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Interbike 2010: Trek's racier Top Fuel and workhorse Transport+

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The Trek World Racing team is now on the company's latest Top Fuel model, which loses about 100g from last year's version and yet gets a slight boost in stiffness, too. Team bikes are 200g lighter still with special lay-ups that put a higher premium on performance and less on long-term durability.

The Trek World Racing team is now on the company's latest Top Fuel model, which loses about 100g from last year's version and yet gets a slight boost in stiffness, too. Team bikes are 200g lighter still with special lay-ups that put a higher premium on performance and less on long-term durability.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Without the bags, bigger parcels rest on the lower shelf and can be strapped down for security.

Without the bags, bigger parcels rest on the lower shelf and can be strapped down for security.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear brake line doesn't just run through the frame on the new Top Fuel - it's securely clamped at both ends to keep it in place and prevent unnecessary rubbing.

The rear brake line doesn't just run through the frame on the new Top Fuel - it's securely clamped at both ends to keep it in place and prevent unnecessary rubbing.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The front derailleur cable exits directly at the rear of the seat tube.

The front derailleur cable exits directly at the rear of the seat tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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As before, the rear shock uses dynamic mounts at either end that allow for finer control of the spring rate throughout the stroke.

As before, the rear shock uses dynamic mounts at either end that allow for finer control of the spring rate throughout the stroke.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The custom tuned rear shock is designed to be more efficient than trail or all-mountain machines.

The custom tuned rear shock is designed to be more efficient than trail or all-mountain machines.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The battery is tucked neatly below the enormous rear rack.

The battery is tucked neatly below the enormous rear rack.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Trek Ride+ brand manager Travis Ott says the Transport+'s BionX electric pedal-assist rear hub is tuned to run a little more smoothly than usual.

Trek Ride+ brand manager Travis Ott says the Transport+'s BionX electric pedal-assist rear hub is tuned to run a little more smoothly than usual.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The computer shows the remaining battery charge and the level of boost - 25, 50, 100, or 200 percent of the input torque up to 350W.

The computer shows the remaining battery charge and the level of boost - 25, 50, 100, or 200 percent of the input torque up to 350W.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The front rack boasts a big top surface, too, making it legitimately useful for hauling stuff.

The front rack boasts a big top surface, too, making it legitimately useful for hauling stuff.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Trek's Transport+ is one of the most logical applications we've seen yet for an electric-assist bicycle.

Trek's Transport+ is one of the most logical applications we've seen yet for an electric-assist bicycle.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear panniers are designed to haul two full-size paper grocery bags each.

The rear panniers are designed to haul two full-size paper grocery bags each.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Trek officials wouldn't tell us much about the prototype rear hub on Emily Batty's bike.

Trek officials wouldn't tell us much about the prototype rear hub on Emily Batty's bike.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The latest Top Fuel gets carbon fiber chain stays for 2011.

The latest Top Fuel gets carbon fiber chain stays for 2011.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Stock Trek Top Fuel 9.9SSL models will come with Bontrager's latest carbon-railed Evoke 4 saddle.

Stock Trek Top Fuel 9.9SSL models will come with Bontrager's latest carbon-railed Evoke 4 saddle.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The removable plate on the underside of the bottom bracket makes it easier to fish the lines through the exit ports. An additional clamp secures the rear brake hose to keep it from migrating inside the down tube.

The removable plate on the underside of the bottom bracket makes it easier to fish the lines through the exit ports. An additional clamp secures the rear brake hose to keep it from migrating inside the down tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Removable bolt-on aluminum stops at all of the exit points allow for a bigger target when feeding the lines through the frame - similar to what Trek also does on the road-going Madone.

Removable bolt-on aluminum stops at all of the exit points allow for a bigger target when feeding the lines through the frame - similar to what Trek also does on the road-going Madone.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Continuous housing runs from the underside of the bottom bracket to the rear derailleur to help seal the line from contamination.

Continuous housing runs from the underside of the bottom bracket to the rear derailleur to help seal the line from contamination.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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We weren't able to get a definitive answer on what these mounting holes were for on the underside of the down tube but a bolt-on fender seems likely for muddy races.

We weren't able to get a definitive answer on what these mounting holes were for on the underside of the down tube but a bolt-on fender seems likely for muddy races.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Trek continues to use the remarkably effective ABP Race concentric dropout pivots for the latest Top Fuel.

Trek continues to use the remarkably effective ABP Race concentric dropout pivots for the latest Top Fuel.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The Top Fuel of Trek World Racing cross-country star Emily Batty sported this prototype straight-pull front hub.

The Top Fuel of Trek World Racing cross-country star Emily Batty sported this prototype straight-pull front hub.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Emily Batty (Trek World Racing) is using a prototype Bontrager one-piece carbon fiber bar and stem - no word yet on when or if it might become available to consumers.

Emily Batty (Trek World Racing) is using a prototype Bontrager one-piece carbon fiber bar and stem - no word yet on when or if it might become available to consumers.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new E2 tapered head tube on the 2011 Trek Top Fuel also includes ports for the internally routed derailleur, rear brake, and shock lockout control lines.

The new E2 tapered head tube on the 2011 Trek Top Fuel also includes ports for the internally routed derailleur, rear brake, and shock lockout control lines.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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When unneeded, the lower shelves of the rear rack fold up neatly against the frame.

When unneeded, the lower shelves of the rear rack fold up neatly against the frame.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Trek's latest Top Fuel cross-country full-suspension flagship wears a similar profile from the previous version but little else with improvements made in terms of weight, stiffness, durability, and even cable routing for 2011.

Last year's aluminum chain stays get replaced with a one-piece OCLV carbon fibre unit that alone is said to shave 100g from last year, making the claimed frame-plus-shock weight now just 1.85kg (4.08lb).

Despite the lighter weight, a newly tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube plus the correspondingly bigger down tube boosts the front triangle torsional stiffness for more precise handling, too, while a shift from Trek's weight-focused OCLV Red carbon fibre blend to the more durable OCLV Mountain borrowed from the company's Fuel EX and Remedy models also supposedly improves impact resistance by 25 percent.

Trek has even moved to internal cable routing on its 2011 Top Fuel, though it's not only for cleaner aesthetics. According to Trek mountain bike brand manager Michael Browne, the new Internal Control Routing system protects the front and rear derailleur and rear shock lockout cables from contamination while the carefully placed entry and exit points substantially cut down on extraneous sounds while riding.

Mechanics will note that none of the cable paths are fully guided and running the rear brake line will require detaching the hose from either the lever or caliper and a subsequent system bleed.

But on the bright side, the exit points feature removable aluminum stops so there's at least a bigger target to shoot for and cleverly concealed internal clamps firmly affix the brake line in place at either end so that it can't migrate along the frame. And despite the more involved setup procedure, the sealed nature of the system should hopefully make for less frequent cable replacements, anyway.

Otherwise, last year's main features carry over, including the Full Floater dynamic shock mounts for a more carefully controlled feel throughout the 100mm travel range, a lightweight one-piece magnesium EVO upper link for good rear triangle rigidity, Active Braking Pivot dropouts for improved traction when the rear brakes are applied, direct press-fit bottom bracket bearings, and a semi-integrated seatmast frame layout.

The new carbon frame will come in three models for 2011 plus one women's-specific version with prices ranging from US$4,199.99 to US$7,659.99.

Way off at the opposite end of the usage spectrum was another Trek model that caught our eye. The Transport+ - part of the Gary Fisher Collection - is a dedicated longtail cargo bike intended to be a legitimate replacement for an automobile for shorter journeys.

Features include an extra-long wheelbase and giant built-in rear rack system similar to Xtracycle's setup complete with flip-up lower shelves, an enormous top shelf, and massive water-resistant panniers that are sized to hold two full-sized paper grocery bags each (the bike will only come with one - you'll unfortunately have to purchase the other one).

Naturally, the somewhat basic TIG-welded aluminum frame saves some weight over an equivalent steel-tubed chassis but still, at about 18kg (40lb) or so, many people won't want to pedal the thing very far.

Ah, but that's where the '+' bit comes into the equation.

Trek also offers the Transport with a BionX electric pedal assist rear hub system that can boost your pedaling input by up to 350W. While the enormous rear hub, enclosed motor, and chunky battery pack add even more weight to the equation, the added power more than makes up for it and will likely be more than welcome if the rear racks are loaded to their full 102kg (225lb) load capacity.

The included componentry is pretty basic with just two chainrings up front and eight cogs out back, a cable-actuated front brake and a rear linear-pull brake but most riders in this category likely won't mind much - though if fully loaded, the single front disc probably won't offer much stopping power so best plan ahead.

The Transport+ isn't remotely cheap at US$2,679.99 but in terms of operating cost and the amount of wear and tear saved by not using your car for most trips, it may just pay off in the long run.