Trek 6000 WSD £529.99
To most mountain bikers this is just a small white bike with a wide saddle. But for a significant group of riders the WSD 6000, and its sisters, are the most notable step forward in bike production in years. The key is in the name WSD – Women Specific Design – designed by women for women, right down to the smallest detail. We approved right from the start.
All the WSD colour schemes, and much of the equipment, are shared with blokes’ bikes elsewhere in the Trek range – sorry ladies, no patronising-pastels here. The tubeset, wishbone seatstay, chin gusset and swaged seat-tube are all the same as the male 6000 model, but the geometry is totally different. The seat-tube has been steepened to place the pelvis above the cranks for greater pedalling efficiency and to prevent the hips from rotating forward and crushing
tender parts. The top tube and stem have been shortened to fit the shorter bodies and arms of most women, the headtube raised and the steering angles slackened to keep weight distribution and handling spot on.
|Frame||Alpha custom aluminium|
|Stop||Unbranded V’s with WSD short-reach levers|
|Go||Acera chainset and front mech, LX rear mech and Alivio shifters|
|Wheels||Bontrager Corvair rims, alloy hubs, Bontrager Jones tyres|
|Stuff||Trek WSD saddle, 23 in Icon handlebars, Bontrager grips, 120mm stem|
|From||Trek UK 01908 282626|
The compact frame and corrected position felt immediately responsive under power – acceleration is delivered crisply without any spine jarring thanks to the compliant tubeset. The handling is classically neutral, feeding the bike into corners easily – technical riders will probably want to fit a riser bar for greater leverage and control. Corrected dimensions made the WSD extremely easy to loft over obstacles, flick between lines, or for the pilot to drop off the back of the saddle when the going steepens.
The Manitou Magnum fork has custom specced softer-internals but it’s still on the firm side for an 8-9 stone rider – you may want to tweak more. Rebound is well balanced, grease ports keep it sweet between strip-downs, and the tracking is extremely sure for the price.
We had big problems with the headset, which either locked solid or nodded like a proverbial dog. Trek assure us that it’s a one-off that’d be covered by warranty, but check before you buy. Shorter cranks only appear on the more expensive 6500 and 8000 WSD bikes so the most noticeable aspect of the drivetrain set-up is actually the forward of the normal seat position. As one tester put it: ‘There’s something funny going on that means my legs are suddenly the right length…’
Increased power and pedalling smoothness is immediately noticeable, though the occasional dragging front shift on the Acera chainset is a pain. The rest of the kit is a mix of eight-speed Acera and LX that works fine, but isn’t light. Clip and strap pedals should be swapped for clipless ASAP. The brakes are unbranded V’s which stop OK, but the highlight are the WSD-specific short-reach levers which increase control and reduce handache noticeably.
Bontrager rims and tyres are tough enough, roll happily in most conditions and have a nice red ‘Chopper stripe’. You’ll want something with more bite for winter, though, and lighter riders could go narrower without risking impact flats.
Finishing kit is all basic black alloy pipe that does the job well enough, and there’s plenty of adjustment in ride height thanks to three stem washers. The Icon handlebar and Bontrager grips are WSD-specific with reduced diameter to suit smaller hands, and although the WSD saddle looked basic it was well liked.
A quote from one of our testers sums it all up: ‘I don’t think I can go back to my old bike, this is just exactly right.’ Crap trundles round local bridleways suddenly
became the best rides we’d had just because all the aches and pains from stretching to fit blokes’ bikes disappeared. No more putting up with nagging discomfort just because there’s no alternative, we’re only sending this bike back when the 8000 WSD we’ve bought turns up. If you’re a woman who wants a performance mountain bike that’ll make rides significantly more comfortable, more efficient, faster, and far more enjoyable, then a WSD bike is the only off-the-peg choice.