Now in its second year, the Trek Ticket has been piloted by the likes of Cam McCaul and Brandon Semenuk for some time, yet the Ticket is still one of Trek’s lesser known bikes. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is an aluminum framed dirt jump bike in a market still dominated by steel.
While steel has a tendency to be strong, extremely durable, and ultimately cheaper, aluminum does have it’s advantages such as weight, and its ability to be easily hydro-formed and manipulated to produce the lightest part possible while still retaining its strength.
Durability is always a valid concern when dealing with bikes meant for a ton of abuse, but for the sake of this review, due how little time I spent on the Ticket (two days up at Ray’s MTB Cleveland), I can’t comment on its longterm resilience, other than stating that it is very stout and never felt weak at any point during testing.
I was however, able to get a great impression of how the ticket actually rides in a very short amount of time (some things may surprise you)!
Get the lowdown on the Ticket’s weight, and ride quality after the break!
Due largely in part to Trek’s recent increased involvement of Ray’s, Trek has become the sole provider of demo and rental mountain and BMX bikes for both parks. The Tickets are actually rental bikes, that you can rent all day for $10! The value there is unbelievable, as for a fraction of the price of replacing that derailleur you just ripped off your own bike, you can rip on a 2k+ bike all day for less than the cost of a pizza.
Due to the amount of broken hangers, derailleurs, and shifters sure to plague a rental dirt jump bike with gears, the Ray’s fleet is built up as single speeds, with the rest of the parts remaining the same from the stock, geared Ticket Signature series. That means up front there is still a ridiculously nice Fox 831 tapered fork with a 15mm thru-axle to keep things stiff. On a rental bike!
The “beer can” head tube, as some have referred to it as, houses a 1.5 to 1 1/8 tapered Zerostack headset to better handle the increased loads of jumping, while adding more welding surface for the downtube to increase strength. The cockpit is set up extremely well, with a completely natural feeling Bontrager Earl stem and bar (Bontrager Rhthym, and Rhythm Pro on the stock bike).
Another trick feature of the Ticket, is the built in, captured chain tensioners that keep the 135x10mm rear axle in check. Thanks to this, you will never have to struggle with getting that perfect chain tension again, or have to continually tighten and loosen the rear hub because it’s walking around on you. Maybe more important that the fact that it actually has chain tensioners, is that they appear to be built extremely stout, so that one errant landing won’t render them useless.
The Ticket Signature rolls on light but strong Bontrager Cousin Earl wheels (135 x 10 rear, 15mm front), with tire duties taken care of by the surprisingly good Bontrager G1 DJ Tire. I have had a G1 on the front of my mob for awhile now, and I haven’t found it’s Achilles heel yet. The G1 is grippy in almost every circumstance, it resists folding over on hard side impacts like landing a 180 early, seems to wear slowly, is extremely light (630g for the 2.25 Team Edition), and looks great. What more could you want? My best comparison to other tires would be a cross between a Tioga FS 100 and a Kenda Small Block, which are both great tires in their own rights.
Stopping is provided by Avid Elixir 3s on both the rental, and retail versions which in most circumstances are more than adequate.
Back to the whole durability issue, Trek is taking no chances with an army of gussets in key areas of stress. Headtube, bottom braket yoke, seatstay yoke, you name it, if extra metal could be added to prevent dreaded cracks, it’s been done. All of this, and the weight is still incredibly low. Most everyone who bothered to lift a Ticket into the air up at Ray’s, was instantly impressed with how light it felt. The Ticket weighs in at an anorexic 24.6 pounds (singlespeed), which even after you add gears, will still be one of the lightest stock geared DJ bikes on the market.
Notice though, that even with the increased bulk around these junctions, Trek still managed to provide a slammable rear end (can I say that?) if you like your chainstays as short as possible, which brings us to how it rides.
I have always been under the impression that the shorter the effective chainstays, the better when it comes to dirt jump bikes. After riding the Ticket, I’m not so sure that that necessarily applies to jumping, as the Ticket was instantly more natural feeling to me on jumps than my Mob which I have been riding for years.
According to Trek the Chain Stay Length of the regular Ticket is 40cm or 15.7 inches compared to the Mob’s measurement of 15.5. Granted I have the Mob slammed, and the Ticket’s rear wheel was about half way back, but can less than half an inch make that much difference? It seems so. However, keep in mind that while the Ticket may be better on jumps, the Mob is still better in the Subaru Street Park, and actually riding street, due to many situations where the most compact, tight handling bike is ideal.
Regardless of measurements, there is no denying how easy the Ticket was to ride recklessly. The confidence the Ticket offers is inspiring and scary all at once, and will have you boosting jumps like never before. Not to mention, the geometry and handling is nimble enough to easily tackle every North Shore obstacle in Ray’s expansive park.
I’ll have to admit that when the Ticket first came on to the scene last year, I was a little skeptical. I have ridden aluminum DJ bikes in the past, and have always walked away comparing them (mostly unfavorably) to steel bikes. The Ticket is one of the first aluminum bikes, that I want. I really want. Built up with gears, it would be, and is, the perfect bike for Ray’s.
Even with my short time on the Ticket Signature, it is clear that Trek did their homework, and with the help of McCaul and Semenuk, created one of the best dirt jumpers around.