Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) had better like red, white and blue – because after scoring her sixth consecutive US elite national cyclo-cross championship last December she gets to wear the stars and stripes for another season and now has yet another custom finished race machine to toss into the garage.
Aside from the spectacular paint job, the underlying Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team frame is the same model she first started using last season. Claimed frame weight is an impressive 1,240g (2.73lb) but according to Compton's husband/manager Mark Legg, what the national champion really loves is its remarkable compliance.
According to Legg, it's this feature that helps Compton consistently keep power down even over rough terrain, especially when combined with the frame's ample drivetrain and front triangle rigidity. Credit likely goes to the well-designed carbon fibre layup schedule as the tube shapes themselves don't immediately conjure up images of leaf springs and movement.
If anything, rigidity is the theme here with the frame's tall and fat chainstays and relatively stout wishbone-style seatstays coupled to a chunky seat cluster – and even an oversized 31.8mm-diameter seatpost to boot. Things visually settle down a bit up front, though, with more moderate tube diameters and a straight 1-1/8in steerer on the all-carbon fork.
Giant chainstays? Check. Well reinforced bottom bracket area? Check
Legg says the frame geometry suits Compton's aggressive riding style and uncannily smooth handling technique with its low bottom bracket and reasonably nimble 71-degree head tube angle. Mud clearance is generous throughout, including heaps of room beneath the fork crown – and even additional cutouts to the sides that let the brakes open up more – at least a finger's worth of air up around the seatstays and no shelf down near the bottom bracket on which mud can collect.
The build kit is mostly unchanged from last season, which doesn't bother Compton one bit. SRAM continue to provide the Red transmission and more 'cross-friendly PG-1070 cassette while Zipp again step in with their ultralight VumaQuad carbon crank, shallow-drop SLC2 carbon handlebar and tough-yet-light 303 carbon tubular wheels customised with personalised rim labels and red and blue anodised hub end caps.
Compton prefers Zipp's short and shallow bend. Aftermarket Hudz brake hoods are pictured here but Compton's husband/manager, Mark Legg, says she reverted back to the standard SRAM hoods
One major change, though, is a move to Avid's new Shorty Ultimate cantilevers, which Legg (who also acts as Compton's mechanic) sets up in the high-leverage/low-profile configuration both front and rear for maximum braking power. Compton has a variety of Dugast tubulars to choose from – imprinted with her 'KfC' moniker, no less – her previous-generation CrankBrothers Eggbeater 4ti pedals are custom coated with "super glue and Colorado sand" for extra grip.
Filling in the rest of the gaps are KMC's ultralight X10SL chain, TRP top-mount brake levers, a Thomson aluminium seatpost and stem, a WTB Silverado SLT saddle and Gore Ride-On sealed derailleur cables and housing. Given the premium build list, you'd expect to see a feathery total bike weight and you'd be right. As seen here, total weight is an incredible 7.12kg (15.7lb).
Compton runs both the front and rear Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes in the narrow-profile, high-leverage position for maximum stopping power
Complete bike specifications:
- Frame: Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team, size 52cm
- Fork: Stevens full-carbon
- Headset: Cane Creek 110
- Stem: Thomson Elite X4, 110mm x -6°
- Handlebars: Zipp SLC2 SS, 42cm (c-c)
- Tape/grips: Zipp
- Front brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate, low-profile configuration, with Zipp cork pads
- Rear brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate, low-profile configuration, with Zipp cork pads
- Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap with TRP RL950 top-mount levers
- Front derailleur: SRAM Red with steel cage
- Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
- Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
- Cassette: SRAM PG-1070, 12-27T
- Chain: KMC X10SL
- Crankset: Zipp VumaQuad, 175mm, 34/44T with custom WickWerks outer chainring
- Bottom bracket: Zipp VumaQuad
- Pedals: CrankBrothers Eggbeater 4ti
- Wheelset: Zipp 303 Cyclocross
- Front tyre: Dugast Rhino tubular, 32mm
- Rear tyre: Dugast Rhino tubular, 32mm
- Saddle: WTB Silverado SLT
- Seat post: Thomson Masterpiece
- Other accessories: Gore Ride-On cables and housing
- Rider's height: 1.68m (5ft 6in)
- Rider's weight: 63.5kg (140lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 681mm
- Saddle setback: 50mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 530mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 485mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 480mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 20mm
- Head tube length: 105mm
- Top tube length: 529mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.12kg (15.7lb)