Most race teams keep this sort of news very hush hush, but Trek World Racing actually sent out a news release about their not so secret testing of 27.5-inch wheels for their World Cup downhill race team. While it is not uncommon for a race team to test prototype equipment, most of the time this testing can be hidden from public view. Internal workings of suspension, modification to brakes and even frame material and geometry changes are next to impossible to detect. Wheels? Not so much. You can't hide the difference between 26-inch and 27.5-inch wheels.
decided that rather than risk the news being "leaked" to race fans, they might as well control it themselves. The release in part says,
"Trek’s World Cup downhill team, Trek World Racing
, will start the season aboard a new 27.5-inch wheeled prototype version of the team-issue Session 9.9. The team is evaluating the merits of 27.5 wheels in World Cup downhill racing. In five quick years of competing at the World Cup level with Trek World Racing, the current Session has been ridden to 30+ podium finishes, three World Cup Overall Titles, and a World Championship; an unprecedented run for a single bike platform. With George Brannigan's (NZL) run to the New Zealand National Championship aboard the 27.5 proto this past weekend, testing has gotten off to a fast start. Previously, Trek World Racing, along with the overwhelming majority of downhill pros have raced almost exclusively on 26-inch wheel downhill bikes.
Trek's athlete-driven development philosophy of racing to make bikes better will be put into action as the team publicly explores the merits of the slightly larger 27.5 wheels in downhill. Throughout this research period, Trek will continue to offer riders around the world the 26-inch wheeled Session 8, 88, 9.8, 9.9, and the recently announced Park edition. According to Trek’s Mountain Bike Product Manager, John Riley “After all of the research we've invested in wheel size performance characteristics at Trek, we believe 26” wheels absolutely still have a place in the gravity category. We’re keen on understanding the possibilities of 27.5 as well, so we’re evaluating that option with some of the world’s best riders on Trek World Racing.”
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