After a one-year absence; I returned to Madison, WI again this August for Trek's annual dealer show: Trek World. This year, Trek added a new showing (they regularly have two shows for U.S. dealers: Top 100 dealers and then everyone else) exclusively for sales staff. Since I'm not managing a store at this time - I qualify. And this show; titled Trek World Backstage, was before all the others and granted us the first look at the new products and services from Big T - before the "grand fromage" descend on Madison. So, enough back story - let's get to the meat.
This being my 5th trip to Madison; I think I have a good deal of context for evaluating the shows - and this was the best one ever! What was most evident was Trek's recent (about 3 years) commitment to creating "Best in Class" products - period. Trek has brought in new staff, expanded inter-departmental product teams, and dedicated what must be massive amounts of money across their entire product offering and the work shows. Each year the weak points in the product line become harder and harder to find and for 2009, I think you'll have to look very hard to find a place where the Trek family of product is not at least on par with anyone else's offerings. The hard work and dedication is paying off and we can only expect better things in years to come.
The clear competitive advantages for 2009 will come in the form of:
- New Project One program for Madone bikes
- Trek Top Fuel make-over
- New Fisher Roscoe series mountain bikes
- Return of Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 ACC
- New Bontrager footwear line
- Continued improvement of InForm Saddles
And the big headline of the show - and the topic of most of the buzz among all the attendees: Gary Fisher road bikes - to fill the gap left by the ousting of the LeMond line.
Trek is also bringing a Bontrager line-up of soft goods (shorts, jerseys, gloves, socks) to market for Spring 09 - breaking the B-dot brand up into "on-bike" and "on-body" divisions and marking a distinct move away from Trek branded accessories. In the near future; the Trek badge will only be found on bikes - not on bags, helmets, clothing, tools, electronics and other accessories as it has in the past. The Bontrager teams are especially tenacious in pursuing the Best in Class goal; refusing to simply re-brand previously sold product by replacing the T with a B-dot; but rather choosing to systematically re-design product from the ground up with an initial goal of brining the best tecnhology, aesthetics, weight, and value. And, after spending some considerable time pouring over the on-bike and on-body offerings; I have to say that I didn't see one product that I felt I would have to apologize for. Everything is great and most of it I would spend my own money on - and that's the best way I know how to complement something; as I'm picky, critical, and cheap!
The weather, food, riding, music, and people were great as usual. And as usual, I came away with a serious case of "gear-lust" for a variety of things such as the Fisher Roscoe 3, ProCaliber, and Superfly, Trek Madone 6.9 Project One w/ Dura Ace 7900 and Top Fuel 9.9SSL (with a Fox fork instead of the stock SID - more on that later) and some Bontrager Race X Lite shoes, bib shorts, and gloves.
For more on all these items and others, watch for subsequent posts over the next few days as I gather all the information. I'll have some catalog photos as I can edit them - I didn't have my camera.
If you have questions or there's something you'd like to see or get my opinion on; leave a comment and I'll do my best.
More to come...