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Trek Hones in on Transportation Bikes

Published August 12, 2009

MADISON, WI (BRAIN)—Trek is showing a greater commitment to the transportation bike category with a slew of new urban, city and commuter offerings for 2010. For the upcoming year the company has also focused on hitting key price points to cater to a changing consumer mindset.

“The days of selling $4,000 to $6,000 bikes slowed down this summer,” Trek president John Burke told several hundred dealers last night, opening up this year's Trek World. He pointed out that Trek has noticed a trend toward more value and less luxury in the current economy and is addressing it.

Last year, for example, Trek’s entry-level road model in Trek’s 1 Series started at $900. For 2010, that has come down to $600. Its Madone 5.1, which features the OCLV black carbon frame manufactured here in its Waterloo facility and can be fully customized down to the paint job through Project One, will come down to $3,099.

Dealers began arriving yesterday and will get a chance to see and test ride Trek’s new models today and tomorrow as well as attend various business seminars, and learn more about Trek’s retail services and merchandising programs. Some 1,200 shops—a few hundred less than in previous years—are expected to attend Trek World, which was condensed into a shorter three-day schedule.

A big introduction in the transportation category is its new Ride+ line of electric-assist bikes. Trek will offer three e-bike models in the U.S. for 2010—the 7200+, FX+ and Valencia+, targeting the casual rider, fitness rider and commuter. Trek partnered with BionX on the proprietary system, which consists of a hub motor and lithium ion battery. The company began selling e-bikes in Europe a year ago, where they’ve met with good reception.

“E-bikes are going off in a big way overseas,” said Trek’s Eric Bjorling, adding that e-bikes sell 2:1 compared with mountain bikes in the Netherlands.

Also completely new is its Eco Design line, which uses recyclable materials and manufacturing processes that minimize the bikes’ environmental impact. Designed for utility, the line includes the steel Belleville city bike with internal 3-speed hub, front and rear racks, generator lights and fenders; and the steel Atwood. Both come in women’s specific models and are built so they can easily be disassembled and the parts recycled.

Trek is also expanding upon the District, its single-speed Carbon Drive model launched last year, with the 2nd District and 3rd District—both single-speed, chain-drive models with split dropouts for riders who want to upgrade to Gates Carbon Drive. For 2010, the District will also come in a full carbon fiber frame model.

Under the Gary Fisher banner, the company is offering three steel commuter bikes, ranging from $400 for the single-speed Gritty with flip flop hub, muted graphics and caliper brakes to the Lane, with Bontrager all-weather tires and Shimano Deore 8-speed drivetrain for $999.

--Lynette Carpiet

PHOTO: The Valencia+ e-bike, designed for "sweat-free commuting," comes spec'd with disc brakes and fenders to boot. It will retail for $2,399.99.

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