Our part-time BM/Dirt contributor and Paul Aston has been forced against his will to North Carolina to learn about some interesting new developments from Trek Bicycles (he doesn’t really enjoy fun, new technology, the States’ finest singletrack, unlimited free food and beer, Moonshine or great scenery you see), so we hope he’s coping at the event. Here’s what he has to say so far.
Words: Paul Aston
Hi guys, just chilling out by the lake at the Brevard Music Centre near Asheville in North Carolina, keeping my toes away from the snapper turtles. It’s really hot here, humidity is well up there and the terrain is reminiscent of Tuscany in Italy. It’s a tough life, but all in the name of journalism and bringing you the news of Trek’s latest trail bike and a partnership with famous US shock manufacturer Penske.
Yesterday we spent the day at the Penske Racing Shocks facility, a long presentation followed by a guided tour of this mind-boggling complex, everything really is on a bigger scale in the States. There were six 18wheelers indoors, consuming a total of roughly 0.1% of the total floor space.
We managed to get out on a ride late last night to dial-in the new Trek Fuel EX 650b bikes ready for a 23-mile ride the following day. We conveniently returned too late for a secondary presentation, going straight to dinner and getting on the Moonshine, turns out Asheville was a pretty important and respected area during prohibition. To finish off we were treated a Premier of Brandon Semenuk’s new film Rad Company. Incredible videography, the riding taking BMX style and flow on to DH bikes and the big mountains, nice to see Euro racers Nico Vink and Brendan Fairclough featuring in the film too.
This press camp is mainly focused on the new collaboration between Trek and Penske. Not a household name in the UK, Penske are huge in the US. Their involvement with some of the biggest names in NASCAR, Indy car, Formula1, Baja trucks and multiple motorcycle racing disciplines. What sets Penske apart from other suspension manufacturers is a lack of mass production, focusing purely on custom-built shocks for racing applications. It’s incredibly high-end and cutting edge, everything is fabricated by hand in Charlotte and some heavy figures were being banded about, $200,000 for four Formula1 shocks?
Penske have been working with Trek behind closed doors for nearly five years to bring some new technology to the MTB world, which will be shipping to the customer in the coming weeks.
I’ve been out on the new bikes today testing and am initially impressed. Fox are involved in the mass production of the units on behalf of Penske. The existing CTD shock is utilised with the addition of Penske ‘Regressive’ damping technology. Trek have branded this RE:AKTIV and it shows some positive improvements on Fox’s CTD technology.