10 Years of Trek - TTT to SC

 Sep 10, 2010 article & images by Nick Salazar

In 2001, Trek released the TTT, a bike way ahead of its time. Ten years later, the brand has made another quantum leap with the Speed Concept

It's no secret that Trek has introduced a new triathlon bike this year. The Speed Concept has been one of the most hotly-anticipated tri bikes ever relased, and we're putting our bike through the paces, gathering info for an in-depth review. But while we rack up the miles on our bike (and I might add, I'm personally enjoying every minute of it), let's look back at Trek's first timed-event offering, released exactly 10 years ago.

At the 2000 Tour de France, Trek unleashed its first ever TT bike to the world. Dubbed the "Team Time Trial," it was a machine born and bred for the likes of Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service cycling team. The bike was a thing ahead of its time, and drew the envy from riders across the peleton, including Lance's rival Jan Ullrich. Ullrich famously ditched the TT bikes of his sponsors, and started using custom Walser bikes, in the hopes of "catching up" to Lance's Trek machine. But Lance did his sponsor proud, riding the Team Time Trial to many team and individual victories, and winning an Olympic Bronze medal in the TT. The bike was among the first production bikes (perhaps the first) to feature wind-tunnel-tested aerodynamics, top-tube internal cable routing, an integrated seatmast, and even today it maintains the "look" of a top-tier aero bike.

But the bike wasn't without its problems. First and foremost, the thing was a mechanic's nightmare. Saying that there was cable "routing" is a bit of a stretch. Really, there were a couple of holes in the top tube, and some more holes at various parts of the bike, and it was the mechanic's job to make cable housing go from one hole to the other. And it wasn't easy, requiring time, patience, and a lot of cursing.

More importantly, the bike wasn't made for a steep, aggressive triathlon position. Basically, the bike was built with road bike geometry, and then riders were expected to fold over their front ends, getting aero while simultaneously reducing their hip angles dramatically. Hey, we're not going to question what worked for US Postal, as they had a great run. But for triathletes at large, that's a recipe for discomfort and disaster on the run. It simply wasn't meant to be a tri bike. Slam the saddle forward, and you'd get closer to where you want to be, but the bike would start handling like a squirrel.

Trek's Next Leap: the Speed Concept

Bookending the decade, Trek has created the amazing and elegant Speed Concept.

Ten years later, and it's obvious Trek has learned a thing or two about tri bikes. Okay, more than a thing or two. Trek has basically rewritten the book about tri bikes. The Speed Concept is a gorgeous machine, but it's got a lot of genuine gold under its sleeves. Without going into too much of what we'll be covering in the review, we can certainly say that the bike really fits what we think a good tri bike "ought" to be. It's sleek, aero, has great fit and adjustability, and is much easier to wrench than the old TTT. It's not perfect, and we certainly have our qualms. But we're really enjoying our time on it, and look forward to getting into our review in depth. Stay tuned!

  • The new Speed Concept is elegance defined.
  • Exactly 10 years after its initial TT offering, Trek has created possibly the finest triathlon machine ever made.
  • It is telling that Trek's flagship colorway features a triathlon team ...
  • ... the original Team Time Trial was championed by UCI-restricted TT riders.
  • The Team Time Trial bike was possibly the first production bike to feature wind-tunnel-tested carbon shapes, internal top tube cable routing, an integrated seatmast.
  • Side by side, the Speed Concept and TTT are both striking bikes.
  • You've gotta hand it to Trek - the Team Time Trial had some amazing smooth lines.
  • Even today, the bike looks the part.  Time hasn't really dated its design.
  • The Team Time Trial was a nightmare for mechanics, and difficult to adjust.  These shims control saddle height.
  • The Team Time Trial was also not a machine bred for its creature comforts - these bottle bosses were a DIY project by this bike's owner.  The original TTT didn't have any provisions for carrying liquid.

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