The best bicycles are beautiful to look at, fun to ride, and highly efficient in their functionality. Since 1976, Wisconsin-based Trek Bicycle Corp. has been producing bikes that meet all three criteria. Today, it is committed to delivering digital experiences that do the same.

“We’ve been around for 40 years and we sell a physical product,” says Steve Novoselac, director of digital product management for Trek. “But people are doing everything digitally now, and we need to meet them where they are with the tools they use to shop.”

trek bicycle logoAcross the company’s consumer-facing website, its retail management system for independent retailers, and its bike-sharing subsidiary, Trek now relies on New Relic to keep all of its digital wheels spinning smoothly in the cloud.

“All of our digital experiences have to run fast and be up all the time,” says Steve. “Without a monitoring solution like New Relic, it’s very difficult to achieve this.”

Searching for precision in the cloud

It was while preparing its cloud migration—which included relaunching the flagship website on the SAP Hybris e-commerce platform and shifting its data center operations to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform—that Steve and his colleagues knew it was time to harness the power of New Relic.

For Trek’s DevOps team, moving to New Relic was like climbing off a rusty, old tricycle and hopping on a state-of-the-art racer. “With our older, more traditional monitoring tools, we knew if an application was unhealthy, but we had nothing to point us to where precisely in the application the problem was occurring,” says Jason Endres, Trek’s web technologies manager. “With New Relic, we were finally able to meet our deadlines.”

Ascending to new heights

New Relic also delivered performance gains for Trek’s Ascend point-of-sale system. Also running on Microsoft Azure, Ascend comprises a desktop application with hardware integration and offers a complete ecosystem for more than 1,200 independent brick-and-mortar bike retailers around the world.

Monitoring Ascend’s various web services is simple and effective with New Relic. The team behind it uses New Relic Synthetics to simulate user flows and interactions, optimizing performance across all of those many stores.

Chad Kittel, director of software development, appreciates how New Relic smoothed Ascend’s cloud migration process to Azure. And he loves the data democratization that effective instrumentation enables. “Now our .NET developers and quality assurance folks have access to the same data, which is hugely helpful for the development process,” he says.

trek bicycle being tested

Sharing bikes, optimizing performance

Trek also hopes to boost bicycle access through BCycle, its bike-share subsidiary. BCycle partners with more than two dozen cities across the United States, providing bicycles and docking stations, not to mention the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) functionality that underpins the operation and the mobile app that connects riders with available bikes.

The BCycle team relies on New Relic for real-time insights into the performance of its services across a variety of environments, as well as of its virtual servers hosted in Azure.

“BCycle is a great example of how our organization is delivering scalable, feature-rich, cloud-native applications quickly and reliably using Microsoft Azure cloud services,” says Steve Novoselac. “Using New Relic, we can easily instrument any application delivered on Azure and gain visibility into key performance and usage metrics.”

Part of the process

Jason Endres has been especially pleased to see error rates drop at “When the consumer website went live, the error rate was between 8% and 14%,” he says. “Once we started using New Relic, we got it down to 0.4%.”

Significantly, optimized performance also leads to faster development cycles. “On a couple of occasions when we’ve done major platform upgrades, we’ve had performance issues,” Jason explains. “Without New Relic, we would likely have spent a week or two longer debugging them. Instead we cut down on our development cycles by pinpointing precisely where we need to look. And that in turn frees up our DevOps team to work on more strategic projects.”

Put it all together and New Relic is now as crucial to Trek as wheels are to bikes. “I don’t see us launching any new project or initiative without using New Relic to test and monitor it,” says Steve. “New Relic is simply a part of our process now.”

To learn more about how Trek uses New Relic to keep its digital services in high gear, read the full Trek customer case study: Trek Bicycle Delivers Digital Services That Are as Extraordinary as the High-End Cycles It Manufactures.


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Bicycle engineering test photo © Trek Bicycle Corporation

B.J. Hinshaw is a freelance writer based in Northern California. View posts by .

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