2001 Interbike International Bicycle Expo
Las Vegas, USA, Sept 29 - Oct 3
Index to all Interbike 2001 reports

Trek to offer custom paint for high-end OCLV bikes

By Gerard Knapp

Given the popularity in the US of both Lance Armstrong and Trek's OCLV carbon fibre road bikes, Trek saw a potential problem emerging: too much of a good thing. To save owners the embarrassment of fronting for a group ride, only to be met by others all decked out in similar USPS team strip and USPS Trek bikes, the company has decided to introduce a custom paint job scheme. The paint schemes range from simple white frames with rainbow highlights, through to flames, metallics and for some the owner's name can be stencilled on the top tube. The custom paint finishes will also be available on the high-end Klein and LeMond bikes produced by Trek.

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Stand out on Sunday morning
Photo: © Cyclingnews

It will add from $250-600 per bike depending on the paint and the company will be guaranteeing delivery within 30 days from placing the order, according to Dick Moran, Trek's director of marketing. The scheme will only be available to customers in the USA, who can order online and then pay and collect via their local Trek dealer.

As a major player in the US and global cycling market, Moran said that the past financial year had been the company's best. He said the company has sold 10 percent more bikes than previous years, but had been more profitable "as we're working smarter and more efficiently". From tandems to custom paint jobs, Trek and its family of brands - such as LeMond, Klein and Fisher - all had significant new releases on display.

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Klein adds some carbon
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In addition to pavement bikes, which owe more to road bike technology than their fat-tyre cousins, but still offer a comfortable MTB position (see main report for further details), the other big growth market for Trek is what's called WSD, or Women's Specific Design, with bikes especially designed for women in road, MTB hardtail and full suspension models. In the MTB area, Trek showed the Fuel dual-suspension bike with a carbon-fibre rear end assembly. This bike was ridden to one World Cup victory by Roland Green, who then went on to win the World Championship MTB cross-country title using the Trek 9.8 carbon hard-tail model. Also in carbon - for the road - were the Bontrager Race X-Lite carbon wheels made using the OCLV process and designed for tubular tyres only.

In the aluminium bike area, Trek has reverted to the use of round tubes for Trek-brand bikes, while the Klein brand featured a range of bikes made from the new ZR-9000 aluminium, made to the recipe specified by Gary Klein. Klein claims the ZR 9000 aluminium alloy is "15 percent stronger, 15 percent lighter and with a 98 percent better fatigue life than industry-standard aluminium". The custom-drawn tubesets, internal cable routing and smooth welds of the Klein road bikes project an understated look which still emits 'quality' from every angle.

The new jewel in the Klein range is the Q Pro Carbon, which features carbon rear seat stays, the first Klein to use carbon. While Klein makes a point of the road bikes featuring more relaxed angles, the specifications show that the 52, 54 and 56cm frames all feature a 73.5 degree seat angle, while the bottom bracket height ranges from 26.3mm up to 26.7mm for the 56cm frame. The new alloy is also used for the range of Klein's Adept rear suspension MTB frames, as well as the Attitude Race hardtail models.
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LeMond in Titanium
Photo: © Cyclingnews

Over the past year Trek has also learnt the art of welding titanium. Dick Moran said the company had a team working for six months before being ready for the production titanium frames which carry the LeMond name - and a lifetime guarantee. Finished with the brushed titanium look, the new LeMonds were another feature of a very busy Trek exhibit. The LeMond titanium bikes looked the most European on the Trek stand with simple, elegant lines, neat welds and classic road geometry. Trek is using Reynolds 3/2.5 titanium alloy for the Tete de Course and Victoire models, and Reynolds 853 steel tubeset for the Maillot Jaune and Zurich.

Elsewhere, Trek's relationship with Nike has seen the release of the women's range of shoes with the top model called the Cipressa. Moran hinted that the company was about to announce a sponsorship agreement with a leading female cyclist, but declined to actually name the athlete.

In terms of sponsorship, Trek had a good year with its interests in both road and MTB teams taking home the major prizes. The US Postal Squad secured a third Tour de France - and maximum publicity - while Roland Green has been the revelation of the cross-country MTB scene, winning both the World Cup and World Championships titles in the one year for the Trek/Volkswagen MTB team. Yet at the local scene, the company also sponsors five regional MTB teams all under the Trek/Volkswagen banner and spends US$250,000 each year on this form of grassroots involvement (in conjunction with local bike shops and other sponsors), with the teams including women and juniors.

Also on the MTB side, the Trek-owned mountain bikes produced by Gary Fisher also made news with the first release of 29" wheel models. Although the use of 700C wheels on mountain bikes has been tried before, this is the first release by a major manufacturer. Dick Moran said that a 29" wheel model had been built for Chrissy Redden of the Subaru-Fisher team, but the Canadian rider had not yet used it in competition. For more information on the MTB releases at Interbike, see our special report.)

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