Trek Dual Sport vs FX (Which Is Right For You?)

Choosing a new bike is always a tricky job and, when it comes to a choice between the Trek Dual Sport and Trek FX, it’s even harder because both bike ranges are such good value.

So, I’m going to give you a head-to-head side-by-side blow-by-blow account of these two bikes. I’m going to highlight some of the key features of the two and we’ll look at which bike is best for you depending on what riding you do (or plan to).

There are a number of models in both the Dual Sport and FX ranges, so we’ll take a look at the different options and I’ll give you my number one bike from each.

If you need an answer more quickly than that, then I’d recommend the following:

Trek FX 3 Disc – if all your riding is going to be on smooth pavement or road, you like going fast and you’re considering commuting to work by bike

Dual Sport 2 – if most of your riding will be on smooth pavement or road, but you’ll also be heading out occasionally for some off-road trails with looser gravel or mud surfaces

If you’ve got a little extra time to dive into the detail, let’s take a look now.

Component

Product

Current price

Best for

Smooth pavement and light off-road trails

Smooth pavement

Handlebars

Flat bar

Flat bar

Forks

Front suspension

Rigid forks

Brakes

Mechanical or hydraulic disc

Linear-pull, mechanical or hydraulic disc

Tires

Bontrager GR1 Comp or Expert; 700x40c

Bontrager H2 or R1; 700x32c/35c

Gears

11-24

10-24

Saddle

Bontrager Sport, H1 or Evoke

Bontrager Sport, H1, or Montrose Comp

Bike weight

M: 27.52-30.26 lbs (12.48-13.73 kg)

M: 20.5-28.45 lbs (9.30-12.9 kg)


Trek FX review and recommendation

If all of your bike riding is on smooth pavements or roads, then a hybrid bike is the ideal choice for you. Trek are well known for making great quality bikes that are good value for money and their FX range of hybrid bikes is both extensive and very exciting.

There are over a dozen models in the FX range. These cover the full spectrum of different frame shapes (men’s/unisex, women’s and step-through), different frame materials and a wide range of components. This takes the FX all the way from being an entry-level machine with good components and a low price up to a slick carbon-fiber bike that gives many semi-pro road bikes a run for their money.

We’ll take a detailed look at the six main models (FX 1 through 6) and the differences between them, so you can see how they stack up against each other. If you decide that the FX is the bike for you then you’ll be able to use this comparison to choose the model that works best for you and your riding style.

The Trek FX 1 is the base model. Common to all the FX bikes it’s distinguishing feature that sets it apart from the Dual Sport range is the rigid front fork. You may be wondering if you need front suspension on a bike? Here’s the deal. Front suspension will add weight to a bike and up the price, so only go for it if you really need it. Do you need front suspension? Well, if you’ll be doing all of your cycling on smooth pavement or road, then I’d say no you don’t. The job of suspension is to level out the lumps and bumps in the road surface so that your hands, wrists and arms don’t get shaken to pieces. If there are no lumps or bumps, then choose a bike that doesn’t have it.

Moving up a level to the FX 1 Disc and you start getting some tasty features (for not very much extra money as well!) Most importantly, you get disc brakes rather than the linear-pull brakes on the FX 1. Linear pull brakes use brakes that squeeze against the wheel rims to slow you down. They work okay, but can be negatively impacted (i.e. won’t slow you down as fast) when conditions are very wet, or muddy, or your wheel rims are damaged or have a buckle. Disc brakes are (in my opinion) far superior to linear pull as they aren’t affected to the same extent by these factors and have awesome stopping power.

For me, the range really starts getting exciting when you reach the FX 2 Disc. This model brings upgrades to a number of the components and notably the brakes. The mechanical disc brakes of the FX 1 Disc are replaced here with hydraulic disc brakes. Same awesome stopping power and a big reduction in the weight. Check out the bike weights for the FX1 Disc and FX 2 Disc and you’ll a staggering 2lbs cut from the FX 2!

The FX 3 Disc continues the upgrades and here’s where the bike gets transformed from a leisure hybrid to a serious commuting machine. Many upgrades are evident, particularly with the front forks which swap out to carbon fiber (rather than alloy). That gives a twofold benefit. Firstly you have a weight reduction but also carbon fiber has more flex to it than alloy, so will soak up some unevenness in the road surface making for a more pleasurable riding experience. The FX 3 Disc is my recommendation from the FX range based on the components list and price.

FX 4 Disc brings in more upgrades and the one I really like is one that you can’t even see on the pictures. With the FX 4 Disc, Trek have done away with the front derailleur. This is a big trend on modern bikes and gives a bike that is simpler to use (you’ve only got on gear shifter to worry about), easier to maintain (there’s less to go wrong!) and lighter (fewer cogs and, of course, no front derailleur). Oh, and I love the color on this one.

FX 4 Sport Carbon, FX Sport 5 and FX Sport 6 take you on a journey into semi-pro road biking, but without the uncomfortable hunched riding position and drop handlebars. These are carbon-fiber frame bikes with a corresponding big drop in the bike weights – check out the FX Sport 6 which is only 20lbs! These models are smooth to use and a delight to pedal on. Go as fast as you want for mile after mile, with a massive smile on your face.


Trek Dual Sport review and recommendation

Combine a light bike with great components, a front suspension fork and all-terrain tires and you get a bike that is at home on smooth pavements as well as on off-road trails. You also get the Trek Dual Sport.

The Dual Sport comes in seven different models, comprising 4 men’s/unisex bikes and 3 women’s specific bikes. Let’s take a look through the four main models of unisex bike (the Dual Sport 1 through 4).

The Dual Sport 1 kicks off the party with a bike that is great fun to ride and will put a smile on your face. Front suspension to smooth out the trails and any bumpy road surfaces. Disc brakes to give you awesome stopping power. Go anywhere all-terrain tires that give you confidence when you’re cornering on loose surfaces.

Dual Sport 2 takes it up a gear with a number of great component upgrades. The best one for me is the locking front suspension fork. Front suspension is only needed when you’re on a lumpy surface. On smooth surfaces it can make for a bouncy ride and will soak up some of the leg power that you want to transfer into spinning those wheels faster. Locking the suspension allows you to have the best of both worlds and it’s a feature that I always choose. That’s why I’ve made the Dual Sport 2 my choice for the top spot in this range.

Dual Sport 3 brings more upgrades, notably the 2×9 drivetrain from Shimano. Smooth performance when you’re grinding up hills or blasting down the other sides.

Which brings us to Dual Sport 4, the cream of the crop. The lightest of the range with the best set of components, this gives plenty of mid-range mountain bikes a good run for their money…and will totally blow them out of the water on smooth pavement! There are weight reductions all over the place, but particularly with the drivetrain, where the front derailleur is removed entirely. There’s also a remote locking system for the front suspension – a switch on the handlebars makes this a breeze to use when you’re speeding along.


Conclusion – which one to go for?

This is where the rubber finally meets the road (or trail) and you get to hit ‘Buy Now’ at long last!

So, how do you choose? Well, if all your riding is on smooth surfaces, then go for the Trek FX. If you want the best of the best and you like going fast, then choose the FX Sport 6.

If you do most of your riding on smooth surfaces but also like to head out on the trails from time to time, then go with the Trek Dual Sport. A true hybrid, the Dual Sport bikes are excellent on smooth pavement and fully capable of delivering on gravel or muddy trails. Dual Sport 2 is the one I’d go for here.

Whichever bike you choose, FX or Dual Sport…Enjoy!