Most bike engineers are using wind tunnels, clay, string tufts and CFD to design their bikes to be as fast as possible. To that end, Trek has been right there; those were the tools used to create the Speed Concept, one of the most successful bikes in the triathlon market.
But for the first time, someone is venturing outside the wind tunnel—well out of it, into the lava fields along the Queen K Highway north of Kona. Out onto the Beeline Highway in Phoenix. And onto the roads of Madison, Wisconsin. Yes, the tunnel and CFD is of utility and massive value. But increasingly for Trek, tools like wind vanes have become as valuable a data point as drag numbers. Because, as it's often said: we don't race the bikes in the wind tunnel.
Trek recently debuted the newly revamped 2014 Speed Concept, a bike that was seen under Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Austria and has been scrutinized by the forum communities. It's a bike that Trek says has a revised Kamm tubeset shape, has a massively reduced frontal area (a claimed 30-percent reduction in the cockpit area alone) and is a claimed 437 grams lighter than its previous frame. There's a new rear brake stiffener that doubles as an aero "fin," a completely new aero bar with a central tower and increased fit variance, and a collection of new tri-specific storage solutions.
Further, Trek claims integration has been simplified, claiming to save an hour in the average build time.
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For the uninitiated, the new bike looks strikingly like the previous iteration of Speed Concept; it has the same bayonet-style fork, employs Kamm Virtual Foil Kammtail technology and has an integrated aero bar. The bikes have been a world beater; while many bikes have a year or two life cycle, the Speed Concept, which debuted in the spring of 2010, is still one of the fastest bikes on the market, and exists as one of few "baseline" models that many test against.
But the devil is in the details, and there, the bike veers off into a plethora of new directions. Royce Breckon, Assistant Road Brand Manager with Trek Bicycles said that somewhere in the realm of 25 to 30 folks at Trek had a hand in the creation of the new Speed Concept, and athletes from Chris Lieto to Trek staff age group triathletes chimed in on practicality and utility.