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2007 Trek T1 track bike

by Carl Brewer last modified 2007-10-28 21:37

Trek brought out an Aluminium alloy track bike in '06, I've got one, here's a long-term review of it

Track bikes ... there's two main types these days, 'real' track bikes, that are meant only to be used on velodromes for racing, and road/track bikes, that are road geometry but have a fixed gear option so you can race them on a velodrome, or use them as a training aid (IMO, this is of limited value, but there's coaches who love it) for road riding, but they're more relaxed and have slower response than a pure track bike.

What is the Trek T1?  A real trackbike or a roady with horizontal dropouts?

It mainly boils down to geometry and componentry. On the componentry side of things, the T1 is firmly in the road fixie/single speed camp.  It has short cranks (165mm) but they're road cranks, not real track cranks, 130BCD and by track standards, quite flimsy, I've bent mine.  They're Bontrager-badge-engineered Truvative road cranks with short arms, and they're not Truvative Omniums .... The bars are road bars (no NJS sprinter bars here, they're Bontrager select road bars, wide and road shaped) and the stem is very much entry level Bontrager Select. The wheels are ok, Bontrager 'Select track', which basically means bolton, not quick release, but otherwise their 'Select' wheel.  Not super-stiff, not very light, but servicable for outdoor velodromes, with a flip-flop hub - the bike comes with a 16 tooth single speed BMX freehub and a 15 tooth Dura-ace track sprocket, so with the supplied 49 tooth Stronglite chainring you get 88 gear inches in track trim, which is good for many riders on outdoor velodromes.  They're really a road wheel though - the rims have a braking surface, and the T1 comes with a set of Cane Creek calipers and brake hoods.  So it's a road bike posing as a track bike?

Not entirely.

The geometry is much more of a pure track bike than the components would suggest - this is no Specialized Langster.

The 56cm frame compared to similar sized other track bikes :

frame geometry comparison
Bike Trek T1 (56cm) Teschner Carbon (54cm) Specialized Langster (56cm)
Head Tube angle 74 73.5 73
Seat tube angle 74.5 74.5 73.25
Chainstay length 38.7 38.0 40.5
Effective TT 54.3 55.5 56.5
Wheelbase 96.1 95.5 99.1
BB height 28.6 unknown unknown
fork trail 3.5 4.5 5.9


 So it's awfully close to a track thoroughbred like the Teschner/Dolan carbon track bikes than it is to a roady with a fixed gear like the Langster (note, the S-Works Langster is more of a pure track bike than the one I've cited above). The frame's got stainless steel rear dropout inserts (but they're not replaceable?! Mine aren't showing any significant wear after a year though), which is a track feature not found on the Langster, which has aluminium dropouts. In short, it's a track frame, with road bits.  If you're going to go racing on a velodrome this bike is going to want some bits swapped over, but it will hold its own as it comes out of the box until you decide to get a bit more serious and replace the road bits with stronger and more suitable track components.  Whacking in some Easton EC90 track bars if you're a sprinter is a good option if you've got money to burn (and you wouldn't have a T1 in Australia unless you did!), or a cheaper set of steel track bars, and a set of real track cranks like the new Truvativ Omniums or Sugino 75's and some better wheels and you've got the makings of a very respectable aluminium alloy track bike.

In Australia, it's priced at around $2,500 for the complete bike, which places it in a bit of a no mans land, it's competing with other Aluminium alloy track bikes like the Apollo (formerly Raceline) Record and the Avanti Pista series bikes, but is quite a lot more expensive.  It's a stiffer and lighter frame than the Apollo, and it's made in the Trek factory in Wisconsin, not in an anonymous factory in China or Taiwan and has Trek's lifetime warranty, but it's still priced too high to represent good value.  If it came with higher spec parts at this price it would be a better deal, but as it stands, it's too expensive. It does look great, the chi red colour is striking and contrasts well with the bikes clearcoat carbon forks, but you pay a premium for this bike.  It's stuck between the carbon track bikes that start around $5,000, and most of the Aluminium track bikes at between $900 and $2000 and the $2000 bikes it competes with have a much better component spec.  Is it worth the extra dollars, given the low spec of the parts it comes with?  I own one, and am happy with it, especially now it has better bits than it came with originally, but as it ships, Trek Australia need to either significantly drop the price or seriously raise the level of components to be competitive. I've put in a summer season of track on outdoor velodromes on it, and a winter indoors on boards (with better wheels, tyres and bars) and it's been everything I'd expect it to be, stiff and responsive and it never feels like it's doing anything unexpected, so the frame is good.

In short, it's a very good frame, but is let down by poor components and too high a price. My assembly photographs are here.

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