Tech Feature: Trekworld 2008, August 21, 2007
Trek Bicycle Corporation's annual in-house expo highlights its full line of bicycles, components, and accessories. This year's show also brought with it a new advocacy initiative, and Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney was on hand at Trekworld 2008 to hear how the company hopes to change the world.
With over 1000 Trek dealers present at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Conference Center in Madison, Wisconsin, Trek President John Burke launched an innovative new bicycle advocacy program at Trekworld 2008, the company's in-house bike show,that showcases new products from the Trek family of brands to media and customers from across the globe.
Among the introductions was the 'One World, Two Wheels' advocacy program, designed to impact three important worldwide trends that Trek feels can be positively impacted by the bicycle: increasing obesity, spreading urbanization and a degrading environment. "The bicycle is a simple solution to complicated problems like health issues, environmental and congestion issues", declared Burke in a well researched presentation chock full of facts. "Do you realize that 50% of car trips are less than two miles?", Burke stated, "and that kind of fact has inspired us to create this 'One World, Two Wheels' advocacy program."
'One World, Two Wheels' will be an integral part of Trek's marketing program going forward. Burke explained that "we have created a comprehensive advertising and marketing program for Trek dealers to support One World, Two Wheels, with the goal to encourage people to ride bikes." One key aspect of the program will create a US$10 "tax" on all full-suspension bicycles sold by Trek beginning August 1st, with the projected total to estimate US$600,000. That money will then be donated to IMBA (International Mountain Bike Foundation) to support its trail usage and advocacy programs. Trek will also tack on a US$1 tax on all Trek-branded helmets sold over the next three years for an estimated total of US$1M, all of which will be donated to Bicycle Friendly Communities.
Trek's advocacy coordinator, Rebecca Anderson, reinforced the importance of 'One World, Two Wheels', saying that "this program is not just about Trek, but we believe it's important to tackle issues like obesity, urbanization and the environment through bicycle advocacy, and that our 'One World, Two Wheels' program can make a difference." Longtime bicycle advocate Tim Blumenthal summed up the foundation behind Trek's new program when he eloquently stated "all you have to do to make ['One World, Two Wheels'] work is to believe in [bicycle advocacy]."
Matching bikes to go along with 'One World, Two Wheels'
Besides the ambitious advocacy program, Trekworld featured a variety of new and innovative products from Trek and its family of brands. After last year's launch of the Trek Lime, which features Shimano's Coasting system, one of the showstoppers at Trekworld was the Gary Fisher Simple City. Product Manager Chad Price and his team of 'Chads' (three in total) collaborated with Gary Fisher to create a cool new city shopper that blends the best of Euro city bikes and classic Schwinn townie that are so beloved in communities like Madison, WI and Davis, CA.
"We wanted to create a bicycle that was unique and featured the best of two worlds; useful for transportation and shopping, but lighter and faster than the conventional city bike ", Price said. "Simple City says it all; a simple city bike that has the best features, like the unique geometry we created so the ride is stable and comfortable under load and the adjustable front dropouts that support the optional 'two bagger' front rack".
Not quite so simple is Trek's new Madone, which was on display in all its various versions. The uncontested star of the line was Discovery Channel rider Alberto Contador's Tour de France-winning machine, earning Trek an unprecedented eighth win in nine years. Trek's Road Bike Product Manager Scott Daubert pointed out that, "Contador, Leipheimer and the other Discovery Channel riders used our 5.2 Madone Pro model, built in our Black Carbon version in the Tour."
OCLV Black Series is actually Trek's intermediate level carbon frame. The top-end OCLV Red Series frame wasn't ready in time for the team to use at this year's TdF but general consumers will be able to pick one up later this season on Trek's Madone 6.9 Pro model. Daubert proudly added, "Not only did we put two guys on the Tour podium with the Madone on its first Tour outing, but it wasn't even our top model!" Also sharing the OCLV Red Series fiber content and lay-up schedule is the new Equinox TTX 9.9 SSL time trial bike.
Trek also continues to espouse its versions of the 69er concept, which was developed in conjunction with Travis Brown. "The 69er started out as a model…I developed for singlespeed racing and Trek believed in the concept", Brown explained. "The 69er has a 29" front wheel for better rollover and cornering, while the 26" rear provides a tighter wheelbase for better maneuverability and quicker acceleration." Trek now offers three 69er models, including the new Top Fuel full suspension model with its R1 rocker-link rear suspension system and Fox F29 fork.
The Active Braking Pivot design that Trek introduced back in June on its revamped Fuel EX platform has already founds its way on to the new 6" travel Remedy. The new ZR9000 frame also bears similar styling to the new Fuel EX with heavily shaped and ribbed tubing, along with an oversized head tube for increased impact strength and improved steering precision.
New Bontrager wheels and brakes, InForm saddles
Bontrager expands its aerodynamic Aeolus wheel line with the advent of the new Aeolus 5.0 AC, a model designed to offer the same Steve Hed-designed wind-cheating benefits of the high-zoot Aeolus 5.0 but at a more moderate price point. The Aeolus 5.0 AC uses an aluminum rim section co-molded with a carbon fiber fairing that surrounds a structural foam core. Sixteen front and twenty rear paired and bladed spokes join the composite rims to forged hubs for a claimed total weight of 1660g.
Also new in the Bontrager wheel line are the Race X Lite and Race Lite, both of which share Bontrager's Paired Spoke Technology with a lower 16f/20r spoke lacing pattern. The Race X Lite has all-new forged hubs and white bladed spokes laced to attractive pewter anodized rims. According to Trek's John Balmer, the claimed weight is just 1525g per pair yet they comply with all of Bontrager's strenuous testing parameters for strength and reliability. The mid-level Race Lite model shares similar features but slighter heavier components boosts the total weight to 1660g for the set.
Stopping these wheels are Bontrager's new Speed Limit brakes. Made in a lightweight forged alloy, these new clampers weigh in at just 270g per pair and use a new 'PowerAmp' linkage, said to provide the stopping power of a dual pivot brakeset in a single pivot design.
Bontrager has also introduced a new approach to saddle fitting for 2008 dubbed InForm. Developed in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin's Department of Biomechanical Engineering, Trek eschewed the standard approach of collaborating with a urologist to develop saddles. After extensive saddle pressure testing, Bontrager product designers came up with the new InForm range which will include custom curvatures and widths to supposedly offer the best comfort and support for a rider's skeletal system instead of the usual soft tissue areas. A special pressure-sensitive saddle fitting bench shows the best saddle for each rider.