September 15, 2023
In the world of competitive cycling, where every millisecond counts, precision engineering can make all the difference. Wisconsin-based Trek Bicycle uses cutting-edge computer hardware from Dell and NVIDIA in their pursuit of excellence, crafting high-performance racing bicycles. This year Trek launched a partnership with international retail giant Lidl, forming a racing team to compete in prestigious events including the legendary Tour de France.
Crafting a racing bicycle that strikes the perfect balance between aerodynamic efficiency and rider comfort is a formidable challenge. Trek Bicycle relies on Dell Workstations to run high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. These simulations set new benchmarks for aerodynamics while ensuring the bicycles provide a comfortable ride and smooth handling.
Other members of the Trek engineering team take advantage of NVIDIA RTX™ technology in Dell Precision workstations, featuring the NVIDIA RTX A5500 GPU, and a Dell Precision 7920 with dual NVIDIA RTX A6000 GPUs.
Real-Time Visualization and Iteration
Trek's design process begins with user research to generate early concepts and ideas. They then build prototypes and iterate designs based on feedback. To achieve the desired performance, Trek collaborates closely with athletes, fine-tuning geometry, frame flexibility, and ride quality.
For their computer-aided design workflows, Trek uses graphics-intensive applications such as Adobe Substance 3D, Maxon Cinema 4D and Redshift, Luxion KeyShot, and Dassault Systemès SOLIDWORKS. In CFD simulations, they rely on Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+ to harness the immense processing power of their NVIDIA RTX GPUs. (Simcenter STAR-CCM+ includes GPU-native solvers that run specifically on NVIDIA GPUs.)
The impact of NVIDIA professionalGPUs is evident in the speed and quality of their work. Michael Hammond, the lead for digital visual communications at Trek Bicycle, notes, “The faster we can render an image or animation, the faster we can improve it.” By moving from networked CPUs to the RTX A5500, Trek's digital visual team can achieve 12 times more iterations in significantly less time, from two hours per simulation to 10-12 minutes. This results in the ability to run more simulations, resulting in the best possible renderings and animations of results.
Accelerating CFD Simulations
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has become indispensable in engineering and design. It enables engineers to gain insights and make improvements without costly physical testing. Trek's aerodynamics team uses Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+ to optimize bicycle performance. For example, their latest generation racing model Madone features IsoFlow, enhancing rider comfort while reducing drag. Many team accessories and equipment — including wheels and helmets — are also designed by Trek.
Trek says the speed of GPU computing has transformed their CFD simulations. They now run 4-5 times faster on NVIDIA A100 GPUs compared to traditional CPU-based systems, significantly reducing simulation runtimes. This newfound efficiency has allowed Trek to cut wind tunnel testing time and costs while enhancing their confidence in simulation results.
Success at Tour de France 2023
Team Lidl-Trek, powered by Trek Bicycle's cutting-edge designs, achieved impressive results for a new team at the Tour de France 2023. In the points classification, Lidl-Trek rider Mads Pedersen secured 2nd place with 258 points. In the mountains classification, Lidl-Trek’s Giulio Ciccone claimed the top spot with 106 points. Fellow team member Mattias Skjelmose represented the team well in the young rider classification, finishing in 5th place.
While Team Lidl-Trek may not have secured the top spot in the overall team classification, their individual performances in various categories underscore the incredible potential of Trek Bicycle's engineering and design prowess.
Trek Bicycle's commitment to pushing the boundaries of bicycle design, powered by NVIDIA GPUs and Dell workstations, has not only elevated their own standards but has also contributed to Team Lidl-Trek's impressive showing at the Tour de France 2023. As we continue to witness advancements in cycling technology, it's clear that precision engineering and innovation will remain at the forefront of competitive cycling.
For more in-depth information, refer to the recent NVIDIA blog on Trek Bicycle.