Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trek World 2009 #1: Road Bikes

The old is new again in the world of road bikes at Trek World 2009!


No, they didn't bring back the 5200 (although, wouldn't a commemorative edition of the best selling carbon frame in the world be kind of cool...). No, they aren't using recycled carbon fiber for the 2009 Madone (also not a bad idea though...).

Instead, the Madone platform - new for 2008 (See here, here, and here for my coverage), received a new replaceable aluminum derailleur hanger, ceramic bearings on bikes equipped with Sram Red and Shimano 7900, but is otherwise unchanged. However - the long awaited return of Trek's ProjectOne custom program was unveiled.

All I can say is WOW!

The same great program - now called ProjectOne Signature Series - is still in place; giving you choices for paint scheme and color, component specifications, and component sizes that you've always had. New paint schemes designed especially for the new Madone frames are in place as well as new artist schemes. Otherwise, if you've purchased a ProjectOne or played with the program in the past, it will be pretty familiar. Although, it does include a real-time price and lead-time calculator and actual, high-resolution photos of all the options; so you can watch your custom bike evolve before your eyes and see the changes in price and projected lead time your choices will make. Most options will run - like clockwork - with about a 30 day lead time. Very cool.

The real wow factor came in the new ProjectOne program features. Here it is: Every 5- and 6-series Madone will be available in 4 custom paint schemes. Choose your bike, choose your color, choose your component sizes and your dealer will have the bike shipping to them from Trek in 7-days AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU!

What's that? You want a 5.5 pro but don't like the color and would rather have Shimano or Campy parts and Race X Lite wheels? No problem. Pick the bike, pick your paint, pick your parts, pick the sizes. You pay the difference (no upgrade "fees"). Ships in 7 days to your dealer.

Now that is a Best in Class custom program! And the pre-packaged paint options are GORGEOUS! They debuted to "Oooo's, Aaaah's, and Ohhhh's at the opening multimedia unveiling the first night. And dealers are notorious critics of paint and colors.

And what else was old? Gary Fisher road bikes.

Now, I'm not being's cool and exciting. But, you have to understand the context of the situation. Trek decided; controversially, just months ago to sever it's relationship with LeMond. Product managers had about 120 days to put forth an effort to replace a brand which would have left Trek with a gaping hole in it's product offering. Originally, the idea was to bring Klein back to the American market. After deciding that Fisher has a greater brand identity and greater momentum in the U.S. market there was just a little time left to design graphics and choose products. Rather than put forth a half-baked effort; Trek went with proven products, value components, and aggressive pricing to launch the brand. Trek promises that Fisher's road bikes for 2010 will be an unbelievable effort which will blow your mind. With the determination that Trek has shown the last three years to pursue Best in Class products with no apologies - and a full product cycle to develop them - I'm inclined to believe them. I can't wait.
Otherwise, there's not much new with the road bikes except new colors, which do look good. The Portland goes to 9 speed for durability and better pricing. The 520 gets "performance" geometry; like the other road bikes, for a higher handlebar position. A WSD version of the 1.5 will be available (thank you!) and the Pilot series has been discontinued (no thank you...).
Even with the absence of the Pilots, 2009 will be a great year for Trek bikes.


  1. On the 520, what do you mean by "performance" geometry? I'm new to cycling and have always heard that the 520 is great for touring, which is what I want to do. Are you saying that the new geometry is geared more for racing than touring?

  2. Excellent question! I guess I kind of glossed over what "performance" geometry means.

    Last year, with the re-make of the Madone series; Trek added a second geometry option to the line. By adding 3 cm to the head tube of the frame, the handlebar sits in a higher, more neutral position for a more relaxed fit on the bike for most people. They refer to this geometry as their "performance" geometry and the original geo. as "pro".

    Outside of the Madone series, most of the road bikes use the performance geometry. For 2009, the 520 gets a slight make-over including the performance geometry.

  3. I've been doing a lot of reading on the Pilot geometry and it seems right for me - 55yo, 5'11", semi-bad back. I just go riding for fitness (my main passion is water skiing which is where most of my money goes!) I have been riding a Trek Navigator for 5 years and thinking of a road bike. Seems like the Pilot might have been right for me. What 2009 Trek replaces the Pilot set up?

    Thx John

    BTW I am just up the road near Tacoma.

  4. Anonymous #2: Yeah, the Pilot was a great platform and we're kind of sad to see it go. However, from a bike fit standpoint, the new road bikes actually fit most people as good if not better than the Pilots did. And, in a size that ought to fit appropriately for you (probably 58 or 60 cm frame), the fit is actually a little more forgiving and allows just as high and sometimes higher handlebar position as a comparable Pilot.

    Coming from a Navigator I would strongly recommend something like the 2.3, 4.5, or 4.7. You obviously take good care of your bikes - having had a Navigator for 5 years - and these bikes will be easy to care for while offering good precise shifting and super smooth road feel without being too racy.

    These bikes are just now starting to come in to the store in reliable quantities - let me know ahead of time if you want to drive down for some test rides. After all - no sales tax in Oregon! You'll save more in tax than what your gas cost.

    Let me know how else I can help

  5. Hey Matt, We are actually going to be in Portland on Sat passing through to Silverton. Are you around on Sat? John

  6. I'm there on Saturdays. Hours: 10-6. Hope to see you then.

  7. Matt are you at the Beaverton store on Sat?



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