of this bike.

If you have further questions about the bike, feel free to shoot me an email or comment here. The email link is on my blogger profile.

23 comments:

amanda said...

Just curious...how did you manage to get your Trek 1600 for $1100? I'm going to buy one tomorrow at the $1300 price and would love to save some money for the add-ons. My bike was stolen so I am replacing everything, even down to my bento box.

Jeff said...

Most bike shops will negotiate with you on a more expensive bike, since the profit margin is greater. My wife is a good negotiator. I'm still learning that most things are negotiable! I actually got a really good deal on shoes, pedals and a tire at a local shop yesterday. I told him the internet price, and that I'd have to add shipping, but that I'd like to buy it from him. He seemed to appreciate this fact and took some money off to get my business.

Just tell the shop that your friends got theirs for $1,100, and ask them if they can work with you. We just asked...we don't know the owner or have any special deals with the shop. There are Trek dealers everywhere, so if one shop doesn't go for it, the others may. I think a good deal is when you get a break, but the local guy makes some money too. That's how he or she makes their living. Let us know how it goes!

amanda said...

thanks for the info. i went today and had the price lowered from $1319 to $1249 plus 15% off accessories. being that i'm riding for the american diabetes assoc (a cause they support) and my bike was stolen two weeks before the event, i hoped i could get some kind of break. i gained the confidence to ask for a lower price from your message, so thanks!! my bike is absolutely beautiful!!

Jeff said...

That's great! The $70 you saved is the price of a good helmet, so that's not bad at all. 15% off accessories is pretty good too.

What color did you get? Did you get the women's blue?

amanda said...

Yeh, I tried to shoot for the $1100 price but didn't get that lucky. I'm sure they know that it will be sold soon if I didn't buy it. Yes, I now have a beautiful sky blue road bike. It's my first road bike ever and I plan to take it out tomorrow for my first ride. It will be a nice break from studying for finals.

Jeff said...

I'm actually shocked we got the bikes for that price, since he charges so much for his parts. Yes the blue bike is very nice looking. My wife has the same bike and gets many compliments on it.

I hope your first ride goes well! Proper positioning is very important on a road bike. There are many things you can do with the seat and stem to get the optimal position. The shop will usually swap out a stem for free if you need to change your reach.

Jonathan said...

What would you suggest for pedals and shoes for the Trek 1600. I am hoping that I get the pedals and clips and shoes for around 200 or so as a total.

Jeff said...

The cleats are usually included with your pedal purchase. My personal favorite pedal right now is the Eggbeater from Crank Brothers. They're light and don't need adjusting. I have both the SL and C models, and they both work equally well. The SL's are just a bit lighter. I like them better than the Shimanos I've tried.

My current shoes are Specialized mountain shoes. They have 2 velcro straps, and one ratcheting strap. Very good ergonomics. I use the mountain shoes so I can use them for mountain biking and road riding. Also, I like to walk around when road biking...taking pictures, exploring, etc. Some road specific shoes can be uncomfortable or slippery for walking around.

You could easily get the shoes and Egg Beater C's (with the cleats) for $200. The pedals are easy to find online, but I recommend trying on the shoes at your local bike shop. I bought the SL's and shoes together for a pretty good deal. The bike shop owner let them go for around $200.

If you decide to go with Shimanos (M520's are around $50), make sure you set the screws to the lightest setting. They can come too tight out of the box. I've seen lots of people hit the ground because they couldn't get out of the pedals! The eggbeaters feel like the Shimanos on the loosest setting, but don't unclip accidentally.

SeattleDave said...

I was lucky to buy the 1600 at a model year clearance sale for only $999 at my local bike store. It's a wonderful bike to ride, I never want to get off! I appreciate your review here as it just confirms my suspicions that I got a screaming deal. It's the third new bike I've bought in my life, and hopefully the last. The old Trek mountain bike will be sold, I just can't have nearly as much fun riding it as the 1600.

Jeff said...

That is a good deal. Yep...the 1600 is a good compromise on quality and affordability.

Josh said...

Hey Jeff I really appreciate your website and blog entry's. I, like yourself, have been looking for any type of reviews and have had little to no luck on the 1600. You've really helped me in making my decision. Have you tried adding any aero bars?

Jeff said...

Thanks, Josh. Glad I could help. I've actually had 645 views on this Trek 1600 review in the last month!

No aero bars. The bike is pretty much stock. I'm primarily a mountain biker, so most upgrades have gone into maintenance on the other bikes. I still think I would like some new bars for the Trek though...something a bit more ergonomic in the drops...

BOB BENHAM said...

I've been riding a full Campy Legnano for many years. It's a fast, Reynolds 531 at 22 pounds, but I wanted something more modern. I got the Trek 1600 (a good deal at $1050 from Bicycle Village here in Denver) and I love it. It accelerates like a turbo Porsche and easily retains its speed. I changed out the tires for Michelin Race 23's, added DuraAce pedals and a pair of Shimano shoes. A friend gave me a DuraAce chain so I put it on. Don't know if that is any better than what came on it, but it shifts positive and fast. The first long ride was an 81 mile ride and at the end of it I felt like I just got up out of an easy chair. As you move up the Trek ladder, you don't get a whole lot more for your next $1000. Trek catagorizes the 1600 as a 'Performance Road Bike' and they've got that right.

Jeff said...

Thanks for the additional information, Bob!

It appears that Trek has renamed their road bikes for next year, so the name "1600" won't be valid for 2008! I haven't had much time to check out the new bikes yet though.

Anonymous said...

Just got my 07' 1600 in 2/08 for $800 (eoy close out). First new bike since my Raleigh GP circa 1975. Everything is as posters here have said. It's a fun ride.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

I HATE THIS BIKE! I've been riding it for just over a year and no matter how many times I've gotten a professional fit, it's just not comfortable for me.

I'm selling mine for $850 I have ultegra components (which are great) but I definitely need another bike.

Anonymous said...

hey..
I am getting my first road bike this year after falling in love with my first triathlong. I seen the 2007 1600 and thought it looked good. I dont want to get a tri bke just yet cause I will be taking ym bike everywhere and not just for races. Do you think this is a good bet..or do you suggest something else?

Jeff said...

Sorry...I have no opinion on triathlon bicycles, since I really don't know what makes a bike specific for that type of event. I've had my Trek for a year now, and still enjoy riding it. It's a fun commuting bike, still feels sporty, and comfy on longer rides.

Anonymous said...

If you're looking to win super-competitive triathlons, you'll want more bike. You can expect to pay 3x the price to lose another few pounds to play with the big boys. If you just want to finish and have a good ride, this class of ride is a perfect bike for it. You'll want a couple upgrades, like lighter tires and clip pedals and maybe a true racing saddle, but you'll have a very reliable drive train on a reasonably light and responsive frame. It's probably as good as any top end bike from 10-12 years ago.

As far as the comment in the original review about the handlebar tape, to each his own. Most serious riders I know prefer less cushioning overall between the gloves and tape/grips to have the best bike control. If anything, I thought the 1600 tape was a bit too cushioned.

Dealer cost on the 1600 now is as low as $600 on closeout. That makes it very possible for a dealer to sell one for under $1000. I would have a hard time trusting any dealer that is selling them for under $900. Though they come into the store closer to fully built than they used to a few years ago, a proper and complete job of putting one together still takes a few hours. Some dealers that sell for less (and some that don't!) simply attach the handlebar and seat, blow up the tires, and stick the bike in the customer's trunk. That's usually a recipe for worn out parts sooner rather than later, maybe some reliability issues, and possibly some sore body parts from an improper fit. Make sure your dealer is checking all the moving parts, truing the wheels, and fine-tuning the derailleurs as part of the setup. Also, make sure they're fitting the bike to you. If the frame size is correct to begin with, this is probably just a matter of deciding whether the the angled stem should raise or lower the bar based upon your intended riding style and possibly swapping the stem for a different length to match your reach. It's no bargain to save a hundred dollars on closeout for a frame two sizes too large. Some dealers may try to sell you what's on the floor and ready to go, shop around and make sure you understand how the bike should fit so you can recognize them before you make a $1000 mistake.

One final note on this frame. It's geared toward the rider who wants to be in, or near, a race position. The handlebars can be adjusted lower than the original reviewer might know through the removal of some spacers. If you're looking for a more casual ride, try the Pilot 2.1. The component set is nearly identical, but it sets up for a more relaxed riding position.

Sean in CA said...

Great review! My girlfriend just picked up a 2007 1600 WSD yesterday and she loves it! $999 out the door with the "cheater" brake levers, since this is her first road bike. I've been in the bike industry on and off since 1984 and I've never been a Trek fan but I like the bang for the buck that this bike provides. As an aside, the profit margin on more expensive bikes is not necessarily higher than that on a lower-end bike. Most dealers have a set markup percentage above their cost and prep expenses. There are exceptions, but usually margins are consistent from top to bottom. Where dealers make their BIG money is on accessories. It's not uncommon to see 300% markup on many items like helmets, tires, pumps, etc. That's why they are quick to offer 15% off on anything else bought at time of bike purchase. The greatest leverage a bike buyer can have is: (a) When you're buying more than one bike (b) It is late in the season or (c) If a local competitior has a lower price. If you can manage to shop when all three conditions are present, you can swing a very good deal.

epb said...

I currently have a Marin hybrid and want to upgrade to a bike that can ride Vail Pass. I saw a 2007 1600 at Bicycle Village in Denver and wonder if this would do the trick. None of the comments mentioned hill climbing. I was able to ride the Vail Pass with ease on a rented road bike but it cost $2300. Thanks for previous info posted. Liz

denny said...

I purchased this bike on closeout in 2007. I might be the previous year's model (either 06 or 07). $1000 was the price paid. About a year after buying it, it was stolen. One more year later I found it at a pawn shop and got it back.

I am riding on it again now and it has not missed a beat. I really enjoy it. Great for club rides and just training. I feel that if I ever started to race I would feel fine on it in a Cat 5 race. Not a true race bike, but sporty enough to get the job done for a newbie.

As far as using it in a tri, it would be fine. Add some aero bars and adjust the seat (perhaps and off set seatpost). NOt a true tri bike, but good enough for it (not going to win any tris though, but if your that serious you are probably dropping several grand on a tri bike anyway.)

My only complaint is that I purchased it with the triple crank. I would never purchase another bike with a triple. Even on the biggest hills in he area I never shift to the smallest ring. A little wasted weight and more sloppy shifting. Plan on changing to a double soon which will be a welcome change. But a triple is fine for those who need it.

Great review and keep riding!

tiackk said...

I bought my Trek 1600 (my baby!) off the classified ads website "Kijiji" 6 months ago, in hardly used (under 200km) perfect condition, and I LOVE it!!! I got the bike, a cycling computer (which shows time, speed, cadence, distance, temperature, etc.), upgraded pedals with cycling shoes/cleats, and an indoor trainer. Asking price was $1500 for it all, but I bargained down to $800! Awesome eh! I'm very, very new to cycling and more 'serious' bike riding (as I am a 16 year-old high school student), however I absolutely ADORE it. Long rides make me feel genuinely happy. I would truly appreciate it if someone could "point me in the right direction" or provide any tips whatsoever! I'm quite clueless. Anyways, looking forward to getting more involved in the cycling community! And to completing more personal biking goals! Thanks,

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