SOURCE: Trek Bicycles

April 17, 2008 10:00 ET

Trek to Debut All-New Session 88 Bike at 2008 Sea Otter Classic

WATERLOO, WI--(Marketwire - April 17, 2008) - Trek Bicycles has today announced that it will unveil its all-new Session platform at the 2008 Sea Otter Classic. The new platform will support two separate bikes -- the Session 88 DH and Session 88 FR -- and promises to out-perform all other bikes in their respective categories on the market today. The grand unveiling will occur at a VIP-only party on Friday, April 18th, and then be open to public viewing on Saturday and Sunday.

"Our goal with developing a new Freeride and DH bike is in line with Trek's guiding principle to have the best in class product for every category we pursue," said Joe Vadeboncouer, Product Manager for Trek. "The new Session products are my personal favorites of all the full suspension bikes we build at Trek."

The development focus of the Session design team was three-fold: create a new platform for gravity application that capitalizes on all of Trek's recent suspension technology improvements, optimize geometry and reduce overall bike weight.

The testing for the new Session platform took place over the past three years, as a staff of engineers, designers and test riders traveled the globe to find the most diverse conditions under which to test the platform. "The bike's development reaches far into Trek's history. In a sense, we've been waiting for this moment for a very long time," said Senior R&D Suspension Engineer Dylan Howes.

Considered the innovator of Trek's ground breaking new patent-pending technology, Active Braking Pivot (ABP), Dylan Howes found himself and his development team in a precarious spot when an 8" version of the Session was approved for production two years ago. "We really had something with the original Session 8. The geometry was dialed, we were spellbound with the handling, and the weight was acceptable. But we knew from the Fuel EX and Remedy development that new technology would surpass what we were developing. So we stopped production and went back to a clean sheet of paper."

The team went back to the drawing board. Inspired by the "best in class" principle, Trek engineers and designers evaluated promising new technologies and embarked on a journey that would take two years to complete. The new and improved version of the Session platform would come to be known as the Session 88.

The Session 88 platform features all of Trek's recent full suspension development efforts including the one piece of technology responsible for creating the most active suspension system under braking, ABP. The Session 88 platform also combines Trek's Full Floater shock mount with a custom-tuned Fox DHX 5 coil shock, delivering the small bump compliance, good mid-stroke control and bottomless feel associated with all of Trek's full suspension offerings.

Stiffness and strength, balanced with market-leading frame weight, were a major concern for the Trek team. To that extent, Trek's industrial designers employed hydroforming and extensive frame shaping to achieve project goals. Beyond its structural elements, designers styled the Session frame to exude a visual aggressiveness intended to inspire confidence in the rider before he or she even sits on the bike. Also of note in the frame construction is the one-piece EVO rocker link and E2 tapered steerer/head tube technology, both of which make a powerful visual statement.

The two distinct bikes feature category-specific parts builds for both Freeride and Downhill, as well as graphics inspired by the environments in which the bike will be used. "Our engineers did a great job creating a bike that's inspiring to ride. On the styling side, our goal was to use every component to create something that's equally inspiring to look at," said Trek's Graphic Designer Chad Bailey, who orchestrated everything from the gold anodized frame hardware to the custom Session-branded chainstay guard. "I think we pulled it off, but we'll let the riders be the judge of that."

With the frame construction and aesthetics dialed, the performance of the Session 88 platform is remarkable as well. "The most exciting thing about the Session 88 is that there is not a single bike that can match its overall performance," said Jose Gonzalez, Director of Full Suspension Technology. "Another platform might offer a similar weight, or geometry, or braking performance, but nothing else out there can match the overall package. This truly is a bike that leapfrogs all existing bikes."

A key member of the product development team is Trek sponsored athlete and Freeride legend Andrew Shandro. "There's a trail at Whistler called Dirt Merchant. I know that trail front and back, but on the Session, I completely overshot the jump," he said, citing his first test ride on the final version. "The suspension technology, the platform's efficiency, and the bike's overall weight allowed me to carry so much more speed than I ever thought possible. It has all the qualities you want out of a performance gravity mountain bike."

Regarding suspension performance, Trek takes considerable time and effort to fine tune its suspension componentry. "In addition to the bike's features, the amount of testing and development we did with Fox on the suspension parts insures that no bike available will work anywhere near as well as ours, even if they also use Fox parts," said Vadeboncouer, noting the extensive development work performed with Trek's primary suspension partner, Fox Racing Shox.

The Watsonville-based suspension manufacturer supplies its popular DHX 5 coil rear shock, but with a special custom tune specific to the Session platform. "During development, we had prepared several different shock tunes to perform back to back blind taste tests on repeatable terrain across a broad cross section of riders. The resulting feedback on shock tunes and bike geometry ultimately led to the production version of the Session 88," said Fox's Mario Galasso. "The Trek/FOX relationship has developed into a mutually beneficial one and we look forward to being included at this level of the product development process in the future."

When riders finally get on the new Session 88, they'll find that it's a bike by which all others will be judged.

The Session 88 DH and Session 88 FR will be available in three sizes: small, medium and large, and are slated for June production. They will be released to U.S. and International markets mid-summer. Final pricing has yet to be established.

About Trek Bicycles:

Headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Trek Bicycle Corporation is a global leader in bicycle design and manufacturing. From the original hand-built steel touring frames introduced in 1976 to the revolutionary OCLV carbon fiber first introduced in 1992, Trek's passion for innovation, quality, and performance leads the industry with next-generation technology and thinking. With an unprecedented eight Tour de France titles in the last nine years, six straight 24-hour World Solo Mountain Bike Championships, and countless other professional wins, Trek enjoys a rich tradition of victory in the world's premier cycling events. Today, with a broad range of bicycles and cycling products under the Trek, Gary Fisher, Bontrager, and Klein brand names, Trek continues to pursue new ways to bring the joy of cycling to all people.

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