Leopard-Trek strongman Fabian Cancellara was perhaps the most pampered rider in this year's Tour de France – at least in terms of equipment – with a custom designed and finished Trek Madone 6.9 SSL road bike and Speed Concept time trial bike designed in collaboration with graphic artist Joshua M Smith (aka "Hydro74").
While the bikes are very different, both share a similarly menacing theme, with a matte black base and an array of grey graphics playing off of Cancellara's "Spartacus" moniker. Dark grey carved floral patterns are littered throughout the frame (and the rear disc wheel in the case of the time trial bike) but the dominant visual features are the big Spartan helmets on the head tube and top tube, the threatening sword and lucky dice plastered on the stem, and a giant "Spartacus" logo on the top tube.
The broad and flat top tube leaves plenty of room for eye-catching graphics on Fabian Cancellara's custom Trek Speed Concept
Cancellara's road bike is dressed up even further, with baby blue accents on the frame, headset spacers and even the custom tire labels from Schwalbe, and both bikes receive the full Yumeya treatment from Shimano, with gold anodized titanium bolts and even cable end caps.
As for the equipment itself, Trek have pulled out the stops for Leopard-Trek's time trial wizard with their innovative Speed Concept. Rather than use true airfoil sections, as was commonly done in the past, Trek instead use Kamm tail truncated airfoils. These supposedly mimic the aerodynamic performance of sections much deeper than those allowed by the UCI but with aspect ratios that are structurally better suited for weight and stiffness.
Trek say the Speed Concept's Kamm Tail tube shaping mimics the aerodynamic performance of a much deeper airfoil without violating UCI technical guidelines
The proprietary brakes are fully integrated into the external-steerer fork crown and chainstays, the bar and stem present noticeably less frontal area than conventional setups, and the cabling is almost entirely internal from end to end for an ultra-clean surface throughout. Save for the proprietary bits and the SRM crankset, Shimano provide most of the rest of the running gear in the form of their Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group, which is especially useful in this configuration with its multiple shift button locations.
On the day we spotted it, Cancellara's Speed Concept was fitted with a Carbonsports Lightweight carbon rear disc and Bontrager's new Aeolus 5 50mm-deep, wide-profile carbon tubular wheel up front. Finishing bits include Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals, an SRM Power Control 7 computer, and a single Bontrager Speed Bottle (which supposedly improves aerodynamics over not having one mounted).
The rear wheel is covered with a big 'Bontrager' decal but underneath is a Lightweight disc
Position-wise, Cancellara's setup is notable for its emphasis on power. True, his position is plenty aerodynamic but the custom Prologo Nago Evo TTR saddle is pushed roughly 10mm further back than minimum UCI guidelines and the armrest pads are set relatively wide – especially when compared to someone like Garmin-Cervélo's David Zabriskie. Total weight as pictured is 8.41kg (18.54lb).
Save for the custom finish and Yumeya accents, Cancellara's Trek Madone is essentially standard team-issue with two major exceptions: a SRAM PG-1070 cassette in lieu of the Shimano Dura-Ace equivalent (SRAM team liaison Alex Wassmann says he just likes the 11-26T ratio) and while the rest of Leopard-Trek happily use Di2 on their road bikes, the four-time time trial world champion instead sticks with the mechanical Dura-Ace group.
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 time trial componentry allows Cancellara to shift from either the base bar or the extensions
This is something we initially noticed back at the cobbled spring classics – along with a few other notable riders. Team spokesman Tim Vanderjeugd insists: "It's a simply a matter of preference. Shimano offer the team the choice to use their components of choice. Fabian chooses to use mechanical Dura-Ace on his road bike simple because he prefers the feel. On the TT bike the Di2 offers a distinct advantage with multiple shift points, and Fabian prefers to take advantage of that."
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Trek Speed Concept 9.9, size L
- Fork: Bontrager SC
- Headset: Trek Speed Concept integrated
- Stem: Bontrager Speed Concept RXL direct mount, 100mm x 10°
- Handlebar: Bontrager Speed Concept, 42cm (c-c), w/ custom straight extensions
- Tape: Bontrager cork
- Front brake: Bontrager Speed Concept integrated w/ Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads
- Rear brake: Bontrager Speed Concept integrated w/ Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-7971
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-7971, SW-7971
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900
- Crankset: SRM Wireless PowerMeter Dura-Ace 7900 Compatible, 177.5mm, 54/40T
- Bottom bracket: Trek BB90 integrated with Enduro XD-15 bearings
- Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless
- Rear wheel: Carbonsports Lightweight Disc tubular
- Front wheel: Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 tubular
- Front tire: Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular
- Rear tire: Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular
- Saddle: Prologo Nago Evo TTR
- Seatpost: Bontrager Speed Concept Race X Lite, 50mm offset
- Bottle cages: Bontrager Speed Bottle
- Computer: SRM Power Control 7
- Rider's height: 1.86m (6ft 1in)
- Rider's weight: 82kg (181lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 809mm
- Saddle setback: 62mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 559mm
- Tip of saddle nose to armrest center: 605mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 168mm (to armrests)
- Head tube length: 127mm
- Top tube length: 541mm (horizontal)
- Total bicycle weight: 8.41kg (18.54lb)