Trek World Racing HotboxAt the upper echelon of any competitive sport, the level of competition is so fierce that  even the slightest possible advantage must be pursued its most logical (and absurd) extent. For Trek World Racing, this means adapting a common F1 strategy to heat things up on the track.

In the majority of motor sports, mechanics warm specific components for optimum performance right off the line. Hell, even in the go kart version of little league, parents use special heating pads to evenly heat tires to operating temperature. After compiling data and studying the performance of the Session in cold temperatures, the team decided that warming the bike would improve suspension, hydraulic, and tire performance.

A portable HotBox was created that can be erected at the top of the mountain for specific courses where the temperature  is cold enough to affect performance. According to Team Owner Martin Whitely “there’ll be some who think this is going too far, but there are those who said that in motor-sport some time ago and now it’s the norm.”

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  1. I’m not surprised. Some shocks do NOT like cold temps (BOS Void comes first in my mind), and if that means having the bike at 100% when leaving the gate, that could be a couple of 0.1 at the bottom …

  2. why not spend some of that “formula 1” money on a bike that works in the cold?

    that way the bike would work the way it should on the “whole” race instead of the first 10 seconds

  3. because laws of thermodynamics?

    ever feel the shock reservoir after a DH run? very warm to the touch (although thankfully not burning hot like rotors can get).

    this occurs due to the friction between the suspension oil and the damping circuit. as it moves, it generates heat, which affects viscosity, which in turn affects the damping.

    what this is accomplishing is (trying) to get the suspension fluid up to running temps so the shock is at its “running” temperature out of the gate (and not waiting for it to heat up on its own).

  4. Pretty inefficient & environmentally irresponsible way of heating 2 components.

    Wouldn’t simple shock & fork warmers like “F1” tire warmers better accomplish the desired result without using a torpedo heater?

    Or do they want a toasty seat too?

  5. When they’re flying all their gear & entourage around the world to roll down some hills on bicycles, I think the environment impacts of a heater can negated.

  6. @askar

    The heater is not because the bike was designed for a particular ambient temperature. The idea is that the suspension dampers, brake hydraulics, and tires heat due to friction during the run. These parts are designed and/or adjusted to run best at near peak operating temperature during the run, as this is when the most stress is applied to the parts. The heater only needs to keep the bike warm for the 1st 10 seconds, because after that the shocks are being cycled and will maintain the operating temperature they were designed for until the end of the run.

  7. From a mechanical point of view this does make sense. I guess the next logical step in the progression of DH would be to allow the riders to wear skinsuits…..

What do you think?