Where is TREK headquarters?
I had no idea that it was in the middle of a beautiful quaint farming town about 60 miles west of Milwaukee, WI. You may ask, “What was I doing in Milwaukee?” I was at my annual meeting with Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So when our meetings ended we went out to Waterloo for a tour. The only buildings that rise higher than 2 stories were the grain silos. Then on the outskirts of town we found TREK headquarters. As I walked in I was transported into bike heaven.
There is a nice waiting area that explains the history of TREK. I was immediately drawn to the old TREK Y frame in the glass case. I still have this mountain bike and love it. Notice the Y frame guitar below the bike.
Then a very cool representative, Asif, gave us a private tour of the facility. We started with the atrium that has 7 of Lance’s winning bikes. Looking at these bikes was literally looking at a part of cycling history. The bikes, some of which were TT bikes, spanned more than a decade. It was interesting to see the different components and compare the more modern systems to the classics.
Check these out……
These were actual bikes that he rode. You can tell looking at the saddles that they had some wear. There were a few of Alberto Contador’s bikes as well.
After looking at these bikes Asif took us through some of the corporate offices and the manufacturing center. As you would expect bikes were parked up and down the hallways and hanging from ceilings and walls. We were asked not to take pictures through the manufacturing center and the test center because 2011 TREK product was all around.
We could not actually go in the test facility but we peeked in the window. We saw carbon road frames and MTB frames attached to hydraulics that were flexing the frames in every conceivable direction. To see this type of intense rigorous R & D first hand was pretty impressive. Our guide said they actually know how many times each bike can be bent a certain way before it is structurally compromised. These hydraulics were pretty rough too. This high end process was very impressive. We learned that other companies sometimes send frames to them to have them tested. TREK also has another manufacturing facility in Whitewater, WI this plant is used more for assembly and large shipping.
TREK has the high end Madone and the Speed Concept all manufactured here in the USA at this Waterloo headquarters. Most of the mass produced lower end bikes are built abroad. http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/triathlon/ The Speed concept has some great built in features that are very impressive. The aero compartment below the seat post and the embedded spot for cadence and speed pods that is inside the frame on the opposite side of the chain stay, this is a brilliant design.
Seeing the detail with each piece on the carbon assembly was very interesting. We went past the workers gluing the carbon sections of the Madone together and putting them into guides to make sure each frame was exactly the same dimension. Then they cook or cure the carbon in huge ovens where the individual parts are all sealed together. We saw the labeling of the bikes after they have been painted. I enjoyed watching the care that each worker took in making sure that the frame was assembled glued and manufactured with exactness. Seeing each of the steps in this very precise process was fascinating.
Notice next to the KSWISS TREK outfit there is no bike. Asif, our guide, told us somebody must have taken the Speed Concept out for a spin. Lucky...
TREK has played an important part in cycling history not just because of Lance Armstrong or other sponsored riders. There is a unique feeling at this headquarters that everyone is on the same track trying to promote health and wellness. One example of this is when we went through the workout facility. Our guide explained that TREK has trainers on hand that will assist employees with workout programs and nutrition. Asif mentioned that he commutes to work on his bike, of course not year round as Wisconsin gets really cold in the winter. At one point we walked by a wing of the building and there was some construction going on. He explained to us that this section was going to be an employee bike garage of sorts. Employees would be able to drop off bikes for tune ups and repairs. This section was being expanded to be able to provide more opportunities for all the employees to take advantage of this benefit.
As we thanked our awesome tour guide for his time we couldn’t help but go back to the lobby area and look at everything one more time. Big thanks to Brent Hulme owner of SLC Bicycle. Either go to: http://slcbike.com/index.cfm to see the TREK 2011 line up, or drop in for a visit.
Ryan Owsichek Territory Manager- Thanks for making this possible. Asif Azhar, thank you very much for taking time out of your busy day to give us a spectacular tour and almost missed your Ultimate Frisbee game.