Trek 2.3 WSD Pro Review


Trek 2.3 WSD Pro Review - By Karen Cooper
  • Frame - Trek Alpha Black aluminum w/TCT carbon stays
  • Fork - Bontrager Race, carbon
  • Wheels - Bontrager Race
  • Tires - Bontrager Race Lite, 700 x 23c
  • Groupset - Shimano 105 (w/an Ultegra Rear Derailleur)
  • Brakes - Aluminum dual-pivot
  • MSRP - $1809

Meet the Trek 2.3 WSD
When I first started riding road bikes, the woman's specific design movement hadn't really gained much momentum. Over the last few years, the trend has really taken off, with lots of manufacturers thinking about what we women need in a bike and designing equipment that fits those needs.

The Trek 2.3 WSD (Women's Specific Design) is a good example, filling a spot midway in the full WSD product line-up. The next jump up the line moves into Trek's base Madone WSD. Below the five Madone WSD models, Trek offers a 1.2, 1.5, 2.1 and 2.3 WSD spec levels with prices ranging from $880 MSRP for the 1.2 to $1809 for the 2.3 we tested. For reference, the lowest equipment spec level of the Madone WSD jumps to $2,469 MSRP.

The 2.3 WSD comes in a wide range of frame sizes: 43cm, 47cm, 50cm, 54cm, and 56cm; I tested the 47, listed as an XS. Compared to the seat tube height, the top tubes start out with slighter longer on the smallest frames, and gradually transition towards shorter top tubes on the larger frames. The head tube angles are relaxed for a comfortable, stable ride, a confidence inspiring choice for beginner to intermediate level women riders. With full sloping top tube and seat tube sizes down to a 43 (the only WSD size to run a 650c wheel), the Trek WSD line allows even the shortest of us girls to get into a perfectly sized sporty road bike.

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Technical Bits
Trek 2.3 Pro Review
The 2.3 WSD's front triangle is constructed with Trek's "Alpha Black" custom formed 6000 series aluminum tubes, shaped for planar rigidity at the head tube and lateral stiffness at the bottom bracket. The welds are very smooth with hardly any noticeable stepping of beads. Trek fits the frame with TCT carbon seat and chain stays that are cleanly bonded to the seat tube and bottom bracket as well as to the aluminum rear dropout with replaceable derailleur hanger. At the front is a straight bladed Bontrager Race carbon fork with 6061 alloy sheerer. Don't look for any eyelets to mount a rack or fenders, the 2.3 is closer to an entry level sport bike, rather than a purpose built commuter.

You'll see the Bontrager name quite a bit, as the 2.3 is detailed with lots of utilitarian Bontrager Race grade components. Trek also specs a mix of decent Shimano components, with a few generic bits.

Starting at the ground and working our way up, the 2.3 rolls on Bontrager Race wheels, running plush 700x25 Bontrager Race Lite clincher tires. With 20 bladed 14 gauge spokes up front, and 24 at the rear, laced to brass nipples at the rim and cartridge bearing hubs, these are really durable wheels that will let you spend your time riding instead of wrenching. According to Bontrager's website, the wheels weigh in at a reasonable 1790 grams.

Trek 2.3 Pro Review


2.3 shifting is managed by a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur, a 105 front derailleur, and 105 brake/shifters with Bontrager's FIT reach adjust shims. The Shimano 105 crank is available in either a road triple or the compact I selected, in a 50/34 chain ring combo. The 2.3 offers two different 105 level, 10 speed rear cassettes, depending on which crank you choose, a well matched 11-25 came with ours.

At the controls, aside from brake reach, one of the most critical pieces in the mix would be the handlebars. Bontrager FIT VR OS bars claim to have the smallest reach (70mm) and drop (120mm) of any road bar; I found them well scaled, offering a nice compact fit in my small hands, a plus. A short 75mm short, Bontrager Race Lite OS stem with a 7 degree rise connects the bar to the fork steerer. The Bontrager logo'd bar tape, stem top cap, and carbon spacers are a nice touch.

For a comfortable perch, the 2.3 includes a Bontrager Race Basic FIT saddle with plenty of cushion for tender new rider butts. The Bontrager carbon seat post isn't stepped with grooves, so there's plenty of seat angle adjustability.

Trek 2.3 WSD Pro Review


The whole 2.3 WSD package, without bottle cages and pedals weighs 18.75 pounds; it's not super light, but for a mid-level spec'd road bike, it's reasonable.

Aesthetically the 2.3 WSD is very clean, with simple lines, a tasteful silver and black paint scheme and pleasing purple accents, with a nicely matching gray and black saddle. The 2.3 doesn't scream girly bike in this color combination; if you want a version that's a lot more feminine check out the Spearmint/Pearl white model. The bar, stem, wheels and seat post are black, with most everything else either alloy or polished.

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2009 Trek 2.3 WSD - Spearmint/Pearl White

Out on the road.
I've had the Trek long enough to put in a variety of Santa Cruz miles. That means steep climbs, fast descents, rolling strawberry fields and shaded canyons, with plenty of oceanside stretches.

The 2.3 has been fun to ride. It feels lighter and more nimble than its measured weight. It climbs like a champ, feeling like nothing is wasted when I turn the pedals - everything goes forward, no side to side mushiness. The Shimano 105 shifters are easy to shift, with a quick crispness for rear gear changes. I really like the feel of the leather and synthetic covered Bontrager Race saddle - it's very comfortable and supportive with a contoured relief zone cut out. I think it's a fantastic saddle for a beginning rider.

The Bontrager Race wheels and tires handle everything I threw at them gracefully. They have a nice sticky quality in the corners - I'll take anything to add confidence to my cornering and these do the trick. With the 25mm width, they take the edge off rough road surfaces. The quick releases are really long, making it easy for me to open them and lock them closed again.

Alongside those nice aspects, there were a few things that didn't quite hit the mark for me. Even with the carbon stays and fork, the bike felt stiff, with a bit of road chatter over longer rides. The 105 front shifter needed a lot of throw to upshift onto the big ring; however the rear didn't demand as much throw to change gears. The generic brakes were flexible and needed a lot of pull on steep descents. I would have preferred a little better speed modulation; perhaps upgrading the pads would help.

Strengths:
  • Reasonable weight
  • Well built frame
  • Nimble road manners
  • Stable steering geometry
  • Great proportional sizes for women riders
  • Bars and controls well scaled for a feminine hand
  • Easy shifting Ultegra rear derailleur
  • Choose between tasteful silver and cute spearmint color schemes
  • Choose a compact double or road triple crank
  • Really comfortable saddle
Weaknesses:
  • Lots of throw to shift front derailleur
  • Brake caliper flex and modulation
  • Noticeable road chatter

Value:
3.5
3 bottle


Overall:
4
4 bottle


Bottom line:

The Trek 2.3 WSD is an easy to fit women's bike, well suited for the beginning to mid level rider, looking for decent performance. The bike handles well, is comfortable out of the box, and is a great bike to get your ride on. The WSD trend is in full stride, and this bike is a prime example, with of a collection of components carefully chosen to provide a great fit for women riders. It's certainly isn't the cheapest bike at this equipment level, but the Trek name and warrantee counts for a lot. I'd recommend this bike to my girl friends.