The vision of the company arose out of a meeting between Richard Burke, a former accountant with a knack for investments and Bevel Hogg, an owner of a Midwestern chain of bicycle stores. Burke had spent 15 years sharpening his business skills with a burgeoning appliance distributor, Roth Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hogg had grown tired of the retail business, but his heart remained with bicycles. Burkes passion for outdoor recreation and entrepreneurial spirit drew him to the bicycle market.
The year was 1975. Amidst a US energy crisis that aided a resurgence of the bicycle market, the timing was right. "Schwinn dominated the specialty retail market at the time, which is where most bikes were sold," said Burke. "But the mid-to-high end business was going to Japanese-made bicycles. We saw an opportunity to sell an American-made product in that category." Burke convinced Roth Corporation to fund the venture with $100,000 in seed money, and Hogg provided the insight into the bicycle industry.
The duo chose to headquarter their new business in rural Waterloo, halfway between Burkes suburban Milwaukee home and Hoggs home in Madison. A humble, 7000-sq. foot barn, formerly a carpet warehouse, would serve as the launching pad for the company. After a hot debate, a name was selected one evening in a bar just outside of Waterloo. Hogg suggested Kestrel, and Burke Intrepid. They settled on Trek, a word derived from Hoggs native South Africa that was memorable and would later have global appeal. In 1976, Trek Bicycles was incorporated.
The five-man company began hand-building steel, touring framesets. Using proprietary cast lugs; Trek frames adopted a European brazing style with an American flare. "You could tell it was a Trek frame without the paint on it," said early frame engineer Tim Isaac. "The company provided the designers with the tooling infrastructure and right materials to let us create. Trek was dominated by free spirits and I think it showed in our product." Selling for roughly $275 per frameset, the brand quickly obtained cult status.
Now that the company had successfully distinguished itself from the competition, it needed a distribution channel to reach its customers. Treks charter dealer was Penn Cycle, outside of nearby Minneapolis, Minnesota. Owner Elmer Sorenson recalled his first encounter with Trek. "One cold, winter, snowy, miserable February day some guy in an old rusty car drove up," said Sorenson. "It was Bevel with a frame over each shoulder."
"Road bikes were 75% of our business, and we were having some trouble with consistency of the Italian lines and a Californian line we were carrying. There was a need for a lightweight, advanced bike and Trek came through with it. And we liked the fact they were made in the USA."
Word of mouth spread and the company quickly gained market share from Japanese and European competitors. Treks most successful salesman at the time, Tom French, soon took leave to follow his girlfriend west. By coincidence, the Trek dealer base began spreading from Madison, Wisconsin to San Francisco, California. In just three years, sales had grown to over
$1,000,000. But the exponential growth was constrained by the small size of the facility. It was time for a move.
Trek didnt have to look beyond its backyard for the ideal location for its next facility. In 1980, for $10,000, Burke purchased ten acres of land down the road from the red barn that Trek had called home for four years. The city of Waterloo rezoned the land from agricultural to industrial, the city founders financed the installation of sewers, and groundbreaking for the 26,000-ft. factory was underway. Yet the areas rural roots quickly put things back into perspective. "We were forced to temporarily delay production of the factory until the farmer that owned the land could harvest his corn for the season," said Burke.
The new facilitys space allowed Trek to expand its frame-building capacity. Automation led to more frames, and an assembly line and paint factory were added to make Trek a full bicycle manufacturer. "It wasnt until we built the new factory that we became a business," said Burke. Shortly after, the company hired its first true sales reps and a customer service foundation was born. Sales doubled in 1981, and again in 1982. By 1983, the company had outgrown the current factory and attached an addition.
As Treks business boomed, a movement was spreading on the West Coast. Renegades like Gary Fisher were bombing down their local mountain trails on stalwart bikes with balloon tires, amalgamations adorned with road bike and motorcycle parts. Looking to expand outside of the road touring market, the company took interest in these new "mountain bikes". But how would a company accustomed to touring the open, paved roads of Southern Wisconsin jump into the mountain bike craze?
Isaac shipped a prototype mountain bike frame that mimicked a Trek road-touring frame in July of 83 to Harry Spehar, the West Coast territorial sales manager. Spehar, who had been riding old dirt trails in Northern California for years, took the prototype to the legendary Whiskeytown Downhill in Redden, California to race against the "Clunker" posse. The Midwestern anomaly held its own and Trek had officially begun its venture into mountain bikes.
Using the serial number from the Vintage Trek web site, 1983 Trek 850 production would have been approximately: 385 18" bikes, 1,315 19" bikes, 1.525 22" bikes and 545 24" bikes for a total of 3,770 bikes. The 1983 850 used mainly Suntour and SR components on a cro-moly steel frame with a crowned fork.
Trek co-sponsors the 7-Eleven women's team which includes Rebecca Twigg.
In 1984, Trek added the 830, a second slightly less expensive, model to complement the 850. The 830 used very similar parts to the previous years 850 while the new 850 used a Reynolds 531 frame with the new Shimano Deore XT components. The 890 debuts as an "urban" mountain bike with 1.5" Panaracer RX Radial tires, a Blackburn rear rack and a more upright seating position. The head badge for 1984-1987 bikes is shown to the left.
For 1985, Trek continues with three models with the 870 replacing the 890. The 870 is more of a true high performance mountain bike with toe clips on Suntour XC pedals, lighter weight wheels, Magura levers,1.75" Tri Cross tires and a Shimano Deore XT drive train. The 850 continues on as the most popular model with a Deore XT drivetrain but lesser components substituted in several areas such as the pedals and hubs. The 830 is still the entry level model with the lower end Shimano "Z" series components. Forks still use the crown design while many manufacturers have switched to the unicrown style. On the road side, Trek introduces the 2000, their first internally lugged bonded aluminum frame. This style frame will show up in 1988 on the mountain side as well.
The 1986 models go from lugged construction and crowned forks to TIG construction and Unicrown forks. The model line is pared back to the entry level 830 and the higher performance 850. The 830 continues on with a basic Shimano group while the 850 with a Suntour XC/XC Sport mix with a chain stay mounted Roller Cam brake. The 850 is also available in a pink/white fade paint in addition to a green. The lugged construction limited the geometry since the lugs didn't allow easy geometry changes. When Trek switched to TIG construction, they were able to "modernize" the geometry and tighten up the wheelbase.
December 1986 Trek 850 review from Mountain Biking Magazine:
The two big stories for 1987 were the introduction of Treks bonded aluminum technology to mountain bikes and the new Shimano Deore XT index shifting system. Trek used an un-weldable 7178 aluminum tube set bonded to a set of cast aluminum lugs. This allowed the frame to be assembled from mid-sized tubing and eliminated the stress of welding the aluminum. The idea was to obtain a more comfortable ride than the oversized frames from companies such as Klein and Cannondale while saving about 3/4 of a pound of weight. Trek offered this frame in the 8000 XT and 8000 models. The 8000 XT used the new Shimano Deore XT component group with 6 speed index shifting, Biopace chain rings and chain stay mounted U brake. The 8000 offered similar features but used the lesser Deore components. The steel framed models were made in Taiwan by Merida and featured 3 models: 800, 830 and 850. The 850 used the new Deore index shifting system on a double butted cro-moly frame with chain stay mounted U brake. The 830 used the double butted frame with a lower end Shimano index drive train and cantilevers while the 800 was a straight gauge frame with basic Suntour index drive train.
1988 starts the expansion in the number of models that really explodes in a couple of years. The bonded aluminum bikescontinue with the 8500 (Deore XT) and 8000 (Deore) both with index shifting, chain stay U brakes and Biopace chain rings. The top steel bike, the 870, features a lugged True Temper frame with Deore components. The remainder of the steel line consists of the 850 (Tange tri-butted, Deore), 830 (Tange, Deore shifter, SR crank and hubs), 820 (Exage) and 800 (Shimano Light Action). All of these bikes use a chain stay mounted U brake. One interesting bike is the 900 which uses 1.25" tires and Accu Shift components, an early city bike with riser bars and stem. The Matrix branded parts are starting to show up in the rims, tires and hubs. The hubs are available in loose ball or sealed cartridge bearings. Tires are the lower end CDX (1.6" or 1.9") and more off-road oriented CDZ (available with a Kevlar bead-CDZK or with Kevlar belt-CDZR). There is only one mountain rim, the Singletrack, which is a box construction hard anodized rim (white Matrix wording with Single Track in gold over a set of white mountains). The 1988-1992 head badge is show to the right.
By the late eighties, Treks aluminum bonded bikes had become a commercial hit. The technology was applied to a rapidly growing mountain bike market and the company took off. While the people remained the same, the face of Treks product began to evolve. The company was making more mountain bikes than road by 1990, and engineers dabbled with the use of carbon composite tubes bonded to aluminum lugs.
At this time, the US government was cutting back on defense industry funding, forcing its hand to look elsewhere for business. Having perfected its bonding technology, Trek looked into other materials to lighten up their frames. The company sent Bob Read to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1990 to attend an aerospace industry show. It was here, where he came in contact with a carbon fiber molding company, Radius, forever changing Trek technology.
Read first met Richard Burke in the warehouse of his longtime employer, Roth Corporation. Soon after, Burke hired him on in a manufacturing capacity, and he quickly became the companys first quality control manager. He remained a calming influence in the engineering department before assuming the role of director of technology. "I never met anyone as well organized as Bob," said Tim Isaac. "He would take a problem and reduce it to the components that could be handled."
Read sat through product meetings in Waterloo with a carbon fiber tennis racket and pronounced, "this is the future of bicycles." He envisioned a full carbon Trek frame that would be the lightest and strongest the world had ever seen. Faced with the option of sourcing out the frames, or incurring the $1,000,000 development cost of a carbon lug molding process, Richard Burke opted for the latter. He knew direct control of the new technology would be vital to its success.
Reads vision became a reality when Trek revealed the first OCLV (Optimum Compaction, Low Void) carbon fiber frame in 1992. "Optimum Compaction" is the precise way in which Trek compresses carbon fibers into an optimum blend of carbon fiber and thermoset epoxy matrix. "Low Void" represents the aerospace standard of minimizing voids within the laminate structure to a level of 1% or less. The result was the lightest road production frameset in the world, weighing in at a scant 2.44 lbs.
Two years later an automobile lost control on an icy Wisconsin road and took Reads life. An essential part of Treks soul went with him that day. "Bobs combination of intellect and dedication was unlike anything I had ever seen," said Richard Burke. "He truly represented the honesty and integrity of this company. His passing left a void that we were incapable of filling for some time."
The company pressed on with startling financial success over the next few years. Trek had ridden the wave of the mountain bike, and by 1996 mountain bikes accounted for 80% of the companys product line. They invested heavily in research and design, employing the largest team of engineers in the business. The domestic dealer base had swelled to 1500. Thousands more around the world came on board through the seven subsidiaries and over 60 distributors. Overseas business had accrued to roughly a third of overall sales. Worldwide annual sales soared near the $350,000,000 range.
The bonded aluminum mountain bike frames get substantially revamped for 1989. The geometry is quickened to a 71/73 design with shorter 16.9" stays. New forged head tube, forged drop outs, tapered stays and investment cast lugs drop the frame weight to 4.5 pounds. The rear brake cable switches to internal routing for the now-standard rear cantilever brakes. A third model, the 7000 (6061 frame, Mountain LX parts) joins the 8500 (7000 series double butted frame, Deore XT II 7 speed) and the 8000 (6061 frame, Deore components) for 1989. All three models use the Matrix Single Track rims and Matrix Single Track tires. The lugged steel frame line-up expands to three models which are all USA made. The 990 is listed as using Suntour XC 9000 parts (Grease Guard, Self Energizing brakes) and the Browning Automatic transmission (many bikes listed this feature but not many were actually produced), the 970 uses Deore II components and the 950 uses Shimano Mountain LX parts. All bikes use the Matrix rims and tires. The TIG welded "800 Series" bikes for 1989, are the 850 (Mountain LX), 830 (Suntour XCE), 820 (Suntour XCM) and 800 (Shimano Exage Country). This is the first year that the mountain bikes come before the road bikes in the Trek catalog. On the road side, the 5000 uses a molded composite frame and the 2300 uses carbon fiber in the three main tubes (both technologies will be found on later Trek mountain bikes). Suggested retail prices were $1,149 for the 8500, $789 for the 8000, $599 for the 7000, $999 for the 990, $689 for the 970 and $529 for the 950.
Trek opens their first overseas subsidiaries in Great Britain and Germany.
Composite technology finds it way to the mountain bikes for 1990. The flagship 8900 Pro replaces the 3 main aluminum tubes with a six layer unidirectional composite tube set (with a seventh bias braided layer). Components are selected from some of the premier American parts makers: Bullseye hubs, Cooks cranks, Grafton brakes/levers and an American stem. Shifting components are from the Suntour XC Pro group. The natural main tubes are set off by a neon yellow rear end and bright green front end and Tange Big Fork. The aluminum lines continues on with the same three models seen in 1989: 8500 (7000-E9 main tubes, Big Fork, XT with Rapid Fire), 8000 (7000-E9, Big Fork, Deore DX Rapid Fire) and 7000 (6061-E9, Deore LX Rapid Fire). The 900 Series bikes use Trek investment cast lugs and top route cables with a front derailleur adaptor. The 990, 970 and 970 mirror the aluminum bikes with XT, DX and LX parts respectively. The new 930 uses the Suntour X-1 components. All bikes use front and rear cantilever brakes (U-brakes are dead!), under bar shifters (Shimano Rapid Fire or Suntour X-Press) and are offered with a splash paint that resembles very fine veins running over the base color. There are 4 bikes in the imported TIG welded 800 Series: 850 (Suntour XCE), 830 (Shimano 300LX), 820 (Shimano 200 GS) and 800 (Shimano 200 GS thumb shift). The now-top road bike, the 2500, switches to 7 tube carbon fiber (3 main, 2 chain stays, 2 seat stays) and uses Dura Ace components.
Trek is now offering a line of Matrix helmets, New Balance shoes and Trek Wear clothing. Matrix mountain bike rim models are: Mt. Aero (cut down aero road rim), Single Track Comp (eyelets) and Single Track. The tires line up for 1990 is: Singletrack Comp KL Kevlar, Single Track AT and CDX on/off road tire. The Iso-C road rim was a very popular, affordable road rim and had gotten good reviews. Keith Bontrager was cutting down 700c road rims and re-rolling them into 26" rim diameters. You could essentially un-pin a 36 hole road rim, cut out 4 spokes and re-roll it as a 32 hole mountain rim. Trek decided to do this with the popular Iso-C rim but made one critical error. The aero profile rim worked fine on the road since the motion of a road brake is "up" towards the tire. In contrast, a cantilever brake swings "down" and as the pad wears, this situation is exaggerated. The aero profile of the rim would allow the pad to slip down towards, or even into, the spokes......which is bad. The Mt. Aero rim lasted for one year. I remember hearing rumors of law suits but never actually followed up to see if they were true.
During the early 1990's, bike companies were trying to figure out how to grow. They tried sporting good stores, secondary brands, private labeling as well as other strategies to get a bigger piece of the pie. There is a finite number of retail bike shops and dealers like to have their own exclusive territory which makes it hard for bike companies to sell more bikes. In 1990, Trek decided to go with the second brand name alternative and introduced Jazz bikes. This was supposed to be a lower-end brand that could be sold alongside Trek or sold at a non-Trek dealer. They bikes were brighter colored and used much bolder graphics than the regular Trek models. For 1990, the Jazz line consisted of the Bold Moves (Deore LX), Vertical (300LX), Flipside (Suntour XCT), Radical (Shimano 200GS0 and Voltage (Shimano Tourney). The bikes receive a pretty luke-warm reception and don't really complement the main Trek line. In another couple of years, Trek finds decides that buying existing companies is a better growth strategy and Jazz will die.
1991 finds the mountain bike model count at 14 including one with a new-fangled front suspension device that critics said would never last. This is also the first year for oversized (1 1/8") head sets on Trek bikes. Several of the models also use black wall tires for the first time. The 8900 uses the Rock Shox RS-1 fork mated to the composite frame with XC Pro derailleurs, thumb shifters, Grafton brakes, Bullseye hubs, and Sugino crank. The 8700 uses the same frame but with a Big Fork, XC Pro derailleurs, 986 brakes, SS-5 levers and Bullseye hubs. The aluminum bikes use the OS head sets and the model line is similar to 1990 with the addition of a 600 model. Models are the 8500 (7000-E9, Super Big Fork, XT Rapid Fire), 8000 (7000-E9, Super Big Fork, Deore DX Rapid Fire), 7000 (6061-E9, Shimano Deore LX Rapid Fire) and the 6000 (6061-T6 straight gauge, Suntour XC-LTD X-Press). The aluminum models still use the front derailleur adaptor for use with top routed cables. The lugged steel line consists of the 990 (True Temper AT, Super Big Fork, XT, thumb shifters), 970 (True Temper AT, Super Big Fork, Deore DX Rapid Fire), 950 (True Temper, Cruise Control fork, Deore LX Rapid Fire) and new 930 (True Temper, Cruise Control, Suntour X-1 X-Press). These bikes also use the front derailleur adaptor for top route cables and the OS head set. The 800 series splits into the more off road oriented 850 (Tange, Cruise Control, Suntour XCE X-Press, top route cable, OS head set) and 830 (top route cable, Shimano 300 LX, OS head set) and the more casual 820 (regular head set and cable routing, 200GS Rapid Fire) and 800 (Shimano M100, regular cable routing and head set).
The Matrix rim line up replaces the failed Mt. Aero with the Titan
II. The Titan II is still more a a road extrusion but is a more sensible box type rim instead of the aero rim it replaces. The Single Track Comp and Single Track rims continue. The Tire line consists of the Z-Axis Comp folding tire, Z-Axis front and rear specific tires, Cliffhanger and CDX on/off road tire. The helmet line changes from Matrix to Trek and the New Balance shoes and clothing line are still offered (lots of neon colors).
The Jazz line continues but moves down market. The frames move to high tensile steel and the best components available are Shimano Tourney. There is a basic mountain bike, hybrid bike and kids models. The 1990 Jazz bikes were competing in the same market as the entry level Trek models so Jazz was repositioned as a more entry level bike so it wouldn't cannibalize Trek sales.
The big news for 1992 is suspension. Trek introduces their first dual suspension bike and their own line of suspension forks. The 9000 series full suspension bikes used a simple swing arm attached to the shock (the famous "stack of rubber donuts") in front of the seat tube. The system was dubbed T3C (travel equal 3x compression) and used the A.B. Zorb shock to attain a claimed 2" of travel. On the front, the Showa-made DDS3 featured adjustable spring rate a progressive, and adjustable, damping. Shimano also introduced the flagship XTR component group in 1992 which went to an 8 speed rear cassette controlled by a new Rapid Fire Plus system with "push pull" triggers as opposed to the hated "push push" design. The top 9500 model featured the new XTR group, DDS3 fork, Flite saddle and A-TAC stem while the 9000 substituted the Deore DX group with XT Rapid Fire Plus shifters. Rear brake routing was always an issue with rear suspension designs since the brake was on the swing arm and the cable was coming from the main frame which made it difficult to place the cable stop. Trek used a tunnel in the seat tube to direct the brake cable to the rear brake.
The Composite line continued on with the 8900 using the new XTR group and the 8700 with the DX/XT Rapid Fire group as found on the 9000. Both were offered rigid buy later in the year, Trek offered a suspension fork upgrade option on the 8700. The 8500 is gone, leaving the 8000 (DX, XT Rapid Fire Plus), 7000 (Deore LX with DX Rapid Fire) and 6000 (Suntour XC-LTD, 986 brakes). These bikes all lose the frame mounted cable stop and switch to a stamped steel stop that hangs from the seat quick release lever. Tires are a mix of black walls and natural side walls with the black walls starting to take over.
The USA produced, lugged steel line continues with the 990 (OX Comp II tubing, DDS3 fork, Deore DX w/ ST Rapid Fire Plus), 970 (similar parts to the 990 with a Tange Big Fork), 950 (Shimano LX, DX Rapid Fire) and 930 (Shimano 500 LX). The imported TIG welded line is broken down into the more off-road capable 850 and 830 and the less aggressive 820 and 800.
Mountain bike rims are the Single Track, Single Track Comp and Single Track Pro while tires are the Connection, Cliff Hanger/ Cliff Climber, and Z-Axis Comp. New Balance now offers an off-road shoe and many of the bikes sport a new anti-chain suck device. On the road side, OCLV carbon makes its debut on the 5500 and 5200 models.
A couple of notes from the January 1992 Mountain and City Biking magazine review of the DDS3 fork. Trek approached Showa (maker of about 70% of the motorcycle forks) about making a fork. Several of the features were air sprung (both legs) and hydraulic damping which was similar to other forks of the era. Trek emphasized making the shock less flexy by beefing up the crown and offsetting the legs via the crown (as opposed to angling the legs in the crown). They also offered both 1" and 1 1/8" crowns that did not use shims. The damping was dynamic so that it affected the entire compression and rebound stroke as opposed to only affecting the initial shock movement. Retail is listed at $350 and the review mentions a DS2 fork being available for $100 which loses the damping adjustment.
The Jazz line limps on with the mountain bike models, the Voltage and the Latitude, and also offers a few hybrid and children's models.
1993 seems to be the year where the number of models really explodes for many manufacturers, including Trek. It appears that companies haven't really figured out which way the mountain bike market is heading. There is one crowd looking for the latest suspension systems and carbon fiber while other folks want a more traditional rigid steel frame. Trek add the OCLV full carbon bikes to the full suspension line, carbon tubed/aluminum lugged frames, bonded aluminum frames, lugged steel frames, TIG welded steel frames and the entry level Jazz bikes. All told, this would make up seven different families of bikes. Just a decade earlier, the entire Trek line consisted of a single model!Bike manufacturers are also figuring out that there is much more profit to be made in the parts and accessory business and begin to branch out from just building bikes. Trek has dabbled in previous years with a few pieces of clothing, helmets, rims and tires, some of which have been sold under the Matrix name. For 1993 Trek introduces the System line of components. Parts include such things as handlebars, stems, seat posts, saddles, seat post clamps, pedals and bar ends. Most of the parts are re-badges products from other companies and can be had in levels from System 1 (basic replacement part) through System 4 (high performance). Not all products are offered in all levels. The available rims are the Matrix Single Track Pro and Comp while the tires are the new Control Track Lite, Z-Axis, Connection and Cliff Hanger/Climber.
Suspension forks are also going through annual upgrades and Trek is no exception. The 1993 line up consists of the Mogul Black Diamond, Mogul and Shock Wave. The Mogul Black Diamond takes over for the DDS3 and adds an included pressure gauge, aluminum brake arch and fork boots. The damping is still user adjustable and weight is listed at 3.38 pounds with 1.8" of travel. The Mogul loses the included gauge and damping adjustment and is listed at 3.40 pounds with the same 1.8" of travel. The Shock Wave is a re-badge Tange fork with an MCU spring and 1.5" of travel (2.88 pounds)..
Black wall tires have finally taken completely over on the mountain bikes and the Ahead thread-less head set system is found on pretty much all models from the 970 and up. The anti chain suck device continues on most models.
Trek brings the OCLV technology to mountain bikes for 1993. OCLV stand for Optimum Compaction Low Void and is a way of making carbon fiber bikes with the least amount of weight and highest durability. The bike appear to be a monocoque construction but are actually built out of tubes and lugs. This allow the parts to be hand laid and inspected with is impossible with a monocoque. There are two models available and both use the Mogul Black Diamond fork, stock bar ends, Aheadset, XT clip-less pedals and a rear brake "rocker" mounted to the frame (in place of the traditional cable hanger). The 9900 uses the XTR component group while the 9800 makes due with the Deore XT parts.
The 9000 family upgrades to the AB Zorb II shock with oil damping and changes to a T4xC (travel equals 4x compression) for 1993. The new 9500 uses the XTR components with the Black Diamond fork, XT clip-less pedals and a new OCLV carbon swing arm. The 9200 uses and XT/DX mix with the Black Diamond fork and aluminum swing arm while the 900 uses the Mogul fork and LX components.
The carbon tubed models are the 8700 (Deore XT/DX, rigid fork) and the 8300 (Suntour XC Comp/Expert, rigid fork). These bikes have a cable stop built into the seat clamp which replaces the model that hung down form the clamp in 1992.
The bonded aluminum models start to move down in price with the top model (8000) using the Deore LX parts. It is available in a rigid model or a 8000SHX with the Mogul fork. The only other model is the 7000 (Exage/LX, rigid fork). The 8000 is made available to law enforcement agencies, with minor changes, for police use.
The USA made lugged steel line for 1993 is the 970 (Deore XT/DX, rigid), 950 Deore LX/XT, rigid) and 930 (Altus/Exage and available rigid or as the 930SHX with the Shock Wave fork).
The imported line continues with the off-road oriented 850SHX and 830 models and the city oriented 820 and 800.
The Jazz adult line is reduced to the Latitude mountain bike, Street Life hybrid, cruisers and kids bikes. The end is near.
Travis Brown and Don Myrah finish in the NORBA top ten while riding for Trek.
In May of 1993, the initial drawing are made for what will become the 1995 Y bike full suspension frame. The project is approved in July and prototypes are ready to ride in November.
1994 is a year of refinement and reduction. Many of the models come in "ice" colors which is a very rich deep looking paint. Many of the system components are now available in the ever-popular purple (3D violet) color. In the suspension fork line, the Shock Wave disappears, the Mogul continues on, the Black Diamond gets independent rebound and compression chambers and the Mogul Extreme is a new fork. The Extreme features the independent rebound and compression chambers of the Black Diamond and adds an adjustable air volume feature to adjust the spring rate along with a new carbon fiber brake arch. (I've never seen one of these forks so it may have never reached production?)
Te OCLV family has two members this year, the 9900 (new 8 speed XT, compact drive, Grip Shift 500, XT clip less pedals and Black Diamond) while the 9800 is a rigid bike (Shimano Deore LX/XT, Grip Shift 500, toe clips). Both bikes still use the brake rocker for the rear cantilever brake. Trek pro team consists of Travis Brown, Don Myrah and Paul Thomasberg.
On the full suspension front, the new swing arm is dubbed the STS (Suspension Track System) and pulls the ratio back to a more reasonable 2.66:1 ratio. The rear shock changes to an Risse Racing air/oil unit for better control. The 9500 uses a new OCLV main frame that is mated to an OCLV swing arm for a full carbon frame. Spec is listed as the Mogul Extreme fork, 8 speed XT, XT clip less pedals and a rear IRD Widget side pull brake. The 9200 uses the E-9 ProGram main frame with the STS OCLV swing arm and is equipped with the Risse Racing rear shock and Mogul front shock. Components are mainly Shimano Deore LX with an XT derailleur.
The bonded family is getting smaller. The 8700 is the sole carbon model with a rigid fork and the LX component group (XT rear derailleur). The catalog mentions that a suspension fork can be added. The bonded aluminum models are down to the 800 (rigid, LX w/ XT rear) and 7000 (Shimano STX Special Edition and either rigid or the SHX version with a Mogul fork).
The lugged frame is dead and has been replaced with a True Temper TIG welded version with a new suspension corrected geometry. Models include the 970 (XT, rigid, Ahead), 950 (LX/XT, threaded head set, rigid), 930 (STX, rigid or SHX w/Rock Shox Quadra) and 920 (STX/Alivio/Grip Shift, rigid).
The imported bikes include the off-road oriented 850/850 SHX and 830/3830 SHX followed by the town oriented 820 and 800.
Rims continue on in the Single Track Pro and Comp versions while the Big Kahuna tire is added to the previous years offerings. The upper end bikes switch from the Matrix labeled tires to IRC tires.
Work on the Y bike continues with the tooling being produced in June followed by the completed bikes. Testing continues into the fall of 1994 with an unveiling on September 17 at the Mountain Bike Worlds in Vail, CO.
The 1994 Rocket Boys race team included Travis Brown (top 10 NORBA), Don Myrah and Josh Ivey. The Saturn team is a pretty powerful road squad for 1994.
WThe 1995 catalog is almost more a a magazine than a catalog. It is about 85 pages of pretty dense information plus a 23 page accessory insert. Buzzwords for 1995 include Zero Excess (ZX) which eliminates extra weight to make a lighter stronger frame. The aluminum bonding process becomes Advanced Bonding Technology (ABT) with Optimum Size (OS) tubing. The steel bikes feature a sequential welding series to reduce warpage and is done by one person. That person stamps their initials into the bottom bracket beside the serial number.
The Y bike finally makes it into regular production. The frame is a Unified Rear Triangle (URT) design that is supposed to isolate the chain influence on the suspension since both the chainrings and rear cassette are on the same side of the pivot. It does solve this problem but becomes inactive when the rider stands. Two models are offered the Y33 (XTR, Rock Shox Judy SL, Fox rear shock, 24.5 pounds) and Y22 (Shimano Deore XT, Rock Shox Judy XC-L, Grip Shift 800, 25.75 pounds). The 9200 continues on with the old STS design with Deore LX parts and the Trek Mogul fork.
The OCLV hard tail bikes include the 9900 Team (XTR, Judy SL, White Industries hubs, OCLV bar ends, 23.0 pounds), 9800SHX (XT/LX parts, Judy XC-L, Tioga clip less pedals, 23.3 pounds) and 9800 (same as 9800SHX except with a rigid fork, 21.96 pounds).
There are 2 models with ABT 3 tube carbon construction:8700 (XT/LX, rigid) and 8700 SHX (adds Judy XC-L).
ABT aluminum modes include the 7000 / 7000SHX (STX RC parts with rigid or Quadra fork) and 6500 (rigid, STX).
The steel bike line is topped by the 990 (XT, rigid, amber Tioga tires). 970 / 970SHX (LX/XT, rigid or Quadra), 950 and 930 / 930 SHX. All of these bikes are USA made with True Temper tubing and the signature sequential welding.
The 850, 830 / 830SHX continue to be the entry level off-road models while the town-oriented 820 and 800 are joined by a lower priced 800 Sport model.
The 395 gram VooDoo rim is added to the Single Track Pro and Single Track Comp rims. Tires include the Connection and Big Kahuna (front and rear specific). OCLV bar ends are new as are the System suspension hubs. System components are show in silver, black, blue and violet. The accessory catalog shows Trek branded accessories including car racks, computers, lights and team clothing.
No big news for 1996. The Y line expands to three models: Y33 (XT, Judy SL, V brakes, 24.5 pounds, Statos rear shock), Y22 (LX/XY, Judy XC, cantilever, 25.5 pounds, Fox Alps rear shock) and Y11 (STX RC, Quadra 21R, 26.0 pounds, Fox coil over rear shock). The carbon Y frame is replicated out of aluminum tubing on the entry level ST120 bike. A Y Bike Kit is listed in the retail manual but not in the consumer catalogs. It uses the Judy SL and full Shimano XTR component group with a claimed weight of 23.6 pounds (with embroidered Rocket Boy seat!)All OCLV models now use suspension forks and include the 9900SHX (XT, Judy XC, V brakes, 22.5 pounds), 9800SHX (LX/XT, Judy XC, cantilevers, 23.0 pounds) and 9700SHX (STX RC/LX, Manitou Mach 5).
The three models of ZX ABT bonded aluminum frames are available with or without shocks. Topping the line is the 8500 / 8500SHX (XT, V brakes rigid / Manitou Mach 5), 8000 / 8000SHX (STX RC/LX, cantilever, rigid / Quadra 21R) and 7000 / 7000SHX (STX/ Grip Shift, rigid / Quadra).
USA made steel frames: 990 / 990SHX (XT/X-Ray, cantilever, rigid / Manitou Mach 5), 970 / 970SHX (LX/XT/X-Ray, rigid / Quadra 21R), 950 (STX RC/LX, rigid) and 930 / 930SHX (STX, rigid / Quadra).
The 850 and 830 are both available with or without shocks and the 820, 800 and 800 Sport continue.
The large accessory insert catalog continues with an array of parts accessories and clothing. The rim line includes the new Lobo, Swami/Swami Ceramic and Single Track rims. Also listed are the Bontrager BCX-1/2/3/Red/Blue rims and Spinergy wheels. Tires are the Kahuna (front/rear) and Big Kahuna (front/rear). Bontrager stems (quill and Ahead), Bontrager seats (cut away sides), Bontrager seat posts (Comp and Race Lite), Race Grip, Bar Ends and bars (Comp, Race, Race Lite, Race Ti and Race Ti Lite) are added to the catalog.
Tires are still a mix of black wall and skin walls.
The entire Trek line get a visual overhaul with new graphics. We are starting to get to the point where it is somewhat hard to call these bikes vintage and my interest starts to decline so I am only going to hit some of the high points.
The Y-Five-0 is a top end model with a custom "surf" themed paint and XTR parts. The Y33, Y22 and Y11 are joined by the Y5 and Y3 aluminum main frame full suspension bikes.
The 9800SHX and 9700SHX OCLV carbon bikes continue and the bonded aluminum line is up to the 8500SHX, 8000SHX, 7000SHX, 700, 6500SHX and 6500.
The steel line is down to the 970 SHX, 930 SHX and 930. While the entry level models carry on with the 850SHX, 850, 830SHX, 830, 820, 800 and 800 Sport.
As The Y bike gets an improved frame with more material around the shock mounts (some of the older frames were having issues with the shock mount). The new frame is used on the Y33, Y22 and Y11 while the aluminum framed Y5 and Y3 carry over. The Y Glide and Y Glide Deluxe take the aluminum Y frame and switch to 100mm travel front and rear. Treks first down hill bike is the Pro Issue DH.
The OCLV line has two models, the 9900 which uses a cool two-tone purple/yellow pain scheme and the 9800. The Aluminum frames finally switch to TIG welding from the previous bonded construction. The 8900 is the first hard tail with disc brakes while the other models use V brakes (8500, 8000, 7000, 6500 and 6000). The steel line for 1996 consists of the 950, 930 and 920 (first bike with a rigid fork in the Trek line). The 850 and 830 disappear while the 820, 800 and 800 Sport go forward.
On the road side, the seat tube-less Y Foil debuts.
Icon components becomes the "house brand" and is used on many of the models. Some of the bikes use Bontrager tires with the funky gray side walls.