Trek Speed Concept 9 Review

My new time trial bike (Trek Speed Concept 9) arrived at Beeline this week. Ironically, just as my time trial season is coming to an end. Anyway it looks nice. Which is the most important thing in a new bike.


Trek Speed Concept 9

  • 600 Series OCLV Carbon,
  • KVF (Kammtail Virtual Foil) tube shape,
  • Carbon Fork
  • Weight: frameset, cockpit setup, headset, BB and small frame parts come out to 1,874g
  • Total bike weight (with Bontrager R5 training wheels and tyres) 8.1 kg


Bike with draft box

 Project One

I bought the bike through Project One. You order the bike online (or through Trek dealer) and it gets delivered to bike shop. The great thing about Project One is that you can choose any combination of equipment. This enabled me to keep costs lower by choosing cheap training wheels. I also like to be able to choose the colour of the frame. You can spend quite a bit of time, switching equipment on the website

Another great thing about Project One is that it gets delivered to a good bike shop and experienced mechanics can put it together. The staff at Beeline bikes Oxford have been helpful in getting the bike on the road. Project One combines the best of the internet buying with also using a good bike shop. The best of both worlds really. Definitely adds to the experience to get a bike through a bike shop with enthusiastic workers to look after bike.

Trek Speed Concept at Project One

The main disadvantage of Project One is the time taken for bike to arrive. I ordered in  May. It arrived end of July. I kept waiting to have enough money in the bank before ordering, but if I’d known how long it would take, I could have ordered earlier.

Also, it has proved bad timing on my part. My time trial season is effectively over (I might do one 25 mile TT just to use bike). I should have waited for new model to come out in Autumn and got bike for start of 2015. When buying a bike, it’s always worth planning the best time of the year to buy it.

Clean lines on Trek Speed Concept

This is what you pay your money for. Nice neat lines, everything hidden away. Super aero.


Neat front section. Really clean. Though annoyingly the plastic cover doesn’t fit 100% flush with the fork.


Smooth rear view (the black plastic bit for draft box can be removed) The lines of the frame are immaculate.

What’s it like to ride?

First impressions are good. Pretty stable at high speed. Seems to cut through the wind pretty well. Though disappointingly if you want to go fast, you still have to pedal very hard. It is difficult to make quantitative judgements about how much time it saves from last bike (Trek Equinox SSL) Even when I race it will be difficult. I was more impressed by the electronic gears than new frame. Electronic gears are pretty cool and easy to see the difference. Marginal aero gains, hard to judge. But, it definitely looks Aero!

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Charge Plug review


Only established in 2006, Charge Bikes have carved a niche in the growing market of ‘cool’ single speed. With sleek minimalistic designs, they have proved quite popular, especially in London. They offer a range of three single speed bikes, with another three models of geared Charge Plug

Single speed

All come with Cro-mo steel frame and fork

  • Charge 0 – £329 (bullhorn bars)
  • Charge 1 – £399 (bullhorn bars
  • Charge 2 – £499 (drop track handle bars)

Geared Charge Plug

  • Charge 3 –  (disc brakes, Shimano Sora Gears)
  • Charge 4 – Shimano 105 gears (£1,099)
  • Charge 5 – SRAM Rival 22 gearing and hydraulic discs

Charge Plug 0

Charge-Plug-0-2015This is the entry level Charge Plug bike, newly released

  • Charge steel frame and fork
  • Bullhorn bars
  • Gear: 42*16
  • Caliper brakes
  • 32′ tyres
  • Charge Urban wheelset
  • Brakes: Promax RC482  Flat bar caliper levers
  • Charge Plug 0 2015 at Wiggle

At £329, it is quite a cheap introduction to single speed bikes. For simplicity and value, the Charge 0 is a reasonable start.

The Charge Plug – comes with bullhorn bars, these are a little more aerodynamic and help enable a stronger push when pedalling the single speed off from a standing start. They also help the bike stand out from the pack. However, many novices to cycling will find it easier to use horizontal bars.

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Genesis Equilibrium Review

In the shop, the Genesis Equilibrium looked stunning. You could perhaps describe as understated retro, it looks everything a classic road bike should. It will definitely get a few admiring glances on a club ride and help to stand out from the Aluminium / Carbon fibre crowd. I particularly liked the shiny silver and red colour combination. Nearly everything about the bike looks very impressive. Though perhaps a brooks saddle rather than white Madison saddle, would have completed the ‘retro / classic’ look.


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Difference between road bike and time trial bike

Last Sunday, I was out on my winter training hack. I averaged 16.8 mph for 70 miles and that was by sitting on Baines’ wheel for most of the ride  Yesterday I went out on time trial bike (with non-aero helmet and wheels) and averaged 21mph for 50 miles over similar terrain. In an incredibly unscientific method of deduction, that’s about 4mph faster on time trial bike.  It’s probably not quite that much. My legs felt better yesterday, and there was a little less climbing. But, as a rule of thumb, if you go from a road bike to good time trial set up, you should be able to go 1-3 mph for the same power effort.

It depends on many variables. My summer road bike stripped down is a good 1-2 mph faster than a winter training bike with mudguards, creaking gears and heavy road tyres. Maybe there is a psychological benefit that when you get on a time trial bike, which makes you want to pedal faster.

How much faster is a TT bike?

One of the great debates in cycling is how much faster would an old school time-triallist like Alf Engers have gone on a full time trial bike with dischwheel e.t.c? It’s impossible to say. Some of the 1970s time triallists had their position down to a fine art. It was only really the arm positions which could have been improved on with tribars. Though discwheels and skinsuits would add quite a bit too.  In 1978 Alf Engers did a 49.24 for a 25 mile time trial ( 30.3mph / 48.8g km/h). That was before TT bikes, aerobars, discwheels and aero-helmets – to say nothing of wind tunnels and modern nutrition methods.

The current 25 mile time trial record is 45-46, set by Michael Hutchinson in 2012. (32.5mph / 52.7 km/h) – nearly 4km/h faster

Alf Engers in TT mode. The main benefit of a modern TT set up would have been moving his arms out of the wind-flow.

UCI athlete hour record and UCI Ultimate record


One interesting comparison is Chris Boardman’s hour records. Boardman set hour records of 52.270km and later 56.375 km. This 56.3km stands as the ultimate hour record – using an extreme ‘superman’ position – Boardman was literally flying through the air.

Then the UCI changed the rules so basically you had to use 1970s equipment. In 2000, Boardman just beat Merckx to set a new athlete’s hour record of 49.441 km

That suggests a 7km/h difference between the fastest time-trial position and an ordinary road bike.

In practise, the superman position has been banned from most competitions. The average time trial position is somewhere between the Superman and road bike.

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Eric Wilson’s hill climb bike from the 1950 / 60s

A reader (Ken Stott) kindly sent in a few photos of Eric Wilson’s hill climb bike from the 1950s and 1960s. Eric Wilson won four national hill climb championships in 1955, 1957, 1960 and 1964. Four titles over a period of 10 years. Ken still looks after Eric’s bike, though he says he doesn’t ride with quite the speed of Eric Wilson in his prime!


Ken says the bike weighs about 18lbs….. (8.1 kg). That’s about 2.1 kg heavier than the average (geared) bike in the national hill climb 2013!

The bike is of course fixed. Nearly all hill climbers will have ridden fixed in those days. Though gears were starting to become more popular. – For example, John Woodburn became the first rider to win the national 25 mile title on fixed in 1961.

The bike looks marvellous. Classic Raleigh red

The front fork has a large rake angle (giving low / zero trail) (good article by David Moulton here on Rake and trail here)