Pro bike: Katie Compton’s Trek Ion

Many special modifications on the multi-time national champ's bike

Advertisement MPU article

In place of a full name, three letters adorn the top tube of Katie Compton’s Trek Ion CX: KfC.

For anyone who has spoken to the gracious Compton but not seen her race, the emphatic ‘f’ may be befuddling. But for anyone who has watched Compton absolutely demolish the front of a ’cross race, as she did twice this weekend in Fort Collins, “Katie f—ing Compton” makes perfect sense.

For the pair of US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Smartwool races in Colorado, Compton raced her custom Trek Ion CX, an aluminum 52cm prototype Trek has her on while they collectively dial in geometry for an upcoming model.

Katie compton’s custom ion cx in 200 series alpha aluminum – for now: katie compton’s custom ion cx in 200 series alpha aluminum – for now
Ben Delaney/BikeRadar
52 centimeters of fast

Custom frame aside, a number of modifications separate Compton’s ride from a stock bike. For starters, there are the national champion graphics; both the frameset paint and Avid Shorty brake finish are red, white and blue.

Trek’s current top-end ’cross bike, the carbon Cronus CX Ultimate, comes with a SRAM Force group. In the aluminum Ion line, the current top-end model comes with SRAM Rival. Compton’s SRAM 2012 Red group is fairly straightforward – including the use of Gore Ride-On Professional lined shifter cables – but she uses WickWërks chain rings, an older SRAM front derailleur and a 175mm crank. The Red crank is unusually long for a 52cm bike, but Compton became accustomed to the 175mm length when racing as a tandem pilot for the Paralympics.

WickWërks 44/34 chain rings drive a sram hollow-pin chain: wickwërks 44/34 chain rings drive a sram hollow-pin chain
Ben Delaney/BikeRadar
WickWërks 44/24 rings drive the SRAM hollow-pin chain

The seat clamp was modified for the rear brake hanger, resulting in better alignment for less cable drag and keeping the brake cable centered.

The seat collar is modified to hold the brake hanger dead center over the tire: the seat collar is modified to hold the brake hanger dead center over the tire
Ben Delaney/BikeRadar
A subtle but effective solution for an aligned brake hanger. And yes, the saddle is supposed to have that tilt

For better alignment of her body on the bike, Compton runs two spacers on her drivetrain pedal (crankbrothers titanium eggbeater 11) and three spacers on the left side.

If you noticed that her saddle dips down in the front slightly, good eyes. She prefers a slight (-3 degree) downward tilt on her Bontrager Affinity RXL WSD Carbon saddle.

Custom colors on the avid shorty ultimate cantilevers, with bontrager cork pads: custom colors on the avid shorty ultimate cantilevers, with bontrager cork pads
Ben Delaney/BikeRadar
Avid Shorty Ultimates, in US national champ colors, with Bontrager cork pads and FMB tires with latex-coated sidewalls

Compton had a prototype SRAM Red cassette on another, otherwise-identical bike in Fort Collins. Similar to the X Glide 11×28 cassette shown here, that Red prototype has a wide-open back with plenty of sculpted openings throughout the underside to shed debris. SRAM spokesman Michael Zellmann declined to comment on the prototype, except to say “more news very soon.”

Similar to the small “KfC” top tube emblem, Compton has a light blue headset spacer beneath her top cap that sends a message. Registered in Australia, Bike Pure is an international nonprofit organization against doping in cycling.

Finally, Compton is racing on handmade FMB tubulars this season. In Fort Collins, she had a Pro Super Mud up front and an SSC tread in the rear, both in a 32mm width with pink sidewalls. Cyclocross tire expert Molly Cameron, owner of the Portland Bicycle Studio, explained to BikeRadar the story behind the pink sidewalls. The color comes from the dyed cotton from which the sidewall is woven.

“Unlike some tubulars, FMB tires come with the sidewalls coated. These [pink models] have an additional layer of latex over the cotton sidewalls,” said Cameron, who sells a lot of FMBs through Portland Bicycle Studio. “They should be pretty watertight, especially if you use a tape, which seals the rims holes.”

Compton ran a super mud tread on the front: compton ran a super mud tread on the front
Ben Delaney/BikeRadar
FMB’s Super Mud tread on the front wheel (with a SSC tread on the back), with a latex sidewall sealant

Complete bike specification

  • Frame: TREK Ion 200 Series Alpha Aluminum, 52cm, custom paint
  • Fork: Trek Carbon Cyclocross E2
  • Stem: Bontrager XXX 31.8, 110mm
  • Headset: Cane Creek Forty Integrated
  • Headset spacer: Bike Pure
  • Bar tape: Bontrager Gel Cork
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Isozone Carbon Compact Variable Radius, 42cm
  • Front Brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate National Champ Edition
  • Rear Brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate National Champ Edition
  • Brake Pads: Bontrager Carbon Cork
  • Brake Levers: 2012 SRAM RED
  • Front Derailleur: 2011 SRAM RED clamp on 34.9 down-pull bottom swing
  • Rear Derailleur: 2012 SRAM RED
  • Shifters: 2012 SRAM RED
  • Cassette: 2012 SRAM X Glide 28×11 (also testing a Red prototype)
  • Chain: SRAM PC-1091
  • Crankset: 2012 SRAM RED Compact, 175mm
  • Chainrings: WickWerks 44/34
  • Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP PressFit
  • Pedals: Crank Brother’s 4TI Egg Beaters (2 Pedal spacers on drive side, 3 on non-drive)
  • Wheelset: Bontrager Aeolus D3 3.O Carbon Tubulars
  • Front Tire: FMB Pro Super Mud, 32mm
  • Rear Tire: FMB SSC, 32mm
  • Saddle: Bontrager Affinity RXL WSD Carbon, 138mm
  • Seat post: Bontrager XXX 27.2
  • Seat Clamp: modified for rear brake hanger, better alignment for no cable drag and keeps the brake cable centered

Critical measurements

Advertisement MPU article
  • Rider height: 1.68m/5’6”
  • Saddle height:  686mm
  • Setback: 5cm
  • Saddle Angle: -3 deg
  • Grip Angle: 35 deg
  • Handlebar reach: 463mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.1kg/15.7lbs
This woman wins races by large margins: this woman wins races by large margins
Josh Patterson/BikeRadar
Katie Compton and the prototype Trek Ion CX – a deadly combination