We've tested Trek's race-winning Boone cyclocross bike in its 105 spec variant. It uses Trek's IsoSpeed decoupler to help smooth out the ride on rough ground
In his last few seasons before retiring from cyclocross racing, Sven Nys was riding Trek’s Boone and he’s taken the bike to the Telenet-Fidea Lions team where he’s now owner-manager. The Boone is available in a range of builds and we’ve tested the Shimano 105 variant. There’s also a cantilever braked version still available if you prefer rim brakes.
Read more: Sven Nys’s Trek Boone
Trek has borrowed from its road bike range in designing the Boone’s frame, incorporating its IsoSpeed decoupler into the top seat tube junction. It says that this doubles the frame’s compliance. It’s paired with an IsoSpeed fork, designed for improved front end compliance.
The Boone has a front thru-axle, although the rear hub is quick release. There are indents in the chainstays to provide a bit more side-to-side space around the tyres, but they still come quite close to the tyres. The bridgeless seatstays provide bags of clearance though.
The front mech cable is well integrated, as it runs through a grove under the bottom bracket and is enclosed right up to the derailleur so that it’s less prone to contamination. There are integrated mounting bolts for mudguards with removable hidden eyelets too.
Trek specs Shimano 105 shifting on the Boone 5 with a cyclocross specific 46/36 FSA Energy chainset which runs on a wide BB80 bottom bracket. It has gone for the higher spec and prettier RS685 hydraulic shifters though. The brakes work really well, although the RS685 levers are actually less comfortable than the RS505 variant off road as they are narrower and so provide less impact absorption.
The Boone 5 comes with tubeless ready wheels from Trek’s in-house Bontrager brand, fitted with Bontrager CX3 Team Issue 32mm tyres. Bontrager also supplies the Boone’s finishing kit: saddle, carbon seatpost, bars and stem.
Watch: Guide to cyclocross bikes
The Boone has an edgy feel, which requires concentration and rider input to keep it going in the right direction. It feels engaging in the dry conditions in which it was tested but but might be a bit of a handful when it’s wetter. The Bontrager tyres are less grippy than some alternatives.
I’ve ridden Trek’s road-going Domane and been rather underwhelmed by its IsoSpeed decoupler, but on the Boone its ability to deal with the larger bumps encountered off road is ideal and makes fast progress a lot easier. Riding over ruts and lumps make full use of its considerable in-built travel, so that effort goes into forward motion rather than teeth jolting.
The Boone 5 is well specced and its IsoSpeed decoupler is a definite boon. But its handling is a bit edgy and the Bontrager tyres are a bit lacking in grip.