This Bike-Packing Hardtail MTB From Trek Rides the Fine Line Between Price and Capability

Procaliber 6 10 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
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As you'd expect of anything, striking the perfect balance between capability and price is a very difficult task. However, one crew that's been nailing it since the first days on the market is none other than Trek. This time around, we explore one of their fresher machines, which rides that fine line and even tosses in a few traits of its own.
Folks, what we have before us is nothing more than one of Trek's more affordable or entry-level hardtails, the Procaliber 6, and just like its brethren bicycles, this one too aims to please not only with some rather solid gear but with a few added bonus traits.

Kicking things off with this short introduction to this two-wheeled aluminum wonder is its design. As we can see, it's a hardtail, and this means no rear suspension, a big reason why it's selling for an MSRP of $1,700 (€1,550 at current exchange rates).

Procaliber 6
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Nonetheless, that aluminum frame is decked out to the brim with features, one of which is a tapered head tube, allowing Trek to throw on a notable RockShox Judy Silver. Sure, you won't be bombing the biggest XC trails, but for a new MTB rider, it'll do just fine. Heck, it's fine enough for me, too, and I've been riding for some years.

Overall, 120 mm of travel is what we're being offered as standard, but the tapered headtube I mentioned allows you to throw on more heavy-duty forks just in case you get bored of the Judy Silver. All that's set to a 67-degree head tube angle with 42 mm offset from the fork.

One feature that's rather common practice these days, is internal cable routing, and the 6 has it. But, the important thing to note about all these holes drilled into the frame is that one of them leads to nothing other than a dropper post. Trek throws on their proprietary Bontrager Line Dropper into the mix with up to 170 mm of travel depending on the frame size. If your bikes are missing this feature in the shop, don't pay full price; you just have to have a dropper on an XC bike, especially if you're planning on hitting those trails for your dose of adrenaline.

Procaliber 6
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Now, $1,700 places the 6 in that not-so-pocket-draining category of bicycles, and with that, don't expect the most performant drivetrain in the world. With that in mind, we're looking at a Deore cassette and shifter tuned to 12 speeds and rocking a range of 10-51T coupled with a chainring between 30T and 34T, so there's a tad of room to play around with to find your sweet spot; if you're a new rider, be sure to ask questions without feeling embarrassed. Remember, we all crawled before we walked, ran, and rode bikes.

Regarding brakes, it's Shimano once again with a pair of RT10s with centerlock and up to 180 mm rotors, again, depending on the frame size. For everything else, there's Bontrager, with grips, handlebars, rim strips, tire sealant, the tires themselves, and rims too.

As for the last trick this aluminum steed has in store, it's all about a different side of the story, one that goes above and beyond just riding and bike-packing. That's right, with the presence of cargo mounts tattered all over the frame, you can add a pannier rack to the rear and load the Procaliber with gear to assist you on the longest journeys of discovery. Once you throw in some frame, cockpit, and even saddlebags, you're set to spend weekends on the edge of town and under a starry sky.

Procaliber 6
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Actually, take a moment to really picture that entire scenario for a second. We can start things off on a Saturday morning, just before the sun rises. You and your significant other find yourselves almost crawling out from under your garage door from the excitement of where you'll be camping out tonight, but first, let's meet up with the rest of the gang.

Loaded up with the essentials such as water, food, sleeping bags, mattresses, and spare parts in case anything goes awry, you give each other a nod and ride off. If you keep that pace you set for yourself, you should be reaching your destination just in time to catch the sunset from the edge of a mountain ridge. At least, that's how things are out in AZ.

Other than that, there's really nothing else I can say about the Procaliber to make you want to go out and get one. Wait a minute; there is. From here, I recommend you phone up your local bicycle shop and see if they have one of these babies in stock, take it out for a spin, and go from there. But be warned, once you get there, the chances are that you'll be leaving with a fresh Procaliber 6 from Trek; it's a great feeling, I can assure you.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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