Review: 2012 Trek Lush Women’s Full Suspension Mountain Bike

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2012 Trek Lush Carbon

Since posting the first photos back in July the 2012 Trek Lush has been a buzz around Bike Shop Girl. The Twitter stream gets many comments, Facebook gets many questions and my email has its own little folder of women waiting to hear more on first test rides and availability. As I mentioned a few weeks back I was fortunate enough to be loaned a 2012 Trek Lush Carbon for review and demo purposes from the East Coast Women’s Trek Demo rep.

Initial Impressions of the Trek Lush

It took a full ride to get used to riding a 26″ full suspension bike again. Lucky for me the Trek Lush is very forgiving and climbs well even when wrenching out of the seat like a single speed freak.

Trek Lush Shock

The bike is responsive, with the DRCV rear shock and full floater design on the backend the bike rides very well uphill. The 26″ wheels allows you to whip around the turns and cut short angles as needed. Going down hill is the most fun you can have on a non-all mountain bike. The 120mm of travel (just shy of 5″) is more than enough for cross country riders, while the DRCV rear shock and sturdy fron Fox Shox is confident inspiring to push you a bit harder and faster.

Comparing the Trek Lush to EX Series

I’ve been riding an 2009 Trek EX-8 since it came out. It has treated me well and after riding the Lush it inspired me to pull it out of the attic where it has been sitting, hibernating, since the spring. Riding the two I need to say the suspension works pretty much the same for me. The biggest difference is my EX-8 doesn’t have the DRCV rear shock, and I would love to have the 15-mm thru axle on the front fork as it really stiffens up the front end in the corners.

Trek Lush Fork

The other thing you will notice is the geometry and of course weight. The Lush fits women better, has a better stand over and everything I have read on test rides, the Lush reacts better to lighter weight women with the suspension setup. I’m 160lbs, so I don’t need to worry about the lighter weight suspension setup!

Overall Impression

Since the Trek Lush Carbon was a loaned bike from a traveling rep I didn’t have the bike as long as I normally do. I didn’t make as many long 5 hour rides in the mountains as planned due to weather but I did ride the bike a good amount.

The Trek Lush, is a great riding women’s designed full-suspension mountain bike. It is straddling the line of cross country machine and light all mountain. I believe having a completely redesigned bike like this will push the targeted market. Hopefully get more women to try new things and go confident as this bike does inspire confidence.

The handling of the bike tracks very well, allows you to make some errors that other bikes would make you regret. That has always been the way of the Trek “full-floater” suspension design.
Trek Lush
 The Trek Lush in the carbon model will be a stretch for some women. I am sure Trek didn’t stock as many of this model, but I do believe there is opportunity to sell a sub $5k mountain bike and the person interested in it will want the spec that Trek put on the bike. A good drive train, carbon bars, light components and stout yet reasonably weight wheels.

It was a very, very, fun bike to ride. Personally I don’t think I would go for the carbon mostly for the cost. If you are a woman in the mountain bike market, the Trek Lush series starts at $2,199 which is rather reasonable for the bike build. If you can find a local demo and take one for a spin.

Things I Would Change

There were two main points on the bike that I highly disliked.

Trek Lush Grips
The grips
– some folks like those foam basic grips. I am not one of them. The whole time I was missing my Ergon‘s!

Trek Lush Cranks
The crank – I wanted a compact double on this bike. It would make the shifting and chain slap a ton better, plus I don’t see myself climbing on a 120mm bike in the granny gear or jamming in the big chainring/small cog very often.

Disclaimer: Trek Bikes provided this bike free for review, I wasn’t paid or bribed. 


16 Comments on “Review: 2012 Trek Lush Women’s Full Suspension Mountain Bike”

  1. Thanks for a straightforward and helpful review! I’m excited to seek out one of these Lushes at a Trek Demo day this year. Also glad to know that the lighter suspension setup will handle those of us at 150 lbs, and not just the 120 lb-ers out there.

  2. I’m looking for my first step-up mtn. bike and I’m not completely sure what you were talking about the issues with the crank. Could someone elaborate? Also, I’m trying to find other bikes in this price range. I’ve been researching the Giant Cypher/Trance and the Specialized Sapphire. Do you have any opinions on performance of these compared to one another and the Lush?

  3. Steph,

    The crank issues are that there are 3 chain rings in the front, where as many new high end bikes use 2 upfront. It results in less gears (20 vs 30), but then you don’t have as many overlapping gears. 2×10 is definitely nicer so I see the disappointment in the crankset.

    My wife managed to ride this bike at a Trek Travel demo and she loved it so much that we bought it. Her comfort and ability were greatly helped out by the Lush. It did come in a bit heavier than we thought (carbon 15.5″ – 26.5lbs), but we don’t regret buying it, as it is the perfect women’s bike.

  4. I actually rode the Lush SL at a demo and couldn’t believe how well it fit me. I was fortunate to get a good solid run since the shop was less than a quarter mile from a great downhill trail. Honestly, I thought the shop was crazy to hand me this bike and let me ride it the way I did – but it did sell me! After riding my Sugar 1 for the last year I realized it was a bit a large. I never would’ve known this had I not ridden the Lush. The only reason I did not fork out the cash after the demo ride was because the color of the bike and it was a little heavy. Looking forward to riding and probably purchasing the carbon in the next month or so. If the carbon is anywhere close to the fit of the SL (and I’m sure it is) I’ll walk away a winner!

  5. Melinda!

    That’s awesome news. Finding a bike that fits you is like finding a pair of your favorite jeans you forgot about!

  6. Hi Bike Shop Girl.

    This looks like a superb WSB, but are there any others in this price range or higher that come in lighter?

    I am looking for a full suspension with a carbon frame, for the reduced weight, ideally under 10kg if possible.

    Also, realistically, how much difference is there to riding a WSB to a smaller unisex (male) bike? I am only 5′.0″ and am finding it difficult to find a bike, even in a small, that is supposed to fit someone of my height. As some of these are under 10kg I fell that a lighter bike might suit me better than one that is going to ‘fit’ perfectly, especially as there are more of these bike around.

    Thanks you in advance for any comments/suggestions.

  7. HI! I Rode a Lush Carbon at a Trek Demo the other day and was beyond amazed!! I just loved it. I am very new to the sport and this will be my first “high end” Mountain bike. The SL model is more the price range I wanted to spend. But, I’m worried that since I fell in love with the Carbon I will be disappointed with the SL. The price difference is $1500. Should I spend the extra money for the carbon?? Help!

  8. Where the heck do you mount a water bottle cage on the TREK Lush SL? Just got $500 off for end of season! Yea, but can’t fit a cage on the tube–too tight

  9. I rode the Lush and the Cali, and loved them both. Do you know if you can tell a huge difference between having rear suspension and no rear suspension? I’m fairly new to mountain biking. I also heard the Cali is more efficient when peddling. Is that true? Does the rear suspension slow you down at all if your on flat trails?

  10. Betty, HUGE difference. It depends where you ride and to what level/time/terrain you want to push yourself.

    Starting with a hardtail is a great way to get started to learn better handling.

  11. Awesome review! Seriously. You provide incredible knowledge and detail. I’ve heard great thinks about the Trek Lush and would love to get on one soon. Thanks so much for sharing with girls that are hungry for more bike knowledge.

  12. I have the 2012 Lush SL (non-carbon) and love it!

    I agree with most of the review, and the only things I’d add are:
    -I needed to drop the stem down at least one spacer in order to be not super-upright
    -although the low standover looks a little goofy, it is fantastic on the trail– definitely saved my crotch many times!
    -I love the 3 chainrings– definitely need the little ring riding in the mountains!
    -agree with the author about the grips– they look grungy immediately, and aren’t durable. (I broke mine on my first ride!)
    -the geometry/head angle is great. It’s slack enough to be forgiving when descending, but not slow slack it feels floppy

  13. Hey bikeshopgirl,

    I met a girl with this handle in NC a few years ago while I was still in Charlotte…could that be you??

    My girlfriend loves her Lush; we just rode Downieville and she was flying!!!

    1. David – I lived in Charlotte for about 9 years until last summer, so chances are yes!!

      Where are you now?

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