Trek Dual Sport 2 vs 3 (Read Before Buying)

If you’re looking to buy a new bike and have narrowed your choice down to the Trek Dual Sport 2 or Dual Sport 3…but aren’t sure which one to go for…then you’ve come to the right place at the right time.

In a moment, I’ll give you a head-to-head comparison of the full spec list for each bike – right next door to each other so that you can compare the forks and frame on one with the forks and frame on the other. Going all the way down to the handlebar grips and the spokes.

I’ll then take a look at each bike individually, hunting out the main pros and cons of each and seeing whether they justify the price differential between these two models.

As an aside, I’ve also recently compared the Dual Sport 2 to the Dual Sport 1 – the entry model in this Trek range. There’s a good-sized price difference across the range and it’s worth taking a closer look at the Dual Sport 1 if you’ll only be using your bike occasionally.

Choosing a new set of wheels is never easy, but I hope that this simple comparison of these two great bikes makes the process just a little easier. Both the Dual Sport 2 and Dual Sport 3 are fantastic hybrid bikes that are ideal for a wide range of cycling from off-road trails to city commuting. So you’ll certainly be choosing a good bike if you go for either one. Let’s take a look at them in some more detail.

ALTERNATIVE CHOICE

Trek Dual Sport 2 and 3 out-of-stock?

Then consider Co-op Cycles CTY 2.1 hybrid bike. A similar spec and a great alternative to the Dual Sport


Component

Product

Current price

Frame

Alpha Gold Aluminum

Alpha Gold Aluminum

Fork

SR Suntour NEX, hydraulic lockout, 63mm travel

SR Suntour NEX, hydraulic lockout, 63mm travel

Front hub

Formula DC-20

Formula DC-20

Rear hub

Formula DC-22

Formula DC-22

Rims

Bontrager Connection

Bontrager Tubeless Ready

Spokes

14g, stainless steel

14g, stainless steel

Tires

Bontrager GR1 Comp, 700x40c

Bontrager GR1 Expert, 700x40c

Shifter

Shimano Altus M315; 3 / 8 speed

Shimano Acera SL-M3010 (2 spd), M3000 (9 spd)

Front derailleur

Shimano Tourney TY710

Shimano Acera T3000

Rear derailleur

Shimano Acera M360

Shimano Alivio M3100

Crank

Forged alloy, 48/38/28

Shimano MT210

Cassette

Shimano HG31, 11-32, 8 speed

Shimano HG200, 11-36, 9 speed

Chain

KMC Z8.3

KMC X9

Pedals

Wellgo M141, resin body, alloy cage

Wellgo M141, resin body, alloy cage

Saddle

Bontrager Sport

Bontrager H1

Seatpost

Bontrager alloy, 27.2mm

Bontrager alloy, 27.2mm

Handlebar

Bontrager alloy; 600/660mm width

Bontrager Comp Lowriser, 600/660mm width

Grips

Bontrager Satellite

Bontrager XR Endurance Elite

Stem

Bontrager alloy; 70-100mm length

Bontrager Elite; Blendr compatible, 80-110mm length

Headset

1-1/8'' threadless, sealed cartridge bearings

1-1/8'' threadless, sealed cartridge bearings

Brakes

Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic disc

Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc

Bike weight

M: 29.05 lbs (13.18 kg)

M: 29.66 lbs (13.45 kg)


Trek Dual Sport overview

Hybrid bikes, like the Trek Dual Sport range, are one of the most versatile and enjoyable types of bike to ride.

If you look at the bike spectrum, you’ve got road bikes at the “Fast but not very rugged” end and mountain bikes at the “Rugged but not very fast” end. Hybrid bikes take up a large section of the spectrum between these two, more specialist, machines.

I love hybrid bikes and they’re my go-to for a wide range of cycling from commuting to work, through family cycles on smooth park pavement, to bike trails with loose gravel surfaces.

Road bikes are great for cycling at speed but you have to make some sacrifices when riding them. You tend to ride in a more hunched position to decrease wind resistance and this can be uncomfortable. Plus, when the weather turns chilly and there’s ice and snow on the roads those skinny tires won’t give you any grip.

Mountain bikes are awesome for riding backcountry trails. The muddier and gnarlier the better. But try taking them on pavement and the knobbly tires will vibrate your arms to pieces whilst the heavier bike weight will make ascents that bit more challenging.

In contrast, hybrid bikes like the Dual Sport have the best of both worlds. They’re fast, but with a comfy upright riding position. They’re rugged and can handle plenty of off-road riding, but with lighter total bike weight and tires that grip on both roads and trails.

Apart from the most extreme mountain bike trails, it’s difficult to think of a situation where the Dual Sport 2 or 3 won’t be at home. They’re ideal for trips to get groceries with a trailer on the bike. Swap out the groceries for the kids and they’re superb for taking the family out on a quick blast round the local park. They’re very versatile and lots of fun to ride.

If we focus in particular on the Dual Sport 2 and 3 we see that they are each a fantastic example of hybrid bike. Each has a great list of components, with pricing to match. So, without further ado, let’s take a detailed look at them.


Trek Dual Sport 2 review

Pros: Substantially lower price, slightly lighter, versatile and fun to ride
Cons: More basic drivetrain and brakes, wheels aren’t tubeless-ready

At the risk of giving spoilers, I have to say that the Dual Sport 2 is my favorite model in this range from Trek. Why?

Well, both bikes have a solid range of components attached to a light and sturdy aluminum frame. They each have a good range of gears, without the extra weight of gears you wouldn’t feel the need to use. And the shifters give smooth gear changes so you’re always on the best cog whatever the slope you’re tackling.

The geometry of the Dual Sport is the same across the full range (1 through 4) and it’s upright and comfortable. You won’t be hunched over the handlebars and you’ll get good visibility of the terrain ahead.

The Dual Sport 2 has a front suspension fork (which smooths out the lumps and bumps in the path) and it’s a big step up from the Dual Sport 1 fork. Both are suspension, however the DS2 fork can be locked. That’s a big advantage as it means you can get more power into the uphills, which would otherwise be soaked up by a non-locking fork.

The GR1 Comp tires on the DS2 are grippy on loose or muddy terrain and yet fast-rolling when you hit smooth pavements. The best of both worlds, which kinda sums up a hybrid bike altogether.

The Dual Sport 2 is on sale in two colorways for the unisex/men’s (I particularly like the Mulsanne Blue) and two for the women’s. There are a ton of extras that you can get for these bikes, useful ones include the rear pannier racks and front and rear fenders.


Trek Dual Sport 3 review

Pros: Higher spec drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes; tubeless-ready rims
Cons: (Much) more expensive bike

There’s around a $200 price difference between the Dual Sport 2 and 3, and yet at first glance they look virtually identical. What gives?

It’s a big wad of cash extra to pay out for the Dual Sport 3 and for that you get a few key upgrades. Firstly you get a higher-spec Shimano drivetrain with 18 gears to choose from. You also get a more premium set of front and rear Shimano hydraulic brakes to reliably bring you to a stop when you need it. Additionally, the wheel rims are tubeless-ready so can be used without inner tubes (like your car tires) reducing weight and the chance of punctures.

These upgrades give a bike that is slightly heavier on the road (by just over half a pound) and heavier on the wallet.

Are they worth paying for? It’s a tricky one to answer and it really depends on what you’ll be doing with your bike. If your plan is to use the bike for family rides/road commuting/grocery shopping/park rides then the Dual Sport 2 will likely suit you fine and you can save the saving or use it to buy some of the handy accessories. However, if your plan is to take you and your bike further into the backcountry and tackle some of the more challenging trails, as well as using it for the family rides, commuting, grocery trips, etc then the Dual Sport 3 would be worth paying the additional for.

The Dual Sport 3 is on sale in two colorways for the unisex/men’s (I really love the Factory Orange, but then the Lithium Grey is also cool) and one for the women’s. The upgraded components on the Dual Sport 3 bring it in at a slightly heavier weight than the Dual Sport 2 (29.66 lbs vs 29.05 lbs) though this is unlikely to be noticeable when you’re riding the bikes.


Standout Features of the Dual Sport 2 and 3 bikes

Let’s look in more detail at some of the main features of this pair of bikes.

Internal cable routing

 

 


The two bikes each have their cabling threaded internally through the aluminum frame. This gives a tidier finish than having those same cables strewn across the outside of the frame as per some bikes. There’s also less likelihood of the cables snagging on car racks or tree branches

Hydraulic disc brakes

All the bikes in the Dual Sport range have disc brakes and these have huge advantages over other, older sorts of brakes like v-brakes or cantilevered brakes. The entry-level bike, the Dual Sport 1, has mechanical disc brakes. These use a cable to pull the brake. It’s a good system but heavier than hydraulic disc brakes as you find on the Dual Sport 2 and 3. The Shimano MT200 brakes that you get on the Dual Sport 3 are a step up from the Tektro HD-M275 brakes on the Dual Sport 2.

Grippy all-rounder tires

The GR1 Comp or Expert 700x40c tires will give you all the confidence you need when you’re cycling on loose or muddy surfaces. Bontrager, a part of Trek Bikes, have done their job well in creating these. And they’re a tire that’s also happy on smooth roads and pavement. Letting you travel at fast speeds, minus the arm vibration that you’d experience if you tried this with gnarly mountain bike tires. Like a hybrid bike itself, tires like this give you the best of both worlds.


Conclusion

Choosing a new bike is always exciting, but not necessarily easy, particularly when you narrow down the list to the final two. Both the Dual Sport 2 and Dual Sport 3 are fantastic hybrid bikes from the Trek stable. Fun to ride, no matter where you take them. Light, responsive and easy to pedal along, whether that’s on pavement or bike trails, and whether you’re picking up groceries or racing the kids.

The choice comes down to budget and whether your riding would benefit from the upgraded components on the Dual Sport 3. $200 is a lot of money, however, and unless you plan on tackling the rougher bike trails then I’d recommend saving the cash and grabbing yourself a Dual Sport 2.

Enjoy!