A group of about thirty editors, journalists and general hangers-on from around the world assembled in Altaussee, Austria to witness the Trek mountain bikes 2010 product launch. As with most press junkets such as this, there was a lot of good food, some drinking, amazing scenery, riding and of courseâ€¦the goods.
Altaussee is a small town nestled in the mountains of Austria, about a ninety-minute drive from Salzburg. Traveling is always an adventure for me, and this one was no different. My flight from Brussels to Vienna was uneventful. Though I had much anxiety about the propeller-plane flight from Vienna to Salzburg, I really had nothing to worry about. It would have been an hourâ€™s flight, followed by a Trek-hired shuttle ride to Altaussee.
But who knew that when the flight information board says the flight leaves at 10:20 am, that the plane actually takes off at 10:20 am? Not me. Instead, I was downing some liquid courage in the small loungeâ€¦the only place in the airport where I was not privy to hearing my name blasting across the PA, being called to the plane.
Next plane wasnâ€™t until 5pm.
Austria Airlines was very cool about everything, considering it really was my fault I missed the plane. They got me a cab ride to the train station, and then paid for my three-hour train ride to Salzburg. In Salzburg, I hired a cab to drive me all the way to Hallstatt where I met up with the rest of the press entourage. Though I missed an evening bicycle ride, I was almost glad I was able to watch the Austrian countryside pass me by as I sat on the train and in the taxi.
I hung around in town, enjoyed the hefewizen and waited for the crue to return. Soon, Michael Browne and I were having beers in the center of town. The rest of the evening consisted of a boat ride around the beautiful Hallstatter Sea, socializing and driving up to our lodging for the evening.
We spent a few hours Friday morning learning about the new Trek loot before they would let us ride it. Along with some Trek Kool-Aid, we were shown some interesting upgrades to the whole Trek mountain bike line.
Itâ€™s no secret that this bike has been very successful for Trek, and mountain bike product manager John Riley came right out and said internal discussions centered around the phrase, â€œHow are we going to top that?â€ The updates for 2010 arenâ€™t huge, but I wouldnâ€™t say theyâ€™re incremental, either. The Top Fuel now sports a no-cut seat mast that reduces some weight, and a new carbon molding process has allowed Trek to beef-up some stress points on the frame and allows for drop-in bearings. And speaking of beef, a new EVO magnesium link is said to almost doubles axle to axle stiffness. The Active Braking Pivot is also extended through the whole product line.
The Fuel EX comes in two flavors: carbon and aluminum. Trek is dubbing the EX Carbon as â€œThe Ultimate Trail Bike.â€ Trek has worked with Fox to develop the exclusive Dual Rate Control Valve rear shock (DRCV), which is said to allow the bike to take the big hits while still maintaining pedaling efficiency thanks to a â€œposition sensitive valve that opens the passageway to the secondary air chamber at 50% of shock travel.â€ The 2010 version of this bike is lighter than its 2009 brethren, yet sports a 4% increase in stiffness. This is the bike I rode later Friday, and I must say I was very impressed during my short time with it. The aluminum version of the bike enjoys most of the same technology and upgrades, and starts at a reasonable price point ($1399) for more people to get in.
The OCLV hardtails have also moved to the no-cut seat mast system, and the aforementioned carbon molding process. The OCLV hardtails start at $2799 and top out at $5999.
After the presentations and lunch, we suited up and headed out â€” everyone on the Fuel EX. It was cool to get out on bikes in the Alps. We mostly rode fire roads, and did a lot of climbing. There were a couple of small technical sections, but I would have loved some true trails and singletrack, but the views on the ride made up for it.
We reached the summit, and had to move some cows out of the way to get to our lunch spot. The cafÃ© provided pancakes served in a variety of ways. My personal favorite was the pancake soup.Â Shredded pancakes in a beef broth, with some onion, salt and pepper. Classic, especially with a couple hefeweizens.
Once we descended, the rest of the day was spent eating, drinking and internally debating whether I would participate in the next dayâ€™s Salzkammergut Trophy. This is a mountain bike race up and down the mountains, of which participants can choose to do 50, 100 or 200 kilometers. I had signed up for the 50k, but the threat of cold and pouring rain on Saturday had me doubting my participation.
My choice to not race was justified the next morning when I woke up and walked past Travis Brownâ€™s chalet. He chose to do the 200k, which started at 5 am. Here it was 9 am and his bike and all his stuff was outside the chalet. Turns out he couldnâ€™t get warm because of all the rainâ€¦and the snow at the top of the mountain. If Travis threw in the towel, it was wise I didnâ€™t even start. The event promoters stopped the 4500-person race a couple hours later because of the weather.
Thereâ€™s not a lot to do at an Austrian ski area in the middle of July when itâ€™s snowing. I watched some of the Tour de France, slept and had some beer.
We knew there was some Trek sneakiness afoot the past few days, and the cat was let out of the bag before dinner on Saturday.
Remedy OCLV Carbon
Trekâ€™s had a lot of success with the Remedy, and they decided to up the ante by lifting the shroud to debut the sweet carbon-ized Remedy. By bringing carbon to the Remedy, Trek sees this move as OCLV going â€˜all-mountain.â€™ The Remedy OCLV includes all of the updates revealed this weekend. It also has a unique protective carbon shield on the underside of the downtube and matched 150mm of travel. There are two carbon Remedy models and two aluminum starting at $2600, and the DRCV is present on the whole Remedy line.
The evening was sort of low-key. We chowed down on some dinner after the Remedy was revealed, had some wine and watched the rain continue to pound down.Â Before I knew it, I was packing my things on Sunday morning and heading to the Salzburg airport.