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Trek Timeline

The information on this page can be used to help date a frame or bike. In many cases the date of the frame can be determined to a particular year from the original frame graphic and headbadge configurations, model number, and paint color. One may need to refer to the brochures for more detailed information.

One also may be able to date a bike from the components, assuming the components are original. A discussion of component dates is provided here.

This timeline is a work in progress. The information given is, in some cases, a best guess. If you have corrections or additional information, please contact me.

Date
Activity

Dec. 1975

Trek Bicycle Corporation is established by Richard Burke, President, and Bevil Hogg, VP and General Manger. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Milwaukee-based Roth Corporation.

1976 - 1978.5

Trek produces models TX300, TX500, TX700 and TX900. These were initially sold as frames only, for most of the country. Optional braze-ons and paint color could be ordered from the factory. Model numbers do not appear on the frames. (Model numbers first appear on bikes and frames in 1984.) These frame designations apparently persisted at least through November of 1978.

The model TX200 did not appear in the early catalog (76-77) but did appear in the 1977 catalog. It was probably sold only as part of a built-up bike.

The TX200, TX300, TX500, and TX700 have been described as "sport touring" and simply as "touring". The TX900 was Trek's early racing bike.

This information contributed by Chris Cleveland, Trek employee 1977-78: ". . . Trek built and sold complete bicycles during this period, for sale principally in the Midwest. An older man in Waterloo built the wheels in his home. The standard catalog from this period refers only to frames. Spec sheets for the bikes were supplied to dealers."

The 1977 brochure on the brochures page describes the complete bikes sold in the Midwest. They included these bike models: TX201, TX302, TX304, TX502, TX504, TX702, TX704, TX705, TX706, and TX907. It is not clear if the TX200 was offered as a bare frame, or only as a built-up bike.

Bare frame sets were given model numbers in the form TX#00 (e.g. TX700). Bike models were given the TX and first numeral of the frame designation. The the second and third numerals indicated the level of components on the built-up bike.

A brochure owned by Al Olson is similar to the 1977 brochure except on the last page it lists names for the various bikes. These are:

TX201 Adventurer
TX202 Wanderer
TX303 Wayfarer
TX502 Kestrel
TX702 Odyssey
TX704 Venture
TX705 Vantage
TX706 Elite
TX907 Road Professional

It is not known if the 1977 brochure came before or after the one owned by Al. However, it appears that the names of bike models were not used very long as they are not used in the 1978.5 brochure.

The early fastback seatstay, available only on the TX900, was visually appealing, but also problematic for Trek. According to a dealer in 1980, it took more labor to produce (higher cost), was difficult to make, and had a slightly higher return rate that the conventional stay configuration. For these reasons, the TX900 was discontinued. A TX900 today would be perfectly sound, as the (rare) failures typically were found in the first weeks of use.

From Trek serial numbers submitted, the production of the Model TX900 and the later Model 930 overlapped. TX900s were produced at least as late as April of 1978. The 930 was produced at least as early as March of 1978. One 930 was marked as made in March of 1977.

The oldest Trek frame reported to date (as part of the serial number decoding project) is a TX200, serialized in October of 1976. A TX900 has been reported with a date of October 76 as well, but from the last three characters of the SN it apparently was made later in October.

The seattube graphic is "TREK" lettered on each side. The letters are white, with a black shadow and an outline in gold. For the first two or three years, the graphics are decals, later ones are vinyl stickers. This color combination was used through 1983, even after a color wrap was used behind the graphic in 1981 - 83.
The headbadge is brass, colored with black paint. This badge was used until 1983. It is attached with screws (as in this picture) until 1980 models (or late 79 brazing dates). During 1980 and 1981 the screws were phased out, being replaced with double-stick foam tape, similar to that that used for automotive trim. After 1981 the headbadges were only fastened with the tape.
1978.5

Frame models 510, 530, 710, 730, 910, and 930. Bike models are: 512, 712, 514, 714, 914, 536, 736, 936, 737, 937, 738, 938. Seattube graphics and headbadge are the same as for 1976-77. Model number does not appear on frame.

The 1978 brochure and model designations appear to have been operational in mid-78. The may 78 price list lists the earlier TX models. The November 78 price list shows the newer models (510, 530 etc.)

The first digit of the model number indicates the tubing used to make the frame: 5 is Ishiwata 022, 7 is Reynolds 531, 9 is Columbus. The second digit indicates the designed purpose of the frame; 1 indicates touring, 3 indicates racing.

1979

Frame models 510, 710, 910, 530, 730, 930. Bike models: 512, 712, 514, 714, 914, 536, 736, 936, 737, 937, 738, 938. Seattube graphics and headbadge are the same as for 1976-78. Model number does not appear on frame.

There also was a Model 310 that did not appear in catalogs. It was constructed of Ishiwata high tensile butted tubes.

Tim Issac, master framebuilder, joins Trek.

1980

Frame models 510, 710, 910, 730, 930. Bike models 412, 414 and Series 500, 700, and 900. Seattube graphics and headbadge same as for 1976-79 except headbadge is glued not screwed. Model number does not appear on frame.

Bike models 613, 614 and 616, that are listed in the 1981 brochure, probably first appeared in late 1980.

Trek installs first automatic painting system.

Sequential frame serial numbers are begun in late 1980 (1981 model year), and run at least through 2000. They are used only for US made bikes. Numbering started with 000001.

1981

Frame Models 412 (410?), 610, 510, 710, 750, and 950. Bicycle Models 412, 613, 614, 616, 515, 516, 715, 716, 719, 759, and 959.

Color-wrapped seattube graphic.

It appears for models 4XX, 5XX, and 6XX, the graphics are the same as for 1980: no color wrap around TREK on seat tube.

For model 7XX series bikes and up, the seat tube graphics are "TREK" on each side of the seat tube with a color wrap around the seattube. Models 759 and 959 have the same graphic on the downtube as well. Headbadge is the same as 1980. Model number does not appear on frame.

Model 959 frames (Columbus tubing) have fully-sloping fork crowns, with cutouts on the side and a cutout in the bottom bracket shell where it joins the downtube. The 81, 82, and 83 75X and 95X frames and bikes were probably zenith of traditional frames by Trek. They had Cinelli bottom bracket shells, reinforcements at the brake and chain stay bridges, and reinforcements for the water bottle bosses. In 1984, Trek began using cast fastback seatlugs with seat stay sockets and Trek bottom bracket shells. Excellent parts, but just nontraditional.

1982

Frame models 510, 710, 720, 730, 750, and 950. Bike models 311, 412, 613, 614, 515, 710, 715, 728, 736, 759, 757, 950, 959, and 957. In this year Trek sold a bike Model 311, which does not appear in the catalog. The Model 311 does appear in the 82 price list (on this site) and in the serial number list. The SN list shows it was first made in mid 82 and was not made in 83. The 311 flyer is shown at the bottom of the HTML formatted 82 brochure.

Seattube graphics same as Model 7XX and up for 1981, and headbadge same as 1980-81. Model number does not appear on frame.

Prior to 1982, derailleur cables on Treks were routed above the bottom bracket. According to the 1982 brochure, on the upper level bikes, Model 728 and above, cables were routed below the bottom bracket. On Model 614 and below cables continued to be routed above the bottom bracket. (Some variations to the brochure configurations have been reported.)

The brochure shows the 728/720 with center pull brakes. Some 728/720s were supplied with cantilever brakes.

9XX frames have fully-sloping fork crowns, with cutouts on the side and a cutout in the bottom bracket shell where it joins the downtube. They also had Cinelli bottom bracket shells, reinforcements at the brake and chain stay bridges, and reinforcements for the water bottle bosses.

The Japanese Connection - Beginning in 1981 or 1982 (and extending through at least 1986), Trek used Tange, a subcontractor in Japan, to build some frames and parts of frames. The 300 and some 400 series were a complete (unpainted) frame and fork from Japan, but painted and assembled in Waterloo. The 500, 600, and 800 (MTB) series had the main triangle built in Waterloo, the pre-assembled rear stays were attached, and the whole works painted and assembled in Waterloo. The 700, 900, and 170 series were completely built, painted, and assembled in Waterloo. Some 600 series were all Reynolds 531 frames. Trek had Reynolds seatstays and chain stays shipped from England to Japan, where they were assembled into the rear triangle assemblies and then shipped to Waterloo to be attached to the main frame.

1983

Bike Models 400, 500, 520, 560, 600, 620, 630, 640, 700, 720, 760, 970, 170, and 850. Seventy-five Model 730s (all Reynolds 531) were made, but the model was not included in the brochure.

Seattube graphics same as 1981-82, headbadge same as 1980-82. Model number appears on the chainguard on the right chainstay.

970 (Columbus tubing) and 170 (Reynolds 753 tubing) frames have fully-sloping fork crowns, with cutouts on the side and a cutout in the bottom bracket shell where it joins the downtube. This is the last year Columbus tubing is used on production Treks.

In 1983 the derailleur cables were routed below the bottom bracket for all models. This configuration changed in 1985 when the rear derailleur cable was routed through the right chainstay on some bikes (see 1985).

Trek installs automatic brazing machinery.

For most models, rear dropout spacing increases from 120mm to 126mm.

First use by Trek of Reynolds 501 Chromalloy tubing on some bikes. Thicker wall thickness, and consequently heavier, than 531, but also more robust and a bit less expensive. The last use was for the 1985 model year.

First use by Trek of Mangalloy 2001 tubing, made by Tange, It was used on the Model 400, which was the first "International Series" bike. The frame was made in Japan but painted and built up in the U.S. Mangaloy 2001 was last used by Trek in 84.

Trek introduces the "Rough Terrain" model 850 (a mountain bike).

1984

Bike models: racing 460, 560, 660, 760, 770, 170; sport 400, 500, 510, 610; touring 420, 420L, 520, 620, 720; all-terrain 830, 850, 890, frame models 760, 770, 170, 610, 620, and 720.

New headbadge, white or brass background with black graphic, is used from 1984-87.

Upper level frames (760, 770, 170, 720) have cast fastback seat lugs with "TREK" cast into the sides.

Some 400, 420 and 460 frames or complete bikes were made in Japan by an outside contractor. These bikes have a 9-character numeric serial number on the lower seat tube, rather than on the bottom of the bottom bracket.

In 1984 the derailleur cables were routed below the bottom bracket for all models.

"TREK" graphic with model number is on the sides of the downtube (with no color wrap). "TREK" and Model number also appears on the right chainstay.

Reynolds 531CS (Club Sport) frame tubing is first used by Trek. According to Terry at Reynolds-Cycle.com: "531CS was a special set, supplied mainly to Trek. The main triangle was butted 531 and the rear stays were CrMo (501)." The fork was taper gauge CrMo (501). (Info. provided by Dickey Greer.)

Last year Mangalloy 2001 tubing was used by Trek.

Trek renames "Rough Terrain" bikes to "All Terrain" bikes. Both of these are mountain bikes (as we know them today).

1985

Racing Frame models 450, 460, 470, 560, 660, 670, 760, 770, 170,
Sport, Models 300, 400, 410, 420, 500, 510, 520, 600,
Touring, Models 620, 720,
All-Terrain, Models 830, 850, 870
,
(Models 300, 450, 470 and 170 were sold in 1985, but did not appear in the 85 brochure.
)
The cast fastback seat lugs with "TREK" cast into sides are extended to lower level bikes.

Graphics: model number on right chainstay, "USA" on sides of seat stay, "TREK" on sides of downtube. Same headbadge as 1984.

In 1985, Trek routed the rear derailleur cable through the right chainstay on some of its bikes. In 85 (according to the catalog and site visitors) it was done on Models 450, 460, 470, 510, 520, 560, 600, 620, 660 and 670. On the other bikes the cable was shown routed below the bottom bracket but outside the chainstay. The 85 brochure shows the 400, 410, and 420 cables routed outside the chainstay but some of these bikes have been reported with through-the-chainstay cables. This change was made sometime after the brochure photos were made, perhaps during the model year.

First year Trek used True Temper tubing (steel). It was used in lower- to mid-level bikes.

Trek introduces the adhesive-bonded, internally lugged Aluminum Model 2000, designed by Tim Issac. It was available through 1988 as a bike or frameset and in 1989 as a frameset only.

Trek replaces the automatic brazers with a robotic system that assembles, aligns and brazes in a single pass.

All-Terrain bikes (Mountain bikes) have traditional fork crowns (not unicrown forks).

This is the last year the Trek catalog lists the (touring) model 720 :-( . Actually, according to the serial number list, Trek built no 720s during all of calendar year 1985. (Thanks to Joe Bond for pointing this out.) The one 720 listed in 85 was in for repair. The long-distance touring craze of the late 70s and early 80s was over. The pricey 720 was just no longer in demand.

1986

Models Pro Series 560, Pro Series 760, Pro Series 770, Tri Series 500, Tri Series 700, Elance 300, Elance 310, Elance 400D, Elance 400T, and Cirrus 520.

Graphics: "USA" on sides of seattube, "TREK" on sides of downtube, model name on top tube, no model designation on right chainstay. Same headbadge as 1984 and 85.

Through-the-chainstay rear derailleur cable routing was done on all models except the 300 and 310.

Trek introduces the carbon fiber composite model 2500. It first appears in the 1987 catalog. The frames consisted of carbon tubes bonded to aluminum lugs. This frame configuration later included Models 2300 and 2100.

Steel mountain bikes 1986 and newer have unicrown forks.

1987

Models 560EX Pro Series, 560 Pro series, 520 Cirrus, 400T Elance, 400D Elance, and 330 Elance (plus various mountain bikes and aluminum-framed road bikes).

Graphics: "USA" on side seat tube, "TREK" with shadow effect on downtube, model number " xxx" on right chainstay, model name on the top tube. Same headbadge as 1984, 85 and 86.

Through-the-chainstay rear derailleur cable routing was done on all models except the 330.

Some 1987 TREK frames and/or bikes were subcontracted to the Taiwanese bike company Merida. These were Model 800, 830 and 850 mountain bikes and Model 300 road bikes. See Note 8 on the serial number page for more information.

Model 2500 composite (aluminum lugs/carbon tubes) bikes appear in the catalog.

1988

Models 660, 560, 520, 400T, 400, 360 and 330 (plus various aluminum-framed and carbon-tubed road bikes and mountain bikes).

New headbadge, used during the period 1988-92.

 

 

Graphics: model number on sides of seattube, "TREK" on sides of downtube. Component designation (e.g. "SIS" or "Shimano Ultegra") on right chainstay of all models except 360 and 330.

Through-the-chainstay rear derailleur cable routing was done on all models except the 330.

Seven-speed cassettes were offered on most Shimano-equipped road models for the first time this year.

1989

Models 660, 520, 420, 400, and 330 (plus various aluminum-framed and carbon-tubed road bikes and mountain bikes). This is the last year the bonded aluminum Model 2000 was available.

Graphics similar to those of 1988. Through-the-chainstay rear derailleur cable routing was done on all models except the 330.

Model 5000, molded graphite composite frames, first appear in the 89 catalog.

Seven-speed cassettes were offered on most Shimano-equipped mountain bikes for the first time this year.

1990

Models 520, 420, and 330 (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

The unicrown style fork is used on the 520 for the first time. Cheaper to make, more aero? but inelegant.

The 420 and 330 continue to have traditional fork crowns.

"Splash" paint was used on several of the bikes. The bike was painted a solid color and then a second color was splattered onto the frame, resulting in fine threads of contrasting color.

1991

Models 520 and 400 (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

The 8 speed cassette, with 130mm dropout spacing, is introduced on the top level road bike, the Model 2500. The other road bikes are still 7 speed.

"Splash" paint was again used on several of the bikes.

While not in the catalog, Trek did sell the model 2000 in 1991. It has a welded aluminum (not bonded) frame, and was painted red with white lettering. (Source: Michael A. Roberts.)

1992

Models 520 Touring and 400 Sport (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

This is the last year lugs were used on a Trek steel racing/sport frame (Model 400).

Upper level road bikes, 2300 and above, have 8 speed cassettes with 130mm dropout spacing. Lower level bikes are still 7 speed.

"Splash" paint was again used on several of the bikes.

1993

Model 520 Touring (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes). This is the last year lugs were used on any steel Trek frames (Model 520). In future years, steel frames were TIG welded.

Upper level road bikes, 2200 and above, and the 1420 have 8 speed cassettes with 130mm dropout spacing. Lower level bikes are still 7 speed.

This was the last year "splash" paint was used on some of the bikes.

1994

Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike models 520 Touring and 370 Sport (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

Upper level road bikes, 2200 and above, and the 1400 have 8 speed cassettes with 130mm dropout spacing. Lower level bikes are still 7 speed.

1995

Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike models 520 Touring, 470, and 370 Sport (plus various carbon-and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

Upper level road bikes, 2300 and above, have 8 speed cassettes with 130mm spacing. Lower level bikes are still 7 speeds.

1996

Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike models 520 Touring, 470 Fast Track, and 420 Fast Track (plus various carbon-and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

This is the last year that the 520 was made in the USA. (Thanks to Andrew Bam Ford for sorting this out).

1997
Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike models 520 Touring, 470 Fast Track, and 420 Fast Track (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).
1998

Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike models 520, 470, 420, and 370 (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

Last year for the 2500/2300/2100 series of carbon-tubed road bikes. The carbon tubes were bonded to aluminum lugs.

For their aluminum road bike frames, Trek changed from bonding frame tubes to welding.

First year of the Y-Foil 66 and 77 aerodynamic carbon fiber road bikes. They had beam suspension (no seattube).

1999

Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike, model 520 (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

1999 is the Last year of the Y-Foil 66 and 77 aerodynamic road bikes. The UCI (International Cycling Union) outlawed beam-type bikes for racing beginning in 2000. Trek production of the Y-Foil stopped abruptly. These slippery bikes are still prized by their owners and are used commonly in triathlons.

Aluminum-framed road bikes are of welded construction starting in 1999. Earlier aluminum road bikes were bonded using internal lugs.

2000
2001
2002
2003

2004
2005
2006
2007
2008

Steel TIG welded (no lugs) road bike, model 520 (plus various carbon- and aluminum-framed road bikes and mountain bikes).

 

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