My biggest initial concern when swinging a leg over the Superfly SS was trail harshness. Considering this bike has no suspension and sports an aluminum frame, my mind immediately hearkened back to the days of chattering teeth, fatigued forearms, and fingers seized permanently around the handlebars. But from the very first ride on Halo Trail above Reno, I was surprised to finish the two-hour slugfest of rock and tight, punchy corners relatively fresh. My triceps were definitely sore from the extra work required to handle Superfly SS over rocks, but two days later, I had bigger triceps. Guess I can cancel that gym membership.
The Double Bevel carbon fork did a respectable job of soaking up trail chatter, but the real story was how well the Superfly SS aluminum frame rode. Forget the harshness associated with aluminum frames of old; whatever Trek engineers did with the Superfly SS frame material and design, it worked. When an aluminum frame rides as nice as the Superfly SS does, springing an extra thousand bucks for carbon fiber seems excessive, especially if you’re a rider that’s hard on equipment. Thanks to a 51mm fork offset and G2 Geometry with a 69.6-degree head angle, Superfly SS steers with scalpel precision. Bottom bracket height is respectable at 12.2 inches, as is a relatively short chainstay length of 17.13 inches make the Superfly SS a quick handling 29er.
The Double Bevel carbon fork (left) has enough clearance to accommodate a 3-inch Bontrager Chupacabra tire. The fork easily fits the Chupacabra with ample mud clearance (click to enlarge).
In addition to weighing in at only 569 grams with a front thru-axle, another benefit of the Double Bevel carbon fork is the ability to run a 29+ size front tire. Trek sent over their new Bontrager Chupacabra 29×3.0-inch tire, which easily fits the fork and has plenty of extra room for mud clearance. Throwing a Chupacabra on the front took the capability of Superfly SS to a level higher, with more bump absorption and greater cornering traction thanks to a fast-rolling design with widely spaced knobs. And weighing in just below 900 grams, the Chupacabra is no heavier than most rugged 2.3-inch trail tires.
Frame clearance out back isn’t wide enough to accommodate a Chupacabra, but I was able to fit a 2.35-inch wide Maxxis High Roller II, making the Superfly SS a capable rigid bike in rugged terrain. And thanks to chainstays and seatstays with no bridge tubes in front of the tire, mud clearance is outstanding. Across heavy mud and even several inches of packed snow, the big-tire capability of Superfly SS makes it a versatile machine for year-round riding.
Running tires as wide as the Chupacabra will require rims wider than the stock Bontrager Mustang Elites with 24mm width. To better match the Chupacabra and beef out the High Roller II to a 2.4, I ran a set of Ibis 941 carbon wheels with an internal width of 35mm, making Superfly SS even more comfortable over rocky terrain. Throw a 27.2mm dropper post on, and Superfly SS instantly becomes a rigid singlespeed trail-eating monster.
As for complaints, there are very few. The aforementioned Stranglehold dropouts aren’t trail-adjustment friendly, the stock 690mm handlebars are too narrow for a singlespeed 29er with no suspension, and the stock Bontrager tubeless kit had leakdown issues.
Bottom line, for those in search of a simple, fun, capable, versatile and race-worthy singlespeed rig, there are few bikes that can touch the performance-per-dollar the Superfly SS delivers. And if you’re a Luddite who’s grown tired of high maintenance modern suspension bikes, the Superfly SS is a dream. Literally the only maintenance this bike needs is an occasional lube of the chain and check for tire sealant.
Those who own and ride singlespeeds know their magical qualities; a bike with only one gear makes you a fitter and faster rider. And a bike with no suspension teaches you how to pick clean, efficient lines. Put these two together and you have Superfly SS, a bike that will make you a fitter, faster and more skilled mountain biker without putting a gaping hole in your bank account.
For more information visit www.trekbikes.com