When Trek signaled its commitment to cyclocross with the launch of a new line of ’cross bikes to replace the old Ion CX, it headed farther west and south from the company’s Wisconsin home with a frontier theme. The company named its flagship carbon bike the Boone, and its alloy cousin received the name Crockett.
We last reviewed the Trek Crockett in 2013 when it was a new alloy cyclocross bike with cantilever brakes and a double chain ring crankset.
Earlier that year Katie Compton raced a prototype Crockett to a silver medal in the Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY and then rode the newly introduced bike in 2013/14. Trek chose aluminum for their foray into a new cyclocross platform at the time for ease in making prototypes.
Trek released the carbon Boone about a year later. A 2016 update gave the Crockett and Boone thru-axles (though the front was 15mm), and both cantilever and disc models were available. The Boone received an update in 2018 with the addition of a front IsoSpeed decoupler.
Trek has updated the Crockett again for the 2020 model year, shedding weight and Stranglehold dropouts while now looking a lot like a carbon fiber frame. We have a first look at the updated alloy cyclocross bike from the Wisconsin company for this In Review Spotlight. Stay tuned for a full review after the upcoming cyclocross season.
The new Trek Crockett is aluminum just like its predecessors. 300 Series Alpha aluminum is Trek’s moniker for advanced aluminum frame design that takes into account tube alloy, shape and weld quality to form a complete frame that offers desired ride qualities.
In the case of the new Crockett, that means the actual alloy, size, shape and gauge of each tube may differ. Trek maximizes weld surface areas and minimizes the amount of weld material. The combination of these elements yields an efficient yet comfortable frameset. The ride, weight and aesthetics are claimed to rival a carbon fiber frameset. Trek reports a 56cm frame weighs just 1,325g. That’s nearing carbon fiber frame weights.
The only round tube on the frameset is the seat tube, and all the others are oval or trapezoid, tapered, bent or with changed morphology along their length. The tapered head tube seems to be wrapped by the top tube that itself appears to split around the seat tube into the individual oval seatstays.
The Crockett frameset is absent of the large, globulous TIG welds common on aluminum frames. The welds are smooth with only a slight bulge indicating junction, thanks to what Trek calls “Invisible Weld Technology” that is said to reduce welding material, decrease weight and increase strenght. The large rounded trapezoid down tube morphs into a laterally wide oval at the bottom bracket junction, spanning almost the entire width of the T47 bottom bracket shell.
Trek has switched to threaded bottom brackets using the T47 shell diameter and pitch, but fit in its wide bottom bracket shell that uses internal bearings. In the past Trek used an 86.5mm press-fit system. Now with a threaded system, the shell is shortened to 85.5mm to accommodate the wrench fitting for the threaded cups.
The chainstays are asymmetric; the left takes a wide bend for tire clearance while the right takes the straight path, squashed to clear the tire and rings. The right chainstay limits tire width to 38mm max.
The geometry is definitely standard cyclocross, with a 72-degree head tube angle, 42.5cm chainstays and 6.8cm bottom bracket drop. Our 56cm sample has an effective top tube of 55.8. The reach is 387 and the stack is 580mm with the 157mm headtube.
With the 45mm fork offset, the trail calculation is 67mm with 33cm cyclocross tires. The wheelbase is 102cm, and the calculated front-center is 600.5mm. All that adds up to nimble cyclocross race geometry.
Trek Crockett has been a singlespeed choice for some thanks to the horizontal Stranglehold dropouts that allow for many or one-geared riding. The old Crockett frame with the Stranglehold dropouts is still available for the one-gear fans or curious, but the dropouts are more traditional (and lighter) for the new 2020 Crockett models, with a standard 12x142mm thru-axle in its place. The front is 12x100mm thru-axle, and interestingly for cyclocross, hex bolt-based—no hand lever here.
Disc brake calipers attach via flat-mount with a 140mm minimum rotor size.
Two bottle mounts are present in the usual down tube and seat tube locations. There are threaded mounts for fenders on the seatstays, dropouts and on the back of the seat tube.
Control lines route internally through the down tube, but exit the bottom of the down tube to run externally along each chainstay to the rear derailleur and brake. If you decide to run a front derailleur, the cable follows the same path but requires a special order cable guide. An included plastic chain guide mounts directly to a special frame mount at the bottom of the seat tube.
The Crockett uses Trek’s IsoSpeed carbon fork design where the wheel mount is a bit behind the actual fork blade end, yielding normal trail and wheelbase even though it looks like it has more rake. Trek has stuck to that design for half a decade now. The steerer is all carbon and tapered.
The Trek Crockett is UCI approved. Our review sample Crockett 5 has an attractive raspberry to grape fade paint scheme.
Trek offers the 2020 Crockett in two builds, the Crockett 4 and 5, and as a frameset. We received the higher-end Crockett 5 for review.
The Trek Crockett 5 is SRAM Rival equipped, with a Praxis Works Alba M30 aluminum direct-mount crank with a 40t Wave Tech chain ring. Our 56cm frame is spec’d with a 172.5mm crank length. The SRAM 1130 cassette is 11-32t, giving cyclocross race gearing with a 1.25 low ratio.
The Trek Crockett 4 comes with SRAM Apex and looks to be value-oriented at $1,679.99.
Handlebar, stem and seatpost on the Crockett 5 are all-aluminum Bontrager models. Notably, the Bontrager Elite stem is compatible with Bontrager’s Blendr accessory mounts that integrate into the front of the stem. With the Blendr compatible stem mated to the bar, in this case a Bontrager VR-C, there is a gap at the top and bottom of the stem/bar junction if you don’t use a Blendr accessory mount.
You can actually tuck your glasses’ arm into the stem for a quick place to put them if the sun goes down-but in prolonged rain, the stem could fill with water I’d suppose.
The seatpost has a two-bolt micro-adjusting clamp holding a Bontrager Montrose saddle with steel rails that is quite comfortable for this tester. The 56cm size has a 10cm stem and 42cm wide bars. The stem top cap is emblazoned with the “cross is coming” and “cross is here” of hashtag fame.
Bontrager Affinity Disc aluminum tubeless-ready clincher wheels are standard on our build. These have a satin-finished aluminum rim with 24 double-butted spokes laced 2x to Bontrager Centerlock disc hubs. The Affinity TLR rim is 27mm outside width and 22mm inner width.
Bontrager CX3 32mm knobby cyclocross tires inflate just wider than the rim. The rims have cloth tape and tubes installed when shipped.
Trek TLR often utilizes a molded plastic rim strip, but not the Affinity TLR. The TLR compatible CX3 tires snap lightly but securely onto the rim bead shelf with only sealing tape. There is no bead locking lip on the rim’s bead shelf, but it seems secure and reliable enough so far.
Complete weight 19.5 lbs without pedals and 11.7 pounds without the wheels.
You have to forget what you’ve heard about aluminum frames from two decades ago. Personally, I went from steel on the road and ’cross straight to carbon, bypassing the early aluminum frames of the 1990s and early 2000s.
We were still reviewing a lot of aluminum bikes in 2007, the year Cyclocross Magazine premiered. It seemed aluminum technology reached its peak before the carbon wave in began in earnest. The new Trek Crockett is a leap ahead of those bikes, something we saw in the first iteration of the Crockett in 2013.
I have gotten the Crockett out for a few pre-cyclocross season rides after receiving it. The updated Crockett was immediately familiar, with nimble handling and quick acceleration on demand. First impressions suggest it has get-up and go.
Transitions from pavement to the Crockett’s off-road habitat have gone smoothly thanks to damping on par with some of the smoothest cyclocross bikes I have reviewed. I was able to keep my lines and get traction in the saddle through the transition and on some bumpy straightaways.
With cyclocross season around the corner, I will be seeing how the updated bike from Trek performs on race day. Stay tuned for a full review.
For a closer look at the 2020 Crockett 5, see the specs and photo gallery below.
Trek Crockett 5 Cyclocross Bike Specs
MSRP: $2,400 USD, as tested
Frame: Trek 300 Series Alpha aluminum, T47 threaded bottom bracket shell
Fork: Carbon fiber with carbon steerer, 1 ⅛” -1 ½”
Weight: 19.5 pounds, no pedals; 11.7 lbs without wheels or pedals
Shifters: SRAM Rival HRD, 11-speed
Brakes: SRAM Force 1 flat mount hydraulic disc
Rotors: SRAM Centerline, 160mm front and rear
Crankset: Praxis Alba DM M30
Chain Ring: Praxis Works Wave Tech, 40t, direct-mount
Cassette: SRAM 1130 Powerglide 11-32t
Wheels: Bontrager Affinity TLR disc, tubeless aluminum
Tires: Bontrager CX3, TLR-compatible, 700c x 32mm
Handlebar: Bontrager Comp VR-C, alloy, 42cm
Stem: Bontrager Elite, 100mm, Blendr compatible
Seatpost: Bontrager 2-bolt clamp
Saddle: Bontrager Montrose, steel rails
Warranty: Frame lifetime against defects to registered original owner
Country of origin: Taiwan
More Info: trekbikes.com