Trek Ticket S - Review

May 11, 2015
by Mike Levy  

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 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

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.

Trek Ticket review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
The two bolts on the top of the down tube obviously aren't there for a water bottle cage...
Trek Ticket review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
There's a tapered head tube up front, and the bike's top tube affords loads of clearance by sloping down drastically.

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.

Trek Ticket S review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  The layout looks familiar, but Trek has tweaked the 100mm of travel to have more ramp-up to suit the bike's intentions.

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.
Trek Ticket review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
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.
bigquotesI'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.

Trek Ticket review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  This is the image that comes up when you Google the word 'extension'.

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.

Trek Ticket review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  The Ticket S spins around just as easily as hardtail, but it's much more forgiving when you don't nail the landing perfectly.

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:
bigquotesSemenuk 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

Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review / @trek

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 173 26
 Wow! Those wheels look too small to have fun on!
  • 22 121
flag WillVickery (May 11, 2015 at 3:06) (Below Threshold)
 26" are more agile tho, Doesn't that make them easier to throw tricks on and have more fun?
  • 138 8
 Your to small to have fun on
  • 244 3
 That's what she said! But she wore glasses, so I assume she was smart and said "YOU'RE too small to have fun on".
  • 6 3
  • 14 0
 its an illusion of the pants, I swear
  • 18 3
 No video ::thumbs down ::
  • 8 31
flag Andy-Grant (May 11, 2015 at 7:59) (Below Threshold)
 WillVickery I agree with you
  • 14 0
 i count two whooshes. ME LIKE! 26 number one wheel size in all of Kazakhstan!
  • 6 6
 Funny, I was just thinking that those wheels look about 6" too big to have fun on:
  • 74 5
 Wheel size: 26"


It's gonna be a good Monday

  • 5 0
 I´m with you bro
  • 67 7
 looks like a session
  • 20 2
 Damn, that took long, hahahaha
  • 45 2
 Note: That is NOT the image that first comes up when you google 'extension'. I had to check.
  • 25 1
 thanks so much for clearing that up really appreciate it
  • 1 0
 Correct. I got tons of pictures of girl's hair. Had to check hahaha,
  • 3 0
 Yeah what a godsend this guy is
  • 1 1
 yall are dicks... lol
  • 40 7
 still waiting for the 29+ ticket
  • 4 11
flag StFred (May 11, 2015 at 7:41) (Below Threshold)
 Overkill hahahah
  • 2 4
 now that was funny
  • 23 0
 This is not only good for slopestyle. That type of bike is also perfect as some kind of "small dh bike" to use like we saw in the RAW 100 with Semenuk. Bikes like the Ticket S and the Spesh Enduro SX is for example perfect as a play bike in Denmark where the dh tracks is not that rough.
  • 8 0
 I'd love a review of the Enduro SX.
  • 8 0
 my trail bike is a transition double, almost the same and perfect for the smooth bike park stuff..
  • 2 3
 hvorfor undre det mig ikke du har skrevet her inde frede!! Smile hahaha
men tjek lige det specialized forhjul hahaha Big Grin
  • 1 0
 This would also be the perfect bike if you could ride Coast Gravity Park every day.
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of my old Kona Bass. Favorite bike I've ever had. Dj'd like a god, was fun on techy stuff for shits and giggles. Couldn't handle 3 seasons of (sun peaks) Bike park trails and 2 seasons of DH racing. After 3 chainstays had to retire it. Maybe one day I'll have to get a ticket. I have a hardtail but anything without a back shock scares the crap out of me.
  • 18 0
 Great bike except buying R-Dog version doesn't make you R-Dog(
  • 41 0
 Shhh, don't ruin this for me.
  • 6 0
 You mean to tell me minnaar shoes don't make me world champ?
  • 15 1
 Looks like a good Ticket to ride.
  • 12 3
 She's got a ticket to ride, but she don't care.
  • 4 1
 I saw a really drunk old Asian man karaoke that song. You would have had to been there but his accent singing was the funniest thing I've ever seen.
  • 12 0
 This would be good for 4x racing too. I want one.
  • 4 0
 I want one too, I'm in love with this frame
  • 8 0
 too old for slopestyle but this one looks great!
  • 6 0
 Own the hardtail version of the ticket and I can quite happily say its one of the most comfortable bikes Ive ever owned!
  • 1 0
 Same same. It's one of those bikes that I'll keep for a long long time.
  • 5 3
 I have a RockyMountain Slayer SS, the geometry is basically identical to the Ticket and the bike feels great. I ride jumps, slopestyle and even bikeparks. It is stabie and with high shock preasure it jumps like my dirt bike. It's a machine ment to ride everything. Also the ammount of frames on the market is even smaller than the Ticket S, which is nice Smile
  • 8 4
 I've riden a ticket s and my slayer ss and I like my slayer more...
  • 2 0
 I've gotten to ride a couple tickets in my day, and a couple of my friends were lucky enough to get an rdog edition, and it was by far the lowest most flickable SS Bike ever.
  • 7 1
 Look like Captain america's bike.
  • 5 0
 So it is made of Vibranium?
  • 2 1
 We all know CG is secretly Cap, so I must protest that cap's bike would be a Santa Cruz.
  • 1 1
 Except we all know that Cap isn't French...... so Santacruz is definitely not going to be his ride of choice.
  • 1 0
 Joke Your head. Go watch the video for Rampage '04.
  • 3 2
 I´ve never had a dirt bike so could anyone explain me why there would be the need of a shifter anyway? Isn´t singlespeed enough for the purpose though? Other than that the bike looks great especially in that ltd color scheme.
  • 4 0
 Well its nice to have some range of adjustability before you do your run. A guy like Semenuk prefers to use gears to at least set some sort of strategy in doing the course so for example he wants more speed in his next run on the course he can just change a few gears before he drops in. But in the end of the day its all preference
  • 8 0
 since this bike doesn't have it's suspension designed around running SS, you need a derailleur or chain tensioner at least, you can't run it SS easily like a bike with horizontal dropouts.

I imagine their sponsors like to have then running a derailleur as well, for visibility in photos & whatnot.
  • 2 1
 Not sure if trek fixed the problem on the r-dog edition but the 2 bolts on the linkage going into the seat tube are prone to break. My buddy broke his on a very smooth landing on his 2nd ride on the machine, Trek nicely sent out new bolts that were solid over the hollowed out stock one, and I saw on the Trek FB account it has happened to a few more riders on the ticket s. That being said its a ridiculously fun bike but maybe bring a few extra linkage bolts just in case they break
  • 2 1
 There was a public recall of those bolts. Anyone who has a frame that has the hollow bolts can get the solid ones for free from Trek.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know the difference between the RS version and the Fox shock version. Got hooked up with a killer deal on the all black with fox shock but has the TDC switch. Haven't ridden it yet but wondering if anyone has some real world knowledge. Thanks.
  • 8 4
 Someone should get slapped for this build
  • 2 0
 In the hand, like with a sweet high five? XD Just kidding, but I am curious what you're talking about, nothing sticks out as bad to me, but my DJ is from the dark ages(& 24" to boot,) no idea what people are using these days.
  • 4 0
 Probably because the bike has Specialized parts on it like the handlebars and the front rim. Its like putting a Porsche steering wheel inside a Ferrari
  • 1 0
 Ah. Didn't notice it before. Seems like they kinda just threw the parts from whatever bike Dueck is currently riding for the review, though so I guess I'd give them a pass(but I also tend to ignore that sort of thing anyway.)
  • 3 1
 I have one, bearings break in them pivots every few weeks, I just stopped taking it apart. such a headache. Great looking bike though!
  • 3 0
 well...maybe lay off the freebirds Smile
  • 4 0
 I have a ticket s and it rides great!
  • 3 0
 $2,399 CAD frame only? In what world is that justifiable... Specialized P-Slope is $2,500 US for a COMPLETE BIKE!
  • 1 0
 I like the idea of having the shifter on the frame, but you'd still get the backlash from the chain slapping about with the derailleur. The Specialized P.slope does away with gears, for better or worse.
  • 6 2
 In love !!
  • 10 1
 with the coco
  • 1 0
 Well, I was gong to sell my R-dog-----but then I read the paragraph under Frame details. I'll just be a lucky duck and move on with my day
  • 1 0
 I think that down the road a decade or so this bike will be worth a fortune for a collector as it was on this frame that the game changed forever.
  • 3 0
 snake on the headtube
  • 4 2
 So if I buy one does that mean ill never smile again lol
  • 2 0
 who else googled 'extension after reading this?
  • 5 6
 Can somebody explain the skinny jeans to me? I can't think of pants that would be less comfortable or more restrictive. I guess for a photoshoot they are fine, but in competition?
  • 17 3
 Most skinny jeans have small amounts of spandex or lycra in the fabric so they're stretchy and (contrary to popular belief) extremely comfortable to wear.
  • 5 6
 It's fashion, simple as that. It's about looking cool. DJ/Slope is all about style. I don't mean any of that that in a negative way. And skinny jeans aren't really uncomfortable or restrictive anyway. They have more stretch than standard denim so you can still move around just fine.
  • 7 1
 Actually the real main reason is that Skinny jeans are less prone to get stuck on the chainring. Its also why BMX riders swapped to skinny jeans in the past 6 years
  • 1 0
 Does it come standard with giant Nutz that you need to have as big as these guys go?
  • 1 0
 Pretty clean rig ya did there Trek. Do one with no derailleur & I'll buy it off ya.
  • 1 0
 The banshee rampant is king of all slopestyle bikes but nice effort from trek!!!!!
  • 2 1
 Nice specialized front wheel
  • 9 0
 Also has Specialized P. Series bars. Who built this thing up anyway.
  • 1 0
 someone not sponsored by trek or by specialized.
  • 2 0
 If you only give somebody a frameset, they have to build it with the parts they have.
  • 1 0
 Superman - to tailwhip - while downshifting. End of session.
  • 1 0
 Nice! Still can't afford it
  • 1 0
 Could i check with you, what stem is that?

Hope to hear from anyone
  • 1 0
 Anyone know what stem is this?
  • 1 0
 Love it...
  • 1 1
 why'd he tape the brake hose?
  • 1 1
 Because he didn't route the rear brake where it's supposed to be routed.
  • 1 0
  • 1 2 You can buy yours here RDOG and everything
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