Trek Reinvents Bikepacking With the New 1120 Touring and Trekking Bicycle

2021 Trek 1120 Touring Bike 12 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle
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Summer is here, and with that, the perfect time for exploring. One vehicle made to facilitate quick and easy journeys is and has always been the bicycle. But, to explore the lands on a two-wheeled stallion, your bike must be ready and able. Trek is about to show you how ready.
I feel we can skip the intro regarding Trek because if you turn on your television set or visit a local café in the morning, chances are you’ll see a Trek bicycle. But the occasion to spread some knowledge is too good to pass up, so here it is. In its first official year after opening its doors, Trek sold 904 steel touring frames; that year was 1976. Years later, Trek sells on average 1.6 million bikes a year. Since some of them range from $500 to $15,000 or more, you can do the math.

As for the 1120 we're talking about today, it’s a bicycle meant for bike packing—like I even needed to mention that. Upon first sight, you know what this bike is designed for. The countless racks and available storage options gave me a reassuring wink, that’s for sure. But my word isn’t important here, you’ll have to draw your own conclusions whether this bike is suitable for your adventure ideas and budget.

Speaking of the budget, let me cut to the chase. Racks and all, this “bikepacker's dream,” as Trek likes to call it, comes in with an acceptable $2,900 price tag. When compared to other touring bikes, like the Darrvin Evolve (an e-bike) for example, it sits well within the price range most folks would pay for a bike like this.

2021 1120 Touring Bike
Photo: Trek Bicycle
I’ve got to point out that the one feature that stood out when I first saw this bike was that funky rear triangle; yes, the chain stay is uneven. As it turns out, it’s called a mid-stay, and according to Trek, it’s all about fitting 29-inch tires on a bike without elongating its wheelbase.

For the frame construction, Alpha Platinum Aluminum is used (the strongest of the Alpha series) with internal cable routing and even dropper post routing. At the front, the carbon fork is lightweight and absorbs vibrations.

Since no suspension is available, you’ll have to rely on the tires to do most of that job. Fortunately, the 29-inch tires with a 3-inch diameter and aramid bead are not only durable but big enough to offer a comfy ride against gravel and rocky terrain.

2021 1120 Touring Bike
Photo: Trek Bicycle
The drivetrain is set to 12 speeds and runs on a one-time chainring where the cassette houses all twelve gears. Every single drivetrain component is part of the Shimano SLX M7100 lineup. The only piece that differs is the bottom bracket, an MT500. The brakes are Shimano’s RT56 with six bolts and 180-mm (7.08-in) or 160-mm (6.3-in) rotors, depending on the frame size.

As for this bike being adventure ready, just look at the rack system, and let it sink in for a bit. Called the 1120 Adventure rack system, it can protect and secure 8-liter (2.11-gallon) dry bags with ease and is suitable for a wide range of cargo, from foods to tents and other camp supplies, and even a few fishing rods and shovels. Overall, Trek shows the bike can take six bags, a central tool kit, and two water bottle holders. I don’t see where else you could fit something. A combined weight limit, including rider, cargo, and bike, of 300 lbs (136 kg) is all the 1120 can handle.

You know what else would be fitting on this adventure-ready bicycle? A little assisted cargo carrier, if such a thing exists—it does. But again, you’d be running into that whole electricity issue. Nonetheless, the 1120 looks just about right for the things a trekking or touring bike should be able to do.
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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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