We had been hearing rumors of a new Trek full-suspension XC bike even before the new Top Fuel was revealed earlier this week. But while the Top Fuel got longer travel, a new short travel XC race bike also appears to be in the mix. We spotted it this weekend at the Nové Město World Cup, being raced by ex-world champ Jolanda Neff and a number of her Trek Factory Racing teammates…

Trek Supercaliber (?) prototype short travel carbon XC bike

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shotsSo with the Top Fuel now a 115mm travel 29er XC, marathon & trail bike (and interestingly not seen at the World Cup at all in its new, longer travel form), what will this new bike offer? Trek already has the Procaliber softail design with IsoSpeed frame flex, but this new bike is something quite different.

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shotsTrek is obviously still trying to keep this new bike (I’m just going to call it a Supercaliber for now) under wraps, quite literally wrapping up the unique suspension setup under the toptube. It isn’t entirely obvious what is going on under there, but from a number of visible details and some rumors floating around, we can make a number of assumptions.

Is it a softail? Or is it a true full-suspension bike?

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shotsTrek has no problem getting 11mm of travel out of the softail Procaliber with no rear pivot, while this new bike has a quite obvious main pivot.

Also, almost every Trek athlete not riding this prototype at the Czech round of the World Cup is riding a full-suspension bike, for the notoriously technical course. One more reason to surmise that Trek’s top mountain bikers have proper rear wheel travel on offer.

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shots

The bike’s main suspension pivot sits above & in front of the bottom bracket, looking to share almost the exact location as the new Top Fuel. With tall, boxy chainstays that likely means a similar single-pivot rear axle path just like that bike, relying on seatstay flex to drive whatever shock is under that cover.

We can see with the rear wheel removed that the bike offers almost direct rear brake routing inside of the front triangle – although this looks like it could be a hole drilled just for the team mechanics. The factory team bikes are all built up with XX1 AXS eTap so there’s no need for shift routing. But the new frame includes a locking cable port that exits the base of the seattube, most likely for the standard rear brake setup & a rear derailleur that routs into an unused opening on the underside of the driveside chainstay.

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shots

The design of this prototype XC race bike has a one-piece rear end as far as can be seen uncovered. Each thin, flattened seatstay loops around the dropout to form the chainstay, then extends past the main pivot, looping around the seattube to the other side. Presumably these seatstays which do not touch the seattube, can then join together under the toptube.

What’s under that cover?

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shots

So what really is under that cover? Three items can clearly be seen that suggest it is a rear suspension damper, even if it isn’t a conventional air shock like we see on regular full-suspension bikes.

One, the Schrader valve poking out is an obvious nod to an air spring hidden somewhere under cover, conforming that there is a shock body hidden.

Two, there appears to be a black dial protruding inline with the suspected shock location, suggesting some user adjustability. And if developed with RockShox (or even Fox), that little red dial suggests rebound damping control, confirming hydraulic damping.

Three, the cable end sticking out is most definitely a rear shock lockout, suggesting enough rear wheel travel that riders will want to lock the rear end for climbs or sprints. Two cables coming from the left side of the handlebar in the complete bike photo in the workstand above confirm that a single lever locks out both fork & shock (no dropper cable thanks to AXS.) That together with the technical Nove Mesto course suggests this bike would likely offer at least 80-100mm of rear wheel travel.

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shotsIt doesn’t look like there is room for a full-size shock under that cover (unless it is very compactly integrated into a cutout in the frame). So we suspect that Trek has partnered with a suspension maker (likely RockShox, due to the race team’s strong SRAM link) to create a customized, lightweight solution.

Neff’s bike is fitted with an MRP chainguide, but it appears to be mounted around the BB shell, rather than connected to a direct mount.

2020 Trek Supercaliber Procaliber Tope Fuel prototype, short travel carbon World Cup cross-country XC XCO race mountain bike proto sneak peek, spy shots

The new bike is quite clearly ready to race, it even looks like they have a production barcode serial number on the bottom bracket. Surely the Trek Factory Racing team has the new Top Fuel available to them as they are already popping up at retail. So the team clearly sees a competitive advantage racing the new bike now (whether weight or suspension performance), vs. waiting for Trek to release the bike publicly.

We anticipate getting more detail on the new full-suspension XC race bike any day now…

TrekBikes.com

35 COMMENTS

  1. I’m betting on a custom sliding rail type shock. Eliminates the need for a linkage, and not much else would fit under there.

    • The shock wouldn’t have to custom of you got the linkage right. The Liteville “sausage chopper” has a similar layout, but it wouldn’t work with the cover as shown. So some kind of horizontal shock with a sliding linkage seems likely.

  2. There is very little room below and around the frame at the main pivot for rotation. I’m guessing less than 100mm and some sort of inline shock push rod that forgoes an upper link. Ultra light design.

  3. I’ll just put this up again and see how long it takes to get removed. Details and images of the bike of been in the wild for weeks. Just release the bike already!

    https://forums.mtbr.com/trek/trek-2020-my-1091599-5.html

    This also sounds more like a marketing plan by Trek than actual news. UCI preview video where the bike is hustled off, “spy photos” bike Bike Rumpr, lots of mentions during the race by Rob Werner, then there will be a release. Meanwhile photos have been leaked already elsewhere.

    Time for real news and updates vs this sponsor driven pre-planned market releases. Meanwhile there are consumers out there buying bikes at full price which will be obsolescent when this bike is released

    • Those are pics of the Top Fuel. The bike in this article has a very different suspension design with the shock (or whatever) running along the top tube, not to the seat tube/down tube junction

  4. its clear: a linear system using a through-shaft Damper instead of a linkage as a integral support. Known from Nicolai Trombone.

  5. If this is like the hype and then total let down of their gel helmet crap then my guess is it is just a regular shock. Trek seems to think pretty highly of itself so I would bet money it is a std shock with a yoke like the spec epic. But this one will have some crazy new material never seen before. They call it Alumineum and it will have trek stamped in it.

    • The difference right now is that this info is all media driven from spy shots and speculation. Trek is not discussing it in public in any way that I have seen.

      This is NOT the same as the teaser directly from Trek for their WaveCel helmets. Very different scenarios at present.

      When Trek actually starts teasing or advertising, we can see how they handle it. For now this is all targeted guessing.

      • Or is it a Trek teaser marketing plan with this article being a part of the release plan? Google Search My Trek 2020 and on the forum you can read all the bike specs and see full images on page 5. My money, they release it sometime in the next month and on the day of release BikeRumor post a first ride review as they were provided a bike to start testing in April.

        The sponsor driven bike content is going to hurt the industry in the long run

      • You’re right that it’s different, but Trek knows full well that by putting that cover on the bike they’re going to get a ton of media coverage. Having worked in cycling PR, this is by design.

      • Yeah pretty sure that Trek knows full well and expects that the media will go crazy when they roll out a bike with a wrap over it. Everyone wants to know a secret. That is why companies release spy shots and teaser videos.

        • “That is why companies release spy shots and teaser videos.”

          Again, that’s not what is happening here. Trek has bikes (with covers) in place and out in the open at a publicly accessibly event. They are NOT giving out the photos or any info what so ever.

          This is very different from them offering a media packet with a press release, accompanying pics, and launch events to show the wares.

          Yes, they most likely expect people to follow this and speculate, just like happens with many other bike brands (and many other industries like cars… 2020 Vette is a great example). But it is a totally different path than the Wavecel example where they were driving the hype with their paid advertising and events.

          Those will happen eventually (if they haven’t already) when they release the embargo and the media groups are allowed to post full info and their initial impressions and/or detailed tests. It’s all quite normal and common among many bike companies, but there seems to be a bit of tin foil hat suspicion at play here, and it seems funny to me.

  6. No surprise, their new Top Fuel line is too heavy for XC racing, I would be surprised to the see the pros racing on the new Top Fuel 9.9

  7. I caught a glimpse of a similar bike at a Wisconsin race today. It was a white frame with the same black cover.

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