First Ride: Trek's New 2021 Procaliber

Aug 27, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  


Trek have done a good bit of jostling to their XC lineup as of late. A revamp of the Top Fuel last year gave it 115mm of travel, which increased its trail capabilities, but left a gap where it previously stood as a World Cup race bike. The Supercaliber quickly followed to fill that spot, and now Trek has unveiled an updated version of their Procaliber hardtail. The bike, historically available in both carbon and alloy models, makes a move to carbon-only for 2021 and 29" wheels for all sizes (previously, small sizes were 27.5") while pulling notes from the geometry book of the Supercaliber.

There are four complete bikes in the Procaliber range, starting with the 9.5 which sells for $2,000 USD up to the $4,000 9.7 shown here.

Procaliber 9.7 Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Carbon frame
• Travel: 100mm fork
• 68.75-degree head angle
• 432mm chainstays
• Weight: 23.7 lbs / 10.75 kg (complete size M, 9.7)
• Sizes: S-XXL
• Price: $4,000 USD
trekbikes.com

The 9.8? It's only available in Europe and sells for around €3499, depending on which country. The bike is available as a frame only for $1,500 USD. All bikes use the same OCLV carbon frame and, the bike is not available in Trek's Project 1 custom paint program.

Tommy Penick Photo

What's New?

The big story on the new Procaliber is an update to the geometry. It's still an XC racing thoroughbred, but it did get the longer and slacker treatment compared to the previous version. With a 100mm fork, the hardtail has a head angle of 68.75-degrees, a 73.75 seat angle, 432mm chainstays, and is built around a 42mm offset fork for all models. Reach for a size medium is 420mm.

The bike still uses Trek's IsoSpeed junction at the seat tube and seat stays, which decouples the seat tube from the stays and top tube. Trek says this increases compliance while seated while not sacrificing power or lateral stiffness when you're hammering uphill on the pedals. All bikes are now also 1x only.

Tommy Penick Photo
Tommy Penick Photo
The IsoSpeed junction decouples the seat tube and allows for a smoother ride while seated.

Tommy Penick Photo
Tommy Penick Photo
Internal cable routing for everything from braking to a dropper post is full-length tubes to make running cables easy and the Knock Block gets an expanded range.

Internal cable routing has been improved with full-length tubes for the rear brake, derailleur, and for a dropper post. The Knock Block feature is still there, but it gains 4-degrees of range, opening up to 62-degrees from the 58-degrees of X-up thwartingon the previous bike. While it is annoying at times, it also prevents the controls from damaging the top tube of the bike in the event of a crash.

All sizes of the bike fit two water bottles. Tire clearance has been increased to happily accommodate a 2.4" tread and all bikes come set up tubeless from the start, with tape, valves, and sealant pre-installed. Finally, the bike uses SRAM's UDH to make finding a replacement hanger easy and inexpensive if necessary.

Tommy Penick Photo

Build Options

There are four different build kits available for the new Procaliber starting right at $2,000 USD for the Procaliber 9.5 and going up to $4,000 for the 9.7. The 9.8 translates to a bit more and is only available in Europe.

The 9.5 has a 12-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain, RockShox Judy Air fork, and Shimano MT200 brakes. The 9.6 sells for $2,650 USD and is outfitted with a Shimano SLX/XT 12-speed drivetrain, RockShox Recon Gold fork, Bontrager Kovee Comp Rapid Drive wheels, and Shimano MT4100 brakes. The European only 9.8 has a Shimano XT drivetrain e*Thirteen carbon crank, Fox 32 Stepcast Performance fork, Bontrager Kovee Elite carbon 30 wheels, and Shimano XT brakes.

I've been riding the Procaliber 9.7 for a couple of weeks now. The bike is spec'd with SRAM's new wider range GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, a RockShox Reba RL fork, Bontrager Kovee Elite carbon wheels, and Shimano MT501 brakes. It sells for $4,000 USD.


Tommy Penick Photo


Ride Impressions

The Procaliber was built to be an XC race bike, made to go fast and to win races. I've ridden the Procaliber on a variety of terrain, and there's no doubt that the bike is efficient, and the power that's put down goes straight to the wheels. There's no discernible flex in the frame, and it's very comparable to what I've come to expect from other top players in the XC race hardtail market in that respect.

When seated, the bike does offer a more comfortable ride than a traditional hardtail. It's noticeable right away, and even more so after being out on the bike for a couple of hours. Fatigue by no means disappears - it's still a hardtail - but it doesn't build as quickly, which allows for more comfort on longer rides, and less soreness the day after.

Geometry-wise, the Procaliber isn't exactly pushing boundaries, but keep in mind that it's built for XC racing and it's right in line with what an XC race bike should be. It handles as if it's ready to go uphill and down with no regard for anything except stopping to get on the podium. For the money, Trek have put together a high-end carbon package for a fairly reasonable price and that should bode well for many riders, especially racers on a budget.







102 Comments

  • 28 8
 If Trek had incorporated the Stranglehold dropouts to make this singlespeedable, it'd be an awesome option. Still scratching my head why more manufacturers don't bake that into their hardtail offerings.
  • 3 0
 well, I think their CX range has this ability.
  • 6 1
 @HopeFbn: it doesn't anymore. Not many of their bikes do anymore. I agree with @Klainmeister - this frame is already relatively heavy and budget oriented, and while I get that they are trying to reuse the same molds as before to keep costs down, I would be thrilled to be able to use something like this as a SS option
  • 4 0
 @wako29: oh, I though they still did the SS ready frames (my Crockett has it, so for that reason I assumed it was still there).
  • 1 0
 @HopeFbn: yeah I was so bummed when they did away with the SS dropouts on the Crockett I bought one of the last framesets they had with it
  • 11 2
 Because more people want gears and getting on the UDH standard makes more sense than the tiny sliver of people who want to single speed their xc bike.
  • 10 3
 @NorCalNomad: that's just, like, your opinion, man.
  • 1 0
 agree 100000%
  • 8 0
 @Klainmeister: Obviously you're not a golfer
  • 1 0
 Their carbon Stache frame has Stranglehold dropouts! Wicked frame, wicked fun! 29+ max size!
  • 1 0
 I could not agree more!
  • 6 0
 That's the non SL version. Supposedly the SL is 1050g.
  • 36 0
 "Weight | M - 1.67 kg / 3.69 lbs (with tubes)"

With tubes? Umm... okay. How much does it weigh if I get the tubeless frame?
  • 6 1
 I've weighted mine in XL size and it was exactly 1.67kg with all the hardware and axle. While I'd give Trek a credit where it's due - the comfort and the stiffnes the frame provides - anywhere else it seems like they've lost their track a long time ago.
  • 3 0
 @davidccoleman: they don't have an SL anymore, glad I purchased a 2020 frame.
  • 2 0
 Well, they fixed the website. The frame is no longer available with tubes. Frown
  • 15 1
 Things a boat anchor compared to the competition.
  • 4 0
 They axed the alloy version, and built the weight of the aluminum frame into the carbon version ????
  • 1 0
 @mtallman2:

Bingo! Evolution at its finest
  • 10 0
 carbon frame and wheels for 4k? that is a pretty good deal considering some other hardtail carbon frames alone cost almost that much
  • 2 0
 @rrsport: yes, another great example
  • 12 0
 It’s a carbon frame that weighs more than a lot of full suspensions. At almost 1700g any weight benefit from the carbon frame is wiped out completely.
  • 3 0
 @CullenHerring: I wonder why it is so heavy.. I had the 2019 version and it was pretty light. perhaps with the supercaliber in the lineup, they just figure the hardtail can be a budget option and therefore they don't need to put as much effort into optimizing it
  • 3 0
 @twonsarelli: The weight is coming from the IsoSpeed, partially at least. Same deal as the Domane (road bike), the weight and fatigue difference are a trade-off
  • 3 0
 @Dedward2: My ‘18 size M/L ProCal is under 20 lb. fully kitted with pedals and cages and XR2/XR3 tires and has the IsoSpeed decoupler. Seems tough to lay the blame on IsoSpeed knowing all that...
  • 10 0
 Pinkbike doing a ton of articles on XC bikes last few months. XC is trending.
  • 3 1
 $$$$$
  • 3 3
 Just look at the comments, people bitching about haevy 1.6kg frame. Lots of weight weenies here on PB. People just love carbon, it was just not trendy to admit this. But I can see a massive coming-out happening.
  • 5 3
 @lkubica: 1.6kg frame is heavy for a XC hardtail. If racing weight makes a big difference on speed and fatigue on the uphills. It would suck to be racing against a field with .6kg lighter bikes than you.
  • 2 7
flag lkubica (Aug 27, 2020 at 11:54) (Below Threshold)
 @tacklingdummy: Yes, because we have so many racers here in PB comments section.
This is so amusing, a bunch of lawyers, dentists, corpo managers and various business owners pretending to be racers. 100g matters for Nino, so obviously it matters for me.
  • 5 0
 @lkubica: The whole point of this site is for bike enthusiasts. If the argument is "nobody should care about bike tech", then you're also arguing against these articles existing at all.

They irony of commenting on a bike tech article, on a bike nerd website, to tell people they care too much about bike tech...

Most of us would be fine on any generic 5-year-old MTB, but where's the fun in that?
  • 10 0
 After the enduro boom, it is now the xc comedown. Everybody is realizing that 170/170 mini-dh bikes really aren't that practical, and with modern suspension and geometry anything from 100-130mm travel or a nice modern hardtail (downcountry) covers about 89.34% of what they are safely capable of doing on a mountain bike.
  • 4 0
 @jaycubzz: Yep, this pretty much nails it. The other part of the equation is that XC bikes used to suck, but now they're pretty fun.

I used to own a '16 Stumpjumper and a '18 Epic, but at some point (maybe my third broken rib) I realized that anything I can't ride on my Epic is probably more technical than I need to do.
  • 1 0
 It was supposed to be an olympics year. A lot of bike companies had new XC bikes ready to be released and take advantage of the extra coverage mountain biking would get.
  • 2 0
 @jaycubzz: As a person who sucks at technical enduro, yet starts to gain up the result list if the stages are longer and there is some climbing, I would be glad for a new trailduro version of things, where root dancing will be mixed with punchy climbs and stages will be 20 minutes long. Unfortunately most local XC races could be done on a gravel bike :-(
  • 11 1
 Huck to flat video?
  • 12 4
 We need more hardtail reviews
  • 4 2
 eh yo. It's 2020 the year of the hardtail's return to Pinkbike. You are asking for more? Are you not satisfied with the other dozen bikes announced?
  • 2 0
 I hear you but honestly, most of them ride the same, or at least there is less discrepancy than with sus bikes, unless you are comparing long travel with XC hardtails.
  • 1 0
 @Sycip69er: There have been less??
  • 4 0
 The Knock block is new, the old version didn't have that "feature". They continue with press fit BB's, mine just came loose after 3 years. Specialized went away from PF for a reason on their new Epics.
  • 2 0
 This is the 2nd gen Epic to have threaded BB. If Specialized can move to an easier standard, so can everyone else!
  • 7 2
 No bike should have an internally routed brake line... Especially an affordable race bike aimed at privateers.
  • 5 0
 Wow, I can't quite see what brand of bike that is. From Jupiter.
  • 2 0
 Too bad they moved away from the alloy frame. That was a great build option for new riders that kept price & weight down without getting ride of all the cushion.
  • 4 0
 Definitely a Down-Gravel bike.
  • 3 0
 Two years ago I bought my wife a nice Specialized chisel expert and it was 24# stock and $1700 retail
  • 4 1
 A 24 pound carbon hardtail, even in the medium? For 4 grand US? No thank you.
  • 1 1
 Yeah, doesnt give u a numbbumm but will beat the sh out of your ankles!???? the geo is still mehhh...
Cant u get the same or better compliance with lower weight using a smaller diam seatpost, lowered seatstays?
Loved the superflys back in the days.
  • 2 0
 How different or similar does the ProCaliber perform/feel to the SuperCaliber locked out?
  • 1 2
 I'd like to see how the angles compare between the ProCaliber with the fork at sag vs. the SuperCaliber with both the fork/shock at sag to see if the SuperCaliber has a slacker effective HA.
  • 3 1
 How is the 9.8 3500 euros and only in Europe while the 9.7 is $4000? Seems like a markup for Americans.
  • 3 0
 Trek's are for the last few years priced much more competitively in Europe than in the US probably due to a much stronger DTC presence and also a bigger budget friendlier LBS options (Cube, Orbea...). It's interesting how big the price gap is between Trek and Specialized in Euro-zone.
  • 21 0
 They have to add more carbon for the US market ..just kidding
  • 6 0
 That would be one of the very, very rare occasions in which the same bikes are cheaper in Europe than in the US.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: this is like only one i noticed
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: Mostly they look cheaper because MSRP doesn't include taxes. But I can't think of a non-European manufacturer who is significantly cheaper across the range in Europe.
  • 2 0
 Wonder how the ride quality compares to the Stache with its 29x3 tires, but fully stiff frame.
  • 4 0
 68.75 huh?
  • 4 1
 Nice Agressive /Down Gravel Bike review.
  • 3 1
 If there will be no aluminum version, then launch a lower aluminum bike with boost 148 and not the junk with QR141.
  • 3 0
 The X-Caliber would be what you’re looking for, albeit with 141. It’s not really a deal breaker though.
  • 1 0
 Looks like pretty good value, all things considered. Although I've heard tales from a mechanic at a Trek dealership about broken IsoSpeed frames on the previous model...
  • 1 0
 A ‘heavier’ carbon frame, ability to take 2.4’s and iso coupler, I think this bike would rock it as a lightweight bikepacking bike!
  • 4 2
 So different from every other hardtail review. Ha
  • 3 2
 Do they spritz these bikes for photos like drink commercials? For dramatic effect.

I WANT STRANGLEHOLD DROPOUTS ON THIS.
  • 3 4
 How would this do in the virtual Leadville 100 race?

Can I do the Everest challenge with those wheels?

Is singlespeeding really dead?
  • 2 0
 So questions.
  • 1 0
 Many wonderings.
  • 1 4
 I have a few buddies who are XC riders semi-sponsored by trek and they all say that the "Iso junction" does pretty much nothing. I wonder why they keep it on at this point. Clearly it isn't doing the nearly 4lb frame-weight any favors.
  • 5 0
 I have that on my trek checkpoint and maybe its in my head but the rear is very comfortable
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: Yeah I think on roadie/CX bikes it does something but on MTB the wider tires are pretty much absorbing most of the vibration. Besides you're almost always out of the saddle on technical MTB stuff anyway
  • 8 0
 It doesn't do anything on larger hits/roots/etc, but it does make quite a difference for muting trail chatter. My back doesn't complain on 30 mile rides on rocky/rooty trails and I stay fresher longer. Far more comfortable and less fatiguing than previous hardtails I've owned.
  • 1 0
 Too heavy for that much money!
  • 2 1
 Do you really need a 52t cog on an xc hardtail?
  • 1 0
 That's to run a massive chainring and have better gears for high speed down the cassette. I have a 36T front (largest you can fit) with 10-52 cassette and frankly i do use it end to end in the mountains.
  • 1 0
 Head-angle of 68.75, because 69 is too oldskool.
  • 1 2
 What's the longest fork it can take for hardcore down-country? Asking for a friend...
  • 13 0
 Easily a boxxer. Go big or go home.
  • 4 1
 110mm.
  • 1 0
 If you're coming from an Evil Imperial, you may be disappointed.
  • 4 0
 @Shafferd912: Fox 49 step-cast for ultimate downgravel country capability
  • 1 0
 @sjma: Amen to that.
  • 1 2
 50% of the old ones broke at the IsoSpeed coupler. Wonder if they fixed that issue.
  • 3 3
 Mmmmm.... HA is still too steep...
  • 5 0
 Sure, too steep for trail or enduro (or down country?!), but not for a race hardtail that often has to handle tight, slow speed corners, & sections. Have you ridden an XC bike?
  • 3 0
 69 was, but 68.75 is a MASSIVE improvement.
  • 1 0
 @davydmx: Yeah, I have had so many in my lifetime, you have no idea. However, Please remember this post when the XC Hardtail Race bikes have a 67" HA. ;-)
  • 2 4
 Knock Block? Still? Are you kidding me? Trek still can't design a frame that clears the fork crown. WTF. That is definitely a no go for any XC bike.
  • 2 0
 Guess that means no barspins or X-ups on this XC bike then....
  • 1 1
 My life for a geometry chart. FFS PinkBike ????‍♂️
  • 1 0
 GeometryGeeks.com
  • 2 5
 Pinkbike - did Trek ask you not to publish the frame weight?
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