Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trek Top Fuel 9.9: Evidence of Things To Come?

<=== Team XR Tire, first shown at Trek World last August. Will we see a 29"er version?

Trek is trickling out some big teasers lately in the run up to its dealer only Trek World show that will happen in about two weeks. Today in a piece on cyclingnews, it is being reported that Trek is showing a completely revamped Top Fuel 9.9 race bike. This bike has several technologies that I have said would transfer over to mountain biking and 29"ers in particular.

When Trek introduced the next generation of the Madone road bike, there were several things about it which raised my eyebrows a bit. Most notably was the tapered steer tube idea, or as Trek calls it E2. This idea made a lot of sense for 29"ers, and sure enough, you will see more 29"er models using the tapered steer tube idea soon. Not just from Fisher either, which I assume will adopt this technology in a new long travel trail bike in 29"er guise.

E2 wasn't the only radical thing on the Madone though. This new Trek Top Fuel model adopts all the bells and whistles from that companies top roadie offering. A carbon fiber frame molded with bearing pockets is one thing that the Top Fuel gets along with a narrower stance bottom bracket spindle and special FSA 2 X 9 crank. The longer seat tube/mast idea is a take off on the Madone's unique set up. I'm not necessarily a fan of either of these two ideas and I do not see them coming over to 29"ers.......yet. The seat mast idea is a particularly daft idea for 29"ers. I hope we never see that cross over, but I'm afeared it probably will in some form.

The other thing I see here on the Top Fuel are the components that foreshadows what I think we will see on the next Superfly or on some other race oriented 29"er from Fisher. Carbon clincher wheels for 29"ers- (the Race XXX Lite), have already been leaked out. The tires on the Top Fuel, the Team XR's, are the next thing I think will be available from Bontrager in 29"er guise. I held a prototype sample last year, (pic above) and these tires are light! Given the already low rolling resistance of the standard XR and its volume, I'd say these Team XRs are going to be a very popular choice amongst racers of 29"ers. Tubeless Ready of course.

I'm sure there will be a few more surprises at Trek World, (and at least one that will frustrate consumers to no end), so stay tuned!

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