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Trek Does It Again! The Newest Generation Dual Sport Is Even Better and Cheaper

The struggle to find a bicycle that can be used for as many terrains as possible seems to be very real for countless cyclists. But Trek seems to have a solid and affordable answer, the Dual Sport 3, but the newest 5th Gen stuff.
Dual Sport 3 Gen 5 10 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
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If the two-wheeling hotty before you looks familiar, it might be because we've covered Trek's Dual Sport lineup before. However, this is the freshest one to come out from under the Trek umbrella. But why should we even care about it?

Well, remember how I began this article? Simply put, the Dual Sport is designed to be a "go-anywhere hybrid bike," meaning it stands a very solid chance of being your go-to machine. But before we move on, be sure to take a closer look at the images in the gallery.

Now, as I explored this bike, I was blown away to find one selling for as low as $850. But there's a bit of a catch. According to the manufacturer's website, this bike is all "Sold Out," with the only versions still floating around being found in local shops. That means that you should bring a bit of extra cash with you, just in case the markup extends beyond that number, which it surely will. If you end up going for the Equipped version, you can clearly expect to pay more.

Dual Sport 3 Gen 5
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
So, what makes this bugger worthy of being on your to-consider list of bicycles for this year? Well, aside from that price, Trek uses aluminum to bring the backbone (frame) to life, but it's the amalgam of geometry that really sticks out.

I say "amalgam" because, well, look at this thing. We can spot some cues borrowed from gravel cycling, some from hardtail mountain bikes, and even a trait or two from road bikes. And the result is precisely a machine that can do all of the above, sort of; it's actually somewhere in the middle, and that can be odd to ride for some more experienced riders.

For example, the head tube angle is found between 70 and 72 degrees, so it is a bit slack for a bike destined for tarmac and toward the steep end for a trail-riding MTB. As for the seat tube angle, it's set in opposition to the head tube; a slacker head tube results in a slacker seat tube, and vice-versa. Chain stays also cruise in with a rather odd length of 44.7 cm.

All that is bound to have an effect on how a rider is positioned on this bike - rather in the center and sitting high up - but it's the tires that basically define where and when this machine can be used. With that in mind, take note that Trek equipped this version of the Dual Sport 3 with nothing more than 650x50c tires. That's 50 mm of width, but if you want even more grip and softness, tires with up to 2 in of cross-section can be mounted on the bike.

Dual Sport 3 Gen 5
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
What does this mean for new and even seasoned riders looking for a budget machine to ride into the ground? It means a wheel size that's suitable for trekking across broken city streets, but that can also perform beyond the confines of a metropolis. Heck, if you keep both wheels on the ground at all times, even a light singletrack might be on the menu.

Another component that's sure to bring even more comfort to your rides is the front fork. Believe it or not, Trek managed to throw a carbon fiber fork onto this version, meaning that vibrations sent up into your body should be diminished. Pretty neat if you can get all that for under $1K.

As for the drivetrain, Trek chose to throw on Shimano's new CUES drivetrain; the one meant to replace countless budget options from the groupset powerhouse. Overall, up to three chainrings can be mounted to the frame, but at the rear, a 10-speed cassette with 11-48T seems to be the limit.

Yet, it's not the wheels, nor the frame, nor that hunk of carbon fiber at the front that really got my attention. For me, it's this bike's ability to go above and beyond your average riding. I'm talking about throwing on countless cargo bags to transform the Dual Sport into a friggin bike-packing machine.

Dual Sport 3 Gen 5
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
And it's not that you can just do this because you want to; Trek actually designed the frame in such a way as to be capable of being loaded to the brim with all the essentials needed to spend life in the saddle. The top tube is covered with inverted cargo mounts, the seat tube has mounts, and so does the down tube. Yes, the fork can handle gear, and so can the rear.

As a result, you and your buddies can be spotted riding your Dual Sports to work during the week, even bringing home some groceries, but come the weekend, your eco-friendly mode of transportation will transform into a workhorse, bent on taking you to the edge of town, and beyond.

Honestly, there's kind of no limit to what you can do with this puppy, but always remember to ride your bike within the guidelines specified by the manufacturer; these things are not indestructible, and always place safety above the thrill. After all, it's why you don't see granny cruisers in downhill races.

But, if you're looking for a budget machine that can cover most of the average Joe's riding needs, the Gen 5 Dual Sport 3 is one machine to consider. Be sure to check out the equipped, in case you don't want to bother with grabbing your own cargo gear.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery also showcase the Equipped version.

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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