When Shayne Dowling first got onto the really pretty Superfly 9.7 SL he knew there something was different. It was a rushed affair having quickly checked some cursory fitment points, clipped in and off he went – big mistake. The Superfly is a race machine and like most performance vehicles it needs some special attention.
The Superfly isn’t built for a comfortable jaunt up and down the mountain. It isn’t a bike that wants to comfortably take you through the trails and with minimum input glide you around your local riding track. The Superfly needs your full attention. You need to understand and respect the machine – spend some time fine tuning and setting her up and then once you have all the numbers dialled in, you’ll find that the Superfly is super-fast! There is no-where to hide on this bike, it’s stiff, responsive and always seems to be chomping at the bit. The bike has a geometry that is built with one thing in mind and that’s speed. This is a bike for race snakes and it doesn’t’ disappoint.
100mm of travel is your first clue, light and stiff carbon, through axles and aggressive geometry are clear indications of what to expect. The 9.7 SL is a XC speedster and doesn’t apologise for being one. The bike comes with all the Trek techware you would expect on a bike of this calibre including their Active Braking Pivot system which is designed to keep the suspension active even under braking, a removable down tube guard that protects the underbelly, and of course the frame is made in the proprietary OCLV Mountain Carbon which is Trek’s answer to tougher yet lighter carbon frames.
The Superfly climbed smoothly, efficiently and fast. The geometry of the bike not allowing one to chill out and I found it more comfortable to be working the machine than just cruising. It is a bike that is meant to be riding fast and hard all the time and the only time I felt particularly out of sorts was on the gnarly, technical downhills. Being used to more travel and trail bike geometry I learnt my lesson the hard way – hitting the deck hard on a small fast drop-off that I have done a hundred times – this bike wants its wheels on the ground, is twitchy and of course fast.
The 9.7 SL comes with Bontrager tubeless ready wheelsets and would be the only thing I would consider changing if I was a weight weenie looking to lighten the bike further. Or you could look a price point up at the Superfly FS 9.8 SL, with full Shimano Deore XT groupset. The X7/X9 combination with SLX brakes on the 9.7 SL are more than adequate though and operate perfectly.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Superfly FS 9.7 SL to anyone who is looking for speed and to whom racing is important – even if the racing is only to improve your PB’s or to beat your mates on our local ride.
Sus the Geometry:
All measurements in mm or degrees for a medium 17” frame.
|Bottom Bracket Height||330|
|Seat Tube Angle||73.8 °|
|Head tube Angle||70.0 °|
|Wheel Base||1 131|