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Trek History and Articles

Trek first started making bicycle frames in 1976. Trek made a total of 805 frames that first year (according to a 2008 article in the New York Times). Two years later they started offering complete bicycles in addition to the bare frames.

All of the early frames were silver brazed, a more costly and exacting process than using brass brazing rods. Silver brazing allows the joining of the tubes at lower temperatures, which better maintains the strength of the frame tubing. Silver brazing is specified in the 1976 and 1978 catalogs. It is is not specifically mentioned in the 1982 catalog. The 1984 catalog describes brass and silver brazing.

Trek domestic bike production figures for late 1980 through 1986 were calculated from Trek's paper serial number list for this period. The results are presented on the Trek Bike Production by Model, Late 1980 through 1986 page.

In recent years Trek, as has the industry in general, has moved away from steel frames in favor of aluminum and composite materials. However, Trek still offers a steel-framed touring bicycle, the model 520, to meet the needs of their customers who know and prefer the functionality of a steel bike.

In the early 1990s Trek produced a line of entry-level mountain bikes and kids bikes under the Jazz label. The graphics on the bikes say "Jazz by Trek". The bikes were made in Taiwan. The models included: "Latitude"; "Streetlife"; "Calipso"; "Cruiser Classic"; "Bold Moves"; Dazzle"; "Flipside"; "Inferno"; "Rocket"; "Clash"; "Synthesis"; "Vertical"; "Wizard"; "Zig-Zag"; and "Voltage". A Jazz by Trek catalog from 1993 is included on the brochures page.

Over time, Trek has expanded its domain by purchasing other bicycle manufacturers. These include Bontrager, Gary Fisher, Klein and LeMond. Brochures from these brands are here.

Trek has created a interesting and well-written history entitled "A Trek through Time – The History of Trek Bicycles". It appeared on the Trek Dealer website in February of 2002. The five page article, in PDF format, is here.

An interesting presentation of the business history of Trek was made by Richard A. Burke, Chairman and CEO of Trek, in October of 2000. The presentation was made as part of "Profiles of American Enterprise" at the University of Colorado. The link to this video is no nonger working. If you know a link to this presentation, please contact me (skip@skipechert.com).

Trek's Richard Burke was interviewed by Leigh Buchanan of Inc.com. Her article, "Trek's Burke: How I did it", dated August 2006, appeared on Reuters.com. Our thanks to Reuters for permission to reproduce the article.

The Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology offers an excellent history of Trek and the mountain bikes it produced.

Mr. Richard Burke died in 2008. His son, John Burke, is now CEO of the company.

Articles

Here are references, suggested by Larry Osborn, that contain Trek historical information. Those underlined are links to PDF files of the articles.

These articles are copyrighted by their publishers. Our thanks to the publishers for their use here.

"Trek: A Giant is Growing in the Midwest" by Gary Fisher, in Bicycling!, February 1978.

"Choosing a $210-$250 Bicycle", Bicycling, April 1979, 9 pages, comparison test of 17 bicycles include Trek TX 302.

"Road Test - Trek 714" in Bicycling, November/December 1979 pp 59-60.

"Workshop - All about Loaded Touring Bikes" in Bicycling, June 1983 (Includes a review of the Trek 720).

"Trek 728 - Hurray! True Classic Touring Bikes are Made in Wisconsin" in Bicycling, January/February 1982 pp 87-90.

"Trek is Going Strong", Bicycling, March 1985, 4 pages, 3 color photos, 1 B/W photo.

"Technical Edge - Trek 520" in Bicycling, April 1985, pages 98 - 112.

"Trek Technology Central" by Ted Costantino in Bicycle Guide, August 1986.

"Trek 520" in Bicycling, April 1988, pages 194, 199, 200.

 

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