The Ticket S is available in a single large-sized frame, with a 22.1'' top tube length and a stubby 13'' seat tube. You'll have to put your own build together as the $1,539.99 USD Ticket S is only available as a frame (with shock), which is what we did before handing it to Sam Dueck, a rider who's stood on the podium at Whistler's Crankworx slopestyle comp. He then tested the bike at his own hidden jump spot and provided the feedback for this review.Frame Details
Slope bikes are purpose built machines that have been designed with one specific goal: allow a rider to get through a set of massive jumps while spinning, flipping, and generally doing things that don't look possible outside of an Xbox or Playstation. Trek's 100mm travel Ticket S has been put together for exactly those sorts of moments, and C3 team riders Brandon Semenuk and Brett Rheeder have ridden the Ticket to a number of high profile podium finishes. The frame shown here is the limited edition R-Dog version that sports Ryan Howard's preferred Americana colours, but you'll likely have more luck getting your hands on the all-black version, which is probably okay with anyone outside of the United States.
Ticket S Details
• Intended use: dirt jump / slope
• Rear wheel travel: 100mm
• Wheel size: 26"
• Aluminum frame
• Active Braking Pivot suspension
• 12 x 142mm rear axle
• ISCG 05 chain guide tabs
• Single large size offered
• Colours: black, 'R-Dog' American
• MSRP: $1,539.99 USD (frame/shock only)
The production aluminum Ticket S frame is actually almost the very same as you'll see under Semenuk, with only the carbon seat stay unit found on the Silent Assassin's competition machine to set it apart. That means that the Ticket S you can buy from your shop is sporting the same geometry, and is surely within a handful of grams when it comes to weight. You'll also be on a pretty short list of riders if you get yourself a Ticket S, as Trek says that the bike is actually a limited production item and that relatively few will ever be welded up. That makes sense because as interesting as bikes like this are, the market for a 100mm travel slope-specific bike is far smaller than even the demand for downhill rigs, which themselves only make up a very small piece of the pie compared to the bread and butter bikes in a company's lineup. In other words, you're a lucky duck if you have one of these limited production bikes sitting in your garage.
Not surprisingly, the Ticket S looks very much like one of Trek's Remedy or Session bikes that was hit with the shrink ray gun, and it also sports many of the same features. This includes the E2 tapered head tube up front, a pint sized EVO link that drives the shock, and a set of ISCG 05 chain guide tabs around a press-fit bottom bracket. The frame also has an incredible amount of stand over clearance, as you'd hope it would for a bike of its intentions, with the top tube dropping down drastically and a seat tube that's just 13" long - it sits well below the top of the rear tire.
There's also what looks like two bolts on the top of the down tube where you might want to mount a water bottle cage, but that's definitely not what Trek has in mind for them. Instead, this is where a crafty slope rider is going to mount his rear shifter via a custom-made bracket, thereby allowing him to spin the handlebar around without worrying about tugging on the shift line. It also puts the shifter in a much more protected location, which also doesn't hurt matters. This is exactly what Semenuk did when he mounted a SRAM bar-end shifter
from a road bike in this spot, and it's also how test rider Sam Dueck attached his Shimano Saint shifter.The Ticket's Suspension Explained
Trek has long employed their Active Braking Pivot design on everything from their cross-country race bikes to the long-travel Session models, and you'll also find it here on the back of the 100mm travel Ticket S frame. The system allows the dropout pivot to rotate concentrically around the axle, which thereby limits the amount of rotation between the caliper and rotor. Trek says this helps to keep the suspension performing in a more consistent manner, regardless of if the rider is grabbing a handful of brakes. Just as with the other ABP equipped bikes, the Ticket accepts a standard 12 x 142mm thru-axle.
Trek attaches the top end of the shock to the bike's stubby EVO link, but the opposite end isn't mounted rigidly to the front triangle. Instead, they've bolted it to a short extension off the front of the chain stays, which in itself isn't a new concept, but it is one that Trek has employed for a number of years across most of their full-suspension lineup. But why bother? Trek says that it allows the shock to ''better respond to bumps across a wide variety of terrain,'' which means that the design gives them more opportunity to tune how the shock performs throughout its stroke by altering the leverage from both ends.
The Ticket's rear suspension has been tailored for its purpose - to hit massive jumps and drops, which can sometimes lead to a missed landing. To that end, Trek has built in a more progressive ramp-up to the bike's travel than you'd find on a 100mm bike intended for a different purpose. This is to keep the rider off the bottom of the shock's stroke during hard landings, but also to provide more 'pop' off of the lips of jumps.
The diminutive shock is compressed from above by a rocker link, but it's also mounted to an extension off of the front of the chain stays rather than to the front triangle.
Sam immediately took the Ticket S to his local spot, a hidden Shangri-La in the woods with a few good sized hits and one seriously huge trick jump, and it didn't take him long to get used to the different feel of the Trek compared to the hardtail he had been riding there. ''It's just as easy to throw around in the air as a hardtail,'' he said when questioned about comparing the two very different bikes that were built for the same purpose. "I'd still prefer a hardtail on really tight jumps, but the overall feel of the bike is good and the rear end is short. That makes it super easy to throw around in any direction.'' Were there any moves that he felt were made more difficult by the 100mm of travel compared to the rigid rear end of his hardtail? ''Nope, and the bike tail whips like a dream,'' he also pointed out.
The confidence inspiring feel is partly down to the large sized frame's 22.1'' top tube that Dueck said he felt was spot-on for how the bike is meant to be ridden, saying ''It's long enough to allow me to be comfortable in the air, but not short to the point where I'd have to worry about the end of the handlebar hitting the seat when doing bar spins or tail whips." Clearly those aren't the concerns of the average rider, but this isn't the bike for an average rider, either.
|I'd still prefer a hardtail on really tight jumps, but the overall feel of the bike is good and the rear end is short. That makes the it super easy to throw around in any direction.|
Is there anything Sam would change when it comes to the bike's handling? It doesn't seem so: ''I wouldn't want to change anything about this bike when it come to design and geometry," he said about Ticket. ''It handles very well for what is was designed to do, which is slopestyle." And that's where the bike's rear suspension really comes into its own, on larger gaps with slightly mellower takeoffs than you might see at your local BMX jump spot. Coming back to earth from supersized gaps and drops, and especially if you're in the midst of getting your feet back on the pedals or clearly going to land at an awkward angle (which obviously happens when you're at your limit), is when the added forgiveness of the Trek is really an advantage.
Trek did design the Ticket's suspension to ramp up through its travel in a quicker manner than they would have if the bike was meant for more average use, but Sam still found the bottom of the stroke more often than he would have preferred. The 100mm of travel no doubt helped when it was needed, he said, but Sam also explained that he needed to run the shock at maximum air pressure in order to keep it from bottoming too often. Now, the truth is that almost anyone who is going to be pushing the Ticket S harder than Sam will be riders who have their own video parts, so it's debatable whether the average slope and dirt jump rider is going to also need to run such high air pressure.
The Ticket S is a helluva bike when it's ridden in the environment that it's intended for, but just like when you get a downhill race bike on tame terrain, the Ticket S isn't ideal unless you're really doing some good sized moves. ''I would choose a regular chromoly or aluminum hardtail if I was only ever hitting dirt jumps all day,'' said Deuck after riding the Trek on some local, steep dirt jumps that look like they were built with 20'' wheeled bikes in mind. The Ticket S was put together for man-sized slope courses, including more spaced out jumps and two-story tall drops, not tightly packed and near vertical lips. ''I had the rear shock pumped up to the maximum air pressure and felt that the rear end still compressed too much on the face of steep lips,'' he explained. ''But a burly slope course is where having the 100mm of travel out back is going to give you an advantage over riding a hardtail.'' That is where the bike's rear end could save you when sticking the landing isn't guaranteed.
Sam also found that he had an issue with keeping the pivot hardware tight that joins the EVO link and seat stay assembly, with it loosening off multiple times during a few hours of riding on different occasions, and even after some Loctite was applied. It pays to check the bolts on any bike every now and then, but especially on the Ticket. S. Pinkbike's Take:
|Semenuk and Rheeder's antics ensure that the Ticket S is a bike that a lot of riders are going to lust after, and there's no doubting that it's a fun bike to ride when your main concern is spinning and flipping, but it's also a machine that's best suited for use on a modern slope course rather than a set of janky backyard dirt jumps. And in the right setting, its 100mm of travel very well could save your ass every now and then. - Mike Levy|
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