Just in: Trek Speed Concept 9.9

We've got our hands on Trek's top-of-the-line TT/tri bike... and it's pretty darn sexy

by Mat Brett   March 11, 2011  

The Speed Concept is the fastest bike in the world. That’s what Trek reckon, anyway. And out of all the Speed Concepts they produce, this is the top model. Yup, this promises to be some bike.

At the heart of things is Trek’s KVF tube shape. KVF stands for the Kammtail Virtual Foil, and the idea is that it’s a 5:1 airfoil shape, but with the tail cut off. Huh?

Imagine at one stage the tube was five times as deep as it was wide, and shaped in the wind tunnel to be ultra slippery. The only trouble is, that’s not great in a crosswind. For a start, that’s a helluva lot of tubing to catch the breeze and affect the handling. And the airfoil doesn’t retain its full benefit when the wind’s at yaw (coming at an angle, basically). Plus, a 5:1 ratio falls foul of the UCI’s rules on tube shaping; it ain't allowed.

So, Trek have chopped the back of the tube off, and the air behaves almost the same as it would if the full tail was still there. The real benefit is that the KVF shape retains its aero performance at yaw; there’s lower drag in crosswinds. Plus, it means Trek can use less material and produce a lighter frame.

Make sense? That’s the story from Trek, anyway. And apart from the tube shaping, the Speed Concept boasts a whole bunch of other aero features. Most obviously, the front and the rear brake callipers are built into the fork and the frame respectively. They’re virtually invisible… and that means they’re well hidden from the wind too. In fact, look at it head on and you might miss this bike altogether.

The Bontrager SC fork comes with KVF-shaped legs and integrates neatly with the frame, and there’s no stem in the usual sense. Instead, the Bontrager Speed Concept aero bar mounts to the top of the fork. Kind of. Take a look at the pics and you’ll get the idea.

The cables run internally, naturally, there’s a computer sensor tucked away in a little recess in the chainstay, and that curious arrangement behind the seat tube is a storage box for a spare tube, multi-tool, energy gels and so on. The bike is actually more aero with it fitted than without. Even the quick release skewers on the wheels integrate into the rest of the bike to reduce drag. Honestly.

As for the spec, the 9.9 comes with a SRAM’s top-level Red groupset. We wouldn’t be seen on anything less, dah-ling. Nearly everything else comes from in-house brand Bontrager, including the Aeolus 6.5 wheels.

That’s plenty of information for you to be going on with. To be frank, we’ve been more than generous with our time given the fact that we’ve got a £7,500 bike here that’s just waiting to be ridden. With that in mind… pip-pip. We’ll let you know how we get on when we’ve got a few big rides under our, um, skinsuit.

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

If you get one in, I'm willing to drag it out on an audax or two. Will it take a bar bag? Thinking

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [206 posts]
11th March 2011 - 23:30


I'd *love* to take it on an audax Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7856 posts]
11th March 2011 - 23:44


Would have loved this last saturday when I managed a 'long' thirty on our local ten course.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
12th March 2011 - 10:39


What hope this becoming a schwag prize? Thinking

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [251 posts]
12th March 2011 - 11:00


I'm amazed that those lovely folks at the UCI haven't pounced on the 'storage' wing. Seems a pretty blatant, albeit cunning way of getting round the 3:1 rule.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [303 posts]
12th March 2011 - 16:14


I don't think that bit is UCI-legal, mr-andrew. It's detachable... and I'm pretty sure you'd have to detach it for a UCI event (but not for a triathlon). We'll do some research on that in time for our review.

posted by Mat Brett [2196 posts]
12th March 2011 - 16:48


I'm amazed that those lovely folks at the UCI haven't pounced on the 'storage' wing

like mat says, you won't be bringing that to the start line of a UCI event. currently it's set up in triathlon guise though, where they're not so stringent...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7856 posts]
12th March 2011 - 17:06


Would look great with a rack and 'guards for my commute. Devil

DaveP's picture

posted by DaveP [467 posts]
12th March 2011 - 19:21


Yup, tri seems to be about having some uber cool kit, going fast and not worrying about stupid rules (about the bike at least! - ironman (or wtc) have some stupid rules themselves).

Lovely beast though, enjoy it Mat, Im only a bit jealous.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
12th March 2011 - 23:37


But you've still got to pedal the damn thing.

£7,500 would buy you a fair few training camps, which would do far more to increase your ability against the clock.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2415 posts]
13th March 2011 - 0:14


it should help me get to work on time lol

posted by mandy [94 posts]
15th March 2011 - 21:36