It looks like the Instagram “leak” from Brook Macdonald last week was a bit of a precursor to the official press release today from Trek World Racing. Not that anyone was doubting the merit of the bright red 650b prototype, but now it is official – the team will be starting the season on 650b prototypes of the Team Issue Session 9.9. Trek mentions that the goal is not to replace 26″ wheels in the gravity category, but to investigate the benefits that 650b wheels may provide in a World Cup level setting. Trek’s MTB Product Manager John Riley had this to say, “After all of the research we’ve invested in wheel size performance characteristics at Trek, we believe 26” wheels absolutely still have a place in the gravity category. We’re keen on understanding the possibilities of 650b as well, so we’re evaluating that option with some of the world’s best riders on Trek World Racing.” All of the 26″ Sessions will still be available in the coming year including the Race Shop Limited Session Park.
World Cup team to test performance merits of new wheel size in 2014
Trek’s World Cup downhill team, Trek World Racing, will start the season aboard a new 650b prototype version of the team-issue Session 9.9. The team is evaluating the merits of 650b wheels in World Cup downhill racing. In five quick years of competing at the World Cup level with Trek World Racing, the current Session has been ridden to 30+ podium finishes, three World Cup Overall Titles, and a World Championship; an unprecedented run for a single bike platform. With George Brannigan’s (NZL) run to the New Zealand National Championship aboard the 650b proto this past weekend, testing has gotten off to a fast start. Previously, Trek World Racing, along with the overwhelming majority of downhill pros have raced almost exclusively on 26” wheel downhill bikes.
Trek’s athlete-driven development philosophy of racing to make bikes better will be put into action as the team publicly explores the merits of the slightly larger 650b wheels in downhill. Throughout this research period, Trek will continue to offer riders around the world the 26” wheeled Session 8, 88, 9.8, 9.9, and the recently announced Park edition. According to Trek’s MTB Product Manager, John Riley “After all of the research we’ve invested in wheel size performance characteristics at Trek, we believe 26” wheels absolutely still have a place in the gravity category. We’re keen on understanding the possibilities of 650b as well, so we’re evaluating that option with some of the world’s best riders on Trek World Racing.”
Through two highly popular new product offerings over the past year, along with a significant research effort, Trek has become a leader in 650b wheel development. In 2013, the brand unveiled two new 650b wheel platforms in the technical trail category with the Remedy and Slash. “Our hope is that the new 650b Session will provide a performance advantage to our riders and continue to keep them on the podium,” continued Riley. “We also know that these athletes will test the extreme limits of the bike and provide us with invaluable feedback as we continuously evaluate and refine the Session.” The full line of Sessions will continue to be available including the Race Shop Limited Session Park, a model with shorter chainstays and reduced travel perfect for gravity park riding. Trek encourages riders to watch as the bike evolves throughout the season. The team will begin testing the prototype at this weekend’s New Zealand National Championships.