It’s been another very good year on the road for Trek, thanks to Lance Armstrong and his domination of a third succesive Tour De France, and it’s looking even better for those wanting to take a Trek on the road for 2002.The first news is that there are no changes to the OCLV-HC carbon road bike frames that Lance uses and you can buy. The standard version still comes in 120g carbon fibre (the weight of a square metre of material, not the whole bike) with 1 1/8″ Aheadset Air Rail fork, for an unbelievably light yet totally accurate and predictable ride with masses of stiffness for power application. The ultralight 110g carbon framset is a little bit less stiff (which eases hand ache on long rides) but comes in 100g or so lighter. However this years bike gets a half painted finish, rather than the minimalist naked look of last year.
The aluminium bikes lose last years harsh wishbone seatstay design as part of a new lighter tubing set up which also includes sleek internally recessed Aheadset systems. All bikes get a big bag of kit from the new ‘Bontrager Road Collection’ (of which more later).
Trek are also stepping up production of the OCLV-HC Time Trial frame after they had to stop taking orders last year because demand was outstripping their ability to make them. The only concession to faster production of the fully handbuilt machines is to eliminate the internal baldder drinking system, as they’d failed to convince Lance to use it anyway (despite significant aero advantages). Still if he wasn’t so stubbrn he would have given up a long while back.
The real changes haven’t been at Trek HQ but over at the always idiosyncratic Chehalis home of Klein. The new Quantum bikes are completely revised in terms of tubing profiles, now taking on a swollen centre triangular profile downtube similar to those seen on recent Bianchi’s.
|Pimpy paint and tube profile joy|
They still retain all the usual internal cabling and fastidious attention to detail as well as fantastic paint finishes on production bikes and an expanded range of custom options, including national colours.
|Removes the rattle but not the speed.|
The Quantum Pro gets big changes at the rear end though, with a propietary TIme carbon seat stay section plugged into a slim wishbone. Brief rides showed that this takes a lot of the sting out of previously very harsh Klein’s and almost completely elminates the chatter and skip that used to show up when cornering or climbing hard. The resulting bike is an absolute beauty in terms of ride and aesthetics.
Bontrager on the blacktop
Famed for his pioneering mountain bike work (first lightweight mtb rim, bolted fork crowns, strengthening gussets) Keith Bontrager has now applied his fanatical devotion to developmental testing. New for this year are wheelsets, tyres, stems and seatposts. Unfortuantely this is where our Digicam filled up so we’ve no shots and as all components were built onto complete bikes it’s hard to talk about them in isolation. Here’s our initial two-penneth anyway.
It’s impossible to look at the paired spoke, Hugi hubbed wheels wheels without thinking “Rolf” (his contract with Trek has expired) but there are differences. These are mainly in lower rim cross sections which produce a softer ride and lighter weight without losing much aero advantage. The rear rim is also flatter (as it’s shielded by the frame) and uses assymetrical spoke holes to reduce dish (sideways spoke offest) and increase strength. Our brief ride certainly found no problems, with the wheels stable but very agile with less snatch in cross winds and that same amusing thopp thopp thopp noise from the paired spokes.
The full slick all black Bontrager tyres certainly looked the part and seeing as they’re made to a proven durable recipe by Continental we don’t expect any problems. Stem and seatpost are definitely mountain bike in style, but if that means more strength and functionality then it’s fine by us.