Bike Check: Jolanda Neff's Trek Supercaliber - Snowshoe XC World Cup 2019

Sep 6, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  

Trek's trombone-shock Supercaliber may hold the record for the worst kept secret in the history of cross-country competition. Jolanda Neff raced it in all but one World Cup this year with its Fox-made "IsoStrut" modestly covered by a stretchy Spandex sports bra until its official launch after the MSA World Championships.

PB photographer Matt Delorme met up with Trek Factory Racing mechanic Matt Opperman to have a look at Neff's machine and discuss some of her ideas about setup and component selection.

Jolanda Neff Set-up Trivia
Bike: Trek Supercaliber
Wheels: 29"
Frame size: 17.5"
Weight: 22.4 lb / 10.18 kg, (with dropper post)
Fork stats: 86psi, two tokens (sometimes one)
Shock: 111psi
Tire pressure: 18psi (F), 19psi (R)
Cranks: 175mm
Preferences: Likes dual-suspension and sets her bike up to use full travel

Spandex removed: Sans linkage, the Supercaliber will feel more like a carbon hardtail when its IsoStrut is locked out.

Trek's lockout system simultaneously turns off the fork and shock. Jolanda, however, prefers to switch them manually as needed. Opperman says she's warming up to the remote option.

Quarq power meter, Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals, 175mm crank arms and a 32-tooth chainring. Neff will opt for a 34-tooth for flatter short track races.

SRAM Eagle AXS transmission.
Neff, one of XC's top bike-handlers, insists on a proper dropper. AXS, of course.

Flexible, pencil-thin seat stays are claimed to boost the Supercaliber's rear-wheel travel from 55 to 60mm.

Not too crazy as World Cup stem lengths go. Trek's "Knock Block" steering limiter might save a race if it can keep the cables and hoses sorted in a crash.
Bontrager XR2 tires: Yolanda is not afraid to race aggressive tires. She'll opt for wider tires if the course is technical, although the Supercaliber's rear tire clearance tops out around 2.2".

Trek engineers moved the chainstay bridge to the front of the seat tube to provide exceptional mud clearance. Nice touch!


  • 48 3
 "Trek engineers moved the chainstay bridge to the front of the seat tube to provide exceptional mud clearance"
...but also this is the only way to disassemble the bike...
  • 2 0
 Or assemble it.
  • 4 4
 Only if you let the rear wheel on it...
  • 18 1
 You need to fiddle with an interlocking ring puzzle. It's not that complicated to remove.
  • 3 0
 Seatstays are 1-piece too at the shock mount. So you'd have to disassemble the frame halves the same way anyways.
  • 35 21
 "WHATEVER! Crosscountry suuuucks!!" Wink
  • 5 0
 your comment has me confused and really intrigued about how this frame is manufactured
  • 17 0
 The frame would be impossible to assemble/disassemble if the bridge was in the normal place behind the BB. Being able to feed one side of the rear triangle through the front triangle is what makes the whole thing able to be put together.
  • 1 0
 @AgrAde: Good description, that is pretty cool!
  • 1 0
 If someone can assemble it, then it can be disassembled...
  • 2 0
 ...Or you could loosen the shock and the chainstay, then turn the rear triangle sideways to pull it out
  • 1 0
 @Spark24: You mean unbolt.
  • 2 0
 @AgrAde: I feel a little dumb for not thinking just feed it through the main triangle... I swear I’m studying to be an engineer haha
  • 1 0
 @Ders316: Hopfully one that drives a (Train) and not one that designs bridges and buildings!
  • 1 0
 @likeittacky: nope, just the kind that designs planes and rockets
  • 2 2
 @Ders316: sounds pretentious.
  • 1 0
 @likeittacky: sounds like what all other engineering disciplines say about aerospace
  • 1 0
 Aerospace is just normal engineering but with shit-tonnes more paperwork.
  • 1 0
 @AgrAde: the quality control struggle is real.

I can confirm
  • 25 0
 Awesome bike, thanks for covering the XC side of things!
  • 8 6
 Nerd. Just kidding.
  • 12 1
 Curious why she has a non-Kashima Fox shock-iso-strut-whatever, when the launch yesterday had one. Is it to avoid drawing attention because everything else is SRAM/RS and she's sponsored by them, but shock is proprietary and Fox-only?
  • 26 0
 Probably to matchy matchy with the fork stanchions, and since she’s a SRAM athlete, to take attention away from the fact that it’s a fox, not a Rockshox, shock
  • 4 0
 @rbarbier12: that’s exactly what I was thinking too! Interesting to see that. I don’t blame sram for wanting their athlete to not fly a Kashima flag.
  • 12 0
 Whatever the reason may be, I like the black better than the gold. Looks stealthy.
  • 19 0
 Black looks dope! Neff said! Smile
  • 9 0
 I think Kashima is more a marketing play these days than an actual marked performance difference. Black looks better in my opinion and it matches everything
  • 2 0
 @dwojo: Kashima has some actual engineering behind it, but idk if I'd say it's better than the Rockshox DLC or anything else. It mostly just lasts longer than traditional hard anodizing. Fox's Kashima is a bit thinner than some others that are out there, which is why it looks so light. "True" Kashima is much darker, but it's the same stuff and it does look sweet on forks lol
  • 1 0
 @aharms: does RS even do DLC for their factory athletes anymore? I haven’t seen that faint oil slick glimmer on their forks in a good while now. I thought it was just black anodized now.
  • 1 0
 Are there Yeti sponsored riders riding their Switch Infinity full suspension frames but no Fox suspension? Or is there a really really tight link between the two brands? Otherwise they'd have the same dilemma in which case I wonder how they solved it.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Yeah. Not totally sure how restrictive his deal is, but Nate Hills rides for Yeti and runs full Sram components (shocks drivetrain etc)
  • 1 0
 The top o line axs one we can buy has a sid and the black rear. Where the 9.9 has a 34sc with gold out back. I think it looks good matchy matchy. I really like when they match the dropper too.
  • 10 0
 Kinda cringing at what could happen when a small rock or two gets stuck between the chainstay bridge and the frame while riding.
  • 1 0
 How could that happen with the seat tub in the way?
  • 1 0
 Isn't this something we would then worry about with most suspension linkages with small links? Top swing front mechs typically just jam when they get gunked up. Which is why I soon enough moved on to bottom swing, which have more room. That said, my hardtail doesn't have a front mech anymore but my full suspension bike still has one, E-mount so top swing is the only way to go. I don't often ride that one, especially not in the muck so I can't comment on how well it does. Either way, compared to any front mech linkage this Trek bike in question has loads of clearance.
  • 7 1
 Should have color matched the fork IMO.
  • 4 0
 Agree for aesthetics, but if SRAM/RS is throwing a ton of money at her and the team, they want it KNOWN what fork she's running
  • 10 2
 @wako29: It's no worse than those terrible orange Fox 32 SC forks.
  • 2 0
 Looks great IMO. Still monochromatic
  • 3 0
 I like the two blues. It works. What's up with the gold cassette? Where is the fancy oil slick cassette?
  • 2 0
 The award of the most obsolete 'new' frame launch of 2020 goes to Trek. Due to the higher demanding XC courses, manufacturers are moving from 100mm suspension front / rear to 120mm. Trek's answer is moving in the opposite direction.
I don't see the point getting a Procaliber, a Scott Spark RC frameset with 100mm travel weights even less than 2kg.
  • 4 0 Almost No-one is moving to 120mm XC race bikes. 120mm are for people who want to ride marathons.
  • 2 1
 @clink83: Schurter for example rides 120mm forks, up front depending on the course.
Some pro's ride Fox 34 SC forks for increased steering precision etc.
  • 2 1
scott spark RC=100mm rear
Orbea OIZ=100mm rear
Pivot Mach429=100 mm rear
Spesh Epic=100mm rear.
Canyon Lux=100mm rear.
Kross earth=100mm rear.
Norco Revolver=100mm rear
I could go on and on but I wont.

Nino ran a 110mm fork for one XCO race this year. He ran 100/100 for the Cape Epic even. Noone in the upper half is racing stepcast 34s on the world cup(some of the back of the backers might, but the media doesnt cover them) . Sure, some people like Kabush run a stepcast 34 on Epic Rides races, or on stage races, but 99% of the time at the WC XCO level the field is riding 100mm/100mm bikes. In the past some of the bikes had >100mm in the rear.
  • 6 0
 lol trombone-shock
  • 4 0
 rusty trombone if it gets wet...
  • 6 2
 Mechanics are going to love taking that shock off????
  • 6 0
 It's actually pretty easy. Like 4 bolts and the entire rear end (with shock) comes off the bike. Then you just pull the shock from the rear end. It actually sounds easier to replace wipers and seals on this than a 'normal' shock
  • 5 1
 Now do one of Emily Batty's race rig.
  • 6 0
 You mean her 2 year old 27.5 hardtail that she was on for MSA? Lol
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: Yes. That makes one.
  • 2 0
 Anyone remember Magic Motorcycle / Coda cranks? That Quarq chainring is so reminiscent of the Coda C9RD road chainring:
  • 9 5
 Love that bike!
  • 1 1
 Agreed! Its an awesome looking rig!
  • 2 1
 Jesus 86 PSI for a rider as small as her? Unless those XC forks don't compare to Rockshox' other offerings, why have a suspension fork at all!
  • 6 0
 its a 32mm stanction so assume 1 mm wallthickness 706mm² area on the airpiston
same assumption on a 35 mm lyric 855mm²

leaving out all the wierd things with neg. air and stuff that equates in 71 PSI in a lyric. assuming same travel
  • 1 0
 Well that certainly explains why she doesn't use a remote lockout.
  • 1 0
 @Luneec: I'm 6'5 and 215lbs and run 80psi and 1 token in my SID. With two tokens I can't get full travel. That's a stiff ass setup.
  • 4 7
 yes, but she likes it hard... Wink
  • 1 0
 Looks sick, would love to attempt climbing my mountain trails on that. Just have to figure out how to get my freeride bike back up.
  • 2 0
 I’m kinda surprised by the weight of this bike. I would have expected far less
  • 2 0
 I don't think there is much more you can do frame wise to reduce weight without changing the type of CF or using some other sort of lighter resin.
  • 2 0
 My top fuel 9.9 in standard spec was 9.6kg without a dropper, so with a dropper it would be about the same as this. However since this has been designed to be a light bike, I’d expect it to be low 9kg
  • 1 1
 Have you seen the seat stays flex??? It would make you think twice about the longevity.
  • 4 0
 I think it's fine. I had did 5k kms on a 5" Spark with flexy stays and 7K on a 4" RC. No problems. FYI my last six carbon Anthems cracked, so I'm someone that will crack a frame if a frame is gonna crack.
  • 2 0
 Carbon fibers structures can flex for almost an eternity without a fuss if designed to do so. I like this bike, innovative and makes sense for the intended use.
  • 1 0
 Flex stays have been around for almost 20 years and under the riding conditions that this bike will experience, it's a not going to be an issue.
  • 1 1
 Who at Trek thinks all their bikes should have a seat tube angle slacker than the head tube angle? Please can we have an interview so that they can explain this madness?
  • 1 0
 I really want to like this bike, but I'd want a little more tire clearance.
  • 2 1
 I really this Trek it might be the 1st Trek I ever felt like owning
  • 1 0
 That's a strange quarq. Wonder how it spins?
  • 1 0
 Wonder if it would make a better slope style bike?
  • 1 0
 Lol at getting service parts for this in 3 years
  • 1 0
 Looks like Trek nailed it again, want one!!
  • 1 0
 Looks awesome
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