Among the many manufacturers of mountain bikes, none are so well-known, and well-loved, as Trek and Specialized. These two companies are two of the biggest mountain bike producers in the industry, and they each have a loyal following of fans. How do you know which brand is right for you? Let’s compare their mountain bikes and see if we can help you come to a conclusion.
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Both Trek and Specialized offer several types of mountain bikes, including hardtail, full suspension and electric bikes. They also each offer women’s mountain bikes, which are basically just mountain bikes with different saddle shapes and a few different colors and designs to appeal to riders who prefer a feminine look. There’s growing controversy around the idea of creating specialized women’s bikes, and both brands have moved away from labeling bikes as Men’s or Women’s.
Hardtail bikes are made for cross-country riding. Specialized has four models in the hardtail range: The Chisel, The Rockshopper, the Epic Hardtail, and the Pitch. Trek, on the other hand, has five hardtail models: The X-Calibur, the Roscoe, the Marlin, the Procaliber, and the Stache. The main difference here is that Specialized only offers one upgrade from an aluminum frame (to the carbon-framed Epic), while Trek offers two higher-end bikes – the Procaliber and the Stache.
Full suspension bikes are made for trail riding. Specialized offers six full suspension bikes: The Epic, the Enduro, the Camber, the Demo, the Stumpjumper, and the Rhyme. The Rhyme is considered an exclusive model made for women. Trek has just five full suspension bikes, the Fuel EX, the Remedy, the Slash, the Top Fuel, and the Session.
Finally, there are electric mountain bikes. Specialized has two models of their electric mountain bike, the Turbo Levo and the Turbo Kenevo. Trek, on the other hand, has three models: Powerfly, Powerfly LT Plus, and Powerfly FS.
One last thing to note is that Trek also has an option that allows you to build a custom mountain bike online to your own specifications, and have it created and shipped to you.
Things to Consider
When it comes to the range of bikes available in each category, Specialized and Trek are nearly neck and neck. So what else should you consider about choosing between the two brands?
Price is often an important consideration for the buyer. Mountain bikes are not a cheap investment, and both Specialized and Trek have a wide range of prices. Specialized bikes can run anywhere from $525 at the low end, to over $10,000 at the highest end. Trek does offer a more affordable option around $490, but also has prices going up to around $10,000 at the high end. So really, the price will absolutely depend on what kind of bike you want from either brand.
Both Specialized and Trek use two different materials for their mountain bikes. The more affordable options are made with aluminum, while the higher-end bikes feature carbon frames. Both brands offer a mountain bike with 29-inch wheels for serious riding through rough terrain.
On Trek full suspension bikes, the models do feature something that Specialized bikes don’t: the ABP feature, or “active braking pivot”. This means that that the suspension doesn’t lock up when the rear brake is engaged.
When it comes right down to it, Specialized and Trek mountain bikes are remarkably similar when looked at as a whole. The best way to compare the two brands, is to narrow it down to the specific bike model you want, and compare those. For example, let’s look at each brand’s version of an entry level mountain bike.
Specialized has the Pitch, a hardtail that begins around $525. This bike is a capable bike for versatile, all-around biking. It has an aluminum frame and four finish options. The Trek Marlin is the most comparable entry-level bike from Trek, starting around $490. This bike is also made of aluminum, and includes four finish options. As you can see, even up close, the brands have very similar initial specs.
What to Look for in a Mountain Bike
The best way to compare mountain bikes from these two brands is to test them out for yourself. Consider the bike style, and if it matches your riding style; if the suspension, wheel size, frame, brakes, and gearing all work for your needs; and if the bike fits your height. These features will help you narrow down if you prefer Trek vs. Specialized.
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