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  1. #1
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    Trek's Steel Cross Lane CX Bike: Is It A Rip-Off?

    So I was perusing the Trek website the other day, when I ran across a cyclocross bike, called the Steel Cross- Lane. It comes in matte black and since black is my favorite color and steel is my most favored material in bicycle frames, I decided to go to my nearest Trek bicycle shop for further investigation.

    As I prepared to go to the Trek dealership, I kept thinking about how the website, never mentioned anything about the Lane having a chromoly steel frame. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed suspicious to me. Most bicycle manufacturers are more than proud to boast the fact that a particular bicycle is made of chromoly steel. Sometimes, they have two or three labels that mention it somewhere. On the frame, you'll usually read, "Cromoly", "520", "631", "853", or "4130". Next, I thought to call the LBS first, before riding there in vain. I asked the responding salesman to verify the fact that it was "chromoly" steel and not something else. The salesman then responded by saying, "Yes! It's platinum series steel!"

    ..."Ok! So what's platinum series steel?", I asked. He then told me that I'd have to hold and that he'd be right back. After about ten minutes on hold, he assured me that, though he couldn't find the information, he was certain that it was chromoly steel. I then suggested that he look directly on the bike. He placed me on hold once again and stated, " You know, it's not on there! That's weird!" I called two other Trek dealerships. Each gave me conflicting reports, about the frame of the Lane.

    I then decided not to go inquire about the Lane, due to this uncertainty. Instead, I emailed Trek Corporation with an inquiry concerning the type of steel that composed the Lane. A representative soon returned, much to my surprise, with a very disturbing answer. He stated that the Lane is composed of 100% Hi-Tensile steel.

    In my opinion, the Lane is a complete scam. First, they tell you that the Lane is made of "Platinum Series" steel. That alone places you under the impression, that it's a type of steel that is of a higher quality than others, because of the word "platinum". Most people associate platinum with quality and expense. Therefore, quality steel or a high grade of steel is inferred. Next, the LBS sales people can't even verify the exact type of material from which the frame is made.

    Finally, when it is determined that the frame material of the Lane is Hi-Tensile steel, then you have to reconcile the fact that the Lane is prohibitively overpriced. Trek's suggested retail price for the Lane is $1,100. That's quite a bit for a bicycle with Hi-Tensile steel. Sure, it comes with a Tiagra rear derailleur and a Sora front derailleur. Those are fairly decent components when operating together, but that still doesn't justify the hefty price tag. That quality of bike is something you would expect from Walmart. However, Trek is offering the bike at a premium price. At least, if Walmart were to sell it, you could get the Lane on sale for $300 or less.

    Just what gives with Trek! ...Have sales slumped to the point of misrepresenting products? ...Are they now employing scam tactics to make sales and increase profits?

    Do you consider this Trek bicycle called, the "Lane" to be a Rip-Off?

    - Slim

    PS.

    Altogether, I must have made at least five phone calls to verify the composition of the Lane's frame. Two responders gave me completely incorrect answers.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 10-22-11 at 07:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Don't get your panties in a bunch over this, mate.

    What you've found is that the bike has a quality steel frame (who gives a crap what kinda steel as long as it's not plain water pipe) that marketing want's impress the customer with to sell more bikes.

    It all comes down to one fact..........steel is real and aluminum is not.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The buzz word for the specified material may be simplified
    to allow the tube source to change as economic conditions , the supplier chain ,
    over the manufacturing year, to make a similar material
    without changing advertized brand names.
    Critical Consumer?, want a specific Reynolds (tm) steel tube to be used,
    A Custom just for you frame is the way to go


    Trek .. lifetime frame warrantee. And a Dealer network to back it up.

    Ask a college baseball catcher hit accidentally(?), with an aluminum bat ,
    if its not real..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-20-11 at 12:13 PM.

  4. #4
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    The frame uses butted tubing. I'm not aware of any butted hi-ten tubing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertdork View Post
    The frame uses butted tubing. I'm not aware of any butted hi-ten tubing.
    This is the first I've heard of it, as well!

    - Slim

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    steel is real and aluminum is not.
    Aluminum is the square root of -1?
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  7. #7
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    This is the first I've heard of it, as well!

    - Slim
    So how did Trek Inc respond when you replied that you've never heard of butted high tensile tubing and that perhaps there was an error in their statement that the Lane is 100% high tensile steel?

  8. #8
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Marketing sells more bikes than quality.
    Car-Free IT Geek
    My blog: fatguy.org

    Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, 1980s Raleigh Record single-speed conversion, Bacchetta Agio

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertdork View Post
    So how did Trek Inc respond when you replied that you've never heard of butted high tensile tubing and that perhaps there was an error in their statement that the Lane is 100% high tensile steel?
    First off, there's this guy named Jack, who has failed to respond to my email, after informing me that the frame was 100% hi-tensile steel. Of course, that's most probably due to the fact that I stated that this presentation of a high-class steel frame seemed disingenuous.

    I still felt somewhat mystified by the whole Trek farce, so next, I called Trek Corporate headquarters and asked, if I could speak to someone concerning a technical issue. Again, this CS tech guy, repeats that it is indeed a Hi-Tensile steel frame.

    I couldn't believe it! Here Trek is basically selling a Walmart type bike frame (minus the lousy components), at a premium price. It's not a Trek it's a Trick!

    - Slim

    BTW- The second guy kept asking me, "What do you mean, double-butted?... You mean butted!"

    PS.

    It's no error, it's a bonafide trick!....A Platinum series POS, is what it is!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 10-20-11 at 06:04 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
    Marketing sells more bikes than quality.
    Hey there Crowell!

    To me, that's like saying, "Trickery inspires more marriages than love".

    God! I used to really like Trek products too!

    Well, seemingly less and less as time marches on....

    - Slim

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Aluminum is the square root of -1?
    Thought you were an aluminum fan, Cyccommute!...Now, you're calling it, imaginary....

    I think you must have typed too fast...You must have meant taht for steel!

    - Slim

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Thought you were an aluminum fan, Cyccommute!...Now, you're calling it, imaginary....

    I think you must have typed too fast...You must have meant taht for steel!

    - Slim
    Question mark...?...indication of an interrogatory. Nightshade thinks aluminum isn't real.
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  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    I then decided not to go inquire about the Lane, due to this uncertainty. Instead, I emailed Trek Corporation with an inquiry concerning the type of steel that composed the Lane. A representative soon returned, much to my surprise, with a very disturbing answer. He stated that the Lane is composed of 100% Hi-Tensile steel.
    Well, technically, any steel is 'high tensile'.
    Stuart Black
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  14. #14
    Mixte Power! Arrowana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post

    I couldn't believe it! Here Trek is basically selling a Walmart type bike frame (minus the lousy components), at a premium price. It's not a Trek it's a Trick!
    Go ride a Wal-Mart bike, then a low/mid end French bike from the 70's or 80's. Both Hi-Ten steel, but a world of difference. Of course, that doesn't stop this from seeming overpriced.

  15. #15
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    Hey Slim, did you ever think about maybe just going to the LBS and giving the bike a test ride? That's the old fashioned way of getting some sort of idea of what the frame is all about. You seem to be really obsessed with frame materials.
    2012 Pinarello FP Due,2010 Scattante X-330(Cyclocross),1988 Fuji Sagres SP (Road Bike)

  16. #16
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    1. High-ten steel and Walmart-level quality are not synonymous. Not sure where this misunderstanding arose from.

    2. The Lane is what it is: a hefty base-model CX bike being billed as a tough jack-of-all-trades bike. They're not trying to win awards for lightness or uber ride quality.

    3. The price isn't that crazy... similar to a Novara Randonee or a complete Surly CrossCheck, but with STI brake/shift levers instead of bar-cons. Trek does spend a lot (and slay a lot of trees) printing catalogs the size of a small phone book, and that money has to come from somewhere, so you do pay something for the brand name.

    There's a Lane where I work, if you have any questions (what's it weigh, etc) just fire away.

    If you want a "nicer" steel CX frameset, maybe a Soma Double Cross would be more your speed. Tange Prestige heat-treated main triangle, butted Cr-Mo stays, optional matching steel fork. Looks like the frame and fork would set you back around $450ish shipped.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Or just get a Ridley, QBP is selling those too , they make a proper Cross bike
    ready to race on. $2,094.99
    internet sales Here : http://www.cyclocrossworld.com/ridle...-complete-bike

    but also thru hundreds of LBS with a QBP account.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-21-11 at 12:18 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobd View Post
    Hey Slim, did you ever think about maybe just going to the LBS and giving the bike a test ride? That's the old fashioned way of getting some sort of idea of what the frame is all about. You seem to be really obsessed with frame materials.
    Hey there Knobd!

    I actually prefer just about any type of steel over any other material for bicycle frames. It's just that Hi-Tensile steel is well-known throughout the bicycle world, as being an inferior type of steel when compared to chromoly steel. Typically, Walmart and big box stores, traditionally carry bikes with frames made of Hi-Tensile steel.

    I'm not opposed to Trek selling a bicycle with decent components and a Hi-Tensile frame. Just clearly advertise what your selling, so that even your sales people will know how to answer consumers when they enter your store and ask you fundamental questions like, "Sir, of what type of steel is the frame of this bicycle made?"
    That question should not cause you to tell me to wait right there until you return, while you go to some dark room to research the answer. I actually called three separate Trek dealerships to get an answer, and got three different answers. One Trek dealership in San Francisco, flat-out lied (out of ignorance no doubt) and stated that it was made of chromoly steel. Another one, reluctantly assumed that it had to be made of Hi-Tensile steel, since it wasn't labeled otherwise. Finally, the last one stated that it was made of "platinum series steel", because that's what is says on the Trek website. When I tried to get him to clarify just what "platinum series steel" was, he would just gracefully side-step and repeat the "platinum series steel" mantra.

    Not even their own sales people are certain about the contents of their own bicycle frames. That's just unacceptable! However, one has to think..."Wait a minute!...This is Trek!...Why would Trek adequately train their people so that they would at least know of what type of steel one of their bikes is made." Even when I called the Trek corporate headquarters, the CS person had to briefly place me on hold, before giving me the correct answer. It's not like Trek sells tons of steel-framed bikes and you could get confused or something. Steel-framed bikes have become somewhat of a novelty. There really aren't that many of them. They're a minority! That's like working in a building where of the 30 employees hired, only 2 are black, and you can't remember their names, eventhough you're the human resources person! That's just weird!

    - Slim

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arrowana View Post
    Go ride a Wal-Mart bike, then a low/mid end French bike from the 70's or 80's. Both Hi-Ten steel, but a world of difference. Of course, that doesn't stop this from seeming overpriced.
    Hi there Arrowana!

    The problem there is, we are living in realtime today, right now, in the present. We're supposed to have access to the advanced materials that modern-day society can offer in the way of technology. We're not supposed to step back into the nostalgic world of yesteryear, to experience some type of cycling feeling, when we're placed into the position of "thinking" that we're going to have some type of riding experience comparable to what we traditionally receive when riding a chromoly-framed bicycle.

    There might be two reasons why a Walmart bicycle might not give you such a great feeling while cycling. The first of which would be their cheap components. Cheap components can ruin any cycling experience. Usually, the better the components, the better the ride. Also, when those cheap components are improperly installed to boot, that just exacerbates the problem!

    Otherwise, that's exactly the point. There shouldn't be any difference between the ride of a Walmart bike with decent components, properly installed and a Hi-Tensile steel-framed bike with decent components. The frames should be quite comparable. Mass-produced, or not!

    - Slim

    PS.

    Just make certain though, that I'm being charged a fair price for my purchase of your Hi-Tensile steel bike!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Or just get a Ridley, QBP is selling those too , they make a proper Cross bike
    ready to race on. $2,094.99
    internet sales Here : http://www.cyclocrossworld.com/ridle...-complete-bike

    but also thru hundreds of LBS with a QBP account.
    Hey there Fietsbob!

    If I were going to spend over fifteen hundred bucks for a bike, I'd prefer to go custom with a Titanium frame, since I already own four bicycles. I'll buy any number of bikes I like, for under that price point.

    I most certainly wouldn't spend that much for an aluminum frame, unless it was a CAAD 10 105 Gruppo.

    - Slim

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post

    1. High-ten steel and Walmart-level quality are not synonymous. Not sure where
    this misunderstanding arose from.
    Not true! Hi-Tensile steel is exactly what you might expect from a big-box-bicycle outlet like Walmart, K-mart, Target, etc.. From whom else would you expect to purchase a Hi-Tenslie steel bicycle?
    That's usually the kind of place where you'd look for such a bicycle. Who most certainly wouldn't go to Trek of all places to find a bicycle framed in Hi-tensile steel. C'mon MechBgon!

    2. The Lane is what it is: a hefty base-model CX bike being billed as a tough
    jack-of-all-trades bike. They're not trying to win awards for lightness or uber
    ride quality.
    This is not about winning any awards. This is about false advertising and misrepresenting your goods. You're most certainly not going to win any awards for that! Nobody from Trek is broadcasting anything about the Lane being hefty. In fact, if anything, they're allowing the consumer cyclist to "assume" that it's most probably some type of advanced steel by referring to it as, "platinum series steel". We all associate "platinum" with refinement and expense. We don't think of the bottom rung in steel!

    3. The price isn't that crazy... similar to a Novara Randonee or a
    complete Surly CrossCheck, but with STI brake/shift levers instead of
    bar-cons. Trek does spend a lot (and slay a lot of trees) printing
    catalogs the size of a small phone book, and that money has to come from
    somewhere, so you do pay something for the brand name.
    C'mon MechBgon!

    How could you even refer to the Lane, while at the same time mention bicycles such as the Randonee and the CrossCheck? Both of those bicycles are made of chromoly steel. Chromoly steel is much stronger and lighter than Hi-Tensile steel. We're talking apples and oranges here!
    As a matter of fact, the disparity in difference is so great, that it should be emphasized in their on-the-floor advertisements, that "The Lane bicycle frame is made of Hi-Tensile steel". That would better inform the consumer as to what type of purchasing decision they'd like to make as a cyclist. It doesn't take much effort on the part of Trek, to include that information on their website, as opposed to dressing up Lane's frame in the "platinum series steel" disguise. That Sir, is a phrase of deliberate misdirection and trickery! So, instead of calling it what it is and informing your sales people what it is, you confuse the matter even more by stating it's somehow related to something refined and expensive, "platinum". That's low!


    There's a Lane where I work, if you have any questions (what's it weigh, etc)
    just fire away.
    Thanks for the offer, MechBgone!

    However, any honest information that I should require about the Trek Lane, should be readily available on their website. I should have to rely upon BF members or segments of the public for accurate information about the Trek Lane. That should come directly from Trek. Especially when perusing their website.

    If you want a "nicer" steel CX frameset, maybe a
    Soma Double
    Cross
    would be more your speed. Tange Prestige heat-treated main
    triangle, butted Cr-Mo stays, optional matching steel fork. Looks like the
    frame and fork would set you back around $450ish shipped.
    I am already aware of the illustrious Soma Double Cross and its most prestigious chromoly steel tubing. I am also aware of the Van Ness, the Saga, the Stanyan, and the Smoothie. I love SOMA!

    The problem now, is that, I used to love Trek, too!

    Now, I don't!

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 10-21-11 at 04:45 AM.

  22. #22
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Fuji Used It

    Quote Originally Posted by desertdork View Post
    The frame uses butted tubing. I'm not aware of any butted hi-ten tubing.
    Fuji used it in early S-10S Special Road Racer frames. It received favorable reviews at the time. Early S-10S are still considered very rideable above-entry-level bikes. PG

  23. #23
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    First off, there's this guy named Jack, who has failed to respond to my email, after informing me that the frame was 100% hi-tensile steel. Of course, that's most probably due to the fact that I stated that this presentation of a high-class steel frame seemed disingenuous.
    He identified you as an annoying time waster for him. Let it go.

  24. #24
    Bicycle Repairman kingsting's Avatar
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    I can't see Trek (or anybody else) selling an $1,100.00 bike that's 100% Hi-Ten considering that their lowly $350.00 820 at least has a 4130 cro-moly seat tube.

    I've found Trek reps to be less than knowledgeable about most of their products - and I've been selling them for 20 years. They can tell you all about how their latest carbon frames are made but ask them about a low end hybrid or kids bike and they were clueless.

    Trek has different names for their aluminum tubing (Alpha red, Alpha black, etc...) and I would think they do the same for the few steel bikes they sell. Most tubing manufacturers like to give their higher end tubing fancy names and a few years back, True Temper made a "platinum" tubing that was found on more expensive bikes.
    There's always room for one more bike!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    He identified you as an annoying time waster for him. Let it go.

    If I should let the Lane go, then why not raise the status of all big box bike frames made of Hi-tensile steel?

    Again, we don't compare current bicycle models of today with bicycles of yesteryear. Today's technology can better afford us cycling of the utmost in ride efficiency and comfort. Who cares about what was accepted as above entry level in road bikes back during the bronze age. We're talking about today! An age which brings us the best in chromoly steel and the most ubiquitous in information. There's no need to obscure your label and tarnish your image, simultaneously.

    Inform all of your CS people and your people located in these local bike stores, just what you're peddling. That way they can honestly sell goods and services to people who are deserving as much. Most people, these days in cycling, don't want to ride a Hi-Tensile steel Walmart type bicycle. Especially, after thinking that they've purchase some type of space-aged, "platinum series steel", avangard, model of a CX bicycle.

    State clearly what you're offering to sell me and I'll decide my purchase, based upon the information I'm given. That's it! It's as simple as that!

    Huh!...Let it go_______!

    - Slim

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