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Trek Pilot 2.1 2010

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Tested by Matt Swaine

Review

What are you looking for in a bike? If it's blistering speed (or the closest to it that your legs can achieve with their current wattage rating) then please move along. The Trek Pilot is a delightful ride but you can definitely get more speed for your Sesterce.

In all honesty you could happily go for the similarly priced Trek 1.7 Compact, a standard entry-level ride and my regular road bike. On a bike like that you'll happily achieve a couple more mph over a long day ride. The thing is... you might not enjoy it quite as much.

Trek Pilot 2.1 FrameI slid into the saddle of the Pilot after a few months of bombing round on the skinny wheels of my 1.7 and the first thing I noticed was the exceptional comfort as we seemed to glide over the ruinous potholed roads that constitute my morning commute. And then on longer routes the more relaxed seating position definitely impressed. The headtube extends above the top tube to give you a more upright position which really felt very comfortable even after a few hours in the saddle.

The chunkier Bontrager Race tyres made short work of the poor road conditions and kept a reassuring hold on the tarmac as we took some tight turns at speed and the Alpha Black aluminium frame was stiff but felt pleasingly responsive when climbing hills. The saddle was very comfortable (I am not a big fan of Bontrager saddles) and the Shimano 105 gears were pleasingly smooth.

And on early morning rides when fatigue was starting to set it, I was pleased to have access to the Shimano triple chainset which made sure I could cope with the very worst inclines without breaking into a sweat. And I can imagine that particular feature really appealing to someone new to biking who wants a roadster but doesn't yet have the experience or fitness required to enjoy hills and take them in their stride.

Trek Pilot 2.1 CrankSo who is this bike aimed at? Definitely not the bike club racer or sportive rider, but it would probably appeal to the commuter, audax rider and more general cyclist. It would be an excellent choice as a winter commuting and training bike and it's great fun on long rides with the comfort really paying off after a few hours in the saddle.

And I would be delighted to add this bike to my collection as a winter commuter and fun weekend training bike, if I had the cash to hand. It is a joy to ride and offers enough comfort to make you want to add hours to your routes and it is an exceptionally accessible way into cycling for anyone new to road biking.

At a glance

Verdict Great general purpose road bike that delivers a hugely comfortable long distance ride
Value
Performance

Do you own this bike?

by Edward Peck  on 30 Jan 2011
I have owned the pilot 2.1 road bike nearly 2 years now and can only say that I feel I have
chosen the perfect bike for me at this point in my life. I am a very active (athletic) 67 yr old male and work out in various other sports than cycling. The Pilot is a responsive, comfortable smooth shifting machine that does not make me wish I had bought a more expensive higher end bike. Just the opposite, I would have kicked myself for getting something different. This bike is perfect and I plan on riding it more and more each year for the rest of my life with just a few minor upgrades as parts wear out.
by DevonRedRock  on 5 Jul 2010
I Recently exchanged my Trek 2.1 for the Pilot model. Prices are similar but look to pay £950 - £975. The lanes of West Dorset/East Devon shook me to pieces on the standard 2.1, and would really be more suited to a Hybrid, but I wanted the speed of a road bike, so softened things up a bit with the Pilot, without compromising speed. Speaking as a novice, there is a clear difference in the feel of the two bikes, with the Pilot being more forgiving both in ride quality and handling. I am also getting on a bit, and on the heavy side of average, so the relaxed geometry, combined with 25mm tyres and softer forks worked well. With the exception of brakes, most other components are identical Bontrager/Shimano.
I had the compact 50/34 crank on the 2.1, but the Pilot has a triple 50/39/30 as standard. I didn't mind this as I can take the hills at a more leisurely pace. It is probably an adjustment issue, but the triple was no where near as smooth as the compact (both 105 front and rear).
I cycled 56 miles in my first weekend with the Pilot (I am fairly new to this), and my only concern at the moment is the saddle - it is the same Bontrager R1 as on the standard model, but even with reasonable quality shorts, I started to suffer after 15 miles. I will perservere until I lose a bit more abdominal weight, though.
In summary, a very nice ride if a road racer with a bit more comfort is required. Ideal for longer rides or, if like me, your local road surfaces are poor and you carry a bit of excess weight! I would rate it 4.5 stars if that was possible, with the only issue being the saddle.

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