Last week I was away on a business trip to visit with Trek and Pacific Cycles. Both happen to be right in the Madison area so it was easy to hit both while we were in town. For all of you that live in California and are aware of home prices here (Single family homes start around 400K for 2 bedrooms and 1 bath) you would crap a brick for what you can get in Wisconsin. I was told that 150K would get you around 1500 to 2000 square foot home with about an acre of land. For 250K you could have a new 2500 square foot home with 3 to 4 acres! Crazy. My dream is to someday live on a large parcel of land. I would like 100 or so acres but I would really like anything over two acres. Anyway the downer of course is the climate, it is not California weather and there are no mountains.
Madison Capital building.
Cool sandwich place on the way to Waterloo and the Trek factory.
Our first meeting was with Trek. Things went well. After the meeting we were given a great tour of the Trek factory. I have a new respect for them as a company. On all of their bikes I believe it is $1200 and up, they are had made there at the factory. This is something that is not standard practice in the bike industry any longer. Really only one other company does this (Cannondale). From cutting and laser mitering the tubes to hand tacking and welding the framesets, it is all done by someones hands, not a machine. We did not get to see the OCLV process as this process is top secret and only a select few are allowed in that production area. On the carbon process, the amount of hand finishing that goes into these frames is astonishing. They truly are pieces of art.
Aluminum laser mitered tubes ready to be welded into a frame.
OCLV process carbon frame parts ready to be glued together.
The main area of the office is an area they call the atrium. On one entire wall is compromised of all of Lance Armstrong’s winning bikes and jerseys from his seven victories. It is very cool to see them up close and to see the progression of technology over the years. The first bike still had a quill stem and threaded headset. Another wall was dedicated to Gary Fisher and yet another wall dedicated to Greg Lemond. I have got to say Trek is up there in my books as one of the coolest offices in the industry (The REI offices in Washington run right up there as well).
A wall dedicated to one of the pioneers of Mountain Biking, Gary Fisher.
One of the other Americans, Greg Lemond, Tour De France winning time trials bike. Check out that rear wheel it is made out of foam! There are no spokes.
The very memorable crash and off road ride Lance took.
And the resulting crack in his chainstay. If this is not a testimony to the quality of the OCLV frames I do know what would be.