Adventure Road Bike Build: Trek Crockett

Ah, the adventure road bike. A metamorphosis of long-distance comfort, gravel road capability, on-road stiffness, urban commuting and so, so much more. These bikes are all the rage these days, and after seeing one too many blog posts recapping otherworldly cycling adventures, I had to get in the game–starting with the Trek Crockett.

Of course, a great deal of decision making goes into building a new bike, especially when you need it to perform well across multiple disciplines and weather conditions. Still, questions such as, can I afford it? Is this the best bike for me? Do I have too many bikes already? And will my wife forgive me continue to haunt the pre-purchase mindset? This is what I went through when strategizing my approach towards building the 2018 Trek Crockett to my quiver of bikes.

Trek Crockett Build Strategy

Before deciding on the Trek Crockett frame, I did some homework to ensure I would be checking the right boxes. I knew this bike wouldn’t enter any competitive races, would require frequent tire swapping (gravel and road), and would need to be comfortable enough for long days in the saddle. Oh yeah, and most importantly, it couldn’t breaks the bank. (I say this every time–it always break the bank.)

Goals for the Trek Crockett

The objective of this build was to craft a unique adventure road bike. The requirements were road performance and adaptability for both gravel and cross. In essence, we wanted a comfortable and versatile adventure machine.

Trek Crockett

 I wanted to incorporate the new parts I owned from past builds. As a bike enthusiast, I acquire parts left and right. Every year, brands release their new designs making that year-old wheelset or crank something of the past. Because of this, it’s easy to assume that what you have isn’t as good as what’s available in shops. However true or false this may be, it was important that I at least try to ride what I had in my parts bin. Just maybe, it would end up being everything I needed.

Trek Crockett Cross Bike

Additionally, I have always been intrigued by the online parts availability from the likes of Chain Reaction Cycles, Merlin, and Jenson USA. With deals coming at me from every direction, I thought to myself, If we jump on the biggest discounts, can I still build a bike I’m proud of and enjoy riding? So, although remaining in control of the project cost was vital to the plan, I wanted to emphasize that a large percentage of last year’s “once new” gear remained available in the market, waiting to be consumed by an eager rider looking for some upgrades. As I suspected, If you’re willing to search for them, there are great deals to be discovered.

Building an Adventure Road Bike

After considering all of my riding needs and desire to build an adventure road bike, I landed on a 56cm Trek Crockett Disc frame (Trek black, to be specific). Why this the frame, you ask? Well, no matter how concerned with the price I was, my experiences have taught me never to cut costs on the frame.

Trek Crockett

Known for some of the most innovative designs across the industry, Trek’s 300 Series Alpha Aluminum is engineered and tested to be a true do-it-all bike–from racing to weekend touring. You may have noticed the comeback that aluminum has been making over the past two years, a movement influenced by Trek engineers and riders. As I mentioned, investing in a premium frame was a decision made from square one, which was affirmed when learning more about Trek’s modern approach to a material:

Aluminum frames and components have been commonplace throughout the cycling industry for much of its history, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t extraordinary opportunities for advancement and perfection. With Alpha Aluminum, Trek has applied the most sophisticated concepts of metallurgy and stretched them to the absolute maximum—building frames that are strong, light, and provide a ride quality that rivals that of many of their carbon counterparts.

As you can see, the Trek Crockett frame is the focal point of this adventure road bike. It’s one of the most comfortable road frames I have ridden in the past few years and looks incredibly clean from weld to dropout. Trek’s advanced Alpha Aluminum Invisible Weld Technology is another value driver for choosing the Crockett frame over other options. In building this bike for personal use, achieving the right aesthetics was key, I wanted to smile every time I laid eyes on it (a reminder that my money was well spent). Providing weight relief in the front-end, Trek seamlessly paired their IsoSpeed Cross full carbon disc fork with E2 steerer, flat mount disc brakes and 12mm thru-axle, crafting an uber-modern frame weighing in at 4.9lbs (size 56cm).

Trek Crockett

Other frame features to keep in mind for your build: E2 tapered head tube, BB86.5, flat mount disc brakes, Stranglehold dropouts, 12mm thru axle, Control Freak, internal control routing, and 3S chain keeper.

New Parts From Previous Projects

We all have our N+1 bikes. Some have more than others. Often, the parts I have on-hand are the inspiration for my next build. In this case, a set of Gevenalle shifters and derailleurs were my muse for the adventure road Crockett. Re-using what I have is an important habit to learn, especially when we live in a world with plenty. As the Trek Crockett frame rested on the stand, I took inventory of what I already had and what I would need to purchase. My previous builds and part purchases (the deals were too good to ignore) left me with the following items:

Trek Crockett

Gevenalle CX Shifters

Gevenalle BURD rear derailleur

Trek Crockett

(What does BURD mean? BURD = Blatantly Upgraded Rebranded Derailleur.

Shimano compatible derailleurs optimized for the mud and abuse of Cyclocross. Solid and proven mechanism with 25% higher chain tension to better hold chain in place for off road riding. Assembled with Phil Wood Grease and offered in three pulley options:

Good: Ultegra, Good quality benchmark performance.

Better: FSA Ceramic, Smoother running and a good step up.

Best: CX Pulleys, KOGEL Advanced CX Bearing Seals

(We went with the best on this one. It’s the small details that make your bike special.)

Gevenalle BURD front derailleur

A front cyclocross derailleur is built up from Microshift’s top of the line unit but instead of the aluminum and carbon road cage, they build with one that is perfectly suited for the muddy job at hand. It’s smaller to match the required chainrings and steel to make it super super stiff.  Shifting is sure and fast and noticeably quicker than a bigger more flexible road cage, and you will likely find yourself shifting between your two front rings more.

Are you curious to know more about Gevenalle? Check out our gravel bike project featuring their GX shifters, which are compatible with Shimano Dyna-Sys MTB rear derailleurs.

Trek Crockett

When asked, “why did you choose Gevenalle parts” by fellow riders or curious shop employees, I respond with these simple words: resilient; light; strong; fast–just like that. Every time I build a bike, I try to integrate their parts into the final result.

Gevenalle CX Shifters

Imagine picking up a new car and immediately installing the utility accessories needed for your lifestyle–this is what Gevenalle offers to cyclists. Affordable upgrades, the index shifting never lets me down and is super easy to install and service. Especially valuable for this Trek Crockett build, these parts increase comfort, ease of use, and reliability on the road or dirt. They are everything I needed without the excess. Although I’m not a brand ambassador, please let my enthusiasm represent my pleasant experience riding Gevenalle parts.

DT Swiss Spline M1700 wheels

 An XC mountain bike wheelset isn’t your traditional choice for an adventure road or gravel bike, but it gets the job done. Last year I upgraded to a Foundry Firetower hardtail and swapped these out for a wheelset with wide rims; being brand new, having polished silver hubs, and recognized for their sturdy build, I couldn’t resist the temptation. At about 1620g, they add unnecessary bulk in comparison to road wheels, but I now have the luxury to tackle gravel or dirt roads without concern. NOTE: This wheel choice resulted in a true weight-weenie move, as the M1700s saved me about 100 grams over their cross specific alternative.   Additionally, I can mount 40c or 42c tires on these and not experience any wheel-flex whatsoever. 

Trek Crockett

Salsa Cowbell 2 bars

The Salsa Cowbell 2 handlebars are another small detail on this bike that’s made a big difference. The 12 degree flare and 115mm drop make them so comfortable on all my rides and provide more than enough leverage when I leave the pavement. I felt fortunate to have these laying around, but there are some killer deals across the web since they are considered an older model by Salsa. At first feel, they flex a bit and feel too light for a gravel style bar, however when wrapped with some quality tape they perform beyond expectation– remember, comfort first! Salsa offers the Cowbell in 38-46 cm, so, naturally I went with the widest possible option on the Crockett. Grip it and rip it!

Where to Find Bike Parts Online

You have probably noticed that online retail makes shopping a bit too easy these days. Well, from way too many personal experiences, I can confirm this is true for the bike industry. Now, I’m not telling you to forgo your local bike shop in search of the BEST deal, but sites such as Jenson USA, Chain Reaction Cycles and Merlin make building a bike from the couch a realistic luxury. And for others who can relate, it’s a welcomed challenge to surf the web looking for the right part at the right price. With that said, here’s what I found for my Trek Crockett build:

Chain Reaction Cycles

Fizik Aliante R3 K:ium Saddle

Shimano 105 5800 11 Speed Compact Chainset

Shimano 105 5800 11 Speed Road Cassette

Brooks England Microfiber Bar Tape

Merlin Cycles Limited

TRP Spyre Disc Brake

TRP Spyre Disc Brake

NOTE: For frames with flat-mount brakes, you will need this:

flat mount brake adapter from TRP

Shimano SM-RT99 Ice-Tec Rotor

Bike Shield Full Pack Bike Protection Kit

Trek Crockett

Fizik Cyrano R1 Road Stem

And finally, from Velo Orange:

Grand Cru 0 Setback Seatpost, 27.2

Velo Orange Seatpost

Although this curation of parts and accessories may appear random, there was a method to the madness. Yes, each of these parts had been tested and reviewed by the online masses to be reliable, comfortable and provide above-average performance. Still, more importantly, their price point offered exceptional value to riders such as myself who want a quality bike with minor personal touches at a reasonable price.

Analyzing these parts, the frame to the brakes, the Trek Crockett remains true to what an adventure road bike should be: versatile and comfortable. The details should never be overlooked, and thanks to the depth of parts online retailers provide, riders can curate a killer bike from a wide variety of components.

When building a similar bike of your own, look to what you have before ordering something new; often, what you have laying around could be useful for your N+1 bike. With that point, try to curate parts that will make riding enjoyable and comfortable. Yes, speed and performance are always a good factor to consider, but they don’t always translate into the right build or best option for your riding. If you have established a budget, plan to locate the best possible frame, leaving just enough for your parts build– you won’t regret it. It’s easier to upgrade parts than a frame. As my adventure bike project displays, the Trek Crockett was a perfect match for my requirements and has surpassed all expectations.

Trek Crockett

Ready to get started on your own adventure road bike build started? We can help you get rolling!

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  1. says: Francis Chapman

    I was also thinking about building a bike on my own. However, I ended up buying a Morpheus Conspiracy Standard Build. I was hesitant to assemble a bike myself because I am not that familiar with the parts. In the future, I’d probably use this guide and consider your tips here. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. says: AJ

    Are those tire fit?
    25mm internal rim width paired with 700×38 tire on Trek Crockett?

    By the way that is a nice and fresh looking bike!

    1. Hi AJ,

      The tires fit with room to spare — 40s would work! Yes, remember, this isn’t a stock build; with more parts than frames, we wanted to craft a bike that would serve our needs as an all-road, gravel, and commuter option. We spoke with the DT Swiss before mounting these tires and were assured they would work just fine; however, they aren’t tubeless. Now, only if we had rack mounts…

      Thank you!

    1. Hi There,

      Thank you for the question. I was able to gather feedback from the Trek product team on this:

      “The Crockett is not 1x specific. You just need to as a band clamp front derailleur to the seat tube. Then of course, change out the rings.”

      From my experience, a parts bag is included with all of the correct cable routing pieces for your set-up.

  3. says: Boris

    I also look for this bike.
    I found one in 56, so the same size as the one you present us. I measure 1.77 meters and I’m afraid it’s too big. can you tell me how much you’re doing. Regards from France.

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