Trek's 2023 Procaliber 9.6 May Be Unlike Any Other Cross-Country MTB You've Ridden, Ever

2023 Procaliber 9.6 12 photos
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
IsoSpeedDrivetrainCranksetCockpitFrameBrakesCockpitLockout TriggerWater Bottle Cages2023 Procaliber 9.62023 Procaliber 9.6
“Hey. Psst! Come here. Quick!” “Who, me?” “Yeah. You’re that guy looking for a cross-country rig, right?” “Uhm, yeah. How did you know?” “Does it even matter, my man!? You want a bike or not?” “Who are you?” “Oh god, it’s one of these people again. Listen carefully, the Trek Procaliber 9.6.” “What?” “The Procaliber 9.6!” “I don’t understand.” “Pff. You will, my fellow mud crawler, you will.”
Folks, the 2023 Procaliber 9.6 MTB from Trek is what the two characters were talking about above, and if you’re wondering why the all-knowing character kept pushing this machine as THE weapon needed to land on a podium, that’s precisely what you’ll be finding out today. All that leads us to Trek, the minds and hands behind bringing each Procaliber to life.

Since 1975, Trek has grown to be a force to be reckoned with on the worldwide cycling scene. Actually, not just a force to be reckoned with, but a downright trendsetter responsible for some knockoff designs seen among bikes from an array of other manufacturers. Heck, just turn on your TV to any cycling channel, and chances are that you’ll see a Trek-branded machine in the next few seconds.

Well, all those years of R&D and racing heritage are wrapped up in this neat little package dubbed the Procaliber. While there are an array of Procaliber machines, today’s beast is the 9.6, a carbon fiber two-wheeling hardtail machine designed to help you cover more ground and to do it faster than ever before. Frankly, once you get to know just what this puppy can do for you and your rides, you won’t feel like $3,100 (€3,050 at current exchange rates) is too much to pay for, dare I call it, her? Yeah, it may just be love at first feel for most riders.

2023 Procaliber 9\.6
Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
Speaking of feeling, sure, the carbon fiber will have a lot to do with this bike’s stiffness/flexibility and comfort, but the real treat future owners can look forward to is the IsoSpeed decoupler found integrated into the Procaliber’s frame design. What’s IsoSpeed, you ask? This is where we can see what it means to be a manufacturer that paves the way for subsequent brands that follow.

IsoSpeed is nothing more than a little system that Trek has devised to help riders receive a more comfortable ride during rides. They apply it to an array of bicycle styles, but for the Procaliber 9.6, it’s a little special treat that yields a softer ride by decoupling the seat tube from the top tube and allowing for a tad of wiggle room. This absorbs some of the vibrations and bumps that roads and trails throw at you.

Now, don’t start thinking that this puppy will be bucking around like a bull; it’s just a bit of cushioned movement that absorbs some bumps, “vertical compliance,” they call it. Best of all, it won’t rob the rider of any energy that is directed into the pedals and, ultimately, the rear wheel. Suspension of a hardtail? You betcha!

Photo: Trek Bicycle Corporation
And that isn’t the end of this story either. In truth, a flurry of other features makes the Procaliber what it is. This includes Knock Block, a feature that helps keep your frame safe from the fork in case you wipeout, a RockShox Recon Gold RL fork with 100 millimeters (4 inches) of travel and remote lockout for faster times on flats, and a Shimano 12-speed drivetrain with an SLX Cassette with 10-51T range. Like most machines to leave Trek assembly lots, the 9.6 is packed with Bontrager components, and all together, the bike weighs a mere 25.2 pounds (11.4 kilograms).

Sure, you’re being asked to drop a tad over $3K for this puppy, but I feel you can see where your money s going; into creating a cross-country hardtail MTB like few others on the market. After all, Trek didn’t get to where it is by sitting around waiting for others to innovate the game.
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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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