America’s largest manufacturer of bikes and after market products has designed and built some of the best road and mountain bikes since ‘75. Trek is constantly reinventing itself, branching out into travel, kids bikes and eco-friendly products.
- address: 801 West Madison StWaterloo, WI 53594-1379
- telephone: (920) 478-2191
- fax: (920) 478-9674
- website: http://www.trekbikes.com
- e-mail: [email protected]
Go to any cycling event be it a triathlon, criterion or charitable ride and you will find Trek bikes a dime a dozen. Trek has become something of an “in bike” for road cyclists in particular, and if you like being one of the crowd that will suit you. In any case, Trek has developed a solid reputation and strong following over the years.
Trek is the Afrikaans word for “journey”. And if you do read through the company history you’ll soon discover the journey Trek’s been through. They have continually refined and improved their products over the last 25 years and also encourage their customers to embark on their own journey towards improved health and a better world.
Trek began its journey in December 1975 in a barn when Dick Burke invested USD $25,000 to manufacture steel touring frames to rival those produced in Japan and Italy. The initial goal was to build the best bikes in the world but it wasn’t until 1982 they actually manufactured complete bikes. They then took on the steel road racing bike market and in 1983 made their first mountain bike. In 1984 Trek launched an after market parts and accessories line.
From there it’s been all systems go entering the carbon fiber frame market (1989), developing a hybrid bike (1990), their first kid’s bikes (1990), acquiring Gary Fisher Mountain Bikes (1993), introducing a full suspension Y bike (1995) and signing three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond to get LeMond Racing Cycles on its feet (1995) – although the relationship with LeMond soured in 2008 and both sides alleged breach of contract.
Trek has a long list of credits we just don’t have time for here. But it’s worth noting they have seated Lance Armstrong on Trek Bicycles for his seven-consecutive Tours de France (three times on the Madone), bikes that were also available to the public, although at some USD $8,000. They’ve also invested in technology development for lighter, leading bikes particularly for Armstrong. Trek is also becoming a major industry player supplying bicycles for the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team of the USA and the Astana Team since 2007.
In 2006 Trek launched the “1 World 2 Wheels” campaign. The idea was to encourage Americans to swap their cars for bikes on trips of two miles or less. While Trek had long supported the League of American Bicyclists and the Bikes Belong Coalition this seemed to spearhead a direct social conscience change to the company. Today their mission is to “Help the world use the bicycle as a simple solution to complex problems” such as easing traffic congestion, improving health, seeing the world and combating climate change. Fortunately they seem to practice what they preach encouraging staff to commute and conduct business by bike with incentives such as a free breakfast for those that bike over 12 miles to work. They’ve cut their coal emissions to zilch and parking spaces at their headquarters are allocated for car poolers only.
Trek has also turned its hand to designing products like cruisers, hybrids and electric bikes that are smarter and greener to encourage healthier lifestyles. They also have the social program Dream Bikes under-way to teach youth from challenged neighborhoods to fix and repair donated bikes.
Today Trek produces everything from top end road, mountain and triathlon bikes to hybrid, comfort, cruiser and kids bikes along with several eco-friendly products. Products are available in a range of prices; the high performance gear will break your bank while other bikes are more affordable. They have designed bikes and accessories to fit women riders since 2000 and they have a custom bike program Project One, where customers can choose their own paint scheme and component mix.
Trek bikes can only be bought in stores and are not sold mail order or on the Internet. They are the second largest brand in the world (after Giant) sold this way and it has kept them popular with store-owners. Trek owns/licenses Gary Fisher, Klein and Bontrager.
Whatever way you want to look at all this, it seems Trek has pretty big boots, or should we say bike shoes, to fill. They’re versatile and have been tried and tested for 25 years. If we’ve wet your whistle to find out more take a look behind the scenes and join the weekly factory floor tours at the Waterloo headquarters in Wisconsin.
Hours of work
Monday – Friday
9am to 5pm (Central)
- Standard Frames: Yes
- Custom Frames: No
- Retrofitting old bikes: No
- Year Established: 1975
- Products Made In: High-end bikes in Waterloo, Wisconsin (USA) and Hartmannsdorf (Germany), price competitive models in Taiwan and China
- Availability: 1,700 dealers in North America, subsidiaries in Europe and Asia and distributors in 90 countries worldwide.
- Types of Bicycles: high-end road, mountain and triathlon bikes; hybrid, comfort, cruiser and kids bikes and several eco-friendly products
- Construction Methods: TIG welded and OCLV carbon process (Optimum Compaction Low Void technology)
- Frame Materials: aluminum, steel, carbon fiber