René Wildhaber Returns to Trek as Ambassador

Feb 17, 2017 at 8:05
by Trek Bikes  

Rene Wildhaber scandies his way through a hole in the wall.

After a long and prominent mountain bike racing career in the disciplines of enduro and downhill, René Wildhaber will shift his focus to growing the sport he loves with new projects. His charismatic personality, experience within multiple disciplines, and abundant knowledge will make him a pivotal figurehead and ambassador for Trek in support of its trail and e-MTB segments.

Racing will continue to be an important component of René’s schedule, and he will participate in select enduro adventures and EWS stops throughout the year. In addition to these select competitive endeavors, René will advocate for the continued growth of the crucial e-MTB segment in Europe. René will also be involved in photo and video shoots for the Trek brand. His experience and longevity within the world of mountain biking has led to immense success over the years, and Trek is looking forward to the next evolution in René’s career.

Rene Wildhaber is maybe the most experienced big mountain racer in the field this weekend although Abaslon and Clementz would probably stake claims to that title too . It was here in La Thuile two years ago where he really started moving towards the front of the field leading the overnight standings last time the circuit came here. After a rocky 2015 this could be just the race to get him back in contention.


René Wildhaber has always been one step ahead of the mountain bike world,” said Trek Mountain Bike Marketing Manager Travis Ott. “He was enduro before enduro was the thing. He was pedaling big mountain adventures before that was the trend. He embraced electric mountain bikes as a viable option before it became the next big thing. In short, René is truly a champion and guiding force in mountain biking. I’m thrilled that Trek and René will continue to work together, and I can’t wait to see where he takes mountain biking next”.

René’s influence and mark on the sport of mountain biking, in terms of both culture and product development, will be seen for many years to come.

“In his time with Trek Factory Racing, René proved to be one of the most prolific riders we’ve had,” said Trek Sports Marketing Director Tim Vanderjeugd. “Few have pushed the boundaries of the sport more than René, so we're incredibly excited that he will continue to be an impactful voice for Trek and the sport as a whole.

Look for René at rides and competitions in Europe, as well as events promoting the growth of the e-MTB segment.


MENTIONS: @trek

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41 Comments

  • + 20
 Hmmm. "crucial e-MTB segment in Europe." I like René, I think more information is needed before throwing any stones. In what regards is e-MTB crucial? Sales numbers? trail access/development (as counter intuitive as it sounds, things might be different on the other side of the pond)?
  • + 14
 I was just in France for a few months. Trust me when I say the market is big. The amount of people out there on e-mtbikes is staggering. I was blown away by how many i saw. When i started climbing the huge peaks in the alps i began to understand why.
  • + 7
 They're selling more eMTBs than they are regular MTBs ... the market is far different in Europe.
  • - 5
flag jrocksdh (Feb 17, 2017 at 9:50) (Below Threshold)
 For some reason 1x hasnt been been a big hit in Europe..hmm
  • + 5
 10,551 people have been through a dh segment at a local trail centre by me, only 9 in the ebike category on strava.
I think we're much more tolerant of the idea of them on this side of the pond but as for outselling regular bikes? Not sure where you seen that stat!
  • + 1
 I think for those with mountains close to home it is excellent. Either spend an hour climbing to get a single downhill in, or travel an hour to the nearest lift station, or get anyone willing to give you an uplift. Or get some pedal assist to ride up some proper tech singletrack and get several proper downhill rides in. It is an investment but I guess for those who have the money it is well worth it. More riding. Can only be good.
  • + 2
 @willaasss: Think you might of missed the part where he referenced to the alps and not a UK trail center.
  • + 2
 The figures I saw recently were that almost 50% of the market is now eBikes in Europe. Way different market, but if you think it won't happen here in the US open up your eyes. It is going to change rapidly here soon.
  • + 2
 @salespunk: I'm from The Netherlands, which is relatively flat. Cycling is a common means of transport here. Probably because of that and also because the infrastructure is good and safe for cycling for people off all abilities. In other surrounding European countries it is very different. Obviously it doesn't get as flat as The Netherlands so that might have put people off bicycles. Sure people are eager to ride their bike to work but the hills, the distance and the speed difference on the climbs (between an unsupported cyclist and motorists) puts them off. Now with the availability of pedal assisted bikes, this burden has been largely removed. You can go many places unsupported but if you have this nifty climb somewhere on your commute, the support is there. Same if you got a nasty headwind on your way home. People who see cycling as a sport may like the challenge but if after a long hard day at work, people just want to be home in time for dinner. Add to that the fact that many cities in Europe are old and not built with cars in mind. So people just need to get on the bike to even make commutes possible over there. The city of Utrecht recently had a research done and found out that if no one would ride a bike there and would resort to cars and public transport, it would cost them 250 million euros. Not sure if that was per year or to realize the transition. But regardless, it is a huge sum of money. Now as I mentioned the country is quite flat so the overall majority gets on just fine on unsupported bikes. But iff the hills make turn cycling into a challenge and limit the means to a small eager and fit few, it definitely puts a burden on the infrastructure (as they then resort to public transport or cars). So yeah I expect the huge growth of pedal supported bicycles to come from there. I'm not saying it is growing here as well. Even a tough headwind or a heavy bike loaded with kids and groceries makes people reach for the e-bike option eventually.

Chances are indeed that it will grow in the US as well if the cities are getting congested. And obviously commutes can be long as well as the country is so big, so that might be another reason over there. But I think to actually get people on their bikes, they also need to improve the infrastructure. Some may be fine riding close to cars, trucks and buses, but it could be intimidating for young children and the elderly. But if you sacrifice a single lane and turn it into a two-way bicycle path, you'll be good. And yeah, considering the larger distances and hills, chances are fair that a large number of these commuters will be on bikes with pedal support.
  • + 5
 @vinay: buy an mx bike
  • + 2
 @nick1957: I'm having two conversations here simultaneously so I'm a bit confused where that one came from. @salespunk mentioned the entire bicycle market which for the overal majority consists of commuters. And indeed there is a huge growth of the e-bikes there, especially because people start cycling who previously resorted to cars or public transport. But I've got to be honest here, there are obviously also quite some who have always have been cycling under their own steam and now appreciate a little bit of support. But the initial discussion was about cycling in the alps so as you mention the mx bike (which has little specific use on the paved roads) you suggest riding a motorcycle up there? I suppose it does help you make it up there but it is so different that it won't necessarily appeal to mountainbikers. Plus of course erosion will be an issue.

Anyway as you must have noticed, pedal support or an mx bike don't quite make sense for how and where I ride. I just explained where I see it fit. Personally I'm just fine riding my simple mountainbike Smile .
  • + 1
 The demographic e-MTB consumers isn't, for the most part, the PB community side of riding. It's people that want to give it a go - maybe do a 4hour epic that do not have the fitness to make it on a standard bike, people with blown knees, older people ect ect, people that are giving it a go because they can actually enjoy the riding rather than dying on a climb and going home thinking the whole thing sucked. In that sense eBikes are perfect, I will probably not ride one myself, but I can defiantly see the appeal.
  • + 17
 F**K E-MTB!!!!!
  • + 8
 Where they're illegal...i think theyre fine wherever mx is legal.
  • + 1
 Relax. It's just eMTeeBee.
  • + 14
 Get over people u sound like a bunch of equestrian 's/ hikers. Sierra club members. E-bikes are real they don't wreck trails-riders do.
  • + 5
 This. 100% this. Our sport is too small to be dividing each other up. Let's all work together for more trail access and to grow our sport to people who wouldn't otherwise be on bikes. Stop with the elitism
  • + 0
 @wako29: Agreed
  • + 3
 Yeah, well motorbikes were invented in 1885, I don't see the discrepancy. It's like if I said I invented floopityjacks because I add a bit of sand to pancakes.
  • + 1
 I agree with knarf. Who cares. Grow our sport and our trail systems to include all non-gas-powered.
  • + 4
 @Kramz: Yeah, by e-mtb logic I guess Tesla's aren't cars either.
  • + 12
 the swiss muscle :-) such a nice and down to earth person
  • + 1
 yes rene rules !
  • + 2
 Uf guet Schwizerdütsch "dr René isch e geile Siech!" - great allround rider, amazing bike handler, committed to the super and focused...as well as super nice and down to earth - e geile Siech äbe! Congratulations to your new role René!
  • + 7
 "He embraced electric mountain bikes as a viable option before it became the next big thing" What a load of crap !
  • + 1
 Nico Voullez likes them too and used one to help with recovery times.
  • + 3
 F**K E-Bikes

People will ride them on the trails they are not supposed to, just wait and see what happens when someone coming downhill at 15mph and someone coming uphill going 15mph (that should be going 5mph), they will collide with each other
  • + 6
 Hope they put all the required sales margin on e-bikes and reduce the margin on regular MTB,
  • + 2
 Rene does not need a ebike. I was int he mega avalanche qualifier about 10 years ago.. well thats to say i saw him at the start and at the end and just tried to follow the dust trail!!! I would need a ebike and still would not be able to keep up. !! I did speak to him and he was real nice and approachable and did not ask, how i found it or if i qualified he simple asked if i enjoyed it. Legend.
  • + 2
 Ebikers on specialized riding laguna day of rain as im doing trail work...idiots.
  • + 6
 Idiots exist on regular mountain bikes as well.
  • + 6
 @FisherFreerider: true, but #1 ebikes are illegal anywhere in laguna, #2 the park was closed to all persons(common for rainy days), so ya, very special(ized) idiots there-lucky for all of us they didnt stop and i cldnt catch up(i was on foot). Small town, sure ill "bump" into em.
  • + 4
 more e-bikes oh no Frown
  • + 1
 "will make him a pivotal figurehead and ambassador for Trek in support of its trail and e-MTB segments"

o_0
  • + 0
 me and the wife was in the city (nyc) having dinner and them dam ebikes were everywhere,,,i mean everywhere!!!
  • + 1
 Can I become a Trek ambassador, please ? People say I'm really nice. :p
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