Compared to this year’s out–of–the–box Session it is definitely livelier. The bike that had evolved to the place it was this season has definitely been eclipsed in many respects, especially in the detail. Somehow however I had become totally familiar with the standard geometry and damping and never really felt it needed changing. I’m still not totally sold on adjustability, but then I might be lucky in the sizing. Like I said, I’d only use the Mino race setting and only go 1.1º slacker from the bog standard to the extreme end of the available spectrum.AND?
They say the goal is always lighter, faster, stronger. I believe in faster. Or faster and more reliable is what riders are after. The 9.9 does lose out a touch out of the blocks to a carbon Santa Cruz V10, but then rides very differently, the Trek gains in other areas notably the balance, big hit management and slightly better sizing on the large (for me), although its still not that big. Another of the huge plusses of this bike was that I never ever got tired during descents, this is worth truckloads.
Trek have certainly raised their game in evolving this bike. As an off–the–shelf complete race bike it pretty much rules, being more reliable than bikes like the Mondraker Summum, certainly in the pivot bearing areas. But then it’s a grand more. Componentry as mentioned is impeccable it’s just a shame that Fox haven’t raised their game to the same level as Trek have done to advance the chassis.
Overall the Session’s balance and poise is outstanding for a bike…not so light. You simply never feel you have to move or compensate for unevenness. The Session frame has certainly advanced but like I said I don’t feel that the dampers have correspondingly done so. It’s not that the Fox units are that bad, simply that there are better ones out there. It’s only then that we might start discussing the possibility of the Session being the fastest bike you can buy. In terms of the best bike I feel the Session 8 offers a great deal more relative to this bike.
That said, having ridden Gwin’s Yeti I fully believe this bike has played no small part in that World Cup title. And it’s that relationship between Gwin, this bike and speed that’s the more interesting story. Not that much lighter than previous models, but certainly faster.
Trek Session 9.9 Frame £4000, Complete £7000
|Frame||OCLV Mountain Carbon with internal Tension main frame and seatstay, alloy chainstay, 210mm travel|
|Front suspension||Fox Factory Series 40 Fit RC2 Hybrid Air w/Ti coil spring, Kashima coat, 203mm travel|
|Rear suspension||Fox DHX RC–4, tuned by Trek in California|
|Wheels||DT Swiss 240s, 20mm front hub, 157x12mm rear hub; DT Swiss FR 600 rims|
|Tyres||Bontrager G4 Team, 26×2.35″|
|Shifters||SRAM X0, 10 speed|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM X0|
|Crank||SRAM X0 DH Carbon, 38T|
|Cassette||SRAM PG–1070 11–26, 10 speed|
|Saddle||Bontrager Evoke 4, titanium rails|
|Seatpost||Bontrager Rhythm Elite|
|Handlebar||Bontrager Rhythm Pro Carbon, 15mm rise|
|Headset||Cane Creek AngleSet, E2|
|Brakeset||Avid Elixir XO|
|Grips||Bontrager Rhythm Lock–on|
|Sizes||S, M, L, XL|