Trek's Session 88 in the real world

Aug 1, 2008
by Tyler Maine  
Riding the Session 88 has been an all around great experience. I had the pleasure of bike napping one for a few weeks and hit the road with it to various bike parks and riding zones around B.C. The response I got from other riders was unlike anything I've ever experienced with any other bike I've ridden.

Have a look at it in action (4 videos inside):Up in Whistler I ran into Andrew Shandro and his Session 88 and there was a whir about the crowds whenever we passed by other riders. Trek sure has done a good job building the hype behind this bike as the appeal never lowered during the whole trip and Whistler was only the beginning.

Andrew Shandro and his Session 88 FR in action:
Views: 22,909    Faves: 55    Comments: 18


From Whistler it was time to shred some local trails in the Fraser Valley with my friends. Most of whom took the Session 88 away from me and did their worst to abuse the bike into submission. Needless to say the Session 88 faired better than they did. I even had the chance to get our buddy Battlecat to go rip it up and cut some footage from the shore. These guys are pinners and both returned with serious smiles from their rides.

Mike "Kakah" Levy on the Session 88 DH on some trails in the Fraser Valley:
Views: 30,100    Faves: 64    Comments: 43


Battlecat and the Session 88:
Views: 22,497    Faves: 152    Comments: 41



Once I got out of the Fraser Valley it was time to hit up some bike parks. Silver Star was the first destination on my list of places to tee up. Here I traded a few riders so that they could see what Trek had been up to all this time. This also gave me the chance to see what others were riding too.


Off to Panorama Mountain Resort to watch a BC Cup DH race-now here was a curious bunch to expose this bike too. Since the buzz of Trek developing a new DH race bike began a few years ago and now more recently all the pics and rumors of how light they can be built up, well this group was hungry to get to know more. Here I found sponsored riders asking to do rips on the bike (just not on the more popular trails where they might be seen) as well as the weekend warriors. So once again I found myself riding other people's bikes while they bike napped the Session 88. I expect that I'll be seeing a few of the new Trek's on the race circuit next season.

Picture by Kenny M

Picture by Kenny M


After the BC Cup race I headed out to Calgary, Alberta to see what was new at Canada Olympic Park and to show the bike at Calgary Cycle as they are one of Trek's top dealers. Lots of parking lot testing out there from the staff and customers. Over at COP it was time to see what the Session was going to be like in the tight trails they have built up. Honestly this was the only place that I felt like I have too much bike under me. I would have preferred a short travel bike with a single crown here, so it wasn't a great testing grounds but still a fun place to play.


Once my Alberta stay was up, it was time to take the Session 88 to what I consider the ultimate testing ground for DH bikes-Mount 7 in Golden B.C. Here is where bikes great beat down and broken by the trails that provide a constant thumping on them. I rode some sick steeps (walked others),let the bike go to see what that back end really felt like and overall really enjoyed the trails up there. The Session 88 took on Mount 7 and in my eyes it passed the test.


Pros:

After getting to ride the Trek Session 88 DH at various riding areas and in a variety of conditions, and talking to SO MANY curious on lookers and riders, I have this to say about the set up. This bike pedals on par with some of the best out there, I kept coming back to that one detail when people asked what I thought of it-"It pedals great!" was always my reply. The way that all the technology behind this bike comes together, it all leads to one great pedaling bike.

Braking with the ABP (Active Braking Pivot) was good and I never had any issues with feeling over my head going into lots of chatter. The Avid Elixirs that are spec'd on the bike are amazing, so that also lent itself to the overall braking performance. I'd actually like to try this bike with a sub par brake just to see how it performs.

The whole rear end of this bike is nice and stiff. Between the Full Floater, the EVO link and the ABP pivot you've got a rear end that just didn't give in when the riding got burly. I also want to note that the pivots never loosened off either which really was a concern of mine when I first got the bike and saw all the moving parts. I am glad to be wrong in this case.

Cons:

The good news is that all my negatives are items that are spec'd on the bike and not anything that truly inhibited the bikes overall performance. The Bontrager pedals may look really cool as they are white, but it ended there. They are WAY TOO big for flat pedals and most people that got to ride on them hit the ground, a stump or numerous rocks as there were several pins missing when I got them back. I personally swapped out the pedals for my own and might have hit 2 items during the duration I was on the bike.

Oddly enough my other two complaints are also contact points. The Big Earl tires are nice all around set ups, but at this price I personally believe Trek should step outside their own in house company and spec the bike with a proper after market DH tire. The other item was the Bontrager seat - it hurt my ass to sit on that seat. Yes I know they are DH bikes and you should stand up when you are riding them, but the reality is that a lot of us sit when we're biking and at no point was that seat comfortable. This is another item that I feel Trek could step out of their in house brands and spec the bike with a proper saddle.


*Action pics by James Healey*

Highlands Bike park in New Hampshire with Trek rider's Andrew Shandro and Cam McCaul:
Views: 28,201    Faves: 401    Comments: 97


The following detailed bike shots were all taken by Sterling Lorence:

E2 head tube

E2 head tube

Curved down tube

Curved down tube

ABP

ABP

Full Floater Area

Full Floater Area


To learn more about the Trek Session 88, please check out all these stories about the technologies behind it:

-https://www.pinkbike.com/news/trek-session-88-launch-2008.html
-https://www.pinkbike.com/news/trek-session-88-details-2008.html


Thanks to:

www.trekbikes.com
Andrew Shandro
Sterling Lorence
battlecat.pinkbike.com
kakah.pinkbike.com
kenny-m.pinkbike.com
James Healey
trek.pinkbike.com
www.skisilverstar.com
www.panoramaresort.com
www.canadaolympicpark.ca

Happy Trails,
-Tyler "Brule" Maine


108 Comments

  • 26 2
 The bike is so sexy! Best loking 2009 bike by far!
  • 5 1
 im likein the frotn veiw of the head tube
  • 3 6
 What is up with the headtube your not gonna see any 1 1/8 forks with a bottom of 1.5? Makes no sense
  • 4 0
 Is it wrong that all I can look at in those vids are the awsome white 40's on those bikes? Oh well, I guess Ill just have to order up a set!
  • 7 0
 actually it does make sense because when you hit a drop most of the pressure is put onto the lower half of the headtube, therefor they can make the bottom one larger and the top skinnier to save weight
  • 0 0
 i like it, the bike, the review, the vids and pic!!! but wat is the song in the thied vid??
  • 1 0
 aconquergood you get a 1.5 reducer and the 1/18 top , it works
  • 11 1
 Sick bike. I saw Nico Vink rippin it in "Todtnau Bikepark". It's a big step forward compared to the old session10. Seems like Trek heared the moan about the heavy bikes Smile

Did you mean "Sterling Lorence"? Wink
  • 6 0
 so..how was it in corners? does the front end sit very high? you already kinda mentioned the bb height. should some angles be more slack? or steeper? when i read the cons, i was expecting something about the bike...not the components, i could care less about what components it has, they arn't new..the bike itself is.
  • 4 0
 Good questions. I got to ride the Session 88 DH for a full day in Whistler as well as on some more familiar home trails, so I'll give you my two cents.

The DH version felt spot-on angle wise. The 64 degree head angle is pretty common these days and for good reason, the bike was super confidence inspiring in the gnar and at speed. Cornering was predictable, and I mean that in a good way, no surprises and the active rear end only aided in finding traction. I liked the Session's seattube setup: when it was lowered down more than usual it was tucked well under you and out of the way, when it was lifted the slack angle would bring it right back to where you would want it at a higher position. As for the front end, it didn't feel to high at all. The Fox fork was set to 8", but could be lowered to 7" to bring it down, and the internal headset helped to keep things low also.

Did I mention it is light?!!
  • 2 1
 gustofwind, I swapped out the stock tires to run what I am used to and like for starters. The medium 88 is longer than a medium V10 by close to 2 inches, so it feels pretty good in the corners. UP at Panorama on Quadzilla was where it really shined for me-so fun and quick in the turns. The 40 up front actually sat pretty low and I raised it a bit in the crowns for a taller ride height, which was still lower than most riders I rode with. Like Kakah mentioned the angles are pretty much spot on and having the seat drop out of the way or raise to a nice pedal friendly height was nice. As for reading the cons and only seeing information about components, that should tell you something-the bike was great!
  • 9 1
 That bike is a great design. I like the 09 bike. I wish I was sponsored....
  • 10 1
 ....or had enough money!
  • 9 1
 Youn know its actually not as expensive as I thought... 4200 for the whole bike is kinda fair^^
  • 3 1
 Is that 4200 pounds or euros? It's $7000 in Canada for the DH version.
  • 0 0
 it's 4200 euro still 1800 euro cheaper than the session 10 but that's a pretty good deal what you get on the 88DH.
  • 1 1
 I talk to Andrew in the chairlift about the pricing of the bikes, and the pricing on trekbikes.com isn't the good one, it will be cheaper, and I rode with him for a day, since he was my coach at the SGC camps, and, DAMN he's got the best lines.. for the time I was able to keep up with him.. he doesn't have to pedal and he's going way faster than me always pedaling... (Rental bikes sucks!)
  • 5 2
 If you ask me I think it looks a bit sluggish at speed and through corners, if you watch bikes like the sunday, socom and even the glory they look nimble and skip over terrain and look a lot quicker. Just my opinion, does look the nuts though but is that enough?
  • 4 0
 Industry rumour has it that a certain Mr Sam Hill will be piloting one of these for Trek in the 2009 season ???

Bike does look really nice, will be interesting to see how it rides.
  • 3 2
 f*cking awesome bike! I love my Stab Supreme but it looks just great and it is 2 kg less Smile ))))
Even though lots of peaople spanking their m....s on technlogy I tested a few bikes and I always say - choose from companies which has experience in DH and it will be great. That's it. I for example exchanged V-10 to ne Kona Stab and I am happy and the best bike I rode was Commencial in Austria.
.....but this bike looks so great that I spank mine on it Smile )))))))
  • 2 0
 just after trek saw that the session 10 model was quite too heavy they desinged this monster but the problem now is that in my country costs $6500 the dh version...too expensive
  • 0 0
 all 09 DH bikes of this caliber are going to be that much... costs for bike have gone up a substantial amount for 09
  • 0 0
 too sad because not everybody has that budget
  • 0 0
 z-man is right. everything is going up. this is pretty much due to the hellacious gas prices these days.
  • 3 0
 when the only cons to a bike are the seat, tires and pedals it must be pretty good
  • 1 19
flag suckafreedmr (Aug 1, 2008 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 or the rider doesn't really know what he's talking about. Why do we never see tyler riding in any PB vids?
  • 5 0
 Maybe because he is busy making all this sweet content and constant updates for you to read? Or maybe he is usually the one doing the filming because he is good at if?
  • 8 0
 suckafreedmr,
Thanks for your concern about me and my riding practices. As noted it's tough to film ones self, so why not take others out to enjoy the fine bikes too and capture them on film? Rest assured I can ride a two wheeler, I just prefer to stay behind the lens and get the content gathered for you to enjoy.
  • 5 0
 suckafreedmr, how about you cite some examples. The fact that you haven't seen him ride means nothing. We haven't seen you ride, so using your logic, your whole statement above is flawed. Try to think before you type...
  • 0 0
 wait so according to one of the videos, same frame different colors (and maybe part spec) make the DH different from the FR Session? Just thought it would be the geometries that made them different. Anyway those bikes are pretty damn sweet nonetheless!
  • 1 0
 The idiot talking about how it looks sluggish in the videos or some bullshit, what the hell? Can someone explain this guys though (or lack thereof) to me? Yeah it looks real slow and sluggish in those videos ahahahahahaha.
  • 0 0
 Why not read the comment properly dumb ass, I said it looks a bit sluggish in comparison to other bikes... - you cant even offer an opinion of your own, only slate other peoples, well done your parents must be proud
  • 4 1
 The new session is a beast
  • 3 0
 very good job, this is what pink bike is for.
  • 3 0
 I wanna work for pinkbike and ride these bikes!!!!!
  • 0 0
 anyone else notice that in the first 2 videos, shandro uses the FR bike for more downhilly stuff and then in the second video, the guy uses the DH one for more freeride stuff.. lol
  • 0 1
 prop me if im wrong but its got alittle bit of a spec domo look i think. it looks like a really racy fast bike too. from the specs of the bike it weights in pretty light compared to most dh bikes. if i had the money i would look into these bikes some more. but i dont have no 7 grand Frown
  • 0 0
 i think the abp is over-rated. it's in essence a modified fsr braking system. and either way, if you hit the bakes under speed, your going to skid, no matter how advanced the the brakes are...
  • 1 0
 Not trying to be a jerk, but abp has nothing to do with locking up the rear wheel, or "skidding" the purpose of abp has to do with utilizing all, or as much or the rear suspension as possible under braking. The biggest notable difference is in braking bumps going into corners. If you lock up your rear break abp allows your suspension to still work. If you rode a session or a remedy, then rode a bike without a version of a floating brake, you would really tell a difference.

And techride....getting the rear wheel on and off is honestly not that bad. It is way easier after you do it.
  • 0 0
 think it was nico vink i saw on one of these at morzine. super silent, really fast and smooth. looked like a great bike. bloody fast though.
  • 2 0
 looks awesome, time to save up!
  • 13 1
 ...or rob a bank Smile
  • 0 0
 Anyone know the soundtrack to the Battlecat vid "going down........."
Oh yeah lovely looking all rounder, head angle looks nice n steep.
  • 0 0
 i have already ridden that bike, nico vinks bike with boxxer, it is so light and pedels great for a DH bike, and the bike is 4300 euros Smile
  • 1 0
 that looks amazing the price is worth every penny but i dont have that many pennies =[[[
  • 1 0
 I saw Shandro riding that beast at Whistler and it looks like it absolutely shreds. Trek just got back in my books.
  • 0 0
 Great looking bike! Too bad about the price though. I'd have to rob a bank and win the lottery a few times to get one. Great job Trek!
  • 1 0
 Looks like all non-XC Bontrager kit is still shite. No surprise there then.
  • 0 0
 est. price?? will there be more exspenciv set ups and cheaper set ups?
looks amazing i cant wait till they come out
  • 2 0
 Sweet ! tup
  • 1 0
 i will order it in the next 3 weeks!
  • 1 0
 hey! what the soundtrack of battlecat movie ??
  • 0 0
 Thats the million dollar question........ anyone know ?
  • 0 0
 Yeah, I want to know too, that song was as bad ass as the bike! Trek is the company to watch for sure.
  • 0 0
 Kinda sounded like the Hilltop Hoods, but definately don't quote me on that.
  • 0 0
 cheers will check it out..... and download
  • 1 0
 Its Hilltop Hoods - The Hard Road, but I think they used a remix or actually slightly mixed it on their own.
  • 0 0
 cheers nightfox one of their tunes used used in NWD
  • 4 7
 e2 headset= dumb. the only thing i see with the conception of this half-assed 1.5 headset is more headaches when it comes to changing out headsets and forks. why create another standard when there's two proven standards in use already? god dammit trek...
  • 4 0
 I'd have to disagree, whatsabike. The headset itself will come with the frame when you purchase it so you'll be covered that way, as well as being available to bike shops. The Cane Creek job that they are using though is very nice, I've been running one on my Remedy for awhile now with zero issues, as you would expect with something so simple.

Remember that you can use regular 1.125 steerer tubed forks in any bike that as an E2 headtube, I don't see a disadvantage there! Or you can run a E2 type fork and benefit from a stiffer front end without having to pick from the limited selection of 1.5 stems, which has bitten me in the ass many miles from him when I did need a 1.5 stem.

A win-win situation?
  • 1 0
 I'm always amazed by how shandro is fluid and talented, your like god!
  • 1 0
 Try citizen cope, similar sound was also in Seasons
  • 0 0
 you would think shandro would know the difference between the FR and the DH models
  • 0 0
 THE TUNE YOU LOOKING FOR IS...... HILLTOP HOODS, HARD ROAD RESTRUNG......ENJOY N CHEERS NIGHTFOX
  • 0 0
 word. I just downloaded the discography and the Restrung album. if anyone wants a iMix, let me know info@oneghost.com
  • 2 1
 id rather ride that bike than fuck my girlfriend thats how sick it is
  • 0 0
 man, just by a California king size bed, so you have room for your bike and your girl.
  • 0 0
 such a awsum bike! gd job rockshox nd fox jumped on the band wagon to make steerer tubes to fit the head tube
  • 1 0
 i was riding with shandro this week. the bike is even better in person
  • 0 0
 ITS TIMES LIKE THESE THAT I LOVE THE FACT IM A CYCLE MECHANIC... TRADE SALES ARE SWEET
  • 0 0
 same i would have to sell everything i own and still be a couple grand short. best trek bike by far!!
  • 0 0
 is it 4500 dollars or 4500GBP
  • 1 1
 that is my fav bike!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 2 2
 i think im gonna sell my glory for one of these
  • 2 2
 don't do it bro! Glory's waaaay better this Trek looks nice, but on the track, the Glory's way better
  • 1 1
 thanx sup3rc0w for the link Smile
  • 0 0
 them new avids luk lush nd the bike luks bomb proof
  • 0 0
 i think i'm gonna sell my demo for this bike Smile
  • 0 0
 I ordered one 2 month ago, waiting for it to arriveSmile
  • 0 0
 yep...most biks are predicted toi go up by 15-20% this year
  • 0 0
 It has an excellent design and engineering
  • 1 0
 wich rides McCaul ...
  • 0 0
 non of them. He rides prototype dedicated only for slopestyle. They do not sell it. A pitty though.
  • 1 0
 can i have it?!?
  • 0 0
 does that bike ride as good as it looks, fuck it looks so nice
  • 0 0
 i need one right now. looks really nice.
  • 0 0
 wow you dont know what i would do just to ride one of these!
  • 0 0
 so nice!
anyone know what song it is in the battlecat vid?
  • 0 0
 any one know the frame weight?
  • 0 0
 I can see the ABP making taking wheels off a pain in the ass...
  • 1 2
 i think that thos frame is too longer
  • 1 4
 As said before the Session line of bikes from Trek are some of the best bikes ever. I love my Session 10 and i would love to have the 88 also
  • 0 1
 I love Highland Bike Park, no matter what bike is shredding it!
  • 0 1
 the Trek session 77 looks better just thats a FR bike
  • 0 0
 Man I want one of those!
  • 0 0
 im sold.
  • 0 0
 ball much?
  • 2 1
 Looks very nice.
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