For the past 3 months I’ve been riding around on a 2012 Trek 2.1 Apex, now after about 1,000 miles on the bike I think it's about time to review my experience with it! The 2012 Trek 2.1 series road bikes offer the option of either a SRAM Apex or Shimano 105 (mostly) group set, both have their benefits, with most focus being on rider preference. I personally was excited to try the SRAM Apex gruppo to see what the "wide range" cassette would be like to ride. Historically, the 2.1 Treks are a very solid entry level road bike, featuring lightweight aluminum, and fairly aggressive (at H2) or slightly more relaxed (H3) geometry. These bikes are a very solid platform for beginners, with room for upgrades to keep up with your local group ride. When first hopping on the 2.1 the geometry is the first thing you will notice. This bike is marketed as a "Madone frame, in aluminum." Trek has nailed this aspect of the bike! Even other buddies on rides noticed how well the bike fit without any aftermarket parts swapping. The mega-wide cassette (11-32) is great for beginner roadies because the disparity between the highest and lowest cogs is so great that there is very little need to drop down to the small ring on your compact or double crank. Newer riders will find this easy to use since most focus is on the rear shifter only. The only downfall is that it IS technically a mountain cassette, so it is fairly heavy and the jumps between cogs aren't as gradual, but for a beginner, these typically are not issues to be concerned with. Let's talk about the drive train. The Apex group shifts amazing! A huge bang for the buck, super crisp for the price range, and very reliable. Anyone who is currently using Shimano or campy shifters should try SRAM's double tap system. No accidental braking during downshifts (especially in climbing) and each gear has a nice clear indication point and sound so you know your shifting is precise. The Affinity saddle that comes with the 2.1 is comfy enough that I haven't found the need to switch it out yet, and the wheels on this bike have stayed true after 1,000 miles on Richmond's grueling roads. I have been using this bike mainly as a commuter to work, and also on rides about 2-3 times a week typically averaging 30 or so miles. It has been able to handle everything I’ve dished out at it, and asks for more! This is a great bike for newer riders, and has an easily upgradable frame for anyone interested in using it for more serious riding down the road. My only complaint about the SRAM Apex 2.1 is the lack of an out board bottom bracket crank at the price range, but all in all this bike has been an enjoyable ride. For anyone in the market for a road bike I the $1500ish price range... do not hesitate on pulling the trigger on this one!
Alex Morse--Mechanics Agee's W. Broad