During the recent opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William, Trek World Racing unveiled the latest tool the team will have on hand for their riders in the 2013 season. The TWR HotBox as pictured is essentially a bike warmer for use at the top of the mountain prior to race start.
In a similar vein to the systems used in motor sports to have various components of their race machines at optimum temperature in race conditions, the team studied various scenarios and compiled data pertaining to the performance of the Session 9.9 in cold conditions and determined that heating the bikes to a particular temperature would allow the rider to have the bike feeling responsive immediately from the get go, supple over the initial hits and read for the first heavy compressions with complete traction. This has an impact on suspension, hydraulics and some tire compounds.
Designed by 23 Degrees Sports for the Trek World Racing team, the HotBox is totally portable and can be easily taken to the top of the mountain by chairlift and/or gondola, and erected in less than 10 minutes. The team will have the HotBox on hand for key races later in the year, namely in Norway and Leogang, where they’ll be used should the ambient temperature at the top of the mountain fall below a pre-determined number.
Team Owner Martin Whiteley commented: “We’ve had races where the temperatures at the start house were down as low as 5 degrees Celsius, and there is clear evidence that the bikes and technology we run now are simply not operating as they should in these conditions for up to 4 major compressions. There’ll be some who think this is going too far, but there are those who said that in motor-sport some time ago and now it’s the norm. I spend a lot of time around motor-sport and the advice and information I’ve been given has been very helpful in arriving at the current design of the HotBox and the various temperature parameters we used both in heating, and start mode. I’m keen for the riders to use it now in race conditions”.