From humble beginnings with five staff making steel touring frames back in 1976, to a multi-million dollar business working with the most cutting-edge bike technology, no firm better represents a truly 21st Century bike company than Trek. However, one thing that hasn’t changed during its journey is Trek’s home place, either literally or metaphorically: still based in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and still producing great-riding two-wheeled pedal machines.
Trek’s rise to global dominance has been an organic, gradual development, fueled by a passion for innovation and a dedication to making fantastic bikes. In truth, the seeds of that success were sown from the start: in 1979 — within three years of Trek’s founding — the company was already selling almost $2 million of bikes. True, that’s a fair way short of Trek’s present day $800 million revenue, but it all makes sense when you see the modern bike range. From top-class race machines both on and off road, to lower-cost models that offer incredible ride quality, Trek’s range is possible the most refined selection of bikes on the market.
Trek’s commitment to the world of developing bicycle technologies has never been in question. In 1985, the company introduced its first bonded aluminium bike frame and then a year later it created its first three-tube carbon model. And carbon is something that would feature heavily in Trek’s future: in 1989 the company unveiled its first moulded, monocoque carbon-fibre frame; then in 1992 Trek created its first full-carbon frames made with Trek’s now legendary — and still in use today — OCLV technology. OCLV stands for ‘Optimum Compaction, Low Void’ and refers to Trek’s unique process for creating incredibly refined carbon structures.
But with something like a bicycle, technology and engineering is little more than novelty until the product is put to the test — and it’s only in the last 15 years where Trek has truly ruled the roost in the professional road scene. Whatever one thinks about Lance Armstrong, there is little doubt that his Trek Madone race bikes, and subsequently those used to win the Tour de France by Alberto Contador, represented the peak of road bike design. And the Madone has spawned other high-end models, such as the fatigue-beating Domane with its unique IsoSpeed decoupler, and the brand-new Emonda with its market-leading light weight and performance.
Trek Fuel Ex8 Mountain Bike –
Fuel EX – £1,400 – £5,995
Trek says the Fuel EX is the world’s best-loved mountain bike, and there’s good reason for that: it may look like a big-hit full-suspension machine, but in performance terms it can be anything from long-travel trail bike to a nimble cross-country race machine. Available with either 27.5in wheels or as a 29er, and coming with Trek’s advanced suspension package, this is truly a specialist machine that actually specialises in almost everything.
The Emonda Trek has decided to steer clear of the modern fad for aero bikes and concentrate instead on light weight and ride performance. It’s been a very sensible decision, resulting in a bike that is simply superb. And with prices starting as low as £1,200 for the Emonda S4 featuring a full-carbon frame with Shimano Tiagra parts, you don’t have to be rich to enjoy cutting-edge quality.
Trek’s entry-level road bike series is a study in decades of aluminium frame development. In fact, never was there a better example of low cost belying incredible performance. With some aero detailing, light weights, and great specs, whether you’re new to road riding or an old hand looking for a quality bargain, you’d be a fool to look past this fantastic range.