If you haven’t seen my road bike, kindly pause a moment to consider its photo on the right side of this blog. When people ask me what kind of bike I have, I tell them it’s a Trek. It’s official name is the 2011 Trek 2.1.
Lately, I’ve begun to wonder why.
At first glance, the bike certainly looks like something made by the Trek Corporation. After all, the name is plastered all over the front fork, top tube, down tube, rear forks and just about anywhere else on the frame. There is a handsome Trek logo on the front stem. Clearly, Trek had a role in the making of this bike.
Hundreds of hours sitting on the bike with nothing better to do has given me ample opportunity to study it. Upon further review (as the NFL referees are prone to say), things become less certain. The fact is that the only place you can find the name Trek is on the frame. That’s it. Everything else on the bike is made by someone else.
The crank, pedals, and shifters are made by Shimano. The brakes are made by Tektro with Bontrager levers. The handlebar, handlebar tape, wheels, tires, seat, seat stem, and head stem are made by Bontrager. When I am properly pedaling my bike, no part of my body is actually coming into contact with anything made by Trek.
Maybe I should call my bike The Bontrager.
Of course, most experienced cyclists will already know the reason for this apparent oddity: Shimano has darn near cornered the market on drivetrains and Bontrager Corporation was bought by Trek in the 90’s. Thus, all of Bontrager’s parts appear on Trek bikes. Still, one wonders why the Bontrager name survives and all those pieces (apart from the drivetrain and shifters) aren’t simply plastered with the Trek brand.
And here’s one last little sleight of hand for your consideration: Trek is headquartered in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and I always kinda thought that’s where my bike was made. Not so. Only the high-end frames are made at that location. My frame (the Alpha) was made in China.