As a cyclist, the search for newer and better gear is constant — there's always something else out there. Premes, Picks, Promos will highlight both the next big thing and the sleeper deal.
Despite having plenty of good ride time left on the road and dirt, the bike-world calendar has switched to 2011. As a Trek guy, I had the chance to head to Madison, Wisc., for a few days to see what the company has in store for next year.
In short: It has a lot in store for next year, from bikes to shoes to clothing to accessories. If you've been bummed on Trek/Bontrager products in the past, this could be the year to give them another look. There's a lot of cool stuff on the way.
The most trumpeted of the new stuff is the Speed Concept. It's no secret by now, since Radio Shack rode it in the Tour de France, but there aren't a lot of them out there yet. According to Trek's white paper (link available on this page), The 9 Series Speed Concept is the fastest bike on the market. Here's the bike in full triathlon getup:
On demo day, we had a chance to get out on the road on this build — SRAM Red with R2C shifters and Aeolus 6.5 carbon clinchers. Two things jumped out instantly: handling and, well, speed. The Speed Concept handles like a dream — far less squirrely than other TT/tri bikes I've been on. Also, it's just plain fast. It's built for speed and comfort, and it's easy to climb on, drill it and climb off without feeling like the bike worked you over.
The 7 Series speed concept shares the same rear end as the 9 Series, but loses the integrated brake in the headtube in favor of a more traditional setup. It's an overseas carbon frame and doesn't quite have the bling of the 9 Series, but it's going to sell like crazy — it's the second-fastest TT bike on the market, according to that white paper.
Finally, the 2 Series Speed Concept shares many of the wind-cheating attributes of its two older siblings, but comes in aluminum. When they become available, a full bike can be had for less than $2,000. Trek didn't have wind-tunnel data on the 2 Series, but expects to make another trip for testing in the fall. Tyler Pilger, Trek's road product manager, said the company expects the 2 Series bike to clock as the third-fastest TT bike on the market. Stay tuned.
The New Madone
The flagship Madone also got plenty of love, most notably for its new SSL variant, which was announced ahead of the Tour as well. The SSL takes a little bit of weight off the already-light 6 Series frame and adds further stiffness. It's not so much revolutionary as evolutionary.
On the road, I could definitely feel a difference in stiffness. The guys who spent 2010 on a Cronus — the stiffest of Trek's carbon bikes — say the new SSL is more like a Cronus in terms of stiffness, but retains the trademark smooth ride. Dont' worry, though — if you have a 2010 6 Series, you have a perfectly awesome bike.
Oh, and the steerer tube on all 6 Series models has been changed, allowing more options in terms of stems. (Note: That wasn't an official announcement by me. You still need to follow Trek's guidelines for stem installation.)
The 5 Series bikes now have the same shape as the 6 Series, eliminating the oval seat cap design. They're made overseas now, but they use the same molds as the 6s. They're lighter and stiffer, but still have the signature smoothness of the 5 Series of the past. Best of all, prices have come down considerably. Downside: Project One is no longer an option for the 5s.
Trek has made an effort recently to up its game in shoes and clothing, and last year's Bontrager line was a decent first step. Most of the complaints dealers had were addressed for 2011, and the line now has a decent shot to do what Trek wants it to do. The two shoes below represent that shift.
The limited-edition XXX-Lite shoe: No buckle, one-piece upper, ultralight.
The standard XXX-Lite shoe, buckle included. If you liked the Nike Poggio, you'll find these two to be similar. The one-piece upper conforms around your foot and holds it snugly. The heel cup is a reimagining that ends in, literally, a ventilated cup — you can see right through it. But there's a rigid band that encircles the shoe and holds everything in place. It looks a little out there, but it works. The standard XXX-lite also has a buckle that's adjustable on both sides.
The RXL shoe also got a bit of a do-over. There are now two different fits — standard volume and low volume. Those who complained about having too much strap and too much upper material now have a second, tighter fit. On all of the models, the straps have been slightly lengthened, and on models $120 and up, a new micro-adjust buckle replaces the old one.
Fisher Collection CX
Trek rolled the Gary Fisher line into it's Trek-branded line earlier this year, ostensibly to allow Trek-only dealers to get their hands on Fisher's best products. (Some Trek dealers didn't carry Fisher.) Among those products getting the most buzz is the Cronus CX — a cyclocross take on the Cronus road bike.
The Cronus CX got a lot of love here, so I won't go too crazy on it. It's notable, though, that the tube shaping looks a lot like the 6 Series Madone — internal cabling, very similar bottom-bracket shaping. Whether that means anything for the future, I don't know, but it's interesting, at least.
We had a couple of requests for pictures of the Presidio. Well, because of the placement of that bike — and because I had only my camera phone — this shot below is as good as it gets. It's a nice-looking bike, though. Very low-key and stealthy. No idea on weight or anything, since all of the bikes were bolted down.
Finally, below is the Superfly SS build, mostly because my assistant manager, Chris, demanded it. It's mostly unchanged from last year, but the guy kept the shop from burning down while I was gone (UNCONFIRMED: I haven't been in yet today), so I owe him at least that.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg for a lot of product lines. Tires, lights and clothing all got major overhauls as well. I'll probably highlight a couple of items next week, but if you have questions in the meantime, feel free to leave a comment.
In addition to
publishing GamJams Midwest, Bryan Redemske manages the Trek Bicycle Store of
Omaha (Midtown), is a professional writer and a Cat 3 racer. He drinks a