OCLV Carbon bike technology from Trek

Light. Strong. Carbon.

Saddle up on a well-built carbon fibre bike and you’ll find a ride that’s unlike any other. Carbon is not only dramatically lighter than other materials, but it also delivers strength, stiffness and comfort that’s second to none. But carbon comes with its own unique challenges, and experience in crafting with it matters.

Development is in our DNA. For over 30 years, Trek’s been building the world’s finest carbon fibre bikes and setting industry standards from our home base in Waterloo, Wisconsin, USA since 1992. And thanks to our decades of experience, trials and successes, you can climb the steepest alpine roads and descend the gnarliest mountain bike trails knowing that we’ve run every frame and component through the wringer – and then some. 

What is OCLV Carbon? 

Trek’s Optimum Compaction Low Void Carbon (OCLV for short), is our patented carbon fibre used for bike frames, wheels, handlebars and beyond. It features carbon fibre that’s layered in carefully calculated patterns, then compacted using heat and pressure to create the ideal carbon-to-resin ratio. This closely-guarded heat and pressure process helps minimise voids – the spaces between layers of carbon that reduce strength and durability. The result is carbon that exceeds aerospace standards for a ride you can trust. 

Why Trek OCLV Carbon?  

Simply put, Trek OCLV Carbon is put through the most extensive research and testing on the market. We start with the best materials possible, lay them up to provide specific ride characteristics for every kind of terrain, then, we run every component through some of the most extreme testing available. The result? Carbon frames and components that deliver vibration-smoothing comfort, responsive handling, robust impact resistance and aerodynamic advantages – all in a package that’s backed with the best warranty in the business.  

More than a material

In additional to weight reduction, the largest advantage of carbon fibre over other materials is the limitless shapes it can be moulded into. Different shapes provide different properties, benefiting strength, stiffness and aerodynamics, and we helped teach the entire industry how to shape, mould and cure carbon for the greatest gains on every ride.

To show exactly how different shapes respond to real riding scenarios, we use a comprehensive software simulation toolkit called Finite Element Analysis (FEA). In all of our carbon bikes, we use FEA to optimise frame flex and stiffness. This allows us to craft the ideal carbon lay-up for any kind of bike frame, with stiffness where you need it for pedalling efficiency, and flex in targeted areas to increase comfort.

Computer-generated designs of our bikes are assessed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and FEA, resulting in shapes optimised for aerodynamics, weight, comfort and ride quality. Finally, these complex scientific explorations are applied to a hands-on process that combines multiple moulds and a variety of carbon materials to create a magnificently engineered product.

Road bike OCLV Carbon tiers

Trek's OCLV Carbon spans from 900 Series OCLV – our most advanced carbon – to our light, yet pocket-friendly 500 Series OCLV. Each level of OCLV Carbon has a designated number that indicates how optimised for strength and stiffness its lay-up is. The higher the level OCLV, the less material is required to achieve the same strength from the final product.  

Our 900 Series OCLV Carbon uses our strongest carbon fibre lay-up yet, allowing us to use less material and reduce the weight of a finished product, while still maintaining the same stiffness as a lower-series lay-up. 

How we created our lightest carbon ever 

There was a time when the fastest road race bikes had to make sacrifices. They could be supremely light or supremely aero, but not both. 900 Series OCLV Carbon helped flip that notion on its head. Our 900 Series OCLV allows us to push the potential of carbon even further into the future, combining our fastest and lightest road race bikes into one for the ultimate ultra-light, ultra-aero superbike.  

900 Series OCLV leads the way for carbon, measuring up to 20% stronger than our previous top-tier carbon, 800 Series OCLV, and implements a more efficient carbon moulding process. Using a 3D rigid mould, we reduce material overlap inside the frame, leaving less excess material behind. These material and process improvements result in a bike that’s as light as our previous lightweight race bike and more aerodynamic – without compromising stiffness or strength. 

OCLV Carbon mountain bikes  

Mountain biking is about pushing the limit of where your bike can take you, but blasting lap after lap down chunky rock gardens and root-laden trails takes a toll on any mountain bike frame.  

To create OCLV Mountain Carbon, Trek’s engineers borrowed a methodology from the aerospace industry to ensure that our frames were up to the challenge – Retained Strength. The philosophy is simple and based around the single question of how durable a frame remains following impact. By employing different composite materials in unique lay-ups, specifically in typical high-impact areas, we’ve created frames that retain their ability to bear load after an impact, surpassing even their aluminium counterparts in testing. 

Carbon Armour 

The trail can get rough, so we build tougher. All Trek carbon mountain bikes come with removable, dual-density guards to protect from rock strikes and shuttle damage in the most impact-prone areas. For additional protection, some models feature additional Integrated Carbon Armour – an impact-resistant laminate underneath the paint, adding extra durability. Available on select models. 

OCLV Carbon road bikes

OCLV Carbon helps us produce bikes that deliver the ultimate trinity of benefits for road cycling – minimal weight, aerodynamic gains and a comfortable ride. Compared to a traditional, round bicycle tube, Aerodynamic tube shapes require more material to create, which used to mean aero bikes were inherently heavier. But, OCLV Carbon allows us to design aero tubes at weights that don’t counteract the speed gained from aero shapes, resulting in bikes that deliver the best of both worlds. Ride light. Ride fast. Ride OCLV.

Built to last, backed for life 

Every Trek comes with a promise: we’ll take care of you and do what’s right. We build our bikes to last, subjecting them to brutal punishment in our test lab. Just like the first Trek that was hand-welded over forty years ago in a red barn, our first full-carbon frame is still under warranty. All OCLV Carbon bicycles come with a lifetime warranty, because we believe that more people riding bikes is in everybody’s best interest. 

OCLV Carbon wheels 

Carbon road wheels 

Get even more weight savings and aero gains with our full line of Bontrager OCLV Carbon road bike wheels.  

Shop carbon road wheels

Carbon mountain wheels 

Take on any trail with the light, stiff and responsive handling of Bontrager OCLV Carbon mountain bike wheels. 

Shop carbon MTB wheels

It's unlikely that you’ll damage your OCLV Carbon wheels, but in the off chance that a pothole or rock sends your rim through the wringer, we’ve got you covered. Every Bontrager carbon wheel is backed by the Carbon Care Wheel Programme. This means that if you damage your Bontrager carbon wheel in the first two years of ownership, we’ll repair or replace it for free. 

Find the carbon bike of your dreams