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Trek Ticket S – Review

Slope bikes are purpose built machines that have been designed with one specific goal: allow a rider to get through a set of massive jumps while spinning, flipping, and generally doing things that don’t look possible outside of an Xbox or Playstation. Trek’s 100mm travel Ticket S has been put together for exactly those sorts of moments, and C3 team riders Brandon Semenuk and Brett Rheeder have ridden the Ticket to a number of high profile podium finishes. The frame shown here is the limited edition R-Dog version that sports Ryan Howard’s preferred Americana colours, but you’ll likely have more luck getting your hands on the all-black version, which is probably okay with anyone outside of the United States.
Ticket S Details

• Intended use: dirt jump / slope
• Rear wheel travel: 100mm
• Wheel size: 26″
• Aluminum frame
• Active Braking Pivot suspension
• 12 x 142mm rear axle
• ISCG 05 chain guide tabs
• Single large size offered
• Colours: black, ‘R-Dog’ American
• MSRP: $1,539.99 USD (frame/shock only)

The Ticket S is available in a single large-sized frame, with a 22.1” top tube length and a stubby 13” seat tube. You’ll have to put your own build together as the $1,539.99 USD Ticket S is only available as a frame (with shock), which is what we did before handing it to Sam Dueck, a rider who’s stood on the podium at Whistler’s Crankworx slopestyle comp. He then tested the bike at his own hidden jump spot and provided the feedback for this review.
Frame Details

The production aluminum Ticket S frame is actually almost the very same as you’ll see under Semenuk, with only the carbon seat stay unit found on the Silent Assassin’s competition machine to set it apart. That means that the Ticket S you can buy from your shop is sporting the same geometry, and is surely within a handful of grams when it comes to weight. You’ll also be on a pretty short list of riders if you get yourself a Ticket S, as Trek says that the bike is actually a limited production item and that relatively few will ever be welded up. That makes sense because as interesting as bikes like this are, the market for a 100mm travel slope-specific bike is far smaller than even the demand for downhill rigs, which themselves only make up a very small piece of the pie compared to the bread and butter bikes in a company’s lineup. In other words, you’re a lucky duck if you have one of these limited production bikes sitting in your garage.

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The Ticket’s Suspension Explained

Trek has long employed their Active Braking Pivot design on everything from their cross-country race bikes to the long-travel Session models, and you’ll also find it here on the back of the 100mm travel Ticket S frame. The system allows the dropout pivot to rotate concentrically around the axle, which thereby limits the amount of rotation between the caliper and rotor. Trek says this helps to keep the suspension performing in a more consistent manner, regardless of if the rider is grabbing a handful of brakes. Just as with the other ABP equipped bikes, the Ticket accepts a standard 12 x 142mm thru-axle.

Trek attaches the top end of the shock to the bike’s stubby EVO link, but the opposite end isn’t mounted rigidly to the front triangle. Instead, they’ve bolted it to a short extension off the front of the chain stays, which in itself isn’t a new concept, but it is one that Trek has employed for a number of years across most of their full-suspension lineup. But why bother? Trek says that it allows the shock to ”better respond to bumps across a wide variety of terrain,” which means that the design gives them more opportunity to tune how the shock performs throughout its stroke by altering the leverage from both ends.

The Ticket’s rear suspension has been tailored for its purpose – to hit massive jumps and drops, which can sometimes lead to a missed landing. To that end, Trek has built in a more progressive ramp-up to the bike’s travel than you’d find on a 100mm bike intended for a different purpose. This is to keep the rider off the bottom of the shock’s stroke during hard landings, but also to provide more ‘pop’ off of the lips of jumps.

Sam immediately took the Ticket S to his local spot, a hidden Shangri-La in the woods with a few good sized hits and one seriously huge trick jump, and it didn’t take him long to get used to the different feel of the Trek compared to the hardtail he had been riding there. ”It’s just as easy to throw around in the air as a hardtail,” he said when questioned about comparing the two very different bikes that were built for the same purpose. “I’d still prefer a hardtail on really tight jumps, but the overall feel of the bike is good and the rear end is short. That makes it super easy to throw around in any direction.” Were there any moves that he felt were made more difficult by the 100mm of travel compared to the rigid rear end of his hardtail? ”Nope, and the bike tail whips like a dream,” he also pointed out.

The confidence inspiring feel is partly down to the large sized frame’s 22.1” top tube that Dueck said he felt was spot-on for how the bike is meant to be ridden, saying ”It’s long enough to allow me to be comfortable in the air, but not short to the point where I’d have to worry about the end of the handlebar hitting the seat when doing bar spins or tail whips.” Clearly those aren’t the concerns of the average rider, but this isn’t the bike for an average rider, either.

Source: pinkbike.com