Strengths: I ran over a deer on highway 84 in the Santa Cruz Mountains
"The Goat" has been some incredible number of thousands of miles and has provided an excellent bike for flying through the mountains. The only thing I recommend is to use Specialized Armadillo tires so you'll never get a flat. I ran over a deer on this bike and didn't crash. Excellent handling.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: February 29, 2012
Strengths: Great price for a bike with full Shimano 105 components- beats what comes on the 3.1 and 4.5 (brakes, wheels, and cranks).
Weaknesses: The aluminum frame doesn't have the coolness factor that the carbon frames do. However, if you nick or scratch the aluminum frame, you can sell it without a problem; I'm not sure you can say the same about a bike with a carbon frame.
I purchased a 2011 Trek 2.3 from Jax Bicycles about a month ago (January 2012) for $1340 OTD with a 3 year Red Shield protection plan. I sold a Trek Madone 4.5 last year, but missed road cycling, so within a few months I was looking for a replacement. I went back and forth between the 2.3 and 3.1 (the 4.5 was no longer in my price range) and decided on the 2.3 after I hung the 2.3 and 3.1 on a scale at the bike shop. Both bikes were 56cm and weighed the same (19.3 lbs without pedals). With pedals and two water bottle cages, my 2.3 weighs approximately 20.3 lbs. I threw on some "free" Race X lite wheels and got it down to 19.3 lbs. I am impressed with the ride quality and have not noticed the difference between the carbon and aluminum frames, even when riding with the stock wheels. I do, however, notice improved braking performance and feel with the 2.3 (105 brakes) over the 3.1 and 4.5 brakes. If you are looking to save weight by going with a carbon frame, you'll probably have to start shopping in the Madone 5-series, which will include better components, before you see a noticeable difference. Although, it is going to come with a much higher price tag.
Similar Products Used: Trek Madone 4.5
Gary Fisher HiFi Carbon (MTB)
Giant AC Air Lite (MTB)
Bike Setup: All stock, except the Race X Lite wheels
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2011
Strengths: Light, strong, quick.
Weaknesses: While the carbon fork and stays soften the ride, it's not as comfortable a ride as my old steel bike. However, it's much more maneuverable and, of course, lighter.
This was a gift from my brother-in-law, who upgraded to a carbon bike. This has been a great bike for me -- 6'2", 250 -- as I work on getting back in shape. It's quick, comfortable, and strong. Not built for the Tour de France, but a great training/recreational bike for the above-average cyclist.
Weaknesses: compact gearing can spin out going downhill, standard seat, wheels and brakes not that great.
Trek 2.3, carbon stays, compact gearing, really has been a fantastic bike. Very stable, nice geometry, light and fast. Waited 2 yrs and 2K+ miles to review it. This is a great training bike. I have ridden a CAAD9 and this is similar, but w/a better ride.
Bike Setup: standard 105 components, upgraded no-name brakes to 105, upgraded wheels to Mavic Aksium, changed seat to Specialized BG Avatar, lots of Bontrager stuff. Bike rides great. Original Bontrager tires now have 2.5K miles on them, wearing very well.
back of the main field
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2009
Strengths: Geometry balances comfort, stability, and handling well
Reliable (I hope, anyway, because this bike will need to last several years!)
Price-Past this price point, it's diminishing returns from any brand. For a noticeably better bike, you'd have to spend $700-1000 more, which in my household was better spent on a double Chariot trailer.
Weaknesses: Look closely - seat & tires will need replacing. If you race at all, you might add wheels & brakes to the upgrade list. I know that's hypocritical after extolling the price, though.
Bumpy roads=bumpy ride
Not aero or ultralight or super flashy, so if you ride with dentists & trust fund babies, you'll need to swallow your pride.
With 1000 km on the bike, we're starting to get to know eachother. Nice light bike for rec riding at a good price. Stiff, solid comfortable ride feel. The lowish BB height, tall head tube & medium wheelbase make it easy to stay upright and moving forward, comfortable at any location on the handlebar, but you are aware of the bumps in the road. All components reliable so far, no loss in performance in the rain. Brakes could use centering adjustment screw but have decent power, seat brought back memories of the plastic bmx seat I had 25 years ago (not a good thing!), tires are low quality and 25mm, not 23mm, but work fine for now. I know the B-brand "race" wheels aren't the sexiest, but work well and I feel faster with bladed spokes. LOVING compact cranks, for all the quirks that go with them. Often requires simultaneous front and rear shifting to get into the right gear, but it's nice to have such a huge range w/o the trim issues of a triple. Impressed so far with 105 components.