2010 Trek Preview: Did We See The Speed Concept? Well, Yes And No.

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No, in that it was not shown to the press or dealers; Trek staff were clear to state that to this point, it’s not a 2010 product. It is still in development. They did confirm that yes, Chris Lieto will be riding the Speed Concept at the Hawaii Ironman (as well as one Trek waaay lucky employee who qualified off his merit). But even at that, it will be merely a testing effort.

I chatted with Trek Advance Composites Group engineer Mark Andrews, and met new Trek road and tri product manager Nick Howe. Both Nick and Andrew are triathletes, and both took me aside to let me know what their plans are with the Speed Concept. Further, Andrews pulled me away in Waterloo to get a behind-the-scenes, off-the-proper-factory-tour, no-cameras-allowed look at the Speed Concept. Getting to see and turn over in hand some of the parts of what will be Chris Lieto’s October Hawaii Ironman bike was interesting. There’s a lot going on, and much of it revolves around the tubing shape, and Kammtail.

Kamm tail is named after the engineer who discovered the findings, German aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm. Kamm studied it as a way to build faster cars that were more practical.   One of his designs was the AMC-AMX-GT concept car in the late 1960s, and the current Toyota Prius and Honda Insight incorporate elements of Kammtail, with a chopped the back end. The general premise of Kammback, or the Kamm tail comes from abruptly cutting off the trailing edge of an 8:1 airfoil, with the wind being tricked into thinking that the foil extends beyond.

“The cool thing about it is at slower speeds, at yaw, the virtual tail actually bends,” Nick said. “The more yaw, the faster the bike is.” Will we see knockoffs? The response was quick: “Global patent in the bike industry,” he said. “We knew we were far enough to know that for anyone to try to catch up with us is. But we still have more testing, so we’re still keeping it under wraps until it’s finalized. But I gotta tell you as a triathlete, this bike is loaded with 10 more features that are conducive to triathlon.”

And so, with baited breath, we wait. At least until Kona to pore over Lieto’s rig.

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