By Emily Walley. Photos by Emily Walley and Justin Steiner.
The new-for-2013 Trek Lush 29 SL is the fast, stable, big-wheeled sister in the Lush family, which began in 2012 with her 26-inch wheeled siblings. Flaunting her 29-inch wheels along with frame sizes as small as 14-inches, this full suspension trail woman is proof that a small frame size doesn’t have to mean small wheels.
As with all of Trek’s women’s bikes, the Lush 29 SL utilizes Women’s Specific Design, which features components and suspension tuning for our unique build. The frame nestles itself between those big wheels improving control and stability, and the swooping top tube allows for plenty of standover clearance to accommodate smaller riders. This model also boasts Trek’s signature G2 Geometry, which utilizes a fork with more offset and a slacker headtube angle to balance high and low speed handling. Check out this great video to learn more about Gary Fisher’s secret behind G2 technology.
Lush 29 SL is a bit of a techy in her youthful age. She sports the same Active Braking Pivot as her sisters, so her rear wheel stays in contact with the terrain while you’re on the brakes, but it’s no surprise that she’s updated her suspension and components from her 26 and 29-inch kin.
The Lush 29 SL operates on a two-chamber Dual Rate Control Valve suspension system in both the front and rear, with a valve that manages when the second chamber engages. The Fox Evolution Series DRCV, 15QR fork and DRCV shock also have the Climb, Trail, Descend suspension settings for their respective terrains.
Her front derailleur, shifters, and brakes are part of the Shimano SLX group and rear derailleur a Shimano Deore XT. Lush 29 SL also enables you to add an internally routed dropper post. Finally, Lush rolls down the mountain on Bontrager Duster Tubeless Ready rims.
Out of the box, the 14-inch Lush proved to be a perfect fit with no component swaps. As I settled onto the saddle I was pleased to find that the women’s specific seat is comfortable and gentle on my delicate feminine parts.
I’m steadily dialing in my ideal suspension settings, but I am finding that running more than recommended sag has been advantageous, as it provides the plush ride I’d been expecting.
So far, I’ve found the Lush 29 SL to be stable and responsive in technical terrain and a champion at rolling over obstacles.
Two 29-inch Lush models are available. The Trek Lush 29 SL retails for $3,050 and the Lush 29 for $2,420.
I’m looking forward to riding the Lush 29 SL on the trails at Raystown Lake for Dirt Rag’s annual Dirt Fest. Look for my full review of the Trek Lush 29 SL in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rag.