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.
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?