If you’ve never heard of Project One from Trek, you might think it’s secret code for a new product that the bike manufacturer wants to keep under wraps. Something like a Trek electric car or maybe even a battery-powered bike. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Project One isn’t any of those things. And it’s much more than just choosing a unique color scheme for your Trek mountain or road bike.
Project One allows you to fully customize your bike from the frame to the drivetrain and everything in between. And yes, color is still a big part of it, but not just in the obvious places. Imagine selecting different colors not only for the frame and the wheels, but also for the saddle, cable housing and even the stem on your handlebar.
What Does Jans Have to Do with Project One?
Since Jans is a Project One dealer, I asked Karl ‘Jake’ Jacobson, the Manager of our Park Avenue store, to tell me a little about the program. “Project One from Trek started out with road bikes and now they’re doing upper-end mountain bikes,” says Jake. “It’s a cool way to customize your own color choices, components, and wheel sets. The concept is being sold through Jans in partnership with Trek.”
What that means to customers is that not only does our Park Avenue store have Project One paint swatches for you to see up close and personal, but our sales staff is also trained on the program itself and can tell you how to get started. They can also share expert advice on componentry and drivetrain options. Most importantly, Jans has some of the Project One models available in our rental and demo programs, so that potential customers can take them for a test ride to help determine which bike they want to order. For the remainder of 2014, Jans will offer the Domane 4.7 with Ultegra components as a road bike demo and the Trek Fuel EX 8 as a mountain bike rental. In 2015, the Trek Émonda will also be available to ride.
What Kind of Trek Bike Can I Order?
Since Trek has made Project One available on more affordable models of road and mountain bikes, the component, wheel and color combinations are virtually endless. So the first step in the process could potentially be the hardest – choosing the model of bike that’s right for you.
While demoing a bike will give you a feel for the bike itself, what really determines the best model for you is how often you ride. “Regardless of whether you’re buying a mountain or road bike, the more time you spend in the saddle, the lighter you want the bike,” advises Jake. “Someone who rides 4-5 hours a week will want the lightest, strongest, best components. In the case of someone who rides 2 weeks out of the summer, the components, and possibly the weight of the bike, aren’t as critical.” For mountain bikes, the Trek Project One models include the Superfly or Fuel EX while roadies can select a Madone, Domane, Émonda, Silque or Speed Concept. Women’s specific design (WSD) models are also available. For a full list of models visit the Project One website.
How Does Trek Project One Work?
After you’ve chosen the bike that you want to customize, the next step is to go to the Project One website and start designing. You can personalize paint colors, drivetrain, components and accessories.
The first step is selecting your frame paint colors, and these aren’t just the standard black and white. Choose from a custom color inspired by Tour de France rider Fabian Cancellara, or my personal favorite, the Real Fire Signature Series which features blue, green or red flames. Customers who select any Signature Series paint job, not just the flame theme, get the added bonus of designing a personalized signature decal that will be displayed on the top tube of the bike.
The next step is selecting your drivetrain. Choose from road bike gruppos such as Shimano 105, Dura Ace or Ultegra and mountain bike options including Sram XX1 and X01 or Shimano XT and XTR. Just make sure that your gruppo is consistent with the value of your bike and your riding style. “For someone purchasing a $2,000 Project One road bike, it doesn’t make sense to add Dura Ace to the bike,” cautions Jake. “That would be like putting a race binding on a beginner ski.” If you’re uncertain about the benefits of various drivetrain options, just come into Jans. Our bike experts will be happy to educate you.
Before moving on from the drivetrain decision, all customers get the added bonus of selecting a custom cable housing color. Mountain bike customers then determine their suspension preferences while roadies move on to the next big decision point – individual componentry.
Here the options are vast. Think wheelset, tires, stem, headset, handlebar style, bar tape, seat mast cap and saddle. For customers overwhelmed by the myriad of choices, Trek offers pre-configured component combinations to take the guesswork out of the process. Alternatively, riders who want to geek out on componentry can have a blast with endless possibilities that will give them the bike of their dreams.
Why Order a Project One Bike?
First off, it gives you a chance to make your riding buddies jealous with a bike that is completely customized to your riding style. And, quite frankly, the building process itself is a blast. Just ask the Jans’ bike shop mechanics that picked out unisex and women’s Project One bikes that we sold in our store this season.
“Project One is just so personalized,” says Jake. “One customer can select the top-end 7 series Madone, another can choose a 6 series that is still a pretty damn good bike for the money and someone else can choose a 5 series which is still responsive and lightweight without getting to race weight. Customers can switch it up and put anything on the bike component-wise. It’s endless what you can do with Project One.”
How Long Until I Get My Bike?
Now for the good news/bad news. As expected, most people order their Project One bikes in the summer, during biking season. According to Jake, “orders placed during the heat of the summer take about 2 months. But in the winter, you can have your bike in about 2-3 weeks.”
Our advice? Start demoing bikes now and talk with our experts about all of the different drivetrain and component options to determine exactly what type of bike you want to build. Then during mud season, or in the dead of winter, go online to trek.com, click on Custom Project One and have fun designing your personalized bike.
Once your bike has been handmade by the experts at Trek, it will be shipped to Jans (or your closest Trek dealer) where our Expert mechanics will assemble it; making sure your Project One bike works exactly as it should. Then all that’s left for you to do is take it for out for your first ride.
Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor