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  1. #1
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    Cool-blue Rhythm My personal review of the Trek Superfly 100 Elite SL

    I am not a bike reviewer or even very technical regarding parts/geometry. Don't knock it.

    My History - I have been riding for 8 years. I had a 16.5" 2005 Giant Trance 4 (26in) the whole time. I upgraded some parts on it to have new tires, Shimano Deore XT front derailleur, and Hayes Avid HFX Nine brakes. The thing was a beast - 35 lbs upgraded as riden. I used it for tight trails, some technical (NH) and XC racing a few years back. It was good to start with, but I realized last year I needed a bike more suitable for my age (38) and skill level. FYI, I'm 5'7" 150lbs. I'm a solid intermediate rider. No drops for me. Tiny jumps only.

    The buy - I bought the 17.5" SF100ESL when I realized I could save a bunch of weight, and that could help me get back into racing. (I didn't realize it was 9lbs savings until this weekend). I did quickly ride the SF100 AL on pavement, and I noticed it was light compared to my old bike. I then got to demo the SF100ESL in a park and immediately fell in love (thank god since I already put down a deposit).

    I upgraded the dreadful front tire with a Mountain King 2 2.2 protection tire on the front. Thats it so far. It has made a huge difference in grip for me.

    I've had the SF100 for 2 weeks now.

    Initial impressions - At first, the SF100 was too light for me. I was all over the place with it, falling and washing out. It was seriously a dangerous situation it was so much lighter than my old bike - which took a platoon to get off the ground. I was suddenly scared about my new ride.

    I had started using Strava this season, with my old bike. I also loaded up some old GPX files I had from years previous. First ride on the SF100 I set a personal best on the first trail, a climb, I hit. It was clear I was going to be able to really improve times at this point. The falls and wash outs happened for the next few days. I got the new front tire (MK2 2.2) to prevent disaster at a race that day, and haven't looked back since.

    Singletrack - The bike (for me) is slower in tight trails. This is part of the 29er experience I hear. I am not sure I'll be able to recover what I felt was my better speed in the tight trails. But it could be my imagination. I really didn't race much on tight trails, but there are some tight segments on some of the races I've done. I feel like I'm going idiotically slow now through them.

    Climbing - yes, this beast can climb. I am doing climbs at paces that astonish me. I am not dead at the top - for almost ANY climb I've ever done. The front was lifting for me on the original front tire. Now thats a bit about positioning, but it was a new problem for me. The rear stays down reasonably well, but I am still determining my best position to climb with. If I need to knock out spacers or what.

    Suspension - Seems quite plush from where I came. I've now set them to Climb (F) and Middle (R), but if you leave them open (soft), you will feel like you are on a bouncy castle. I did try to ride that way for a bit, but realized I had to be sapping speed. At races I might lock both out.

    Geometry - Overall seems fine. Again, nothing technical from me. I feel good in berms, and getting off the ground. Its just in the tight turns that I feel like I am on a highwire (relatively).

    Weight - Like a feather. I can now get off the ground at will, and without effort. It has freed me to ride better and faster. I have started to clear all obstacles via bunny hop, including climbing. Its so easy, and useful. My knees no longer feel strained trying to climb.

    Gearing - 2x10 is different, but I haven't had a single complaint about it. Getting used to no guage is interesting. I have already had some gear slip/crunch occur a few times. I'm gonna keep an eye on it in case its already damaged.

    Problems - Ego. You will feel so absurdly in control you won't realize you still aren't. I endo'd on my first big log I came to. I ate dirt, the bike was fine. I think the bike is so light it stopped immediately and I was flung at speed into the dirt for a faceplant. I wasn't hurt except where my shin met the handlebar. This was likely another 29er "problem" I wasn't really aware of. The plush suspension and wheel height left me not pulling up enough to clear the log. I was trying to clear on my 26er still. Wow, important lesson learned. "Luke, Pull Up!" Since then I over-accomodate. Better to fly then die. I did notice that my arms became sore after this adjustment. It is not how I had to ride my previous bike. It does require some strength to lift and clear well.

    Wins - Confidence. I feel like this bike has exposed my potential, that I could not achieve with a heavy bike. I kick myself for having not done demo days before this year. I really should have bought a bike like this 2 years ago.

    Recommedations - DEMO DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DEMO DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Try every possible bike on trails. Don't waste your time reading silly reviews online! Hey, I could be paid by Trek you know. Don't listen to folks saying that 29ers are cheating for races. That is 100% BS. Ride what works for you. If you are smaller/weaker, then something like this bike could change your game. I'm not a big or strong guy at all and never will be. I'm weak due to a poor childhood diet. My weight hasn't changed by 15 lbs in 20 years. This bike is "giving me" abilities I thought only strength would.

    Alternatives - The AL version may still be a good option to save a boatload. Or go with the Fuel EX 29 if you are concerned more about DH riding. I would consider the Fuel if looking today.

    TL;DR - Its Superfly and I love it! But be careful and get a ride that works for you.

  2. #2
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
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    The Superfly is a feather, compared to that boat anchor Trance4. I have a 2012 SF100 Pro full XX and all I can say is.....WOW!
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  3. #3
    wrench
    Reputation: mattomoto's Avatar
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    Have fun with that feather! I to do a few silly moves on mine- over shooting turns, over jumping etc. Just a weight thing as I found too. If you really want to blow your mind, get one of the Superfly SL hardtails!!! That bike is cheating up hill.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for taking the time to post your impressions of the bike. Sounds like a winner!!!

  5. #5
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    15 month followup:

    Summary: I've been enjoying the bike ever since I got it. I haven't had many issues. The bike is holding up nicely, after a single maintenance this June. Me however...

    Riding: Last season I crushed all my previous times and actually set a KOM. I raced all the XC races in town and did well, I did beginner and then stepped up to sport midway. I think I may have sandbagged someone in my first (beginner) race as I beat him by like 20 sec and he was riding a 26" and vying for podium that day. Oh well.

    This season has been a slightly different story. I've raced Sport all season and struggled to stay competitive. It seems that my speed is down from last year. Strava has shown a lack of personal bests, and even failing to come very close - which is quite disappointing. Even though I've put in more time ridden and elevation than in 2013. I think I've had some other reasons I'm not performing well. Next season will show better hopefully. But I have been hitting jumps and drops with a bit more comfort this season - still not my (nor the bikes) thing really tho. When I'm in great shape I can jump (hup) on climbs up obstacles but that is only when I'm spot on. That is always a great experience.

    Maintenance: The bike is doing well as I said. I did put a bashguard on last season and I've switched almost full time to Conti 2.2 Mountain Kings, as they have worked well for me. My typical trails are sandy and loose. But it is stock otherwise. Crank EB3's have kept me happy until I started unclipping one dangerously on air. I did drop my handlebars 2 spacers - haven't really noticed a difference. I lost the rubber ties on the downtube and had them replaced. I did break the chain last year sometime pushing on a climb. I have some BB creaking possibly, not sure yet.

    Alternatives: I have taken time to ride a bunch of 27.5" bikes at demo days this season and I have to say that they make me feel faster through corners and tight sections, but ultimately don't make me faster overall. I would seriously consider getting a 27.5" today given this fact. Sorry 29er zealots. 29ers are what you need for racing, but for a more all-rounder I'd do a non-carbon 27.5.

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