WHO IT IS MADE FOR?
While the Superfly 100 Elite SL is the second model from
the top, the step to the top is a big one. You would have to
spend an extra $3460 to move up to the more expensive
components (SRAM XX drivetrain and RockShox SID World
Cup fork) and carbon fiber stays of the Pro model. The Elite
SL model uses a lower-priced component mix and aluminum
stays that make it more affordable while remaining a competitive choice for cross-country racing.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
Trek starts with its Optimized Compaction Low Void
(OCLV) Mountain carbon fiber for the main frame. The
“Mountain” designation means the OCLV carbon is reinforced in areas where mountain biking takes a toll on a
frame. For added protection, a layer of vinyl is applied to the
downtube in the area most likely to be pinged by trail debris.
A removable bash guard comes with the bike if you race in
rocky conditions. The frame features G2 geometry, which,
combined with a custom-offset fork, is supposed to deliver
great low-speed quickness without compromising high-speed
The chainstay and seatstays are aluminum. The frame
uses an E2, integrated, tapered head tube; BB95 bottom
bracket; a Flow Mold carbon swing link; and internal cable
routing (even routing for a dropper post, should you plan to
The rear axle runs inside Trek’s Active Braking Pivot
(ABP) to keep the rear suspension active under braking. The
front derailleur is pivot-mounted, eliminating a band clamp
and excess complexity. The rear brake is post-mounted. Yes,
Trek really sweats the small stuff.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
We are always stoked to see a Shimano XT 2x10 drivetrain,
a Shimano XT rear derailleur with Shadow Plus, Shimano XT
brakes, a Fox Float CTD shock and a Fox 32 Float fork, but
in this case, they are all well hidden. Even the green accents
on the Bontrager wheels are muted. This is a bike that doesn’t
like to show off until it gets on the trail.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
The setup: Trek understands that the best suspension
design is worthless if not set up properly. The Elite SL comes
with sag-measuring tools that snap on the shock and
fork, taking the guesswork out of setting sag.
Trek also delivers the bike with a suspen-
sion pump. Trek’s recommended sag set-
tings are ideal.
On the trail: The Elite SL’s rid-
ing position feels like slipping on an
old baseball glove. It fits like it was
formed just for you. With the rider
seated in a slightly aggressive yet
comfortable position, with his weight
slightly biased to the rear, the internal
cables and well-designed frame and
stays will never contact the rider. The
saddle is on the firm side, while the bar
width and bend feel custom.
Acceleration: The Shimano XT drivetrain gives
the rider plenty of options for flatland or uphill starts, while
the bike’s light weight and Bontrager 29-1 Team tires make
the Elite scream from the moment you drop the hammer. You
have to remind yourself you are on a 29er. It just feels too
quick. On our dry trails, we had our best results leaving the
shock in Trail mode and staying in the saddle to keep weight
on the rear wheel.
Cornering: This G2 geometry stuff is not a gimmick. The
Elite hides its large hoops when negotiating tight corners and
switchbacks while still giving you tons of traction. It is the
best of both worlds. In Trail mode, the rear suspension is free
of braking influence, thanks to the ABP, so you can brake
later into corners without losing control or traction. You can
feel the rear tire starting to come close to the edge of traction
and react by lightening up on the brakes before you start to
skid. Pay attention and you will be a better rider.
Descending: Flip the shock and fork to Descend mode
and the G2 geometry and big wheels deliver as promised. We
already mentioned how light-steering the bike is, but that
doesn’t come with a trade-off in downhill stability. The Elite
SL is comfortable and predictable to ride at speed down pretty
nasty stuff. Again, the rear end stays active under braking,
adding to the bike’s downhill chops.
Climbing: This is a 29er that you want to stay seated on
while climbing. Out-of-the-saddle antics are not rewarded,
because the rear wheel can lose traction. It’s best to stay in
the saddle and push a gear slightly larger than you think you
should. Crazy? Try it and then tell us we’re crazy. The difference between the shock’s Climb and Trail modes is significant. We used Climb for smooth ascents and had better luck
in Trail mode on rougher climbs, though we did have to time
our pedaling to clear trail obstacles.
The Trek Superfly 100 comes in six models: Three with carbon fiber frames from $3890 to a little over $9000, and three with aluminum frames from $2260
to $3890. The Elite SL is second from the top.
The Trek Superfly 100 Elite SL