Trek has long been known for their racing heritage. It continues on in 2011.
For 2011, Trek Bikes is continuing on with their strong support of the mountain bike race scene. Not only are they the title sponsor of a team boasting two world champions, they have also made a number of improvements to their high-end race bikes to make them faster than ever. This past weekend we had a chance to sample both new MTB race bikes for 2011, the Top Fuel 9.9 SSL and Session 88. Both bikes have been around for a number of years but have seen improvements each year.
Brian Head, UT proved to be a great testing ground for both the XC and DH bikes, offering a variety of high altitude terrain similar to my imagination of the moon. Soil was extremely dusty and loose with a number of scree type rock sections mixed in to smooth flowy singletrack. With only a short stay, we were only able to sample a couple of trails, but riding offered an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
Pushing a high-end race bike down technical rocky terrain is often a challenge, but the Top Fuel felt at home soaking up some of my bad line choices. With new Mountain OCLV, the carbon frame has been built to withstand this type of riding more than in the past while also losing a claimed 3.5 ounces. Keeping a close eye on warranties and frame repairs the trend of rock impacts to downtubes and chainstays was evident, by adding additional carbon layer to impact prone spots frames are now able to withstand a much greater amount of abuse.
|Top Fuel 9.9ssl with Brianhead, UT as the backdrop.||A big change for 2011 is internal cable routing.||Remote lockout cable is even hidden discretely within the carbon frame.|
Another improvement Trek made to the Top Fuel was quieting down noise. Finding that a good amount of rattle was coming from cables and housing resonating off the frame, internal cable routing was the solution. For all you mechanics out there who hate internal cable routing, supposedly these are easy to run. But running the hydraulic brake housing will prove to be a little more of a pain if it needs to be changed.
On the DH side of things, the Session 88 has undergone some interesting changes. After spending time in their wind tunnel facility, opted for a more aerodynamic downtube while offering a greater amount of stiffness and durability. Similar to Top Fuel, Session beefs up spots that are impacted most on rugged terrain. With a removable downtube guard Session will offer long-term durability with less chance for downtube dents.
|Session 88 recieves an overall facelift for 2011||Like most Trek full suspension bikes, Session 88 utilizes the ABP (active braking pivot) system.||From the front Session is all business.|
Also new for 2011, Trek chose to have a custom tuned DHX air shock mounted to the race ready Session 88. These improvements make the shock much more tunable for specific course situations and also allow for greater impact absorption while the shock is already deep in the travel. These changes were all done thanks to specific requests from the Trek World Racing team, showing that Trek is committed to developing bikes around the race circuit.
All photos courtesy of Sterling Lorence.
Some videos for your viewing pleasure:
The first is a quick run through of the changes to 2011 Top Fuel
Second is a quick run through on the development of OCLV mountain carbon.