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Hi. I think the Trek Pilot 5.2 spa is a beautiful bike; I love the black carbon fiber with the red decals. This is the way I think a bike should look. Does anyone have any experience with this bike? What type of rides is it for? My bike course does not have any real rough pavement. How is the spa suspension adjusted? Is it meant to be adjusted while riding? Does it work well?

Does anyone here have any reviews of the Trek Pilot 5.2 spa? Any opinions of this bike?
 

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What type of rides is it for?

It's not for any specific type of ride. It's unnoticable while riding, and simply reduces fatigue. It's particularly useful on roads with a "pebbily" pavement texture that send buzz and vibration up through the frame.


How is the spa suspension adjusted?

There are three elastomers of differing durometers. Typically, elastomer choice is based on rider weight. It is not meant to be adjusted while riding. Although tools are required to change elastomers, the system is <b>incredibly</b> simple. If you ever have the opportunity to open one up, your jaw will drop at just how simple the system is.


Does it work well?

In a word, yes! Here's what Hincapie had to say about the SPA in a recent Cyclingnews interview:

CN: Is the suspension able to be locked out?

SD: You can make it so it actually has travel so it's making it feel like the bike is suspended, but the way this bike is set up is to reduce the amount of vibration that the riders are feeling, which is really fatiguing. So what we've done here is to make the rider feel less fatigued at the end of the race by trying to isolate some of that vibration.

CN: So the suspension is working all the time, then?

SD: That's right - you can't lock it out. One of the difficulties that Trek has with this is that it's always working, yet the rider can't perceive that it's working on the flat section, so they're bouncing along [the cobblestones] and they say they can't feel it, but it's there and working. It's different to being on a mountain bike where you can squish it and you can feel it working, so it's a hard sell for Trek. But the time the riders feel it is late in the race when they feel less fatigued, because it's actually reducing all that vibration - when George came back from yesterday's ride, he said he the bike didn't feel any different, but he said, 'I felt fresher, my hips and lower back are okay, I'm not fatigued.' It's working, it just takes a longer period of time to feel less fatigued; it's really subtle.

CN: What is the amount of travel within that small shock absorber?

SD: You can get 12 millimetres, so just less than half an inch, but the way it's moving here, I would say not more than a maximum of four millimetres. You have enough deflection in the padding of your seat, or you run the tyres at five and a half or six bar, you're going to get as much deflection doing that, so the bumper is really isolating and eliminating that vibration [at that point of the frame].
 

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Whoops....correction:

It wasn't Hincapie that was being interviewed in my previous post...it was Scott Daubert.

As it happens, though, I've actually asked Scott what Hincapie thinks of the SPA system, and he said Hincapie can't even tell it's back there....he (Hincapie) simply feels less fatigued toward the end of the ride.
 
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