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:
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:
Battlecat and the Session 88:
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
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
:The following detailed bike shots were all taken by Sterling Lorence
E2 head tube
Curved down tube
Full Floater Area
To learn more about the Trek Session 88, please check out all these stories about the technologies behind it:
Sterling Lorencebattlecat.pinkbike.com kakah.pinkbike.com kenny-m.pinkbike.com
James Healeytrek.pinkbike.com www.skisilverstar.com www.panoramaresort.com www.canadaolympicpark.ca
-Tyler "Brule" Maine