2018 Trek Session Downhill MTB
Forged from the brutal demands of the World Cup DH circuit, all-new Session 9.9 turns up the speed with a stiffer frame, race-focused geometry, and a livelier ride thanks to an updated suspension design optimized for air shocks. While the complete bike sports ever-popular 27.5 ̋ wheels for all-around performance on any track, we’re also offering something special for dedicated racers and speed demons.
All the benefits of new Session will be available on an even faster 29er chassis. Offered in limited quantities as a frame & fork package, Session 29 brings faster-rolling 29 ̋ wheels to the downhill scene.
More aggressive geometry
Updated, race-focused geometry is the least visible change to Session 9.9, but it’s the one that riders will feel immediately. This is where the Athertons and World Cup racing had the most influence. Reach grew by about 20mm on each size, putting the rider in a more aggressive position on the bike. Chainstays remain a bit longer to match the increased front-center length and keep the bike stable at speed while simultaneously allowing it to plow through the rough stuff without getting the rear end hung up.
We’ve also increased Session’s stability and cornering prowess with a slacker head angle and a lower bottom bracket. Session 9.9 is now 10mm lower, and sports a 63 degree head angle out of the box.
Hoping for a slightly different head angle? Session features an easily adjustable head tube angle, but it’s not the creak-prone adjustable type. Session ships with zero-offset cups installed, but it also includes a set of 1-degree-offset cups that can be installed with a forward or backward angle for an additional 1 degree of head angle adjustment in either direction. Like all of our full-suspension bikes, Session gets even more adjustability with Mino Link, which offers another half degree of head angle adjustment, as well as about 8mm of BB height adjustment. Between Mino Link and the adjustable angle headset, riders can dial in their head tube angle to anywhere from 62 degrees to 64.5 degrees, depending on the course or their own personal preference.
Though new Session sets its sights squarely on the finish line, it remains at home crushing laps on the bike park jump lines. Session is primarily sized by reach, which means that park riders can size down to enjoy all of Session’s improved suspension and stiffness with a more playful fit.
One of the most visible changes to Session 9.9 is the new Fox Float X2 air shock. Float X2’s redesigned internals were developed on the same timeline as the Session, and Trek’s Suspension R&D team worked closely with Fox Racing Shox to optimize the new bike and shock together in a performance package that includes more flexibility and tuning options than ever before. Updates to the new DH-focused Float X2 include progressive instead of digressive valves and enhanced spring characteristics, which complement new Session’s lower leverage ratio and longer shock stroke. These changes to the frame accelerate the shock’s compression speed and introduce higher spring and damping forces for a given amount of wheel travel.
All of that engineering delivers a livelier ride with more control and support, especially in the midstroke, where suspension works the hardest. With the damper doing more of the work and dissipating more energy through the midstroke, the shock enjoys more predictable bottom-out resistance for better control on even the biggest hits. The suspension is also more responsive at the beginning of the stroke, allowing the bike to respond to smaller bumps, so it tracks the ground better and improves grip. It might seem impossible to gain all of these suspension improvements at once without compromising something, but Session and the new Float X2 work together to do just that.
More responsive, stiffer frame
Another visible change to new Session is the absence of Full Floater. We used Full Floater as another means of tuning suspension characteristics, but the massive improvements to air shocks—including more tunable features such as air pressure, spring rate, and spring volume—have allowed us to forego Full Floater in exchange for more strength, more stiffness, and less weight in the frame while maintaining plushness.
Complete performance package
While improved suspension performance, increased frame stiffness, and racy, adjustable geometry are notable changes, Session still features the classic Trek technologies that make all of our bikes shine. Trek’s patented Active Braking Pivot keeps the suspension working freely under braking loads that can cause other designs to stiffen up and stop working. The OCLV Mountain Carbon frame is light and strong thanks to a carbon layup that minimizes weight, enhances ride feel, and maximizes durability. Carbon Armor adds an extra layer of protection to impact-prone areas like the downtube, chainstays, and seatstays. Fork bumpers are built into the Control Freak cable routing guides, which allows for versatile and easy-to-use internal control routing for added protection and slick aesthetics.
It all adds up to a downhill bike that performs better in every way. It’s stiffer, more aggressive, more adjustable, and just plain faster. Session is rounded off with suspension that’s more plush and grippy off the top, more supportive and controlled in the middle, and better able to absorb big, bottom-out hits without losing its cool.
Sizes S, M, L & XL will be available in the 29" specific frameset which will sell for $7499. Availability date is to be confirmed.