Trek's New XC Race Bike Breaks Cover at Mont-Sainte-Anne World Champs

Sep 1, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  
Trek XC prototype

Earlier this season Jolanda Neff was spotted racing aboard a bike with the top tube obscured by a cloth wrap. That fabric was removed for World Champs in Monte-Sainte-Anne, and we were able to get a closer look at Evie Richards' race bike. Trek aren't releasing any details at the moment, but by the looks of things this bike could take the spot previously occupied by the Top Fuel. Remember, the Top Fuel saw its travel increased from 100 to 115mm this year, effectively morphing it into more of a lightweight trail bike.

Trek XC prototype

That leaves a hole in Trek's lineup for a dedicated XC race machine that's not a hardtail, and this new bike looks like it could fit the bill. XC courses are getting more and more technical, but light weight and efficiency are still top priorities - a bike with just enough rear travel to take the edge off bigger hits makes sense. Plus, it looks like this frame design leaves room for two water bottles inside the front triangle, perfect for all those thirsty marathon racers.

The top tube curves over the suspension unit, which is driven by the seatstays. There is a pivot above the bottom bracket, but there's no pivot at the rear of the bike - it's likely that the carbon stays can flex enough to make this design possible. I'd guess that the travel amount is somewhere in the 60-80mm range, based on the amount of stanchion showing. There's also what's appears to be a remote lock-out to turn the bike into a hardtail when necessary.

It's undoubtedly designed for the cross-country crowd, but I do wonder if this design could be adapted for use in the slopestyle world. Remember Aaron Chase's wacky Cannondale slope bike back in 2008, the one that used a Lefty as a top tube?


130 Comments

  • 338 17
 It's called the Trek Fleshlight
  • 69 5
 Gives a whole new meaning to having a replica of your favorite athlete.
  • 33 5
 @Ron-C: Just have to hope you've got enough inches to get full travel.
  • 20 5
 @Clarkeh: don't worry if you don't, next years will have thru-shaft with no knock block
  • 20 3
 No "helmet", no ride!
  • 8 4
 It's the Trek Super Caliber and it's 60mm rear travel
  • 6 4
 Some marketing from our friends at Fleshlight. Seems like Trek can reuse this marketing. lol 5 EASY REASONS Simulate the feel of real fun. Be fully body-safe, and safe to user over and over again Provide variety - men are going to want to experiment! Be very easy to clean and durable Be discreet and portable.
  • 5 6
 how do you like them black stanchion.
  • 3 0
 Very Star Trek , though
  • 6 1
 @chyu: There are some models spec'd with Kashima coat BTW
  • 16 3
 @MrDiamondDave: I've heard once you throw a leg over the black one you won't feel Kashima is better anymore.
  • 2 1
 Ding ding Ding ! We have a winner here !
  • 3 2
 But, when you crash, it will still be a helmet in the bush.
  • 3 3
 I didn't know that adding 5mm of travel on my XC bike turns it into a trail bike.
#moredowncountrybsht.
  • 3 1
 @endurocat: top fuel was 100mm and now its 115mm now.... so **15mm**

Not saying its a trail bike but its more than 5mm

and to stay in line to all the other comments, who wouldn't want a extra 15mm.
  • 1 0
 @501LEVI: Then , don t call it a trail bike.
  • 44 1
 Just when you thought everyone was moving away from Proprietary shocks, Trek comes along and just slaps everyone in the face with this
  • 16 0
 surprisedpikachu.jpeg
  • 17 1
 The ultimate question is why and what's the value proposition? Has to be primarily weight they're focusing on, because it looks primarily reliant on the shock shaft for rigidity by omitting a swing link.
  • 23 21
 Yeah what I see is:
Faster shock wear
So much work to service your shock / add spacers
Potentially poor performance from the shock due to the side loading forces on the shock
  • 14 3
 Back in them dark days of the 90's, this style of suspension was one of the first off the ground. Think Poo...er, Proflex, early Spec's, and AMP Research B2 and the like. Then they found out that all those side stresses aren't a good thing for a shock and wouldn't you know it...swing links came along to the party.
  • 4 0
 @handynzl: Proflex quickly realized this though and their later models all had significantly beefed up swing arms; the "seat stays" were more technically a shock mount than structural component on the revised frames. The very first Proflex's though with those thin chain stays... terrible, but so were most bikes from that period.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: Yep - they sure were. But they were all starting from the point of the standard double diamond frame and trying to keep it looking that way. Except Trek who made that pogo stick suspension bike...that never looked like it would work. Then they made the Y-bikes... Hmmm...I'm detecting a trend here....
  • 5 0
 Recon till we get an independent review we should hold on perceived riding performance. Suspension and frame construction has come a long way since those dark days when every bicycle manufacturer was shooting from the hip hoping to find the holy grail of suspension design.
  • 4 1
 @handynzl: and AMP B3, Mantis, Rockymountain.

BUT... the shock looks to be a through shaft, since the shock is connected on both ends to the main frame, so side-to-side movement shouldn't be a problem, or more problematic than "tradicional" shocks and shock mount
  • 1 2
 @handynzl: our Czech Brand RaceBike did it too, like 6years ago, it worked, but rigidity of this system was nearly zero and if you rode more agresively in the berms or ruts, your back tire grinded seatstays...
www.bazos.cz/img/1/596/106710596.jpg
  • 1 1
 You sir hit the nail on the head. From the consumer’s perspective, proprietary components likely equate to increased cost and shorter long-term product support. Considering there are other similar flex-based rear suspension designs, I think this bike would need to offer a LOT of performance to make-up for the obvious constraints.
  • 1 1
 But it looks cool so it'll sell to racer bros.
  • 22 7
 I always find it funny reading the comments from all the pinkbike "engineers". You guys bashing this design have no clue what your talking about, as usual.
  • 4 0
 I actually think it's a shock inside the front of the arm with the bolt from below being the eyelet of the shock. The rear is just a sanction mounted to the frame at the rear screw. This way during compression the rear sanction acts as a guide and as it's not in compression shouldn't struggle with being side loaded and would naturally keep everything in line. The shock extends as force is released meaning that lateral force doesn't matter. Although they obviously want to take some stiffness from the shock itself otherwise they wouldn't have the shock body covered in material. The sanction of the shock does have a pretty massive width to stroke ratio so would be capable of taking it
  • 7 2
 @radrider: While that is true, it is also true that Trek has a long history of proprietary gimmicks that are different for the sake of being different with no real advantage for the customer.

Asking "what is it good for" seems totally fine, considering that you can already buy extremely light, extremely well-performing conventional full-suss frames from the likes of Scott and Specialized.
  • 9 13
flag TheSlayer99 (Sep 2, 2019 at 8:58) (Below Threshold)
 @radrider: I always find it funny reading the comments from people bashing Pinkbike “engineers”. Those people have even less idea what they are talking about and bash them to cover for their complete lack of knowledge, as usual.
  • 1 0
 @Lookinforit: nope, the through shaft won't be affected be side loads in this set up. Normal shock each end is a separate piece so flexing in the center as the shock goes through it travel.
  • 8 15
flag radrider (Sep 2, 2019 at 9:08) (Below Threshold)
 @TheSlayer99: And what is your experience mr.mellenial? I've spent hundreds of hours in solidworks working on suspension designs, and have finished the design proposal after 3 years of work, for a fully floating axle path that I'm in the works of funding with money from my own business. Glad you chimed in.
  • 2 0
 @Tristanssid: this guy is right^

Linear bearings
  • 1 1
 @Jamminator There is a pivot at the chainstay/ seattube above BB
  • 13 1
 @HairyLegs: yolanda neff has ridden it to the the top of the UCI points list, so you don't really need a review to know it works.
  • 8 3
 @clink83: exactly. It's like PB think that Trek lacks engineers with experience or any riders who are capable of giving feedback.
  • 4 1
 TREK is claiming for the XX1 AXS build, in a size large to be Sub 19 LBS with tubes. so sub 18 tubeless. In my experience Trek's claimed weights are pretty spot on. So there is your reason to buy it. Softens things out to be more efficient over terrain, and weighs nearly the same as a Hardtail.
  • 3 1
 @Ttimer: geezus, Specialized is the king of gimmicks and propietary parts that are obsolete after a season.
  • 1 1
 @Tristanssid: I think you're probably right. The back acts like the sliding links in switch infinity or r3act, and you can see the lower shock bolt underneath. Whether it's any good is another question entirely...
  • 2 2
 @guber: Frame weight on the Trek is 1933g in medium, the Spark is 1779g (in small i believe) and the S-works Epic is 2020g in medium. All of them are more than 1kg heavier than a hardtail. For instance, the S-works hardtail is 760g in medium.
I don't see any reason to buy it.
  • 4 1
 @Ttimer: why do you compare HT with FS?
If you ride smooth trails, without any rocks or roots, sure it makes sense HT

WC XC has some parts that I would love to do on my Enduro Bike, but would shit myself if done by a 100mm XC bike

I've started following XC (AGAIN), and loving it (riders/tracks). Who cares about Road Racing when you can be entertained watching XC!
  • 1 3
 The design is unique in that it allows small bits of grit to lodge between the frame and shock, grinding away the carbon.
  • 1 1
 @handynzl: flex stay suspension is the future. I could sit here and gush about the quality of travel good off the top good in the middle good at bottom efficient light weight pedals well carries speed like nothing else.
  • 2 0
 Value prop is bleeding edge. For XC, the shock performance doesn't really matter too much - you really want it there to absorb the hits . In fact, extra friction from sideloading probably acts as a sort of low speed compression for more pedal efficiency.
  • 1 0
 @clink83: Talent has got her there. She doesnt look nearly as composed (or as fast) descending this season as last.
I dont think its working as well as they hoped. Id put money on Jolanda picking a different bike if she could.
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: Then is is not the bike for you then. The whole idea of the sub-100mm travel, xc bike is designed around modern, highly technical, big terrain. Have you seen some of the courses these ladies and men are riding? They are sending 4-6 foot drops, and the terrain is quite aggressive nowadays. Using the same logic as what has been recently proven with higher volume/wider tires at a lower pressures on road bikes being faster, due to less deflection, therefore smoother/faster riding. The same principles apply to a full suspension xc bike. Smooths out terrain, causing less bike and rider deflection, therefore it has the ability to be a faster bike for the riders. And the mere fact that a full suspension, production bike can weigh less than a Kilo more than a hardtail of the same genre is quite amazing.
  • 1 0
 @WRXJim: I can't say that her Kross didn't suit her better, but you're not going to ride at the level she does with a bike that doesn't fit and ride well.
  • 1 0
 @radrider: Bad news: if you're 29 then you're also Mr. Millennial.
  • 1 0
 @guber: Sorry, but did you even read anything I wrote other than the word „hardtail“? YOU were claiming that the new trek „weights nearly the same as a hardtail”. And I showed you that this is not even remotely true.

Now you are arguing that XC bikes need good suspension, well in that case stay clear of the Trek because the Scott and the Speci have more travel without a weight penalty.
You just keep reinforcing my point that there is no value proposition for the trek other than “being different”.
  • 18 0
 I'm guessing that swapping the shock with a coil shock is out of the question.
  • 3 0
 Legit made me laugh Big Grin
  • 2 0
 that stanchion and it´s location look grosssssss
  • 11 2
 Damn, that seatstay makes me want to ride it on dirt merchant. It's like popping bubble wrap; you just have the urge to do it.
  • 8 5
 You mean that you hope the rear will snap in lower half so that rear tyre gets your ass before the sharp stays do? Big Grin
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I figure if Yoann rode his tcx on A-line and this has bigger tires and a fleshlight- cracked chainstay and seatstay at best Wink
  • 15 11
 It looks sexy. Have to give it to Trek. Finally something different with no need for stupid pseudofeatures like straight down tubes for x% stiffness, thrushaft shock (how do you even spell that?!) and other magic items doing nothing. Practical or not, bravo Trek, bravo.
  • 7 5
 They haven't even said anything about it yet. Guaranteed it has a stupid name with potentially made up features for a problem that never existed.
  • 7 1
 @warmerdamj: yup, you've got it allll figured out....
  • 11 2
 @warmerdamj: for the name I vote for XCession. They should release a non race version with Slash sized downtube for mega T.W.A.T box.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: seems some places already have it on sale, called the SuperCaliber, as someone pointed out earlier in another comment.
  • 1 0
 @alexhyland: I'd better take out a second mortgage for that one....
  • 2 0
 @warmerdamj: it's called the SuperCaliber
  • 3 1
 Proflex called and they want their macpherson strut back.

I was going to write 'Looks like a Proflex' but: 1) I just know someone would correct me on the shock placement, and 2) the above joke is older.

I would love to swing a leg over one of these. Only the proprietary shock would stop me making it my next XC race bike. 80 mm sounds perfect, having run my Spark RC in climb mode almost all the time.
  • 1 0
 haha - i thought macpherson struts had died out too...apparently not it seems!
  • 1 0
 So because of the proprietary shock what will you end up throwing your leg over?
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: Perhaps 'stop' is too strong - more like 'be wary of'. I'll take one for a ride and if it is spectacular then... who knows.
  • 2 0
 Seems like a really great idea though i’d Worry about long term reliability especially for the I’m going to ride my xc bike like you normal people ride an enduro bike crowd. My guess though is they are looking to appeal to the marathoner market more so than the xc market.
  • 2 0
 I guess all the experts forgot about the STP back in the day. Trek has been doing single or no pivot xc race bikes for decades. ISO Strut is going to be sweet. I'm stoked to see companies trying things. Makes the industry more interesting.
  • 3 2
 Interesting curve near the axle end of the chainstay on the non-drive side (hard to tell if it's on the drive side too). Asymmetric chainstay for extra rigidity under flex?? Ingenious... @trek care to comment? Also, would be interesting to see how shock is removed for servicing. It's almost like the frame was built around the shock versus adding a shock to a frame. Cool!
  • 3 0
 Looks like a fairly conventional get-around-the-brake-rotor-then-tuck-in-to-avoid-heels s-bend to me. No need for it on the drive side (unless you fit your cassette the wrong way around ;-)
  • 2 1
 Most are missing Kazmier's insight about the Lefty. This is likely a fork sanction and damper being used to control the rear. Pretty clever, really. Probably uses standard fork seals and fork damper in a design well proven to deal well with off-axis loads. Next question is if it can scale up to, say, 150mm as easily as forks.
  • 1 0
 Stanchion. Effing autocorrect...
  • 1 0
 Ohh so that's why the trek session didn't have any upgrades in the design.....all the eggs are now in XC racing since DH its now a very wavy water for now and trek sticks to the good ol design until they come with a new suspension idea, when Norco moved from the aurum to the hsp was a gladly surprise
  • 1 0
 Looks like 60mm travel and on sale at this online here. Can't find the geo listed here anywhere though. This is the high zoot AXS version but the others are listed too: www.onyerbike.com/m1b0s339p10371/TREK-Supercaliber-9-9-AXS-2020
  • 1 0
 Oops looks like this was already posted above.
  • 1 0
 Looks like there is only one pivot on the shock back at the seat tube, so very little flex in the seatstays may be needed. The whole shock assembly just pivots down on compression. But that whole thing staying rigid laterally seems troublesome. Not my style of bike, so not too concerned -- just nice to see them trying something new.
  • 3 0
 when you cant copy someone else's suspension design anymore(ABP) you resort to cannondales Aaron Chase Softtail
  • 1 1
 What year was that?
  • 1 0
 more recently Altruiste Bikes out of Montreal have been making custom slope frames with similar design to Aaron Chases old Cannondale - check it out www.instagram.com/p/BtJ_55blR1t/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
  • 3 2
 The concept reminds me a little bit of the Turner Stinger — but this Trek’s shock is secured at both ends. www.turnerbikes.com/turner-img/about/stinger.html
  • 2 1
 Yeah totally I was thinking the K2 Razorback but definitely the Stinger
www.bicyclebluebook.com/value-guide/product/36786
  • 1 0
 @panzer103: Oh right! I think K2 licensed that design from Turner, or had Turner make them originally (the highest end race model maybe). Turner has a long history of that sort of collaboration. The one in your link is definitely not Turner-made though =)
  • 5 2
 Thru-shaft shock maybe? Looks like a fun bike.
  • 1 0
 no thru-shaft, thank the lord.
  • 2 0
 So they looked at Boulder Bikes Defiant or Starship from almost 30 years ago and said, we can make that......
  • 1 0
 Its closest to one of the first nicolais- the one leigh donovan won world champs on. Worked ok, the rearend kept snapping though.
  • 1 0
 Rear shock looks like an evolution of the "Thru Shaft" shock Trek has been using lately. Would be interesting to see what is going on under there.
  • 3 2
 If you look closely at the front and rear, it has two wheels just like so many other bikes. Why does Trek copy when they could lead?
  • 3 0
 Armchair suspension engineers having an absolute field day.
  • 1 0
 The almost-Hellenic-but-actually-just-suspension stays don't look near as classy as the real deal.
  • 5 4
 This bike's about to set a world record.... ....for snapped frame warranty replacements!
  • 2 0
 Can it make Emily win races again?
  • 3 6
 Sadly her time on the podium has ended
  • 3 2
 @enduroFactory: too much time on porsches
  • 2 0
 PS- I love it! Now...make it Red, and with a 65/66 head angle!
  • 1 0
 What is the black hole / port / thingy on the bottom of the shock? Located right in the middle.
  • 1 0
 That would appear to be the lower shock/strut pivot hardware
  • 1 0
 So, just re-read your question. And my first answer is not answering your question. My best guess on that would be the compression and rebound circuitry adjusting dials.
  • 1 0
 Wow.....That design looks a lot like a Turner Stinger push shock design from many many years ago.
  • 1 0
 The BMC Teamelite is a super sweet ride. This should be even better since it has a real shock.
  • 1 2
 Not the best performing machine according to results. No xco wins for Neff is very unusual at this stage of season. And the rest of Trek Factory Team have had shocking seasons.
  • 7 0
 You can put a blind guy in the fastest track car in the world. Doesn't mean he is gonna win fastest lap....

Anton cooper has struggled with a immune disorder causing him to be sick most of the season, Batty fell off the face of the planet (probably due to her wacky Keto diet)and shes ridden every model this year and Neff is challenging for the top spot most of the time....

Does anyone here actually believe the Nino wins because Scott has the best bike going?
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: it probably helps that he helped design the scale/spark and gets custom geometry frames if he wants them. On that note according to the pinkbike experts MVDP should be flailing on his 70* hta Lux.
  • 1 0
 Simple question.....Have those using the bike so far been any faster than they were before?
  • 1 0
 Classic Trek. Just when everyone realized that one-off shocks was a bad idea.
  • 2 0
 A Mac-strut for 2020...
  • 1 1
 There looks like some fixings on top of toptube - perhaps a guide rail/bush hidden under there to help with side loads?
  • 2 0
 Definitely not a Session
  • 1 2
 Check this out people of Pinkbike.com. looks like its the Supercaliber and been available to view for at least two weeks now youtu.be/9SThWYe0Igl
  • 1 1
 Experience is telling that flex stays and shocks without linkage is the recipe for riding a pogo stick
  • 2 1
 60mm travel.... ? Just hardtail it with a bigger back tire.
  • 1 0
 The volt/miami green colorway is pretty amazing.
  • 1 0
 Canyon Lux copy.
  • 1 0
 Trek but look like GT
  • 1 1
 Single pivot.
  • 2 4
 Dumb
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