Trek Xcaliber 8 Review | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • The X-Caliber 8 uses the latest in materials and components for a quality product.
  • It has unique features like internal cables and built-in rack mounts.
  • Everything on this bike is built for speed, power, simple controls, and confident handling.
  • Climbing and descending is a blast with upright seating and highly responsive shifting.

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It’s tough to find a mountain bike that brings speed and maneuverability to singletrack trails, that’s reliable while still providing the right thrills.

The Trek X-Caliber 8 delivers on all counts, with high-quality materials and components fashioned into an excellent choice for your mountain bike needs. It handles ascent and descent like a dream, and is easily upgradable for those who want to tweak their performance even higher.

Out of all the bikes we’ve reviewed, this one is a standout far ahead of the pack. We invite you to explore the many benefits to selecting this bike.



Where to Buy the Trek X-Caliber 8

The Trek X-Caliber 8 costs $1,699, and can only be purchased through the Trek website.

A Brief History of Trek

Trek Bicycles originally started as a subsidiary of an appliance company. In the early 1980s, they expanded and built their own factory, targeting the high-end bicycle market as well as producing mountain bikes. Advances in technology over time meant that they moved on from their roots of hand-built steel frame bikes into aluminum and carbon fiber.

One notable claim to fame for Trek was their partnership with American champion Lance Armstrong. German rider Jens Voigt also set the first UCI unified hour record on a Trek bike, after the organizational rules were consolidated in 2014.

Trek X-Caliber 8 Review

Trek X-Caliber 8 Specs and Geometry

There’s a lot to love about the X-Caliber 8. Its high-end finishes, sturdy materials, and great attention to care in manufacturing have produced a quality bike that will last for years on the roughest terrain.

As with many mid-grade and high-end mountain bikes, the X-Caliber 8 features an aluminum frame. This means that the bike will be lighter than others made of steel, while still retaining its structural integrity. This gives it a distinct competitive edge on both fast and rough tracks.

Instead of having separate frame setups for men and women, this bike has a unisex frame that suits both riders. This can create simplicity for first-time buyers, making it an appealing option.

The fork suspension has an impressive 100 millimeters of travel. The standard component on other bikes of this class only allow for 80 millimeters of travel, but the X-Caliber 8 boasts higher-grade parts to get you the most out of your bike. The fork can also be upgraded for a maximum of 120 millimeters of travel, if you feel that you’re going to need that extra oomph to get you where you want to go.

The frame is also built for maximum handling. The chainstays in the rear are shortened a bit to give you the most control possible. In additional to the aluminum frame, every other component on this bike is designed to give you quick response times and get you up to speed quickly.

As with other models in the Trek line, there are multiple sizes to allow for riders of all sizes to find the bike that fits best for them. There are six sizes - from XS to XXL - and you can select the one that’s right for you based on your height and leg length. The website is helpful in showing you the right bike for your size.

What’s more, the multiple sizes also come with corresponding tire sizes. Smaller models in the X-Caliber 8 line have 27.5 inch tires, while the larger ones for 29 inch tires. This helpful consideration means that your bike will be fully customized to your unique needs.

One other feature worth mentioning is the built-in rack mounts. This is another way that Trek has thought ahead on behalf of riders: having the rack mounts built into the bike, rather than forcing riders to buy additional accessories, means that loading and unloading the bike will be quicker and easier, leaving more time for the trail.

Trek X-Caliber 8 Build Quality

We’ve already mentioned the aluminum frame, but Trek has developed an “Alpha Gold” alloy for this bike, making it even stronger than traditional aluminum. This alloy coupled with tapered frame components shows a high attention to detail in maximizing both speed and handling on this bike.

The X-Caliber 8 has a single shifter with twelve speeds. This simplified approach means that you’ll be in total control of your speed and uphill and downhill climbs.

The lightweight frame is also ideal for steeper climbs. More often than not, it is the weight of the bike that can slow even experienced riders on an uphill track, due to having to push a heavier machine upward. The lighter frame solves that problem, making it a plus for experienced riders and an added bonus for newer ones.

The X-Caliber 8 is a hardtail bike, which can mean sacrificing speed in some cases. However, the suspension and lighter weight keep it a higher-speed option, making this perfect for racing down the trail with your friends.

It is also compatible with Trek’s Blendr mounting system. If you plan to take any longer trips that require you to pack extra gear, you can mount it directly to the frame without extra components. This makes the X-Caliber 8 very user-friendly for bikepacking or longer trail rides where you want to have a bit more kit handy.

One other great option with the suspension is the lockout mode. This means that your fork will remain inactive, preventing unwanted bouncing at speed. This is yet another way you won’t have to sacrifice speed on longer stretches of even trail. And when you need it, you can reactivate the suspension to provide that needed cushion on rougher stretches.

One final feature worth pointing out is the internal cable routing. There’s no need to fear a stray branch or rock cutting your cables, since everything is contained inside the frame. This is a premium feature that riders of all skill levels will value.

Trek X-Caliber 8 Handling

We’ve already talked at length about the speed the X-Caliber 8 brings to the party, and we’ll let the results speak for themselves. It has the pedigree of a record holder and world champion, and everything about it was built to max out speed.

Just because it’s fast, however, doesn’t mean that you’re losing out on handling. The hardtail rear end and tapered front end gives you optimized handling throughout the bike. Front and rear handling points are responsive when called upon, and steady when they need to be.

The wider 2.35 inch tires can handle any trail you throw them at, although some riders have complained about sand and mud bogging the bike down. This is one of the rare downsides to this bike, but tires are often one of the first upgrades riders will make to get the most out of their next trail, so no worries if that’s something you need to swap out.

As with many other higher-end bikes, the X-Caliber 8 features hydraulic brakes. This is a hallmark of reliability and quality, giving you confident braking when it’s needed most.

Trek X-Caliber 8 Ride Quality and Performance

The X-Caliber 8 has a ride that feels great over difficult tracks and smooth roads. It features an upright riding position, which is more comfortable on ascents and is still pleasant even after hours in the saddle.

Everything about this bike is tuned to deliver speed for long periods of time. Especially if you’re on a smoother track or road, you can go for hours without tiring too much too quickly, helping you truly get the most out of every ride every time.

The shifter also contributes to this smooth ride. The single gear model with 12 speeds means that you’re not shifting gears too quickly, or having to finesse a complicated system.

Climbing and Descending

Climbing and descending are where the X-Caliber 8 truly shines. We’ve covered some of these features already, but they’re worth repeating.

The locking suspension means that the bike won’t bounce on uphill stretches. This means the ride will be smoother and easier; and coupled with the upright seat, you can climb with confidence and ease.

You can also descend from the upright position, which gives you added control and lets you better see what’s up ahead.

Trek X-Caliber 8 Pros and Cons

Trek X-Caliber 8 Pros

The materials on the Trek X-Caliber 8 are built to last, but also built to be light. The aluminum alloy frame can handle the worst punishment you can find on the track, while still being light enough to handle with ease.

The upright seating position and locked suspension both contribute to higher speed capacity with this bike. This is further supported by friendly geometry and a simplified shifting structure. They also create a more comfortable ride, meaning you can go farther and ride longer without fatiguing too quickly.

The internal cable routing is another unique build feature that keeps critical components safe on the trail. And the built-in rack mounts make storage and transport a breeze.

  • High-quality materials and components
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • High speed capacity
  • Upright seating position, even on uphill and downhill grades
  • Internal cable routing
  • Built-in rack mounts

Trek X-Caliber 8 Cons

There are very few negatives about the X-Caliber 8. The only one worth mentioning is the tires, which may get bogged down in muddier or looser tracks.

  • Tires may need to be swapped out for wider options.