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Anti-Trek???(36 posts)

Mar 24, 2003 6:58 AM
Hi all,

In the few months I have been frequenting this board, I have noticed a lot of you are anti-Trek. Why is this so? Trek caters to all budgets, from high end to affordable first bikes. I bought my first road bike last week, and its a Trek. I love it.

Just curious as to why such an anti-Trek opinion is here. I see a ton of em on the roads, so they must be doing something right.
your last statement speaks volumesFrith
Mar 24, 2003 7:10 AM
about why people hate treks
"I see a ton of em on the roads" The 5x00 is a quality bike but it was the popularity of them (and a less than perfect geometry for me) that eventually kept me from buying one. It seems trite I know. The only way I can come close to justifying this or explaining it is to say that cyclists are by their very nature a unique bunch even within their own comunity. Nothing wrong with Trek at all.
True. Great bike, but you wouldn't see me on one! ;-)Spunout
Mar 24, 2003 7:13 AM
Actually, I almost lie. I ride a Lemond.
did you see that bike in the classifiedsFrith
Mar 24, 2003 7:36 AM
It was an OCLV dressed up as a lemond...Someone had it painted exactly like a silver and blue Lemond .... looked really nice.
..there were OCLV Lemonds in the late 90s, no? nmSpunout
Mar 24, 2003 7:37 AM
Correct, up until 1998 or so. (nm)TJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 8:08 AM
this one was post-2000. (nm)Frith
Mar 24, 2003 9:33 AM
Branding in lieu of connoisseurship: the logic of consumerism...StupidLight
Mar 24, 2003 8:44 AM
While there are plenty of people on this board who really do have the experience and expertise to judge the nuances between various high-end bicycles, the sad fact of the matter is that many long-term adherents of the sport have been engaged in cultural-aping and Euro-wanna-be-ism for so long that they actually believe that an Italian sticker on Russian tubing (or American, for that matter) somehow actually ennobles the product. Such individuals apparently feel that the fetish value of these Euro bikes somehow rubs off on them as well, raising them a notch above the utilitarian and conformist masses.
Yes, cycling is a quintessentially European sport, and yes I would gladly ride some of the Colnagos, Pinarellos, and Mercxs out there if they were priced at a level which actually reflected their value relative to a Trek, Giant, or even Specialized. Don't be fooled though by those who are fooling themselves into believing that they are actually "enhancing" their identity simply by swapping one name-brand use object for another.
If you've got the money to blow, then knock yourself out and overpay 50-100% for one of the aforementioned Euro-toys – or heck, throw it at a Litespeed Vortex or a Serotta Ti. If money is no object, then it probably won't impair your enjoyment of the object.
For those with real world concerns who'd rather save the extra 2-4 grand for something else, just remember that a stock Trek is good enough for Lance, and that a couple years back, he refused to pay out of pocket for a hand-built set of Rolf carbon climbing wheels, even though they would have saved him a couple grams/seconds in the hills. If the world's fastest millionaire doesn't think that swanky euro-toys are worth paying extra for, could it be that they just simply aren't?
Great insight from stupidlight, trek fright may cause $$$ plightbigrider
Mar 24, 2003 10:19 AM
Why conoisseurship (sp?) rules...peter1
Mar 24, 2003 9:47 PM
I think you have to draw a distinction between enthusiasts and conoisseurs. Enthusiasts (assume I'm talking about bicycling, but it applies for any hobby) love the act of riding in a general sense, and what they ride, what they wear, how they ride etc isn't as important as the general feeling of well-being they get from riding.

But for the connoiseurs, the accoutremonts of bicyling are as important as the act itself. That's why people obsess over Carradice bags, hand lugged steel frames, who won Het Volk in 1987, and the length of their socks in relation to the length of their shorts.

Objectively, Treks, Giants and other mass-market brands (including Colnago and Litespeed, sorry!), are better value for money (or just plain better) than cult bikes like Rivendell or Richard Sachs. That's a no-brainer. But in the end, they're just tools for the enjoyment of riding, (what the enthusiast wants) rather than objects of desire and contemplation (the raison d'etre for the connoisseur).

(As a side note, I live in NYC, and if you told folks who ride Treks, C'dales, Colnagos or Litespeeds that they werent allowed to ride in Central Park, it would be as deserted as the remotest Alaskan wilderness. Even my wife, who doesn't ride, disses "old guys on Litespeeds" and the Lance wannabes in USPS kit. Even she knows the Blue Train doesn't hire fat guys!)

On the Trek question: They're tools, like a nice set of Craftsman socket wrenches. Now compare those Craftsman wrenches to Snap-Ons. See the difference. Feel the difference.

Indulging my fetish,
re: Anti-Trek???ClydeTri
Mar 24, 2003 7:30 AM
many different reasons I guess..I have guess is many cyclists want to make a.......not fashion, but some kind of statement...Trek doesnt sound, maybe if they marketed a line badged Il' Trekia ?
I consider the Trek 5x00 the Camaro of roadbikes...Quack
Mar 24, 2003 7:37 AM
Everybody that wants to have a great performing fast bike can get one and afford it. But the problem is that nearly everyone I see riding them is either racing on a tight budget or about 40 pounds overweight doing 12mph in their full Postal garb down the middle of the road. I've owned the 5200 and I can tell you that it is a fabulous ride. Unfortunately, I couldn't get used to riding the same bike as 40% of the roadie population. If you've ever purchased a Camaro, owning a Trek won't bother you.
5X00 on a tight budget?!! Some could do alot better for less nmSpunout
Mar 24, 2003 7:38 AM
I consider the Trek 5x00 the Camaro of roadbikes...Fez
Mar 24, 2003 8:19 AM
Go to a race or an advanced group ride and you'll see plenty of guys on Treks who are not overweight and can ride well in excess of 12mph.

Trek OCLVs are ridden by lots of cyclists, some accomplished and some not. They've also been around since the early 90s so there are lots of older ones still out there.
a pic of my camero..._rt_
Mar 24, 2003 10:29 AM

oh, wait, that a CRX not a bad.

rt - would never own a Camero but i love my trek....both of 'em
Also true with some other brands.Fez
Mar 24, 2003 8:23 AM
At times there is an anti-Litespeed opinion here. Litespeed doesn't exactly cater to all budgets, but there are enough of them out there for them to be criticized as overhyped, overmarketed and mass-produced bikes.

Then some guy called Lazy chimes in, insults everybody, and defends Litespeed bikes. It gets mildly amusing.
seems to be different crowds..russw19
Mar 24, 2003 9:00 AM
Seems from the people I know that those who are anti-Litespeed, or becomming so, are the dealers. Consumers love them. But they have some wierd new 2003 dealer policies that have some dealers upset. You have a 10 bike buy-in for 2003 and 4 have to be aluminium. That's a lot of bikes for a small shop as a buy-in, and how many shops really NEED more aluminium bikes? They also sell out of mail order houses. Colorado Cyclist is apparently really slim on their markups so that makes it hard for a dealer to compete. Add the low markup to the fact that CC charges just shipping out of Colorado and your LBS has to charge tax. What is your area's tax rate? Florida is 6% and it's one of the lower states, but even so, 6% on a $3000 bike is $180 and about $140 more than most mail order places shipping charges.

On the other hand, consumers may hate Trek, but most Trek-Fisher-LeMond-Klein dealers love TCG (Trek Component Group) because TCG bends over backwards for their dealers. The give all kinds of P-O-P merch, they don't sell via mail order, and are very good about busting dealers that try to undercut the competition. They have good demo programs to loan shops high end bikes that the shop may not otherwise stock, and their warranty support is amazing. I had a Trek Rep warranty a 4 year old Dura-Ace derailleur for me once. Trek is really good to their dealers, no matter if they are Trek, LeMond, Fisher, or Klein dealers. They are popular bikes, but for a reason. They make good stuff and it's priced pretty well. Sure there are companies that have more aggressive pricing, but Trek as a whole is pretty damn good. They offer a ton of stuff, and if you wanted, you could open a store with 4 lines and still not deal with anyone else. Add to that they own Bontrager Components, and have the distro rights to Nike cycling gear, as well as stuff like Saris racks, and a pretty good line of in house accessories... that's why dealers like them.

I think the riders who don't like Trek are the more individualist riders who don't want to show up at a ride or race and stand next to a guy or girl with an exact duplicate bike. It's like when you were in high school and you tried to dress nice, but what happens when you show up with the same polo shirt as your best friend... kinda awkward. That's the biggest knock as I see it on Trek.

Just opinions....
That's really interesting to hear...TJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 9:24 AM
It's really interesting to read the above, having been a dealer of both Trek and Litespeed, with exactly the opposite experience. Trek was the most abusive, least supportive company that I dealt with, while Litespeed was the among the best. I think what it comes down to is where you fit in each company's pecking order -- we were obviously a small Trek dealer (compared to the big chains that sell tons of Treks), while simultaneously being the biggest retail Litespeed dealer in Colorado (CC is the biggest absolute Litespeed dealer in both Colorado and the country).

On the buy-in, some dealers, like us, really like a buy-in, because it demands that the dealer have some commitment to Litespeed. There's nothing more frustrating than dealers that don't stock bikes, and then undercut you on price -- they send all their customers over to check out the bikes at your shop, waste your time, and then beat you on price. And it's not like Trek doesn't also have a buy-in, and I can tell you that it's a lot more than 10 bikes. Litespeed is also flexible on delivery and payment on the buy-in; it's basically just an assurance from the dealers that they are, in fact, going to sell Litespeed bikes, and not just capitalize on the fact that they're a Litespeed dealer. With the new complete-bike only program, CC has to charge basically full price, which is a bigger markup than on any similar bike, and dealers have a lot more flexibility to buy particular parts. We recently ordered a Vortex with an XTR group, for example, because we needed the Vortex frame for one customer and the group for another.

TCG bends over backwards for their dealers, after they've already given it to them up the backside. It's true, Trek gives you all kinds of POP displays, and then they tell you where you need to put them in the store, how much you need to order, and what products you cannot sell because they compete with Trek. The buy-in for Trek is also ridiculous; not just bikes, but helmets, clothing, Wrench Force crap. Trek basically bullies their dealers into taking their terms or not being dealers. When we threw them out, it was more a relief than anything else.

I suspect though, that a lot of this has to do with the relationship the dealer has with his inside and outside reps, and the quality of those reps. I think Trek is probably great to some dealers, and terrible to others, and Litespeed is probably in a similar scenario.
That's really interesting to hear...russw19
Mar 24, 2003 9:44 AM
I think the part about your reps hits it right on the head!

Our Litespeed rep was also a rep for a bunch of other companies and didn't really give two craps if we bought Litespeeds because we were buying other stuff from him. You are correct about the buy in, and everyone has some form of it unless there is no dealer around. I managed to buy a Pinarello at wholesale even though the shop I am at is not a dealer, only becuase the nearest actual stocking dealer is over 100 miles away. I like the buy in from Litespeed, but I have also heard complaints from smaller shops about it. I am not really a fan of having to buy a complete bike. If I am dropping 4 grand on a Vortex, I want to pick and choose every single part on it down to the chainring bolts, but that's just me...

As for Trek, I used to work for a Trek dealer in the early to mid 90s. Our outside rep was kick ass! He was super cool and laid back. Didn't pressure us, but worked with us and was very cool about getting us POP displays and ad Co-Ops. We were also one of the largest volume dealers in North Florida, so we had pull. That and the owner was a rich bastard who always paid his bill the day he got it. We were doing over $800,000 a year in Trek sales and never in debt to them. But that was a time when a lot of bike shops were doing really well too. The bike shop world is not what it was in 95 thru 97 anymore.

Now I work for a Fisher and LeMond dealer. I used to work in a shop about 12 years ago with my outside rep. I know him very well and he's a good friend. I am sure that goes a long way to how the shop I am at is treated. It also makes sure I get free swag. And my shop generally hears about things like close-out sales a few days before everyone else, so we get first choice of the good cheap stuff before it sells out.

So you are right, I think most of it is the rep. And I see your point of view about the Litespeed buy in. It would annoy me to spend an hour or so with a guy telling him all I know about bikes only for him to go across town to buy a bike from someone who knows jack squat only to save 20 bux. But then what do I really care, I don't get paid commission.

Oh, and by law, you actually have to pay the state sales tax on that bike you buy from Colorado Cyclist in most states. But it's an honor system thing that no one really pays. Imagine what would happen to mail order if states started to enforce the sales tax laws. Mail order wouldn't be such a great deal anymore.
Followup Q for TJFez
Mar 24, 2003 9:48 AM
Sounds like you left the bike biz a while back, so I'm not sure if you are familiar with the new Litespeed sales policies.

I used to love the way they sold complete bikes. Great parts kits, Look or Reynolds forks, etc. You could selectively upgrade any part. Alternatively, I also loved the way Colorado Cyclist used to sell them where you started with a frame and built it up.

Now for 2003, it seems there are more limitations. Choose Ultegra group and you are limited to a cheap LiTec fork. Choose DuraAce and you still get crappy Ksyrium Elite wheels. Open Pros seem to be gone in favor of heavier "boutique" Cosmos or those Shimano 540 wheels.

My question is can I still order everything the way I want and still not get overcharged an arm and a leg? Colorado Cyclist seems to indicate that there are no customizations or substitutions from the complete 2003 Litespeed bikes they advertise. Not even for stem length, saddle, crank length or cassette. They told me if you want anything different, buy the part and be stuck with an extra.

If they continue this, I'm pretty sure they will end up selling fewer Ti bikes overall.
Followup Q for TJTJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 11:01 AM
While I no longer work day-to-day in a shop, I do know how Litespeed is currently operating the "complete bike" bit. From regular [retail] dealers, the kits are completely flexible, if you want an Ouzo Pro with Ultegra, that's fine. Different wheels are also fine. The give my former shop, which has a good reputation for custom wheels, the option of not ordering wheels at all. Bottom line though is that you usually need to order a whole bikes worth of parts. This isn't really a problem for most dealers, because their [Litespeed's] parts prices are competitive with QBP or other parts wholesalers. It becomes a problem for CC, which has much lower costs for parts from other sources than they do from Litespeed. They have to buy the whole bike from Litespeed, and then they have a groupset that they paid more for than they normally would have, so they are inclined to sell that particular groupset and not substitute. Regardless, I have no doubt that CC remains the largest Litespeed dealer in the country.
Followup Q for TJFez
Mar 24, 2003 2:03 PM
You wrote:

"Regardless, I have no doubt that CC remains the largest Litespeed dealer in the country."

Maybe the retail store sells a healthy amount. But I'm doubtful of the mail order division. SOme reasons:

1. No service. I'm not kidding when I say that. Everythings fine until they send it out. If something is wrong after that, its a heated phone call and you essentially buy the replacement part, install it, and send them the defective one and hope for your money back. THe LBS has a huge advantage over Colorado Cyclist here. And plan on paying the LBS wrench a little for tuneups/adjustments that would otherwise be gratis if you bought the bike locally.

2. No price advantage to the consumer. THusfar, Colorado CYclist sells them for full retail. Even my LBS would offer 10% off of full retail and they were a small shop. This is kind of ironic, since I heard CC would get frames and complete bikes cheaper based on the sheer quantity they ordered from Litespeed (much the same way they got Shimano groupsets cheaper from the distributors).

3. Other factors: True, a $26 shipping charge offsets sales tax ($3,000 x 5% sales tax = $150). But in order for me to order by mail, the price advantage has to be greater than that. It used to be a no-brainer when CC discounted the bikes by $1,300 at the end of year. NOw I don't see the advantage.
Missing One Key Point,TJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 2:18 PM
What a lot of people miss in the "Why is Mail Order so Successful"? argument is this one:

Litespeed has 412 dealers in the United States. An average of 8 per state. Montana has 1 dealer. Nevada has 1 dealer. On down the list. My point is that there are a lot of people who don't live close enough to a dealer to pay full retail for a Litespeed, even if they wanted to. Colorado Cyclist reaches all of these people, and fills this niche quite nicely.
Missing One Key Point,TJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 2:56 PM
What a lot of people miss in the "Why is Mail Order so Successful"? argument is this one:

Litespeed has 412 dealers in the United States. An average of 8 per state. Montana has 1 dealer. Nevada has 1 dealer. On down the list. My point is that there are a lot of people who don't live close enough to a dealer to pay full retail for a Litespeed, even if they wanted to. Colorado Cyclist reaches all of these people, and fills this niche quite nicely.
Great pointFez
Mar 24, 2003 3:50 PM
I forgot about all the people in Montana that Ted Kasciznski inspired to ride and consequently ordered Litespeeds :P

Agree totally on that point. I never said they would not sell Litespeeds. They will continue to sell plenty. But I do believe their sales volume will go down.

For example, all of us in NY, DC, Boston, and other areas who ordered from CC because of the great prices and the semi customization of parts no longer have reason to do so. Where will they make up the lost volume? In sales of crappy aluminum bikes?
Followup Q for TJavitar
Apr 1, 2003 6:11 PM
Are the Elites really crappy?
We like to C'dale bash too!!....bent_spoke
Mar 24, 2003 8:36 AM
not to mention seasonal "Colnago overpriced bashing", etc. etc....bashing is open to everyone(an "equal opportunity" thing).
As previously mentioned, everybody's likes something different.
Does it really matter what You ride? Or That You Ride?CaliforniaDreaming
Mar 24, 2003 8:38 AM
I respect the guy on a $5k Serotta, the guy on the $1k Motobecane, or the guy on a Bridgestone steel ride that I see EVERY weekend, not because or the bike or athletic ability, but because like me they're out riding...


My $0.02
Mar 24, 2003 8:42 AM
That was sorta my point. The main thing is riding. Who cares what other people ride. Nobody should 'bash' anyone else's bike.

And to the 'stem police'....give it up, cause you sound so silly LOL.
Absolutely everything gets trashed on this board at some point..Scot_Gore
Mar 24, 2003 9:00 AM
Without mentionaing any brands....Here's my bike
Compact Geometry
Low Spoke Count Wheels
Aero Rims
9 cogs
Pedals with float
Taiwanese aluminum
"Designed" in the USA

Now, let the trash talk begin. You don't need brand names for this kind of thing.

Oh my god, where do I begin...Fez
Mar 24, 2003 10:01 AM
No, just kidding. I'd rather ride than waste time trashing other bikes.
Ok Treks are not that bad!the bull
Mar 24, 2003 10:05 AM
I just like picking on guys that got Treks its fun.
They are the big guy they got most of the market in their pocket.I never said their there bikes rode crappy I just say they ride like wood.there is nothing wrong with Trek.
Its fun - watch how the hair on everyones back stands up!

The fit and finish of Trek sucks!
Ok Treks are not that bad!Rich_Racer
Mar 24, 2003 11:10 AM
I love my Trek 2300! I think it fits great (that's very individual I guess), and it's a very responsive, exciting ride.

I'm not 40lbs overweight. I only recently started cycling seriously (a year ago) after rowing for many years but until I got sick recently I was very fit. I'm looking forward to getting my fitness back while sat on my Trek.

If anything, I think the illogical dislike of Treks that a lot of people have is similar to my dislike of many european brands - I find it akin to snobbery that they're hailed as being better when they're clearly not.

I actually don't see that many Treks - I think it's far more spread than that - maybe due to this popularity backlash.

I enjoy overtaking people on european bikes more than any other!


I don't understand.........CARBON110
Mar 24, 2003 11:14 AM
I deal with lots of Trek dealers, having built a relationship with about 5 stores allows me to get good prices on all kinds of different stuff from each place. I buy cliff bars from one place since I get them at 89 cents a bar, so I order like cases of them from one shop and pay shipping. Another place I get wheels cause they give me best price for wheels. Another place I get tubes,lube,tools etc. Another place I get clothes etc. I have never heard any of them complain about Trek reps or dealing with them. All of them prefer Trek. I am very close with the owners as well and they have explained this to me and thats why I chose Trek's high end bike. I said, who is the most reliable,supportive or most likely to replace my frame if it breaks or something...Trek they all said.
I love going to races and seeing all the Treks, I love climbing up a hill with a postal Trek next to mine. In races we talk about wheels, frames anything. Its like seeing HONDAS and VW on the road not Cameros...a camero is a piece of junk,doesnt keep its resale, and isnt reliable nor even attractive. Its a Honda or VW which are sexy,good vale for money and reliable. Nothing against anyother brands, just that after 8 OCLV's and over 16k miles on my present one, I have only had to replace one,never after up, they call the rep and I get an answer to any questions I have immediatly. Perhaps some of you dealers arent familiar with negotiating buisness? Maybe not, in anycase..I recommend a Trek cause they are fun,sleek sexy and I love seeing them on the podium. Smooth lines, no vibrations, comfortable and LIGHT!
The grass is always greener. . . .Turtleherder
Mar 24, 2003 2:23 PM
A lot of people don't seem to have a very high opinion of Trek bikes because they see them everywhere. People generally lust after things that are rare which is why people go ape over custom builts and italian frames. I find it very interesting that jn Europe, Treks are rare and are a sought after and highly prized ride.
Trek, a nice company to deal with...maybe not!ArvinC
Mar 24, 2003 4:40 PM
Hello all. I found this article quite interesting:

After reading this, makes you wonder why so many bike shops MAY HAVE to sell the Treks they carry.

As for me, yes, I do ride a Kestrel...but I think Trek makes fine bicycles. And I applaud their sponsorship of US Postal and Lance Armstrong. Like it or not, their sponsorship of the team does a WHOLE lot to benefit cycling here in America.