In 1976, two partners—Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg—set out to make the world’s greatest bicycle frames. It was an audacious endeavor, but it was grounded in clear principles: the product would be of the highest quality craftsmanship, it would be manufactured in the United States, and it would bring the joy and adventure of cycling to a broader audience.United in their shared vision, Burke and Hogg knew the first step was finding an operations headquarters. In a small boomtown rich in skilled labor called Waterloo, halfway between their homes in rural south central Wisconsin, they discovered an empty red barn. The paint was faded slightly, but the bones were solid and its potential was limitless. It had the feel of a workshop, not a corporation. It had character.
There are thousands of barns in the farming regions of Middle America, and although no two are exactly the same, all share this defining feature: a barn is a place where things are born, nurtured, and grown. A barn is a place where things come to life, and thus the perfect place to produce something life-giving. Burke and Hogg hung a sign on the door and set about making their dream a reality.A culture of craftsmanship was fostered in the humble structure, with a premium on manufacturing product of the absolute highest quality. In its first year, there were five employees on Trek’s payroll. Each of the 900 frames was hand-built and hand-painted by artists who saw the sun rise and set from the red barn in Waterloo.
As the company grew, so did the need for more space. Today, Trek’s Headquarters is a mile up the road, in a much larger facility. But although we’ve grown, every bike we make is a testament to our founding vision. And even now the barn plays a central role in the company. In the place where our first frames were welded, we now craft the molds—the genesis—of our carbon frames.Technology has changed, but we’ve remained true to our roots. We build with pride, for good, and among friends. In Waterloo, the red barn stands unwaveringly through storm and sunshine, a stalwart reminder of these principles.