The Trek Dual Sport 2 is a do-anything bike. Widely considered a commuter bike, you can take the Dual Sport on the road or even on your local green rated trails. The all-purpose nature of this bike is why it has become one of the most popular bike models for 2021.
No bike is perfect, the Trek Dual Sport 2 included, and that means there are things you need to know. In this Dual Sport 2 review we cover the good, the bad, and everything in between. This Trek model is an awesome bike, but there are things you should know to make sure you are buying a bike that fits your needs.
The official category of bike for the Trek Dual Sport is a hybrid bike. Many argue your biking experience is better on a bike that specializes in one specific type of riding. Road bikes belong on the road, mountain bikes belong in the mountains and so on. So where does the Trek Dual Sport 2 belong?
What Is A Dual Sport Hybrid Bike
There are many different types of hybrid bikes. Another great hybrid bike from Trek often compared to the Dual Sport is the FX 2 which is a fitness hybrid. The Dual Sport 2 is a path and trail hybrid. Path and trail riding are two of the most popular forms of riding due to all the riding location options.
Not only is the DS2 considered a commuter bike, it is also a flat bar gravel bike. A purist gravel rider may disagree, but don’t knock the DS2 as a gravel bike until you have tried it. Half the mileage on our Dual Sport has come on gravel trails because its so enjoyable to ride.
All across the country there are bike paths and trails designed specifically for cyclists. The same cannot be said for a riding genre like mountain biking. A rigid frame bike, like a road bike, will also leave you plenty of places to ride. That is why the ability to switch from paved path to gravel is such a huge benefit of the Dual Sport lineup.
Road bikes will provide a faster ride on pavement, but the problem comes when the pavement is no longer smooth. The solution to pavement deviations is the front fork on the Dual Sport 2. You won’t be bombing down the mountain with just 63 mm of travel on the 2021 model, but that is plenty of suspension to glide over cracks in the road.
Dual Sport 2: The Technical Specs and Pricing
The drivetrain on the Dual Sport 2 comes from Shimano and is the low end of their groupset models. The front derailleur is on the lowest end of the groupset known as the Tourney line. The rear derailleur is a small step up with the Acera line.
Normally a firm derailleur is preferred, but the nice thing about the Tourney line is if you bend it by dropping the bike you can simply bend it back in place. The same cannot be said about higher end groupsets. Those are made from stronger metal that you will not be able to bend back in place.
The wheel hubs provide an enjoyable ride, but there is too much free play for the avid cyclist. If you do not plan on pushing this bike to the limits the hubs will be a non-issue for you.
The components on this bike come from Bontrager. Things like pedals and saddle will always come down to personal preference. I really like the Bontrager Sport saddle for a bike in this price point. The Bontrager Satellite grips are tolerable, but will be an enjoyable upgrade when they wear down during the first riding season.
Some of my favorite features on the Trek Dual Sport 2 are the internal cable routing and all the available mounts. For commuter biking you can add a kickstand, rack and fenders. The maximum weight capacity for the Dual Sport is 300 lbs. which is more than enough to haul a laptop and other miscellaneous gear for the average rider.
Problems With The Trek Dual Sport 2
The biggest problem we have with the Trek Dual Sport 2 is the front fork. You should keep your expectations low with any coil spring fork, but the SR Suntour NEX was a real disappointment. It serves its purpose for casual riding, but will quickly become a point of frustration if you put it through too much abuse.
Once your front fork is worn out, and it will get worn out, you don’t need to trash the bike. I highly recommend looking into the upgrade program through SR Suntour. The NEX may be junk, but SR Suntour as a company is known for making quality forks in their higher end models.
Another problem with the Dual Sport 2 is the weight. For commuters who haul the bike indoors to their cubicle, or anyone that has overhead hanging storage, lugging this 32 lbs. monster will get old quickly. The Dual Sport 4 is roughly 5 lbs. lighter. It may not sound like much, but after a long commute the extra 5 lbs. will feel incredibly heavy.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Dual Sport
How and where you ride your bike is a factor you need to consider before buying. You must be wondering what other considerations to make before buying a hybrid bike. For starters, how often you will ride plays a big role when picking out a bike. The more often you ride the more important the quality of components and drivetrain on the bike becomes.
For the occasional rider, the Shimano Tourney front derailleur and Acera rear derailleur will be fine. They are a big upgrade from the components that come on bikes from big box retailers. I think everyone can agree, the entry level Tourney and Acera parts will not be for the avid cyclist making frequent century rides.
Another consideration before buying the Trek Dual Sport 2 is how hard you ride. There is a big difference between taking a leisurely stroll and ripping down the trail on your local single track. The front fork will smooth out small deviations and ride over pot holes with ease. The fork is not made to fly through chunky sections of trail.
Final Opinion On The Dual Sport 2
We bought the Trek Dual Sport 2 and you guessed it, we love the bike. The problem is, we would not buy this bike again because the value is not there. The price difference to upgrade to the Dual Sport 3 is only $200. The rims on the DS3 come tubeless ready, and the front and rear derailleurs get an upgrade. The stem, handlebars, grips and saddle also get upgrades.
The only way I would buy the Dual Sport 2 again would be if there were no Dual Sport 3 bikes in inventory at my local bike shops.
I think you will agree, the Trek Dual Sport 2 is more than capable of providing an awesome experience on two wheels. The bottom line is this… if you want a bike that can get you to and from work in comfort, as well as travel off the beaten path, the Dual Sport will be a great bike for you.
The biggest consideration you need to make before buying is the type of riding you will do. If your bike will be a 100% pavement princess, there are better options for efficiency and fun on two wheels. Make no mistake, this is no road bike, and it is not a mountain bike. That being said, the rider that enjoys multiple riding styles like gravel trails and commuting will have a blast on the Dual Sport 2 hardtail hybrid bike.
Also, if you are looking at the Dual Sport 2 you may be getting into cycling for the first time. If that sounds like you, I cannot recommend enough a good pair of cycling shorts. The Pearl iZUMi Escape Quest shorts are my personal favorites due to their affordability and comfort.