Red Bull Rampage 2013: Brandon Semenuk's Trek Session Park

Oct 10, 2013
by Mike Kazimer  
 
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Red Bull Rampage, Utah
Brandon Semenuk's
Trek Session Park

WORDS Mike Kazimer
PHOTOS Nathan Hughes

After winning this year's Red Bull Joyride contest, there's no doubt Brandon Semenuk would like to finish his season with a win at the Red Bull Rampage, a win that would make him the first repeat champion in the event's history (Semenuk's Rampage win was in 2008). He'll be tackling the steep desert terrain aboard a pre-production version of Trek's Session Park, a bike that shares similarities to the regular Session, but gets shorter chainstays and slightly less travel. These geometry changes make for a bike that's more nimble and maneuverable while still being able to handle big hits, traits that should make it ideal for the trick-filled, technical line Brandon has planned out. The frame uses Trek's OCLV carbon for the front triangle, with aluminum seat and chainstays in the rear. There are versions of the frame that use carbon seatstays as well, but it's likely that the decision was made to go with aluminum stays for the Red Bull Rampage due to the massive forces the bike will be enduring.
Trek Session Park Details
• Rear wheel travel: 190mm / 7.5"
• Wheel size: 26"
• 420mm chainstays
• OCLV frame / aluminum seat and chainstays
• Full floater suspension design with ABP
• Frame only: $4499.99 USD

Suspension:
Being on RockShox's BlackBox program has its perks, the biggest one being the ability to have custom tuned suspension, plus suspension technology that isn't yet available to the public. Brandon Semenuk's Vivid Air R2C rear shock is set up and ready to be launched into the stratosphere, with more air pressure than usual and a tune to prevent it from bottoming on harsh landings. Up front, the Boxxer fork has a Charger damper, technology shared with RockShox's Pike fork, but is still BlackBox only on the Boxxer. The fork has been lowered down to 190mm to match the Session Park's rear travel.


Drivetrain:
A SRAM's 36T X-Sync chainring is mounted to a set of Truvativ XO cranks, with a 10 speed cassette and SRAM's prototype DH derailleur in the rear. The derailleur uses the same parallelogram shape as an XX1, but in a shorter caged, more compact package. Although SRAM's shaped chain rings offer excellent chain retention, it's not surprising to see an MRP G3 chain retention system in place. A thirty foot drop is definitely going to bounce a chain more than your average trail ride, and with the amount of exposure and no-fall zones at the Red Bull Rampage there's certainly no good spot to lose a chain.


Components:
Staying true to his BC roots, Semenuk will be riding with Whistler-based Chromag's grips, Scarab pedals, and his pro-model Overture saddle. Handlebar and stem duties are taken care of by Truvativ, with a Boobar handlebar and Holzfeller direct mount stem. Avid's Code brakes remain some of the most powerful stoppers available, which will come in handy when things get wild on the course's steep, dusty chutes. Bontrager rims are shod with a 2.5" Maxxis Minion DHF in the front and a 2.4" DHR in the rear, a well proven combination for rowdy terrain.

Semenuk stomped his huge transfer cliff drop in practice. It was breathtaking to watch shoot. one of the gnarliest lines ever
  Can Brandon Semenuk get a clean run in this year and take the top spot at Red Bull Rampage? We'll find out on Sunday.


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143 Comments

  • + 182
 Looks like a hyper prototype
  • + 174
 Looks like a session, oh wait!
  • - 191
flag bigboybmxlover95 (Oct 10, 2013 at 19:01) (Below Threshold)
 it is a session
  • + 23
 Snap!! You beat me to it.
  • + 62
 looks like a kona
  • + 88
 Looks like a bicycle.. A very snazzy bicycle that I would like very much...
  • + 22
 @bigwheels29er judging by your user name this bike would not fit the part.....
  • + 88
 I'm not a 29er snob. I prefer 29ers for the riding i do, but if i had to get a downhill or trail bike, it would be a 26. There is no silver bullet wheel size. different wheels for different riding situations in my opinion.
  • - 6
flag antidote (Oct 10, 2013 at 19:15) (Below Threshold)
 Hyper copies Trek
  • + 14
 26 for life!
  • + 6
 alexshirley, you win the internet for today.
  • + 19
 Why the f*ck would a frame cost almost 5000 $$ that's absurd the only difference is that is all back (looks awesome) and that the rear end is not even carbon. it should be less not more.

with that said i am rooting for him because sadly the CLAW is out Frown
  • + 13
 Noooo the difference is less rear wheel travel and better geo for jumping. But l agree, the price is absurd
  • + 2
 Oh that makes sense. but yeah that price ha okay. Razz
  • + 3
 Hyper got robbed!
  • + 5
 26" for the win!!!!!
  • - 1
 hey suspension gurus. is this considered a horst link, the same suspension setup on my '10 spesh fsr xc? maybe the claw will chime in and also accept my offer to drink a shitload of beer in utah.
  • + 1
 Wait, the claw is out!?
  • + 1
 yar, he's outta rampage. something with his back.
  • - 4
flag Quesadilla34 (Oct 10, 2013 at 21:33) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah i just went and read all that, poop. Y are they even having rampage then, i mean comeon, he really is the hardest pushing rider, and for that matter, a true freerider, semenuk... Eh, slopestyle boy, still freakin gnarly, but claw makes rampage rampage, rooting gor zink then!
  • + 0
 Looks like a p3
  • + 5
 Lower quantities produced usually leads to a higher price tag. Give it a few years of production and hopefully the price will drop.
  • + 1
 especially carbon. Probably made new molds for it.
  • + 2
 @rocky-mtn-gman

i am no guru but this is no horst link like spesh. you have a horst link when there is a four bar linkage especially a pivot before the rear axle on the lower chainstays...trek is a floatersystem. you can look it up.
  • + 1
 Kooks like a lona. Big Grin
  • + 1
 Not a horst link. Its essentially a single pivot with a fancy linkage/brake isolator combination. It is however about as close as you can get to a horst link, without actually being a horst link. Very little to choose between the two designs i reckon.
  • + 1
 He only gets 7.5 inch in the rear?
  • + 0
 Gabriel - its a 4 bar suspension variation, just like the fsr is a 4 bar suspension variation, so of course it looks similar. There are basically three types of suspension systems, VPP, single pivot, and four bar. All can be very good and very bad. Its when the pivot locations are correctly placed that you get really good bikes.
  • + 1
 It is an awesome looking bike, your right about that.
  • + 2
 But, (and I may be being pedantic here), four bar is a kind of VPP, which stands for virtual pivot point. There's two kinds of systems really; Single pivots where the axle is locked to a single curvature, and virtual where the pivot lies in an imaginary plane - and usually moves about. Faux bar is a single pivot with a linkage actuated shock. Because the split pivot does not lie between the axle and the pivot point (it's at the position of the axle), the wheel follows the same curvature as a single pivot. The only advantage it can offer is in braking performance - not suspension kinematics (in theory at least).
  • + 0
 Hatton - No, its a single pivot. With a linkage and brake isolator.

VPP and Four Bar are essentially the same thing. FSR is basically a VPP with a very long lower link. So long infact, they perform very much (although not exactly) like a single pivot with a linkage and brake isolator, hence my "little to choose between them" comment.

Bluechair84 seems to get it.
  • + 2
 just read this guys before we all correct each other a 1000 times. little further down all variations are explained.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horst_link#Rear_suspension
  • + 0
 when are people going to realize most bikes look similar... "looks like a hyper" "looks like a demo"... looks like a f*cking bicycle.
  • + 1
 Its a community joke.
  • + 2
 looks like a chain guide
  • + 2
 You all mean it looks like a Kona which in turn was a Turner Afterburner, people using forums these days are to young to know what happened back in the day, I know and Im still in my late 20's. Everyone else should think before they comment haha
  • + 98
 Bike company: "Carbon is stronger! Carbon is stronger!"

Semenuk: "I'm gonna huck this off a big effing cliff at Rampage."

Bike company: "Someone dust off the TIG welder..."
  • + 6
 60% or more of the frame is carbon.. (Front triangle) most bikes that take a lot of hits from little rocks that will chip away use aluminum because the carbon will fray. Carbon is stronger and stiffer, it just doesn't take little hits as well.
  • + 12
 Stronger and stiffer from big impact tests but doesn't take little rock chips as well as AL *
  • - 6
flag ryancoonya (Oct 10, 2013 at 19:49) (Below Threshold)
 Stronger.. stiffer... ya ya. still a funny comment!
  • - 4
flag JonnyWaWa (Oct 10, 2013 at 20:45) (Below Threshold)
 Actually, the faster carbon gets impacted on, the weaker it is and on the contrary the slower the rate of the impact, the carbon can take a greater load. With aluminum it doesn't matter what rate the impact is occurring for it will always hold the same load. Since he will "huck off this big effing cliff" they put aluminum in there for the big hits.
  • + 3
 Strain rate dependence of any material is largely irrelevant except in case of direct impact to that material, where rates of stress propagation are affected by material damping properties. It is not a relevant concern on a bike frame except for crash damage, but might be for components that take direct rock impacts like rims. Anyway I couldn't care less about the bike, but that photo of the cliff transfer still blows my mind every time I see it.
  • + 1
 She said she likes it stiffer.
  • + 1
 Well, look at yetis luck with some of their swingarms. trek could hit the same pothole. Even Santa cruz outsourced the rear triangle of the V10 cause they didn't feel confident designing the small little chain and seat stays (comparatively) to handle the direct impact of axle and stays to flat ground. A failure at rampage would be catastrophic- although no one would be able to reproduce such an impact on their own, save throwing the bike in front of a bus...
  • + 0
 oh and bearclaw isn't allowed to ride a carbon demo at all
  • + 1
 yeah for all we know those stays are seriously thick, those hit's are the like of NOTHING anybody but a couple dozen people in the world can do on a bike....
  • + 1
 You can hit it pretty darn hard on a simple missed jump and you would not have pro mechanics checking it for damage for your next ride.
  • + 1
 They designed and machined the aluminum tools in house to make the molds. They don't build their carbon bikes in house (like a lot of other manufacturers) and obliviously contracted out (to enve components I believe) to build from their molds at first. I dunno if they still make them. Might be overseas factory now. No clue.
  • + 1
 Trek makes there highest end carbon in house through their advanced composites lab. They probably made semenuks frame. Hell the park frame is probably made in wisconsin, thus the price.
  • + 37
 Frame only: $4499.99 USD holy crap.
  • + 16
 Check out my ad on Craig's List! Left kidney for sale... asking $449.99 USD!
  • + 0
 hahah! tup
  • + 6
 Yes, but it includes a podium girl.
  • + 12
 @bigwheels29er: too bad after losing that kidney you still need 4000!
  • + 2
 Unless he has ten kidneys? No wait... 11.
  • + 2
 Gwin's selling one of his too!
  • + 0
 That's were the other kidney comes in...
  • + 20
 once you go black you dont go back
  • - 14
flag panzer103 (Oct 10, 2013 at 19:26) (Below Threshold)
 Black is Boring
  • + 6
 you're stupid.
  • + 4
 call it stealth ninja or murdered out, it just works
  • + 15
 Sorry but 8 inches is 203mm, not 190mm. So its 7.4 inches
  • + 10
 Good catch. Fixed.
  • - 2
 You're Welcome, always looking for small details Big Grin and being a Giant glory lover, I know the 8.0 Maestro is 203mm, so I go emidiatly to a messeure converter to check.
  • + 6
 Sad......
  • + 14
 420mm chainstays, ha....too funny
  • + 1
 i don't get it.
  • + 6
 Google 4/20 then bro....
  • + 13
 the stoner trolls are harmless
  • + 10
 Rockshox must be doing something right, seeing that vivid on quite a few bikes this year!
  • - 2
 Thats what I was thinking. You don't see them on fox suspension thats for sure!
  • + 7
 The terms "sponsorship" and "marketing" wants to explain itself to you guys. In other words, SRAM has been doing its marketing [pretty damn] right.
  • + 3
 I have the vivid air and boxxer world cup available to the public and I'll never run anything else as long as they keep making it.
  • + 2
 I just picked up a 2014 Vivid coil and it is great also. Apparently its the first coil shock with a negative spring. Very active in the beginning stroke. Lovin the RS stuff right now.
  • + 4
 ^ same here. running vivid air. it's legit. no one seems to talk about it, but it's really a phenomenal shock.
  • + 2
 Ran a vivid air on my bottlerocket for awhile, absolutely loved it. Want to get my hands on the new Pike, hear it feels good.
  • + 1
 Yeh Camoguy1, those new pikes are shweeeeeet! The benchmark right now for the category IMO.
  • + 1
 Coil with a negative spring??? Is this true? Where would this negative spring be? Somewhere behind the main piston maybe? Someone explain please.
  • + 1
 Aha! Thanks for the link camoguy.

Just under the piston head as i thought. These have been around for many years, we used to call them "top out springs". Admittedly this is the first time ive ever seen one in a rear shock. Thing is tho, this will only have any effect when the shock is at full extension. so basically, when you are in the air. I have never really had a problem with stiction when landing a jump, the forces involved are way too high for stiction to be an issue. With the wheels on the ground your shock will already be compressed, making this "negative spring" totally pointless if you are hunting for more traction in corners. This is basically a top out spring and just a top out spring. No added grip whatsoever...but with added Sram marketing bull...
  • + 1
 Oh.... never thought of that. Feels good in the parking lot.
I would like to see the technology behind "rapid recovery" apparently allowing the beginning stroke rebound to be set slower and magically speeding up under successive hits to reduce pack up.
As I replaced a Vivid 5.1 with this Vivid R2C I can say that with the beginning stroke rebound set much slower it performs the same ,with regard to pack up, in repeated hits while having a very dampened feeling (less feedback in the back end).
  • + 1
 As far as I can tell (and I must point out that I have never used the system, nor read a huge amount about it, so I'm kinda guessing here....) but yeh, as far as I can tell RapidRecoverySystem is simply a faster than normal end stroke rebound (beginning? end? not sure which is which when referring to rebound. By end stroke here I mean when the shock is compressed, using most of its avaliable travel) balanced out by a slower than normal beginning stroke rebound, and now apparently a top out spring. This means the shock will drop your wheel into ruts faster, without flinging you over the bars when popping off a lip. So basically behind all their marketing gumph and pseudonyms, it seems to me what they have actually done is stuck in a top out spring and sped the rebound up a couple of clicks... A year of R&D time well spent there?
  • + 1
 The end stroke rebound is independently adjustable from the beginning stroke rebound. I do like the end stroke rebound slow for big hits to not buck you OTB. The Improvement I think is in the beginning stroke where you can set is slower but it speeds up during successive hits therefore not packing up the initial travel.
Also I just noticed that the negative spring actually is effective over about 30% of the shock stroke. The main spring actually preloads the negative spring when extended, not just in contact when it is topped out. Same technology just longer spring.
Like you said, probably more marketing than technology. I'd like to have some SRAM mechanic weigh in an save their reputation with a more technical answer. But for now, I'll say its a good shock, even without kashima. Smile
  • + 1
 ah right. spring doesn't look that long in the pic i saw, but that was of the air shock. Did think it would be more effective if the counter measure spring was long enough to stay engaged for about 50% of the travel. allowing 30% sag and then an effectively softer main spring rate for the next 20%. It is an interesting idea, and yeh I too would like a Sram technician to wade in with a detailed explanation. Especially in regard to how exactly this spring reduces seal friction and breakaway force. As far as i can tell it will only really affect the spring rate of the shock, definately making the shock feel softer in its initial stroke, but not really any less stictiony. Im not sure about the whole speeding up the rebound under successive hits thing. Feel like that would make for a very unpredictable feeling bike, especially if you were to hit a jump with a rutty take off or something. I'm in no way saying its a bad shock, I have heard many good things about them, I just like to find out exactly whats going on inside these things.
  • + 10
 Gwin would love it... but it have shorter chainstay
  • + 5
 WOWZERS I JUST MADE A MESS OF MY TROUSERS
  • + 1
 Wow! That's a stunning bit of kit! Thing is though, Why only 7.5" rear travel when Pilgrim, Fairclough, Bizet ect are running 210mm? I don't like riding Fort Bill on my 180mm so god knows how Utah will treat a 190mm! Also, i'm intrigued as to what this "prototype DH rear mech" Will be like! After all, didn't they just bring out that new 11 speed one? Even so, I can't wait to see this bad boy in action!
  • + 3
 Thanks PB for showing these custom rigs. I love to see what the pros are rockin!
  • + 4
 look at that derailleur, super short.
  • + 3
 Am I the only one that wants to know the cassette he's running? That's the first thing I saw! It looks like an 11-25...
  • + 2
 420 mm chainstays and calling it "Park"... Way to show Spesh and Gwin what went wrong this year? Wink
  • + 1
 Actually the Wilson and the 2014 GT have super short stays as well. I'd say they call it "Park" due to the lower travel.
  • + 1
 keep the rig pics join, we want to see them all, what rig and rider is gonna take the win, Semenuk? McCaul? Sorge? !!!!! my mind is racing!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Just a question Why half of the bike of the rampage are set up with "air suspension"? Can it handle bigger drop/jump than a coil suspension?
  • + 4
 just makes the bike lighter by almost 500g...so it is more flickable and costs less energy to handle...also an air shock tents to be more progressiv...so extra boost on the jumps...and of course with air you can set it up exactly for your weight. coil shocks are better for chatter, fast paced raced etc.
  • + 4
 2 words, BAD ASS...
  • + 2
 At a glance I thought it had a totem... got really excited for mountain whips.. Frown
  • + 1
 Wonder how long it took for them to peel Semenuk of this bike to take the pics... I know I for sure wouldn't want to stop riding it!
  • + 4
 #bikeporn
  • + 1
 Just saw the 'Claw', Kyle Norbraten, and Kurt Sorge all at dinner in Virgin!! Trying to upload some photos now.
  • + 2
 Kinda hope he wins. He's pretty cool.
  • + 1
 Well he sure as he'll didnt use it very well today but when he was on the bike it was sick!
  • + 1
 Might as well name it the 420 Session. This is one mean looking bike that will take you to that higher level of mtbiking.
  • + 1
 5.5K for "frame only"?

That includes the unlimited lifetime warranty with it right... right?
  • + 1
 My ideal bike, just not my ideal price range.

Seriously though, $4500 for a park frame?
  • + 2
 Hummm....no Bontrager tires...only wheels. Nice bike. Good luck Brandon
  • + 2
 Bike looks absolutely amazing. I'm beginning to think Semenuk likes black.
  • + 1
 What wheels is he running? looks like a big earl rim for sure on the back but the front rim doesnt have anything on it
  • + 0
 Ok ok, the bike looks good and do it's work well but a Frame only: $4499.99 USD price tag for an Asian made???
  • + 1
 what i wanna know is how they got that bike to stand up on its own...
  • + 1
 I bet that thing is tits to ride
  • + 1
 if you look close enough ,you'll see it looks like a trek session.
  • + 1
 If h'es a Trek rider how come he uses Maxxis tyres and not Bontrager?
  • + 0
 Hope hubs on his wheelset too. That's five Rampage riders on Hope goodies.
  • - 1
 They messed up the first few sentences. Brandon did not win last year. Kurt Sorge won. Brandon won the rampage before that. Get it straight pinkbike.
  • + 4
 What they said is actually correct - if Brandon wins this year, he'll be the first REPEAT winner (not back to back), as nobody has ever won twice before.
  • + 1
 Just curious, is his rear rotor bigger than the front rotor?
  • + 1
 looks like a very badass bike that i want
  • + 2
 Why no Chromag OSX? Why?
  • + 2
 30 psi in those minions?
  • + 1
 Those Hope rotors and Boxxers are sick! Very nice!
  • + 2
 thats Avid HSX rotors.
  • + 1
 Ah, you are correct sir. Good eye.
  • + 1
 Just curious, is his rear rotor bigger than the front?
  • + 1
 It only rides PARK!!
  • + 1
 no press fit BB? kool
  • + 1
 This bike is so sexy...
  • + 0
 umm frame only $4500? wtf trek, WTF
  • + 1
 I call it- BLACK MAGIC!
  • + 1
 fUCKING RAD!
  • + 1
 no sensus grips?
  • + 1
 He's not sponsored by Sensus, and he's pretty much set for life without being sponsored by them.
  • + 0
 Cam's bike is sexier IMHO...
  • + 1
 looks like a session
  • + 1
 winner!
  • - 3
 What about Norb's bike?
  • + 18
 Norbs got robbed!
Someone stole his bike Wink
  • - 8
flag JDaniher (Oct 10, 2013 at 19:21) (Below Threshold)
 DID SOMEONE ACCTUALLY STEAL HIS BIKE!?!?!?!?
  • - 3
 Looks like a Norco
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