Trek have produced one of the best DH/freeride machines around
Trek’s R&D rider Andrew Shandro played a large part in developing this rig, and it shows. There’s 254mm (10in) of rear wheel travel on this puppy – it’s designed to make easy work of big drops and gaps and make serious descents major fun. It’s a big mountain bike, designed to ride big mountains…
Made from Trek’s own ZR 9000 aluminium, the Session 10 frame has a hydroformed monocoque front end, combined with a beefy 150mm spaced rear. The 17in chainstays are short enough to keep acceleration zippy and help you pop the front end up, but are long enough, when combined with the lengthy 118cm (46.5in) wheelbase, to keep the bike stable at speed and through rough stuff.
Unusually, Trek have opted for a high-pivot position, which offers a better suspension action than a low pivot but is generally avoided because chain tension affects the suspension massively. Trek have got around this by using their Chain Torque Eliminator (CTE), a device that routes the chain over the pivot point, effectively making the bike pedal like a low-pivot rig. The huge 90mm (3.5in) stroke Manitou Revox shock is designed with this frame in mind and is driven via a linkage to control the progression.
light, long, low and slack, but it’s ideal for riders who want to do it all
The Session 10 is ready for thrashing straight out of the bike shop door. A Manitou Travis Intrinsic fork offering 203mm (8in) travel spins in a Cane Creek headset, Hayes brakes do the stopping and the bar, pedals, saddle, seatpost, tyres and cranks are all Bontrager King Earl parts. The cassette and chain are from SRAM, as is the X.0 mech/shifter combo, and an e.13 chainguide keeps everything in line.
We spent a fair bit of time onboard the Session 10 riding around the amazing freeride and downhill trails of Whistler, Canada. The bike is clearly born for day-long thrashing.
The large sized bike we tested had a long 558mm (22in) top tube that, combined with the long wheelbase, meant it loved going fast. You can adjust the bottom bracket height and this also tweaks the head angle. We settled on the lowest setting for a more DH-feeling rig.
The short 165mm cranks ensure minimal ground strikes from the pedals but we’d rather run 170s, or even 175s, to provide greater pedalling efficiency.
The suspension action is super slick – the Revox shock performs well and is a good fit for the frame. The high pivot makes the bike feel very supple, even with plenty of low-speed compression damping wound in. Pedalling isn’t a chore either, thanks to the chain-line running over the pivot. We did have reservations about the CTE coming loose, but after nearly four days of riding at Whistler, with no maintenance, it was still as solid as new.
The Session 10 is fantastic – maybe not so much for dedicated downhill racers who want things light, long, low and slack, but it’s ideal for riders who want to do it all – bikeparks, drops, gaps Alpine terrain and DH racing.