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.
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.
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.
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.