Trek officially announced the new 2020 Supercaliber, a short-travel full suspension XC race bike. Using a 100mm front fork and 60mm rear shock (plus flexing seat stays), the super compact design aims to provide the best attributes of both hardtails and traditional full suspension bikes. Spec comes in high at all levels with carbon wheels on all models, along with 1x-only drivetrains.

2020 Trek Supercaliber short-travel full suspension XC mountain bike

We caught some spy shots that had us guessing, but now it’s here for all to see – without the camouflage covering. The new Supercaliber is a positively racy short-travel full suspension rig for those times when a hardtail isn’t enough but a ‘regular’ full suspension MTB is too much. The frame comes in at 1,950 grams including Fox rear suspension and hardware.

Where does it fit in the lineup? The Procaliber (100mm travel) still exists for hardtail purists. Next comes the new Supercaliber with 100mm front, 60mm rear travel. Third in line is the new Top Fuel, which gained travel for 2020 to 120mm front, 115 rear. Finally we have the new Fuel EX, which also added travel for 2020, up to 140mm front, 130mm rear. Of course, this only covers the XC-to-trail range, with other Trek mountain bikes filling other purposes: Remedy, Roscoe, Slash, Session, Full Stache, and so on.

The IsoStrut rear suspension system went through a full four years of prototyping and testing. It uses an air spring and damper with lockout and tunability, with a custom anti-rotational shock pin and key system (yes – you can run it fully locked out to feel like a hard tail). Fork-style linear bushings and wiper seals keep things sealed and solid, without binding.

Trek worked with Fox to build a unique system that’s compact, but still serviceable like a standard shock. Trek says that you don’t even necessarily need to go to a Trek dealer, and that any Fox dealer can get parts.

While 60mm of travel may seem short, the long and flexible seat stays are said to add another effective 20 – 40mm of travel. Trek representatives clarified the rear travel to us in an e-mail: “There is 55mm of damped travel plus 3-5mm of travel from them pivotless seatstays to get you to a total of 60mm.”

Bonus – you can juuuuuust fit two bottles in the front triangle (using side-entry bottle cages, of course).

The Supercaliber frame supports single chainring (1x) drivetrains only (36t max), with no provisions for 2x. The frame does not have ISCG tabs to save weight, but will offer an aftermarket chain guide that clamps to the BB shell. Trek is running a mix of BB shells for 2020, and we’re awaiting confirmation from Trek for the spec on the Supercaliber. [Update: the Supercaliber is running a BB92 bottom bracket. -Ed]

Stock fork travel is 100mm, though up-to-120mm (531mm axle-to-crown) may be used.

This is a race bike, remember? No dropper posts from the factory – only lightweight standard posts.

Keeping with the race theme, tire clearance tops out at 29×2.2″, with no compatibility for 27.5″ or 27.5+ wheels or tires.

All levels of the Supercaliber feature carbon wheel spec – the Kovee Elite 23, Kovee Elite 30, or Kovee XXX – depending on price.

The front end uses Trek’s Knock Block system to eliminate downtube damage from the fork crown. It also features the Control Freak cable routing system, with full compatibility for mechanical or Di2 shifting.

The Supercaliber is available in six sizes, all featuring 29″ wheels. Why no 27.5″ wheels for the small sizes? Here’s the 4-1-1 straight from Trek:

“We still believe Smart Wheel Size makes sense for most cross country hardtail riders where seated pedaling takes priority. Smaller 27.5” wheels are easier for shorter riders to handle, and they allow those riders to easily achieve an efficient position on the bike for producing power.

However, most elite-level racers are willing to trade the benefits of more proportional wheels for the ultimate momentum-preserving speed of 29-inch wheels”

Spec, Pricing, and Availability

There are four levels of the Supercaliber, plus a frameset option (all frames are carbon – no alloy version). All complete bikes use SRAM 1x drivetrains, and all use the same Fox custom rear shock.

The Supercaliber frameset includes the rear shock and can be had for $3,700 USD.

The Supercaliber 9.9 AXS ($11,000) comes with a SRAM XX1 AXS 1×12 wireless drivetrain, along with SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, a Rock Shox SID Ultimate fork, and Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon wheels.

The Supercaliber 9.9 ($9,500) comes with a SRAM XX1 Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, along with SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, a Fox SC32 Factory fork, and Bontrager Kovee XXX carbon wheels.

The Supercaliber 9.8 ($5,900) comes with a SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, along with Shimano XT 8100 brakes, a Fox SC 32 Performance fork, and Bontrager Kovee Elite 30 carbon wheels.

The Supercaliber 9.7 ($4,800) comes with a SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 drivetrain, along with Shimano 501 brakes, a Rock Shox Reba RL fork

Expect the Supercaliber to start showing up at dealers in the Fall of 2019, including availability in the custom Project One program.


  1. Celest Greene on

    Can we have a gravel rear triangle version please? 60mm f&r with a left shifter dual lockout.
    I’m serious.
    I know that haters would hate it but that it would be amazing on rough courses and absolutely kill on washboard

        • Celest Greene on

          Sure, kinda. A common take but not accurate.
          Top tube and chainstay lengths as well as head/seat angles would all be different for a bike intended for long gravel days over varied terrain. Slapping 700×40 tires and a fox ax on a 29er does not a (good) gravel bike make.

          • O. Tan on

            That would depend on who makes your gravel bike then, as if you get it from those traditional MTB makers, the geometry tends to be based on MTB geometry, likewise other brands tend to base it on road geometry.

            And for rough courses like you mentioned, you would want a MTB geometry over a road based one as its geometry will give you confidence over the rough stuffs = faster. Which brings it back a full circle, just ride a MTB for such courses.

    • Tom on

      The real problem is that your hero didn’t have the muscle to develop this system into something robust and serviceable. Trek has the muscle, we should be thankful the option exists, even if it’s too expensive, too low travel, too whatever, for us.

  2. therealgreenplease on

    Apples to Apples on trim it appears a Cannondale Scalpel is ~100 grams heavier with a proper 100mm of rear travel with room for two bottles as well and decent rear tire clearance (I’ve got a 2.4” XR3 with room to spare on mine). Not really sure what Trek achieved with this design. I had high hopes when I first saw the spy shots but now… kinda bummed. Also confusing that they don’t “know” what bottom bracket it will run.

    • mtbinavl on

      Then buy the Scalpel if you think it’s a better bike. Or, you know, actually ride both of them before making such a judgment. And ‘they’ are BikeRumor who doesn’t know what BB it is. It’s BB92 press-fit, which is clearly in the tech specs.

      • therealgreenplease on

        I currently ride a Scalpel. I also own a Fuel EX and a Speed Concept. Both great bikes but I’m done with press fit anything. Inexcusable for this bike to be BB92. My point regarding travel was “what’s the point” of reducing travel if you’re only getting 50mm of actual dampened rear travel and saving 100 grams vs competing XC bikes such as the Scalpel, Lux, etc. That 100 grams almost isn’t even a savings since you’re locked into heavy “Knock Block” stems and this you’re limited in any future light-weighting of the bike.


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