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Trek Procaliber 9.7

High Performance and High Value Meet in the Trek Procaliber 9.7

This hardtail is a lightweight and dependable mountain bike with a carbon frame and wheels.

The Takeaway: The Procaliber 9.7 is one of the best hardtail mountain bikes you can buy for less than four grand.

  • OCLV Carbon frame
  • Tubeless-ready carbon wheels
  • Incredibly light

Trek Procaliber 9.7

The tradeoff for a killer carbon frame and carbon wheels on a sub-4K bike is the drivetrain. The SRAM NX Eagle is reliable but doesn’t offer the crisp shifting of pricier component groups like Shimano XT or X01 Eagle. It’s also notably heavier than those groupsets, with most of that weight in the cassette and crankset.

trek procaliber 97

IsoSpeed Decoupler

The IsoSpeed decoupler, unique to Trek, is an interesting feature. It adds vertical compliance by creating a hinge of sorts between the seat tube and the top tube, allowing the former to move independently of the latter. If you’ve never ridden a bike with this decoupler, you might be inclined to think it’s snake oil. Given that we live i n a world flush with companies touting frames with vertical compliance and lateral stiffness (with varying levels of success), I’ll forgive you that assumption. But make no mistake, this is no snake oil. The IsoSpeed adds so much compliance you can actually see the seat tube moving under you if you bounce on the saddle. To be fair, some of that flex comes from the carbon seat post, which further adds to the vertical compliance. Together they make a bike that’s surprisingly comfortable for long, hard hours of trail riding .

Trek Procaliber 9.7

Fast Wheels

Tubeless-ready carbon wheels are a rare find at this price.

Trek Procaliber 9.7

Remote Lockout

The RockShox Reba RL fork has a handlebar-mounted remote lockout.

Trek Procaliber 9.7

XR2 Team Issue Tires

These tires are wicked fast on dry trails and hold their own in the mud.

Trek Procaliber 9.7

NX Eagle Drivetrain

An 11-50 cassette and 30t chainring provide all the gearing you need.

Trek Procaliber 9.7

Vertical Compliance

The IsoSpeed decoupler makes this bike comfortable over long, rough trail rides.

Initially I was put off by that soft feeling. I tested the Procaliber right on the heels of the very lively Specialized Epic Hardtail Pro . By comparison the Procaliber 9.7 felt subdued, almost boring. In early test rides, I misdiagnosed this bike as dead and lifeless. However, once I became more familiar with the Procaliber 9.7, I realized I was feeling the effect of the decoupler. The claims of vertical compliance were real. The more time I spent banging around the rough and rocky trails of my test track, the more I realized this bike was still just as lively as other hardtails, but the rough edges I was accustomed to were gone.

trek procaliber 97

Procaliber Family

The Procaliber line consists of three bikes, and the 9.7 resides at the top of the list. At $2,600, the 9.6 is laced with the nicer but more expensive Shimano XT drivetrain, but the cost is balanced by cheaper alloy wheels and a RockShox Recon Gold fork (noticeable steps down from the 9.7). This bike is a super deal for anyone who already has a nice set of wheels they really like. If aluminum frames are your jam, the Procaliber 6 warrants consideration.

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Style XC Material Carbon Wheel Size 29-inch Fork 100mm RockShox Reba RL Drivetrain SRAM NX Eagle Cranks Truvativ Stylo 6k Eagle Dub Chainring 30t Cassette 11-50 Brakes Shimano MT500 hydraulic disc Wheels Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 Carbon Tires 2.2-inch Tubeless-ready Bontrager XR2 Team Issue Saddle Bontrager Montrose Comp Seatpost Bontrager Pro OCLV Carbon Handlebar 720mm Bontrager Race Lite Alloy Stem Bontrager Elite

Geometry That Bucks The Trend

On paper, the Procaliber 9.7 thumbs its nose at the current trend of long, low, and slack mountain bikes. A 69.5-degree head angle is as steep as you’ll find on an XC bike, half a degree steeper than the already aggressive Cannondale F-Si and a full degree steeper than Specialized’s Epic Hardtail. A slack 72-degree seat angle also runs against the grain, especially next to the aggressive 74 degrees of the Specialized. It stands in stark contrast to modern XC bikes that are trending towards slacker head angles and steeper seat angles. The reach is short (457mm), stack is low (628mm), and the bottom bracket is high (311mm).

Trek Procaliber 9.7

However, it would be foolish to pass this bike over because it doesn’t conform to a trend. The slack seat angle was apparent before I even looked at the geometry because I had to slide my saddle farther forward than I’m accustomed to, as was the short reach, amplified by the narrow 720mm handlebar. After a few hours, I was comfortable on the bike, accustomed to the sharp steering that required a light touch, and riding as hard and fast around my test track as I’ve done on any other bike.

Trek Procaliber 9.7

Smooth, Steady, And Fast

As I alluded to earlier, I was slow to warm up to this bike. My last tester was the Specialized Epic Hardtail Pro, which I described as lively, wild, and exciting. Compared to the Specialized , this Trek initially appeared dull and uninspiring. Like a fine wine, it took its time to open up to me. Still, there was no spark.

If the Epic Hardtail Pro is the wild affair, the Procaliber 9.7 is the safe bet, the one you invite to Thanksgiving. And costing just under two thousand dollars less, it's also a cheaper date .

Trek Procaliber 9.7

It’s hard to find a fault with this bike. It’s shockingly light—my XL test sample weighed in at only 21.6 pounds. Considering the Epic Hardtail Pro tipped the scales at 21.3 pounds, benefitting from lighter SRAM X01 groupset, carbon cranks, and a carbon handlebar, you’ll see it’s very easy to drop major weight off the Trek if you're a weight weenie. Of course, the NX Eagle drivetrain doesn’t shift as smoothly as SRAM’s higher-level groupsets, but it’s a fair tradeoff for the top-flight frame and carbon hoops. This bike is everything you could ask for from a cross country hardtail: light, fast, responsive, and compliant. At $3,780, it’s not cheap, but it offers incredible value.

procaliber Procaliber 9.7

Procaliber 9.7

.css-1t6om3g:before{width:1.75rem;height:1.75rem;margin:0 0.625rem -0.125rem 0;content:'';display:inline-block;-webkit-background-size:1.25rem;background-size:1.25rem;background-color:#F8D811;color:#000;background-repeat:no-repeat;-webkit-background-position:center;background-position:center;}.loaded .css-1t6om3g:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/bicycling/static/images/chevron-design-element.c42d609.svg);} Bike Reviews

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Trek Procaliber 9.7 review

Alan Muldoon

  • Alan Muldoon
  • April 7, 2020

Crosses the finish line first because it’s the fastest bike. Simple.

Trek Procaliber 9.7

Trek Procaliber 9.7 Credit: Future PLC

Product Overview

Overall rating:, trek procaliber 9.7.

  • Speed with comfort
  • No dropper post


Price as reviewed:, editor’s choice 2020.

Since the dawn of mountain biking, engineers and enthusiasts have been trying to make the humble hardtail more compliant. We’ve had suspension seatposts, soft-tails, flex stay, curved stays, mono-stays and box stays. You name it, someone has tried it. No approach however, has been as effective as Trek’s IsoSpeed decoupler; first developed on its road bikes designed to race across the gruelling cobbles of Paris Roubaix.

And while the execution of the design is complex, like all good ideas, the concept is elegant in its simplicity. By decoupling the seat tube from the top tube, Trek is able to let the seat tube flex more easily, which in turn transmits less vibrabration to the rider. Or, to think about it another way, the seat stays run into the top-tube, instead of the back of the back seat tube.

Whatever way you slice it, Trek’s IsoSpeed decoupler offers a noticeably smoother ride when seated. So even though the Procaliber 9.7 isn’t one of the new breed of progressive XC hardtails with slacker geometry, we were still able to ride it faster with less fatigue than any other XC hardtail in test. It’s incredible turn of speed enhanced further by the Bontrager Kovee Elite carbon rims. They also tipped the balance of the scales in Trek’s favour too, as the Procaliber 9.7 was also the lightest bike in our XC hardtail test.

trek procaliber

The Trek Procaliber 9.7 crossed our finish line first because it’s the fastest bike on test. And in XC racing, that’s all that counts.

>>> MBR Trail Bike of the Year 2020

Modern XC race hardtails aren’t just designed to be ruthlessly efficient on the climbs. The best composite frames also use custom carbon layering, unique fibre alignments and sculpted tube profiles to engineer in compliance. And while the Procaliber 9.7 incorporates all of the above, Trek takes it one step further with its IsoSpeed technology.

First designed to improve the comfort of its road bikes, IsoSpeed decouples the seat tube from the top tube, which in turn allows the seat tube to flex more easily and transmit less trail buzz to the rider. The simple idea being, less systemic rider fatigue leaves more energy for turning pedals. Sounds great in theory, right? Well, the good news is, it’s even better in practice.

Yes, the extra tech involved in IsoSpeed adds a few grams to the frame weight, but Trek has still managed to produce the lightest bike in the test, even if it’s only 110g lighter than its closest rival, the Mondraker Chrono Carbon R. Most of the savings are rotational weight – the carbon Bontrager Kovee Elite wheels guaranteeing that the Trek is lightning fast off the start line.

trek procaliber 9.7 hardtail bike

IsoSpeed decoupler is a game-changer

In fact we were so surprised to see carbon hoops on the Procaliber 9.7, we actually double-checked that Trek hadn’t sent a more expensive model by mistake. As it turns out it couldn’t have, even if it had wanted to, as the Procaliber 9.7 at is actually the most expensive XC hardtail that Trek offers in the UK.

trek procaliber 9.7 hardtail bike

RockShox reba fork is responsive but also offers decent support

In the RockShox hierarchy, the 100mm-travel Reba on the Trek sits below the SID on the Mondraker but above the Judy on the Specialized Epic HT . It strikes a great balance in terms of performance too. On high-speed chatter it’s more forgiving on your hands than the SID, but it still offers more support for cornering and cranking hard than the Judy.

And if you really want to tighten up the response of the suspension fork for a spot of black-top blasting, the RockShox under-bar remote lockout is always within easy reach. It feels plastic-y compared to the remote on the Scott Scale 920, but thanks to the super-light cable action it’s effortless in use. And, because the release lever sits proud of the lockout lever, you always open up the fork when you reach for it in a moment of panic.

trek procaliber 9.7 hardtail bike

Silicone grips save weight as well as your hands

Have we mentioned the Trek’s lightweight carbon wheels? Well, we should also highlight that they were the only wheels in the test to come set up tubeless. All you have to do is add sealant, which Trek kindly provides.

The contact points on the Procaliber are sorted too, and we particularly liked the ESI Chunky silicone grips . Granted the 12-Speed Eagle drivetrain with its 11-50t cassette doesn’t give you as wide a gear range as the Scott, but the SRAM XG-1230 cassette still offers a marked improvement in shifting performance over the Specialized.


When we first set eyes on the Trek, it wasn’t love at first sight. If anything, we thought the size large bike looked a little ungainly with its inverted 95mm stem and taller top tube. We even went as far as to peg it ‘the roadie’s mountain bike’.

Then we rode it. From the first pedal stroke the Procaliber took the lead in this test and never faltered. We were instantly won over by its effortless turn of speed, in part thanks to the carbon wheels, but it’s also about the more forgiving ride quality of the frame. Bumps just didn’t chip away at our speed as much as they did on the other bikes on test. And even when we were out of the saddle, the Procaliber was still the smoothest bike here. So much so, that the real limiting factor on rougher more technical terrain is saddle height. So while the weight savings of the OCLV carbon seatpost aren’t to be sniffed at, we’d swap it for a short-travel dropper in a heartbeat.

trek procaliber


Trek procaliber 6, £1,400.

This is the entry-level bike in the Procaliber range. It gets an Alpha Platinum aluminium frame rather than carbon, but it still sports the IsoSpeed design that decouples the top tube from the seat tube to offer a smoother, faster ride. The geometry and sizing also mirror our test winner, so handing should be on point too.

Trek Supercaliber 9.7, £4,000

If you want the look of a hardtail but an even more forgiving ride than the Procaliber 9.7, how about the new Supercaliber? With its IsoStrut design delivering 60mm of travel, it could well be the perfect balance between hardtail efficiency and weight saving, with full-suspension comfort and control.

What’s new for 2021?

Depending on personal preference and course conditions, Trek wanted to make it easier for riders or races to swap between the Procaliber hardtail and the Supercalibrer suspension bike. So for 2021 the sizing and geometry of the Procaliber has been brought inline with the 60mm travel Supercaliber. The end result is that the Procaliber gets a half a degree slacker head angle for improved steering stability. The reach measurement has also increased by 10mm, while the stem shortens by the same amount so the fit remains the same. All positive changes, that should guarantee the 2021 Procaliber retains its winning performance.

Race you to the top Procaliber is a game changing cross-country race machine that pairs classic hardtail efficiency with capable geometry for a ride that’s chomping at the bit to attack off the starting line and sprint up climbs. From short track to ultra-endurance, for the World Cuppers and the first timers, Procaliber is an XC mountain bike built to deliver the speed and power you need to stay at the front of the pack. 

  • Shop procaliber

Two steeds built for speed With a pedigree in racing, Procaliber is ready to ride fast, and its two unique frame builds make it the perfect fit no matter your budget. Whether you go carbon or alloy, you get 29˝ wheels, internal cable routing, and stiff thru-axles for hardtail efficiency that’ll keep you at the front on the climbs and point you straight toward the podium.

Cool carbon composure

Extra light, extra stiff, extra comfortable. Procaliber Carbon gives you trail-smoothing OCLV Carbon and IsoSpeed technology that decouples the seat tube from top tube to reduce chatter. A 100mm fork keeps it lean and mean, so you get a lighter ride that saves precious watts when your quads are scorched and every millisecond matters. 

Ride metal, earn medals 

Procaliber alloy delivers speed at a value with a lightweight Alpha Platinum Aluminum chassis. It’s the perfect hardtail for those looking to hit the trail quickly, cover some miles, and race a little – or a lot. You get a lightweight alloy frame with progressive geometry and a longer 120mm travel fork to handle tricky sections of trail. 

IsoSpeed: Fast with a side of smooth Smooth means fast. Our innovative IsoSpeed decoupler increases vertical compliance and smooths trail chatter without sacrificing pedaling efficiency so you can ride faster, longer and stronger. Available on Procaliber Carbon only.

Sleek and stealthy

Internal routing on all models keeps cables quiet, reducing rattling and maintenance along with it. Plus, it looks modern and sleek. 

Wheely big benefits

Every Procaliber comes with 29˝ wheels that drop rolling resistance and help you get more distance out of every pedal stroke. Plus, they come set up tubeless for improved traction and flat protection. 

Stiff and responsive

Snappy acceleration and hairpin turns are no match for Procaliber. With 148mm thru-axle in the rear and a tapered headtube, handling stays precise, nimble, and quick, even through gnarly terrain. 

Beefy chainstay guards keep your ride shielded from rocks and knocks on the trail. Plus, Procaliber Carbon gets Knock Block for added protection when the bars go sideways.

Choose your Procaliber 

Looking for something else?


If you’re looking to step up your racing game with even more trail smoothing technology, Supercaliber is the ride for you. See how its integrated IsoStrut shock can give you hardtail efficiency with full suspension confidence. 

Looking for something that rolls beyond cross country and into all-mountain trails? Roscoe is a hardtail with relaxed geometry for handling rowdier terrain and more travel for gobbling up rocks and roots.

trek procaliber 9.7 hardtail bike

  • Crosscountry
  • Rider Notes

2021 Trek Procaliber 9.7

trek procaliber 9.7 hardtail bike

A 29″ carbon frame hardtail crosscountry bike with high-end components. Compare the full range

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Based on frame geometry and build specs.

A bike with lower gearing will be easier to ride up steep hills, while a higher top end means it will pedal faster down hills.

Procaliber 9.7

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5'0" – 5'6"

5'3" – 5'8"

5'5" – 5'11"

5'9" – 6'3"

6'1" – 6'6"

  • 5'8", size MD, Just right


Building on it’s IsoSpeed equipped predecessor’s comfort and the modern geometry of the short-travel Supercaliber, the all-new Trek Procaliber hardtail gets all the right updates. Modern geometry, cleaner cable routing, and improved steer-ability make it faster than ever. What’s new about the 2021 Trek Procaliber? The geometry’s the biggest change you’re likely to feel. Based […]

Read Review


Apr 2020 · Alan Muldoon

The Trek Procaliber 9.7 crossed our finish line first because it’s the fastest bike on test. And in XC racing, that’s all that counts.

Speed with comfort

No dropper post


This hardtail is a lightweight and dependable mountain bike with a carbon frame and wheels.

Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 Carbon, tubeless-ready wheels

Lightweight carbon frame with IsoSpeed decoupler

100mm RockShox Reba RL fork with remote lockout

Handlebar is on the narrow side


Mar 2019 · Guy Kesteven

Accurate, versatile frame with a great spec, but bar and IsoSpeed bounce won’t suit everyone

Stiff, accurate frame

Dropper and bigger-tyre friendly

Judy fork and Eagle gears

Shock-shrugging IsoSpeed

IsoSpeed takes a wallop to start moving and then a while to stop

Backswept bar and seat tube won’t suit all

Surprisingly slow tyres

99 Spokes on YouTube

Last updated August 6 Not listed for 691 days


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    Procaliber 9.7 is a race-ready cross country hardtail. It comes stock with a SRAM NX Eagle 1x12 drivetrain, an OCLV Mountain Carbon frame with a trail-smoothing IsoSpeed decoupler, carbon wheels, and a RockShox Reba RL suspension fork to keep you fast and smooth over roots, rocks, and your most demanding mountain bike rides. Compare.

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