Trek FX1 vs FX2: Which Bike Should You Choose?

Trying to choose between Trek’s FX1 and FX2? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Trek’s FX range of hybrid bikes is fantastic, and I’ve previously looked at various models in the lineup: comparing the FX2 vs FX3, the FX3 compared to the FX4, and the jewel in the FX crown, a review of the FX6. I’ve also compared the FX to the other range of hybrids manufactured by Trek, the Dual Sport.

Today though, we’re focusing specifically on the FX1 and FX2. There’s a big price difference between the two bikes (around $200) and I’m going to take a look and see whether the extra is worth paying for or whether you’d be best to save the money and go with the base model, the FX1.

First off then, I’ll do a head-to-head comparison of the specification for each of the two bikes. Next, I’ll review each bike separately and see where Trek is investing the money. Lastly, I’ll give you my recommendation as to which bike I believe is best value for money.

But…

If you need an answer quicker than that, here’s my opinion. I say go with the FX2. Why? Well, the FX2 is substantially lighter, it’s got much better brakes, and a superior front fork. All of which, in my view, justify the higher price tag.

Stick around, if you can, and we’ll go through these two great bikes in some more detail.

Product

Current price

Frame

Alpha Gold Aluminum

Alpha Gold Aluminum

Fork

FX Steel

FX Alloy

Front hub

Formula FM21

Formula DC-20

Rear hub

Formula FM31

Formula DC-22

Rims

Bontrager Connection

Bontrager Connection

Spokes

14g, stainless steel

14g, stainless steel

Tires

Bontrager H2 Comp, 700x35c

Bontrager H2 Comp, 700x35c

Shifter

Shimano Altus EF500, 3/7 spd

Shimano Altus M310/M315, 3/8 spd

Front derailleur

Shimano Tourney TY510

Shimano Tourney TY710

Rear derailleur

Shimano Altus M310

Shimano Acera M360

Crank

Forged alloy

Forged alloy

Cassette

SunRace MFM300, 14-34, 7 spd

Shimano HG31, 11-32, 8 spd

Chain

KMC Z7

KMC Z7

Pedals

Wellgo nylon platform

Bontrager Satellite City pedal

Saddle

Bontrager Sport

Bontrager Sport

Seatpost

Bontrager alloy, 27.2mm

Bontrager alloy, 27.2mm

Handlebar

Bontrager Riser, steel, 620mm width

Bontrager alloy; 600/660mm width

Grips

Bontrager Satellite

Bontrager Satellite

Stem

Bontrager alloy, 25.4mm clamp, 110mm length

Bontrager alloy, Blendr compatible, 90-100mm length

Headset

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

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

Brakes

Tektro alloy linear-pull

Tektro HD-R280 hydraulic disc

Bike weight

M: 27.72 lbs (12.57 kg)

M: 26.34 lbs (11.95 kg)

More details



Overview of the Trek FX range

I’m a massive fan of hybrids like the FX and strongly believe that they’re the invisible backroom girls and boys of the biking world.

Hybrids are the bike for every occasion. Ideal for grocery trips with a backpack or paniers. The perfect transport on smooth pavement to the ocean. Great for cruising into the office along bike paths and city streets on your daily commute.

On the spectrum of bikes, you’ve got road bikes at one end (they’re fast, but not necessarily that comfortable to ride) and mountain bikes along at the other end (rugged and great for hitting the bike trails, but not great on smooth paved roads). These bikes are real specialists though. In the middle of the bike spectrum we have a large area that’s the domain of hybrid bikes. These are bikes that are versatile, dependable, and will go anywhere and do anything you ask of them.

They’re also brilliant fun to ride and to be honest they’re my go-to when I’m not chasing a personal best time or hitting some gnarly bike park.

Trek have been producing bikes since the mid-70’s, so they know a thing or three about these machines and that shows with their awesome FX hybrids. Ride style is upright and comfortable letting you watch the world go by – not hunched over like a road bike rider. The aluminum frames are light and strong – and a light bike means that you can go further, faster and with less effort. Component specifications are good at every price point in the range and, at the top of the tree, you get FX models that will rival many expensive road bikes.

The FX range boasts fourteen variations, incorporating three different frame styles. There’s a unisex/male with a horizontal crossbar, a female version with a slightly-sloping crossbar, and a step-through with a steeply-sloped crossbar. Entry-level is the FX1 (which we’ll talk more about in a moment) and the range goes up to the FX Sport 6, which swaps out the aluminum frame for carbon fiber and a top-flight list of components.

Let’s turn or attention specifically to the FX1 and FX2 and see how they measure up against each other, so we can determine the one that’s best value for money.



Trek FX1 Review

If you’re new to cycling and on a limited budget (aren’t we all!) then my view is that the FX1 is a great buy. For less than $500 dollars you get a lot of bike for your money and that translates to a lot of smile on your face.

Both the FX1 and FX2 have many similarities. Each bike has, at its core, an aluminum frame. This gives a bike which hits the sweet spot of being both strong and light at the same time (the FX1 clocking-in at 27.7 lbs total weight). The tires on both are the Bontrager H2 Comp, at 700x35c, this is a fast-rolling tire that also has enough width (and therefore air in the tube) to soak up and lumps and bumps in the road surface.

The drivetrain on the FX1 (which is the gear shifter on the handlebars, gear cogs and derailleurs) is a combination of good quality Shimano and SunRace components that are smooth and responsive. Total number of gears that the FX1 has is 3×7 = 21. Enough to get you up hills with ease, before you cruise fast down the other side.

Brakes on the FX1 are Tektro linear-pull. What does this mean? Well, linear-pull brakes are the style where you pull the brake lever and brake pads pull against the metal wheel rims in order to slow and stop you. Linear-pull brakes are seen as ‘entry-level’ in the world of cycling – vs the hydraulic disc brakes that the FX2 has – but they have important advantages. It’s all down to maintenance. Linear-pull brakes are easy to adjust by yourself (you just need an allen wrench and a little YouTube knowhow) and, when the brake blocks wear down, they’re simple and cheap to replace.

In summary, the FX1 is a great bike and offers excellent value for money. If you’re just getting into the sport, or want an ‘everyday’ bike for shopping errands, office commutes, or beach trips, then you’d struggle to find a better option.

Now, let’s compare the FX1 to the FX2.


Trek FX2 review

We’ve already seen that the FX range is excellent and the FX1 is a great first bike for everyday use.

I started off this article by saying that my favorite bike of the two is the FX2. So, let’s take a look and see what the reasons are for this.

The FX2 Disc (to give it its full title) is a step up from the FX1 in both price terms and components. The two bikes have the same aluminum frame, and they look similar, but there are some important differences.

First up, the front forks. The steel forks on the FX1 are replaced with alloy forks on the FX2. The big benefit of this is an overall weight reduction on the FX2. 27.72 lbs for the FX1 drops by around a pound and a half to 26.34 lbs on the FX2. That ‘lightening of the load’ means that you can cycle faster and more easily, getting where you want to go sooner and with less effort. Have a rummage around in the pantry for a bag of sugar or flour and you’ll see what this difference in weight actually feels like – it’s substantial.

We’ve looked at the linear-pull brakes that the FX1 has. In contrast, the FX2 has hydraulic disc brakes. These work differently to linear-pull. Instead of pulling brake blocks against the wheel rims, these use hydraulic brake fluid (like your car) to pull brake blocks against a separate metal disc by the wheel hubs. This gives much better stopping power, particularly in wet or muddy conditions as they’re not reliant on having dry wheel rims like the FX1 brakes. NB. If you like the sound of hydraulic disc brakes, but can’t justify the price of the FX2, then there’s a middle ground option with the Trek FX1 Disc – check it out if you like.

Of the two bikes, the FX2 Disc is my recommendation based on the list of components. The ride is fast and fun, and the price upgrade from the FX1, in my opinion, is fully justified by the component upgrades with the forks and brakes. Whichever bike you opt for though, I’ve got no doubt that you’ll have many years of enjoyable riding on it.