Trek FX6 Review (A Good Investment?)

Without doubt the Trek FX6 is an awesome piece of machinery, from its light and nimble carbon frame to its powerful and responsive hydraulic disc brakes, but is it worth the more than $2k price tag?

Trying to decide whether to buy a new bike is never easy, but when you’ve narrowed the choice down to a Trek bike, and then further to a bike from their FX range, you know you’re already on to a winner.

My aim today is to give you the necessary information you need to decide whether the FX6 is the right bike for you. Does it suit your riding style? Is it right for the terrain you’ll be negotiating? Does the component list represent good value for the investment?

Here’s the quick answer: the FX Sport 6 is a bike that moves beyond the so-called hybrid bike or fitness bike category. It’s a bike that rivals some of the best road bikes for velocity and handling. And yet it does that with a geometry that enables a riding position which is infinitely more comfortable than the hunched-over style you have to suffer with road bikes. My view is that the FX6 is the right bike for you if you crave speed and easy miles, but don’t want to ride with a smile on your face, rather than your face set in a grimace and pressed firmly to the handlebars.

In a moment I’ll take you through full spec list of the FX6 and then I’ll do a full review of the bike with highlights of some of the major standout features. Before that, let’s have a quick look at the main pros and cons.

Component

Product

Current price

Frame

400 series OCLV carbon, IsoSpeed, internal cable routing, DuoTrap S compatible, fender mounts

Fork

FX Carbon

Front hub

Bontrager alloy

Rear hub

Bontrager alloy

Rims

Bontrager Affinity Disc, Tubeless Ready, presta valve

Spokes

14g, stainless steel

Tires

Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite, 700x32c

Shifter

Shimano RS700, 11 spd

Front derailleur

Shimano 105 R7000

Rear derailleur

Shimano 105 R7000

Crank

Shimano 105 R7000, 50/34 (compact), 170-175mm length

Cassette

Shimano 105 R7000, 11-32, 11 speed

Chain

Shimano HG601

Pedals

VP Resin body, alloy cage, toe clip

Saddle

Bontrager Montrose Comp, steel rails, 138mm width

Seatpost

Bontrager Comp, 6061 alloy, 27.2mm

Handlebar

Bontrager Satellite Plus IsoZone; 600/660mm width

Grips

Bontrager Satellite IsoZone Plus, lock-on, ergonomic

Stem

Bontrager Elite; Blendr compatible, 100-110mm length

Headset

FSA Integrated, sealed cartridge bearing, 1-1/8''

Brakes

Tektro HD-R310, hydraulic disc

Bike weight

M: 20.5 lbs (9.30 kg)


Pros and Cons of the FX Sport 6

Pros:

Full carbon frame (including the forks)
Excellent set of high-end Shimano components
Innovative IsoSpeed decoupler to smooth out rough pavements
Super-light bike weight (at only 20.5 lbs)

Cons:

The price tag (yes, it’s a lot of money, but it’s also good value)
Only available in black (but it is a very stylish matte black)


Trek FX Sport 6 review

I’ve reviewed a number of bikes recently from Trek’s FX range (for example comparing the FX2 vs FX3 and the FX3 vs FX4). I’ve also compared the FX range to Trek’s other similar bike range, the Dual Sport. Like the FX but with front suspension to take you onto the trails. If you look at the articles, I talk about them being ‘hybrid bikes’ and I think that’s a useful term because it gives potential buyers a clear idea of where these bikes sit. Which is to say, in the big open space between fast road bikes and rugged mountain bikes. I’m a huge advocate of these bikes because they can turn their hand to everything – commuting, grocery trips, and weekend trips to the beach spring to mind.

When it comes to the FX Sport 6 though, I’m not sure the term hybrid bike is particularly suitable. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a stigma and a hint of snobbishness when it comes to hybrid bikes. With an implication that ‘hybrid’ really means compromise, and ‘neither one thing nor the other’, and heavy, and slow.

The FX6 is none of these things.

Under the hood, it looks gorgeous. There are plenty of first-class Shimano components, such as the fantastic 105 R7000 front and rear derailleur set, with great Bontrager kit completing the line-up. Everything is hung on the frame – a carbon work of art – which uses Trek’s own OCLV Carbon tech. And a carbon frame can only have a carbon front fork to go with it, like this does.

The combined weight of all this wonderfulness is a tiny 20.5 lbs. To put this into perspective, Trek’s top-flight road bike, the 2021 Madone SLR 9, only comes in 3 lbs lighter.

And that means, that you’re going to go FAST!! on this bike. With no apologies for the all caps. Or the exclamation marks. Either of them.

If the FX6 was in the form of a road bike, you’d need to be hunkered down over the handlebars to achieve this speed. Sure, that would feel great, but you wouldn’t be able to really appreciate the dismayed looks on the faces of the other roadies you were overtaking.

Not so, with this bike.

The geometry of the FX6, combined with the flat handlebars, means that the riding position is upright and comfortable. Not hunched over, folded double like on a road bike. That’s makes the FX6 easy on the back, the neck and the core muscles. As well as being very easy on the eye.

It’s a great bike then, but who is it for?

I think there are two groups of people who the FX6 is perfect for.

With its high-end spec list and relaxed riding geometry it’s an excellent trade-up for avid road cyclists, who’ve been round the block a few times now, and are looking to get a bit more comfort on their rides. But without sacrificing any speed because they still want to be able to cruise past those young whippersnappers out on the mean streets.

It’s also for people who’ve always enjoyed the versatility of hybrid bikes – that go-anywhere-do-anything nature – but want a lighter bike with a smoother running set of components. To get those groceries home faster.

Let’s take a closer at a few of the interesting details on the FX Sport 6.

OCLV Carbon frame

Carbon gives the lightness and strength that is the sweet spot of the bikes and it’s one of the main factors behind the low total bike weight of a smidge over 20 lbs. Not only does carbon have these qualities but it also is inherently vibration-reducing. This is just the first in a long line of bike tech that Trek’s employed with the FX6 to give the smoothest ride feel imaginable.

Comfort-max IsoSpeed decoupler

In fact, the next one on this list is an integral part of the bike frame – the IsoSpeed decoupler. Look closely at the frame under the saddle where the seat post meets the seat stays, seat tube and crossbar. You’ll see that the seat tube is actually detatched, or ‘decoupled’, from the seat stays and crossbar. This feature, first introduced by Trek in 2012 on its top road bikes, allows the seat post to flex as the bike moves across a rough surface and therefore reduces fatigue for the rider.

It’s a clever approach that gives the benefit of the rear suspension you get on many mountain bikes, but without the considerable weight of those systems.

Powerful hydraulic disc brakes

If you’re surprised not to see a Shimano component here, don’t worry! These Tektro brakes are great build quality, both powerful and responsive. If you’re new to hydraulic disc brakes, then you’ll see a huge increase in performance vs either linear-pull or cantilever brakes. Both of which perform poorly in wet/slippery/muddy conditions and/or when the wheel rims are wobbly or damaged. Disc brakes do away with these issues almost completely. Hydraulic disc brakes, such as those on the FX6, are a step up from mechanical disc brakes in performance and weight reduction. Hydraulics use brake fluid to operate which is far better than the cables used in mechanical disc brakes.

Shimano drivetrain

The FX6 has a Shimano 105 R7000 gearing system with a 2×11 drivetrain. Smooth operating, with plenty of oomph on both the uphills and cruising (very fast) along the flats and downhill. Two cogs at the crank like the FX6 has helps reduce bike weight (vs three cog systems) and maintenance issues by simplifying the system.

Other thoughtful touches
Blendr stem – common to all the bikes in the FX range, this allows the addition of accessories such as computers and lights in a streamlined way (see more details of how it works here). Not a zip tie in sight, thankfully
Tubeless ready rims – tubeless tires are excellent for reducing the chance of pinch flats when running lower pressures. Plus, removing the inner tubes gives another opportunity to strip out yet more bike weight
Hidden fender mounts – who likes their pants without the mud brown stripe up the back…? Yeah, we all do, but fender mounts are generally ugly afterthoughts, unlike these on the FX6


Conclusion – which one to go for?

My view is that the FX Sport 6 is a bike that is a perfect upgrade for anyone who enjoys the hybrid life but wants a little more acceleration. It’s also for road bikers who want speed but with a little more comfort.

Yes, it’s a lot of money. But it’s money that’s put to good use. The carbon frame and forks, teamed up with the full spec list, make for a winning combination in my mind.

If you do decide to buy an FX6, do me a favor? Please don’t jeer at the roadies as you shoot past them. They won’t be able to catch you up and it’ll ruin their day.

Happy cycling.