I recently was in the big city of Charlotte NC and swung by a local cycle shop and to my utter shock and amazement they had an FX Sport 4 Carbon in stock. This bike shop also asked if I were a veteran and gave me a 10% discount off retail price as well.
Ever since the pandemic hit one of the first things to disappear from the earth, after toilet paper, were bicycles. IF, and I mean IF you could find a bike it wasn’t one of the higher end bikes.
Much like a lot of other people in the world I decided to whip myself into shape after being allowed to telework which gave me a solid two extra hours in the morning to exercise. And what I most wanted was a Carbon Trek FX Sport 4, 5, or 6. They have been unobtanium, at least in my parts, for over 2 years now.
I decided to buy the bike despite the fact that I have an FX2 and a Verve 3. Here are my thoughts on the bike after dabbling with it for a few days.
I simply CANNOT regurgitate specifications on my blog. You can look up the specifications yourself. Repeating them helps no one. My job is to give a real world analysis of what isn’t common knowledge or what isn’t in the manual. Here’s a quick vid cap of my bike.
And here is the first fun fact that I learned after purchasing the bike. YOU CAN’T PUT A REAR RACK ON IT. Trek has a compatibility chart for fenders, racks, and kickstands, but it is buried well on their web site. The FX4 Carbon will take fenders but it will not take a rack or kickstand.
Trek Chart (click to enlarge)
Call me crazy but even though I wanted a sexy road bike I still want a rear rack. I probably overcompensate but I carry enough stuff to fix about any problem to return home. Flat tires are not the only thing that can go wrong with a bike.
So anyway, if you have to have a rear rack and pannier system the FX Sport 4 Carbon is not for you. Also the group is 1 x 11 and my maiden voyage was a crazy hilly ride. The granny gear end of the bike is great, and maybe a little too great. Even on hard ascents I found myself on the 3rd ring down. On the wicked descents I found a couple of times that I had to coast because I couldn’t spin fast enough. This sounds like a negative, and maybe it is, but my typical exercise ride is a 25 miler from my house in the country to even further out in the country. I think we could describe my ride as “Fairly Flat” and 99% of my rides will be done in my general area of flatness and the group and gearing are more than adequate and in fact PERFECT for my topography that I encounter.
If you are a hill monster you may definitely want an FX 5 (2×10) or 6 (2×11). Or you may prefer a more traditional drop bar road bike. I like the more upright style of the flat bar.
The bike is the most silent bike I have ever ridden and the Shimano GRX group (gravel) shifted flawlessly. I’m excited about the gravel set up because on some of my course modifications I ride down a gravel road that is about a 1 1/2 miles long (3 miles total on gravel) in a North Carolina Forestry area on Brices Creek near my home. This makes the bike even more specific to my needs.
This is the best shifting bike I have ever ridden. While my FX 2 shifts well in the most common ranges I use it shifts like a dog on the low end of the gears. Adjust it out and the problem moves somewhere else.
I haven’t previously owned a Carbon bike and the ride is certainly different. I noticed less pain and less muscle fatigue. This may have been due to Trek’s IsoSpeed Decoupler. I am the furthest thing there is from a pro rider and I should have been sore and stiff from my hill ride and yet I wasn’t. For some reason there was a lot less road shock to my arms and I definitely have wrist issues when I ride. Anyway I am tickled with the level of comfort but anxious to get the bike home and ride it on my usual route.
It also is DuoTrap S compatible but I don’t think I’ll use this as I have a Garmin 530 bike computer and ride with an Apple Watch as well. I log all my rides to both Garmin Connect and Strava. If one computer fails I have some redundancy. No need for a third computer. I have always been of the opinion that I’d rather crash and burn and wreck a bike computer than an iPhone.
Anyway, I feel like Trek hit a three run homer with this bike and just shy of a Grand Slam. And I make that statement relative to my needs wants, and desires, not yours. While this is indeed a sexy, flat bar road bike it seems mission oriented to a specific style of riding. Fortunately the setup mirrors what my ride profile is. I love this bike and I’m not just saying that because I’m giddy with my new purchase. I ride flat with the occasional gravel road and I ride more upright.
If I could put a rear rack on this thing I’d be even more happy. Probably have to get a seat post rack or ride with a slim profile backpack.