A pretty bold claim by Trek with the latest edition of their speed concept bike, aimed at the Triathlon market, but also ridden to glory in the Tour de France time trials. Trizone was recently invited to test the claims on the roads around Stromlo.
Your Time Trial bike can save you seconds in your club time trial events, but by the time you get up to Ironman this can translate into 5-10 minutes. Crowie claims his new ride was behind at least 5 minutes of his improvement this year, so picking a good TT bike can be the difference between winning and competing, between going to Kona and watching the ESPN highlights.
The Speed Concept certainly has a very impressive record in half and iron distance races, and was the bike on which Chris Lieto rode the fastest time at Kona this year. What there can be no doubt of in my mind is that regardless of performance, this is the fastest looking bike in the world, and I know if I feel fast it can give me the edge I am looking for in performance. When you look at it ‘front on’ you are struck by how sharp and aero the bike looks, it screams speed and is hard to see how any bike could present a lower resistance to the wind.
It is hard to verify the wind tunnel tests that Trek claim prove this is currently the most aero bike on the planet, but they have certainly paid attention to all of the details which should help support the claim. Front and rear brakes are integrated into the frame, cables are all routed internally, and there is even an internal space to house your computers sensors. The bikes storage systems have also been given an aero design, and claim Trek, actually enhance the speed of the bike (acting like a boats sail) whenever the wind is coming from the side. The attention to detail has even gone down to the quick release skewers, which have been integrated into the design of the bike and further enhance the aerodynamics and look of the bike.
The focus on speed has been carried through to the tube shape, where the truncated airfoil design allows the wind to slip cleanly along the frame, significantly reducing drag, and ensuring the aerodynamics of the bike are minimally affected when the wind varies from head on to any sort of a cross wind. The frame is 600 OCLV carbon, which without going into all the technical details is a very high quality, low weight, stiff carbon.
One of the other stand-out features of the bike is the range of adjustability of the bike to allow you to get the perfect fit for the rider. The bike is also available on Project One which allows you to customise the bikes components and paint job.
In terms of how the bike rides, this rider was very pleasantly surprised. The TT setup was more aggressive than I would normally ride, and I was worried that over the 40k trial I took the bike on this may translate into a slightly uncomfortable ride. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
The bike geometry and set up forces you into a very aggressive and powerful position, ensuring high load on the quads and maximising your power output. The ride is stiff ensuring your energy is translated into maximum speed, and combined with a very light weight and aero profile this all translates into (relatively) effortless speed. You feel fast on this bike, you look fast, and the computer confirms that yes indeed you are going faster than you have been before!
What particularly impressed was that despite this being a TT bike, I rode over a reasonably technical course with some decent hills, rough road surfaces, and hot dog turns and the bike handled like a road bike in these conditions. As mentioned before the bike was surprisingly comfortable, I have in the past experienced lower back tightness over 40k TT’s on bikes with similar set ups, but the Speed Concept was super comfortable, and I felt like I could ride all day in the position.
This is a top end Time Trial bike that looks the part, acts the part and has the data to back it up. If you want to buy some speed you should definitely give the Speed Concept 9.9 serious consideration.
The bike comes in Sizes S, M, L, XL . The set up tested retails for $11,599
FRAME: 600 Series OCLV Carbon, KVF (Kammtail Virtual Foil) tube design, SC Speed Box & DuoTrap compatible, includes SC Draft Box
FORK: Bontrager SC, 600 Series OCLV Carbon, KVF leg design, integrated brake & stem
COLOUR: Gloss Onyx Carbon/Matte Onyx Carbon
SHIFTERS: SRAM Red R2C, bar end control, 10 speed
FRONT DERAILLEUR: SRAM Red, braze-on
REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM Red
CASSETTE: SRAM OG-1090 11-23, 10 speed
CRANK: SRAM Red, 53/39 (double)
WHEELS: Bontrager Aeolus 6.5, carbon
TIRES: Bontrager R4 Aero, 700x22c
SADDLE: Fizik Arione Tri2, manganese rails
SEATPOST: Bontrager Speed Concept Race X Lite, carbon, +/-10mm offset
HANDLEBAR: Bontrager Speed Concept aero bar w/ski bend extension, carbon, direct mount
STEM: Bontrager Speed Concept, direct mount
HEADSET: Integrated, sealed bearings, 1″ top, 1-1/8″ bottom
BRAKESET: Bontrager Speed Concept integrated brakes w/Bontrager Race XXX Lite aero levers,
integrated cable adjuster