‘Rad’ Ross Schnell isn’t your average world champion. He’s more a ‘just for fun’ type. Regardless, he's the defending Singlespeed World Champion and has serious plans to defend his title in New Zealand in less than two weeks' time. He’ll do it on a custom 2011 Trek Top Fuel that’s nothing less than, well, radical.
“If you'd asked me a week ago [if I was going to New Zealand to win] I'd have said that it was going to be a fun trip, but somehow I have awesomely good fitness right now,” said Schnell. “I just did 24 Hours of Moab to polish things up and kind of surprised myself there so it might be another happy accident to win next weekend.”
Trek’s Project One team, led by designer Jesse LaLonde, assembled a bike for Ross’s title defense that’s inspired by the cult classic 1980s BMX movie RAD. “I was racing BMX in those days and we’d watch RAD every night before every race that we went to," said Schnell.
"I was ‘Rad’ Ross back then. It’s funny that it's become so much of my career right now. I have fond memories of those days and this bike is definitely a tribute to those glory days, and they [LaLonde and Trek] did a great job of capturing that.”
Underneath the custom paint is a stock 2011 Trek Top Fuel frame, a model which was released by Trek this fall. The new bike sports internal cable routing, an E2 tapered head tube, carbon chainstays and a switch in material from OCLV Red to Trek’s OCLV Mountain fiber blend.
Other highlights on Schnell’s custom singlespeed include a set of red anodized Cobalt wheels from CrankBrothers, red SRAM X0 components and a RockShox SID 120 with World Cup carbon steerer. The world championship striped Tundra saddle was a gift from Fizik after his 2009 victory. Oh, there’s also a top tube pad emblazoned with ‘Rad Ross’.
The custom 'Rad Ross' top tube pad ties things together
“Ray Waxham and Jesse LaLonde came together on that and had these things made,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of these top tube pads, in case I slip off the pedals, although I don’t think that’s going to happen. I wanted to come up with a stem pad too, but the bike just came together beautifully [without it]."
For a final touch, Oakley’s Steve Blick sent Schnell a set of the brand’s newly-resurrected B-1B Guidance System grips, which were part of the company’s first product line.
Oakley's vintage B-1B Guidance System grips
Right now, Schnell has a 2:1 gear ratio on the 20lb bike, but he plans to bring a couple of spare cogs so that he can choose the best setup for the course. He guesses that it'll consist of fire road climbing mated to "awesome" descents, having ridden there earlier in the year.
The kit is kind of corporate... we were thinking stone-washed denim Lycra
Schnell doesn’t yet have a plan for the tattoo, should he win again. “I hate when people ask me that,” he said. “If I even talk like I’m going to win this race, I probably won’t win the race. That’s what happened last year – everyone had their spots picked out and I was just there for fun. It’ll be a bonus if I have good legs that day, but really I just see it as a kickass opportunity to head to New Zealand.”