Katie Compton made the jump from her small private program last year to Giant’s massive, Rabobank sponsored Dutch off-road team. The switch hasn’t been without challenge, but it hasn’t slowed America’s queen of ’cross, who notched up her eighth consecutive national championship title at the weekend.
The American racer rode to a solo victory in the opening round of the 2011/12 World Cup season, and she’s followed that performance with a string of domestic wins including three rounds of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross, as well as World Cup podiums in Koksijde and Namur, in Belgium.
Compton’s Giant is a small sized TCX Advanced SL, which has been highly customized both to accommodate Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 electric transmission and also to meet her specific needs. Compton’s husband and mechanic, Mark Legg-Compton, has modified or massaged parts all over the bike from his ‘superglue and sand’ texture on the Di2 levers to the silicone sealing of all of the Di2 wire connections on the bike.
Compton uses both top-mount brake levers and Shimano’s satellite sprint shifters on her handlebar, allowing multiple shifting and braking options for the demanding conditions of cyclo-cross. Her brakes are also custom made, and she uses SwissStop GHP metal pads on her carbon rims. Legg-Compton says the green compound works better in colder conditions.
Legg-Compton has textured the Di2 levers with superglue and sand for better grip and feel on bumpy courses
When a rider changes bikes, there’s always an adjustment period, and there was no exception in Compton’s switch to her Giant. The small bike is still relatively large, with a 52.5cmtop tube, and this has forced the use of a custom zero offset seatmast clamp and a stem 1cm shorter than she might otherwise prefer.
Compton also ended up switching crank length after the first month or so of the season, from 172.5cm to 175cm, to better her power output. “After [the USGP in] Fort Collins, she decided to go back to the 175s,” Legg-Compton told BikeRadar. She rides a compact crank with 34-/44-tooth chainring combination; the inner ring is Dura-Ace and the outer is from Thorne Components.
Wheels come in the form of Shimano’s Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU carbon tubular wheels. Compton, once sponsored by Dugast, still relies on the Dutch company’s tires. Although they’re branded as Vredesteins, she still has access to all of the standard tread patterns, as well as the new 33mm width, that’s just becoming available for sale.
“We’ve got some 33 Typhoons in Europe, which she’ll run for World’s,” said Legg-Compton. “She’s not going to run a file tread at World’s. We were talking to [Dutch ‘cross racer Richard] Groenendaal just before Koksijde, and he said the file tread is slower and there’s a lot more rolling resistance. So Katie went out and rode, and she was like, ‘he’s right’. I was really surprised at that, but the sand there is super-sticky. Even with a brush the stuff barely comes off.”
Complete bike specification
- Frame: Giant TCX Advanced SL
- Fork: Giant TCX Advanced SL
- Headset: Cane Creek 110 zero stack
- Stem: Thomson Elite X4, 120mm, 0°
- Handlebar: PRO Vibe Carbon compact, 40cm
- Bar tape: PRO Smart Silicon
- Front brake: Custom orange cantilever
- Rear brake: Custom orange cantilever
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, braze-on with prototype K-Edge chain watcher
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Shifter: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, with TRP RL950 top mount lever
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900, 12-27t
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900, 175mm, 34/44t compact
- Bottom bracket: Press-fit BB86 with Enduro Zero ceramic bearings
- Pedals: Shimano XTR M970
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU
- Front tire: Vredestein by Dugast (Rhino tread), 32mm (33mm Typhoons in Europe)
- Rear tire: Vredestein by Dugast (Rhino tread), 32mm (33mm Typhoons in Europe)
- Saddle: Fi’zi:k Vesta
- Seatpost: Giant TCX Advanced SL seatmast
- Rider’s height: 167.6cm/5ft 5in
- Rider’s weight: 62kg/137lb
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 69.5cm
- Saddle setback: 2.5cm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 50cm
- Tip of saddle to center bar: 50.5cm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: 4.25cm
- Head tube length: 130cm
- Top tube length (virtual): 52.5cm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.64kg/16.86lb