Skip to main content

More big bike fun from Sea Otter

Image 1 of 30

Trek has rolled all of its tricks into one package

Trek has rolled all of its tricks into one package
Image 2 of 30

The all-new rear end

The all-new rear end
Image 3 of 30

Trek will feature Shimano's newly revamped Saint group

Trek will feature Shimano's newly revamped Saint group
Image 4 of 30

The new Saint rear derailleur

The new Saint rear derailleur
Image 5 of 30

The Saint brake lever

The Saint brake lever
Image 6 of 30

New four-piston calipers

New four-piston calipers
Image 7 of 30

The Session 88 FR proudly wears

The Session 88 FR proudly wears
Image 8 of 30

Trek has rolled all of its tricks into one package to yield the new Session 88 platform, shown here in downhill trim.

Trek has rolled all of its tricks into one package to yield the new Session 88 platform, shown here in downhill trim. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 9 of 30

The all-new rear end promises superb suspension action and excellent braking performance.

The all-new rear end promises superb suspension action and excellent braking performance. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 10 of 30

The new Session 88 includes Trek's newest Active Braking Pivot technology.

The new Session 88 includes Trek's newest Active Braking Pivot technology. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 11 of 30

Neither shock pivot is fixed, meaning that designers had more control over shock rates throughout the travel range.

Neither shock pivot is fixed, meaning that designers had more control over shock rates throughout the travel range. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 12 of 30

The Session 88 DH is compatible with integrated stems but Trek opted for a standard Bontrager unit here.

The Session 88 DH is compatible with integrated stems but Trek opted for a standard Bontrager unit here. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 13 of 30

Torque specs on the Session 88 DH's alloy pivot hardware are clearly marked.

Torque specs on the Session 88 DH's alloy pivot hardware are clearly marked. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 14 of 30

Trek will also introduce a freeride version, appropriately named the Session 88 FR.

Trek will also introduce a freeride version, appropriately named the Session 88 FR. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 15 of 30

Trek's ABP technology finds its way here, too, for better braking in rough conditions.

Trek's ABP technology finds its way here, too, for better braking in rough conditions. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 16 of 30

The one-piece EVO link should greatly improve rear end rigidity.

The one-piece EVO link should greatly improve rear end rigidity. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 17 of 30

The tapered and oversized E2 front end features the increasingly popular 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerer tube size.

The tapered and oversized E2 front end features the increasingly popular 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerer tube size. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 18 of 30

Trek will feature Shimano's newly revamped Saint group on the Session lineup.

Trek will feature Shimano's newly revamped Saint group on the Session lineup. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 19 of 30

The new Saint rear derailleur has been substantially beefed up and incorporates Shimano's Shadow-style housing routing.

The new Saint rear derailleur has been substantially beefed up and incorporates Shimano's Shadow-style housing routing. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 20 of 30

The Saint brake lever features adjustable reach and pad contact.

The Saint brake lever features adjustable reach and pad contact. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 21 of 30

New four-piston calipers use differential piston diameters for better modulation.

New four-piston calipers use differential piston diameters for better modulation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 22 of 30

The Session 88 FR proudly wears a new Saint crankset complete with an MRP bashguard and chain guide.

The Session 88 FR proudly wears a new Saint crankset complete with an MRP bashguard and chain guide. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 23 of 30

Shimano's new Saint group featured heavily on a number of bikes at Sea Otter.

Shimano's new Saint group featured heavily on a number of bikes at Sea Otter. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 24 of 30

Instant Release and 2-Way Release features should allow for faster shifting on the new Saint triggers.

Instant Release and 2-Way Release features should allow for faster shifting on the new Saint triggers. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 25 of 30

The Saint rear derailleur uses Shimano's Shadow routing configuration for fewer snags.

The Saint rear derailleur uses Shimano's Shadow routing configuration for fewer snags. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 26 of 30

The enormous rear parallelogram plate greatly enhances body stiffness and durability.

The enormous rear parallelogram plate greatly enhances body stiffness and durability. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 27 of 30

Shimano sticks with the two-piece caliper on the new Saint for a stiffer body.

Shimano sticks with the two-piece caliper on the new Saint for a stiffer body. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 28 of 30

Quad pistons utilize different piston diameters for better modulation.

Quad pistons utilize different piston diameters for better modulation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 29 of 30

A new aluminum spider on the Saint rotors shed weight without compromising any performance.

A new aluminum spider on the Saint rotors shed weight without compromising any performance. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 30 of 30

Shimano says the new Saint crankset is both lighter and even stiffer than the previous version.

Shimano says the new Saint crankset is both lighter and even stiffer than the previous version. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)

On show: Sea Otter Classic, May 1, 2008

Trek rolls all of its tech goodies into new Session platform

Trek is on a full-suspension roll lately with the successful launch of its new Fuel EX and Remedy platforms whose Full Floater, EVO Link and Active Braking Pivot technologies have done much to pull the company back into the off-road spotlight again. After proving their effectiveness on the trail bike stage, those same technologies now find their way into a wholly revamped Session 88 gravity platform that was formally introduced at this year's Sea Otter Classic (which now leaves only the short-travel Top Fuel racer still untouched...).

The new Session 88 will be available in two forms, the Session 88 DH and Session 88 FR, both of which were reportedly designed with three goals in mind: incorporating those new technologies, reducing weight and improving the old Session geometry. According to Trek, the advent of those new features on the Fuel EX and Remedy actually prompted the complete scrapping of an alternative Session design that was already approved for production two years ago.

"We really had something with the original Session 8," said Trek senior R&D suspension engineer Dylan Howes in a company press release. "The geometry was dialled, we were spellbound with the handling, and the weight was acceptable. But we knew from the Fuel EX and Remedy development that new technology would surpass what we were developing. So we stopped production and went back to a clean sheet of paper."

The new models also feature heavily hydroformed tubing, refreshingly aggressive appearances and a tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" E2 front end. The latter likely won't matter too much to riders that typically use dual-crown forks anyway, but single-crown riders should benefit from the added front end rigidity. For now, the sole rear shock offering is a custom-tuned DHX 5.0 coil-over unit from Fox Racing Shox although that unit's proven performance should satisfy most comers.

At the very least, the new Session 88 models are certainly striking in person and the included technologies give us high hopes for how these will actually ride once we're able to throw a leg over one. Production is currently slated for June with availability beginning shortly thereafter. Pricing is still to be determined.

Shimano debuts new Saint group

Shimano had its own baby to show off in the form of a wholly revamped Saint group that seeks to address the needs of a broader range of downhill and "All Mountain Extreme" users than the previous version.

Key changes include new two-piece, four-piston brake callipers that reportedly increase stopping power by over 50% for a given rotor size. Differential piston sizes and new Servo Wave-equipped brake levers also promise better control of that additional power while also offering increased pad clearances. Pad contact point will be adjustable as was introduced on the new Deore XT group. Oil flow through the system suggests easier bleeding and increased oil volume promises increased resistance to fade, too.

The new rotors now bear a similar look and design to the current XTR generation with big aluminium spiders that should both drop weight and improve rigidity. Attachment of those rotors to the similarly new hubs will be via Shimano's standard non-oversized Center Lock interface rather than the oversized one used previously. Faster engaging freehub internals are fitted throughout, bearing spacing has widened and the hubs drop significant amounts of weight (100g for the rear hub alone). As before, a variety of axle diameter and length options will be on hand.

The rear derailleur is arguably the most heavily changed bit of the group as it sheds the old axle-mounted design for a traditional hanger-mounted setup. A super wide inner link delivers improved body stiffness and durability and also incorporates a 'skid plate' design to help deflect trail debris. Most interesting, though, is the adjustable geometry that supposedly provides better cog tracking on a wider range of cassette ratios. Spring tensions have increased across the board and weights have even dropped about 100g as compared to the previous unit.

The matching front derailleur is now dual chainring-specific and the new cage profile reportedly allows for wider tires, steeper seat tube angles and less chain drag.

As expected, the new shifters incorporate many of the internal (and external) wizardry of other recently launched Shimano groups. Instant Release and 2-Way Release-equipped internals couple with the shorter release trigger for quicker shifts while the new multi-position mounts will offer greater positioning flexibility.

The revamped crankset also sheds significant amounts of weight with the two-ring-plus-bashguard and single ring versions losing around 100g or more, depending on configuration. Even so, stiffness has reportedly gone up (making it twice as rigid as Deore XT, according to Shimano), pedal stance width has come down and steel inserts offer extra security. Single chainring options will include 34/36/38/40/42T while doubles will include a 36x22T combination.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1