WTB Trek - aweful fast & innovative

back in 1987...

While bike manufacture Trek introduced bonded aluminum technology to mountain bikes and the new Shimano Deore XT index shifting system was launched, Mark Slate, columnist in the Mountain Bike Magazine (Dec 1987), wrote: "Are we having fun yet?". He reports on mountain biking, their riders and a general competitive attitude.
In the background, a WTB Trek.

Source: Mountain Bike Magazine Dec 1987
Source: Mountain Bike Magazine Dec 1987
1987-Roy Rivers on a WTB-Team Trek with LD stem and flat bars
1987-Roy Rivers on a WTB-Team Trek with LD stem and flat bars

WTb / Trek Cooperation

Shortly before agreed Wilderness Trail Bikes, known for its innovative MTB parts (LINK) and Trek on a cooperation to drive innovation and further success


Paul Thomasberg, known to evaluate MTB technologies, was chosen by WTB to race and evaluate their new product designs. before this assignment Paul supported already IRD - Interloc Racing Design - to build their well now parts, specifically the seat post and started already building lightweight MTBs. Later he became famous as rider and tester for Specialized.


Sources: https://mmbhof.org/paul-thomasberg/

The cooperation of Trek and WTB has started and with it: the WTB Trek MTB.

The basis for this frame was a Trek 8000 frame with "an un-weldable 7178 aluminum tube set bonded to a set of cast aluminum lugs.  This allowed the frame to be assembled from mid-sized tubing and eliminated the stress of welding the aluminum.  The idea was to obtain a more comfortable ride than the oversized frames from companies such as Klein and Cannondale while saving about 3/4 of a pound of weight."
Source: https://www.oldschoolracing.ch/archiv/trek/


Mombat.org further wrote, that the geometry actually was designed by WTB, I couldn`t clarify if this is true for all Trek 8000 or if the the WTB ones are different. Also not if there were more than 20.

The Mountain Bike Action from October 1987 choose to report on a newly risen battle: Road Bike vs. Mountain Bike and The WTB Trek was used to as example.

When all trained Mountainbiking

Another article featuring the WTB Trek, not reporting on it, but how to ride a MTB

Paul Thomasberg´s WTB Trek

Besides the "other" stories, luckily the MBA featured also Paul Thomasberg´s WTB Trek.

Mountain Bike Action - October 1987
Mountain Bike Action - October 1987

WTB Treks below Mark Slates house

Back in beginning of 2000´s, Mark Slate (founder of WTB) found a whole bunch of NOS frames, among a team bikes and Steve Potts Type II roller cam fork. My frame was among these (not sure which)

Eric made a fantastic job, he got the team bike and ended his build with these pictures, still love this version.

32 / 13 years later in hamburg

Why WTb Treks are not the same

From the beginning on, I wanted to copy Paul Thomasbergs, reading from the seller (Thanks Daniel), that this bike is from Steve Potts. Later it turned to be direct from Mark Slate.

But this was not the main learning. Friends of mine (thanks Shawn and Bjoernar) explained the differences between my frame and the single race bike Eric got from the stack. Steve Potts painted the team bikes. He changed the direction of the "USA" logo and reduced the blue/white fade on the down tube. In addition, the team version had a pressed in bottom braket. so it was clear, mine is not a team frame, but this is nothing preventing me in the spirit of Steelfightsback, to aim for a Thomasberg WTB Trek including paint and BB thread / press

The parts

As for the most of my builds, the search for parts after the plan was made takes time, sometimes years. so for this build. Parts came for trade, for money, from other bikes and as presents. One big thank you goes out to Shawn, who supported with the fork, lets have a look to the Steve Potts Type II and fillet stem

Those of you familiar with Steve Potts stubby forks (see here the catalogue) immediately spot, this fork does not fit the stubby stem. Yes, I had and wanted to build a stubby for it, even though the stem was not the one from Thomas bike. here some impressions from Martin in Munich, thanks for this fantastic work

Steve Potts Type II with Stubby

and here the result, not only the stubby and steerer extension is fabulous, also the adapter for the stem. Great!

The second story on the fork

Yes, the stars on the fork indicated this comes from a special bike, but from which. After I sent the fork to my frame builder, I got a message from a friend (Tasshi) who told me that he knows the bike and its for sale. I was thrilled, wanted to reunion it. Here the info and some pics I share in the hope the seller, Garry is fine with it (if not, happy to delete).
"I got it from the original owner who knew Steve and had him do this bike custom

for his wife! All parts you see and the  paint are what Steve put on the bike. She rode it very little! I have stored the bike as I also did not

Use it! It is in original condition and looks almost new! Not sure what he did

With the original fork. I sent Steve Potts pics and his reply was “Nice Bike "

Unfortuneately we couldn`t agree on the asked price (I´d let it go to buy a new one from Steve), also not later with the buyer. I´d still do, for sure, but for now its WTB Trek time.


Cheesy - Cunningham Speedmaster

When I got the frame one part was 100% dedicated for this build, even though I had to search appropriate replacements for my Steve Potts (Link), But I wanted to see this in black as on Thomas bikes. So I sent the brakes to a very recommended metal artist, Lasse. see the gallery on this fantastic work. From was, to progress to result - LOVE!

Charlie Cunningham Speedmaster
Charlie Cunningham Speedmaster

The open part - of course FASP

From minute one of this build but still not died hope is to find a FASP - Fixed Angle Seat Post - from WTB for this build. There was one in the bay and I was willing to pay the huge sum, but my mobile went offline so I missed it, thats live. So I contacted another friend, who is doing WTb Phoenix Seat post post asking him if he can do a 26.8mm. he said yes, but you need to find a Suntour in 25mm. A few month later, I couldn`t belive what I found. A 25mm Suntour superb. I was happy and still have no problem with non time correct at this part. Sure you agree seeing this

Paint it?

Actually, yes, real Steelfightsback replica need to be 100%. But when I was in marin county I saw this bike. A race bike from Steve Potts painted. I was flashed and thought immediately, my red stem remains!

Teh missing parts all to the box

I left Marin much earlier than expected, It´s the time of corona virus / covid-19 spreading across the world, California got declared as risk area and I had to decide for a voluntary quarantine and what could be better than building bikes in the Steelfightsback vintage mountain bike garden in Hamburg:). So I went quick and alone to the workshop and packed this box
(hopefully I read this post later and think, god oh mighty, luckily this is over and we are all well).

last, but most exciting build steps

Done - Ride





1987 WTB Trek



Fork Steve Potts Type II Roller Cams

Steve Potts


Specialized Bulge




Charlie Cunningham Speedmaster


XT 730

Brake Levers

Magura Shorty


Specialized Flag

Pedals Suntour XC
Bottum Bracked WTB / Suntour
Derailleur Dura Ace / Shimano 600 EX
Wheels WTB Classic hub + Specialized GX26
Tyres Specialized Ground Control
Seat Post WTB / Suntour repro
Saddle San Marco
Grips Magura

Riding thE forrest