Trek, like many bicycle companies, chooses to not show their entire line-up at the annual industry trade show, opting instead for their own private dealer showing. Therefore, TrekWorld was my first chance to see all of Trek under one roof. Add a factory tour, plus a day of mountain biking on Trek’s private testing grounds, known as The Farm, and it all added up to one overwhelming trip. What follows are some of the highlights from my whirlwind adventure.
Trek President John Burke used part of his keynote address to challenge the massive crowd of dealers to support People for Bikes’ drive to collect one million signatures from cyclists who support a better future for bicycling. People for Bikes aims to use the signatures to show our legislators the massive grassroots support that exists for cycling, and to lobby for cycling-related infrastructure in the next round of Federal transportation legislation. You can click here to sign the online pledge of support. It only takes seconds.
On the product side, I had a chance to ride the 2011 Trek Remedy 9.9 that Justin rode at the 2011 MTB launch in France and previously blogged about here.
The bike is a fine example of the growing trend of lightweight, 150mm travel rigs that pedals well and feels at home on singletrack. My ride confirmed my thought that the Remedy should be on Dirt Rag’s short list of test bikes for 2011. Look for a print review down the road.
Seeing all of Trek’s women’s specific bikes displayed in one section of the exhibit hall made me realize just how serious the folks at Trek treat this product category. From pavement to mountain, casual to competitive, Trek offers women plenty of choices. Noteworthy is the fact that the 2011 Gary Fisher Collection includes a WSD X-Cal 29er down to a teeny 14.5" frame size.
Speaking of the Gary Fisher Collection, Fisher’s "Dual Sport" is an interesting category that blends road and mountain bike attributes into one product. At first glance the Dual Sport may look like a 29er hardtail, but a closer inspection reveals minimalilst knobby tires that are designed to roll fast on pavement, yet provide grip on gravel roads or dirt trails. The rider position is road-friendly, more upright than on a mountain bike. The entry-level Bodega (below) retails for around $450.
Serious DH’er only need apply. The Trek Session 88 features ABP rear pivot, Full-floater shock mount, alloy EVO link, E2, ISCG03 mounts, 203mm travel. Fork: Fox 40 FIT RC2 w/ Ti coil spring, 20mm through axle, 203mm travel. Rear shock: Fox DHX RC4 custom DH ace tune. Shimano Saint crankset.
All of Trek’s soft goods now carry the Bontrager brand label: apparel, helmets, shoes, gloves and the like. The same goes for accessories and components such as tires, fenders, racks, lights and so on. The $140 Bontrager Lithos MTB caught my eye, and I plan to get one into the mix for Dirt Rag review.
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when I’m blogging. Check the gallery at the bottom of this post for more goods from the TrekWorld 2011 show floor.
Meanwhile, back at the factory, the folks responsible for designing and producing all the swell new product were hard at work. It’s interesting to note that the Trek factory is run entirely on renewable electric power, with wind power replacing the 10.5 million pounds of coal they used to burn each year.
One of the more interesting stops in the factory tour was the design center. The 20,000 sq. ft. "studio" is the home of designers working in environmental, retail, and industrial design alongside interactive, packaging, product graphic, and visual design teams. The space includes a photo studio, retail merchandising areas, and a fabrication shop. Brightly colored paint samples, graphics of the latest bike decals and artsy "concept bikes adorn the loft-like space.
While aluminum bikes are no longer made in the factory, Trek still produces their high-end OCLV carbon fiber frames in Waterloo. I love the "behind the scenes" stuff, so here’s a picture of raw carbon fiber sub-assembly pieces waiting to be bonded together with a special epoxy. After bonding, the assembly gets heated in a curing oven, and a one-piece frame comes out.
Tucked in an out-of-the-way corner of the factory resides the Trek Racing group, which is responsible for preparing all of the bikes ridden by factory-sponsored riders. The racing group folks crank out 660 bikes per year in support of Trek’s competitive efforts around the globe. Many with custom tweaks and custom graphics. Sweet stuff.
The Good Fight
Trek is involved in numerous advocacy and charitable causes. In closing, I’d like to mention that $10 from the sale of every Trek full-suspension mountain bike goes to support IMBA. It’s nice to see bike companies plunk down hard earned cash to help assure that we all have trails to ride.