The biggest talking point, and perhaps the most significant design change to the Trek Session since the 2008 Session 88 model was introduced, is the shifting of the main suspension pivot upwards to produce a high pivot variant of their ABP-equipped, linkage driven single pivot suspension platform. We covered this in detail in our Dissected feature of the bike, so we’ll keep it brief here. The high pivot design produces a wheel axle path that is more rearward than the previous generation without being too extreme to cause some hang up that we’ve felt on other high-pivot enduro bikes lately. This mild wheel path and pivot location leads to improved square-edge bump performance as well as greater stability when deep in the travel. Both good things when you’re looking to go as fast as possible down rough terrain. While it is high enough to necessitate an idler, it’s close enough that we’d be comfortable saying it’s almost a mid-pivot bike, which isn’t a bad thing since the drawbacks of a super high rear pivot aren’t felt but you still get many of the advantages.
The 2022 Session sees a departure from the last iterations by only offering an Alpha Platinum aluminum frame – there’s no carbon fiber option here. This decision was made following the feedback from their World Cup Downhill riders, who had tested an aluminum prototype and suggested the feel of the frame was superior to the carbon frames they had used previously.
The frame retains the Mino link geometry adjustment in the seatstay from previous frames, but it serves a dual-purpose to also allow for adjustment from dual 29” wheels, through to a mixed 29/27.5 setup and even dual 27.5” wheels with an external headset cup fitted. This allows the Session to be set up as a wagon wheeled race machine, or with the smaller wheels for those looking for some extra agility and maneuverability in the bike park. Further adjustment is offered with the Mino Link on the lower shock mount, which lets the progression of the suspension to be switched between 20% and 25% and provide a plusher or more efficient suspension feel, with both offering adequate progression to use a coil or high-volume air shock.
Trek has all the details well covered by this point, with options provided for internal or cleanly executed external cable routing; a generous bolt-on downtube guard for protection from ride and shuttle damage; two ISCG05 mounts to attach a lower guide and bash guard, and some generous chainstay protection to keep noise to a minimum. The rear axle is the downhill 157x12mm standard, with a ZS49/56 headset and 83mm BSA threaded BB. A 13t idler pulley is fitted with a serviceable sealed cartridge bearing, to keep it spinning smoothly for longer.
Another new feature on this year’s Trek Session is the adoption of a reach-based sizing system, with conventional Small, Medium and Large being replaced with R1, R2 and R3. This is a result of the low and consistent 425mm seat tube length allowing riders to focus solely on the length of the fit when choosing their bike size. This will offer most riders the choice between two sizes, so they can tailor their preference of out-and-out stability with the longer size or increased agility on the smaller size. Trek has opted to go the route of size-specific chainstays, which helps to keep weight balance more consistent throughout the size range. Shared across the size range in the Low Mino link setting with dual 29” wheels are the 63-degree head angle, 21mm bb drop, 639mm stack and aforementioned 425mm seat tube. At 5’11 – 6’1” we opted to go with the R2 size since we prefer a more maneuverable bike for tighter, technical terrain. The R2 tested had a 465mm reach paired with a 445mm chainstay, producing a lengthy overall wheelbase of 1,277mm. Flipping the Mino link into the High setting steepens the head angle by 0.6 degrees, with a 9mm bb height increase and 7mm increase in reach.
Trek offers the Session in a choice of two complete builds or as a $2,999/£2750 frame only. The Session 8 retails for $4,999/£4500 and is spec’d with a solid SRAM GX level kit featuring their 7spd GX DH drivetrain, Code R brakes with 200/180mm Centerline rotors, RockShox Boxxer Select fork, Fox Van Performance coil shock, Bontrager Line DH 30 wheelset with Rapid drive 108 hub and Bontrager alloy finishing kit.
Opting for the higher spec Session 9 (tested) will run you $6,999/£6300. For that money, you get an upgrade to the Charger 2.1 RC2 equipped RockShox Boxxer Ultimate paired to an air sprung Super Deluxe Ultimate DH with RC damper. The gearing is provided by SRAM’s X01 DH 7spd setup with an X01 DH carbon crank, and braking is controlled by their Code RSC’s. You get the same Bontrager Line 30 DH wheelset with Rapid drive 108 hub, but get upgraded to a Line Pro carbon bar to input your control to their Line Pro stem. This adds up to a total weight of 36.6lbs for our size R2.