Custom painted bikes have become the norm for Lance Armstrong (Astana) as he makes his return to professional cycling this year and his latest Trek Madone is his most ornate to date.
To commemorate Armstrong’s first appearance at the Giro D’Italia, contemporary artist Shepard Fairey – the man behind the infamous Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster – designed an intricate pattern that is said to pay homage to classic Italian architecture. The graphics aren’t hand painted but are instead die-cut decals carefully applied over a solid yellow base coat at Trek’s in-house paint facility.
Whether or not the design appeals to you, the finish work is superb. In spite of the frame’s complex curves and limited space, one has to look incredibly hard to locate any seams – no coffee in the workshop that day.
In addition to Armstrong’s usual ‘Livestrong‘ and ‘1274’ graphics, one other bit caught our eye. Tucked beneath the down tube near the bottom bracket in letters just a few millimetres high was the phrase ‘WNW 2009’, as in ‘winners, not wankers, 2009’ – a possible nod towards Armstrong’s work in cancer research and awareness in support of the afflicted but more likely a sign of his sporting intentions for the year.
Aside from the fancy visual treatment, the rest of the bike is standard fare for an Astana team bike. Bolted on is a complete SRAM Red group with 53/39T chainrings, an 11-23T cassette and a few minor tweaks. Gold-anodised alloy chainring bolts are fitted to the crank, Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads are fitted to the brake callipers, a stiffer Force steel cage is spliced onto the Red front derailleur and a Shimano Dura-Ace 7801 chain stands in for the usual PC-1090 unit.
The sram red rear derailleur is fixed to a replaceable hanger: the sram red rear derailleur is fixed to a replaceable hangerJames Huang
The Bontrager name is also liberally applied throughout the rest of the build, from the finished-to-match Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 carbon tubular wheels (wrapped with Hutchinson tubulars) and Race XXX Lite carbon stem to the Race XXX Lite carbon bar with the variable radius bend that Armstrong himself supposedly prodded Trek to develop. Pedals are Armstrong’s usual Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810 model.
Trek also provide the Bontrager Race XXX Lite bottle cages and Incite 9i wireless computer, and the whole thing is topped with Armstrong’s trademark Selle San Marco Concor Lite saddle. Total weight as pictured is 7.26kg (16.01lb).
Armstrong has yet to show his hand in this year’s Giro and a recent collarbone break calls into question just how prepared he is. He certainly looks fit, though, and the public are aware of the Texan’s disdain for losing. We predict a high finish for sure – possibly even a support role for team-mate Levi Leipheimer.
If nothing else, the Giro will provide good final preparation for the Tour de France, though don’t bother looking for this particular machine on the road come July as Armstrong is certain to have yet another special machine ready to go by then.
As always, armstrong’s shifters are situated high on his bontrager vr-bend race xxx lite bar: as always, armstrong’s shifters are situated high on his bontrager vr-bend race xxx lite barJames Huang
Frame: Trek Madone OCLV Red Series, 58cm
Fork: Bontrager Race X Lite E2
Front brake: SRAM Red w/ Bontrager carbon pads
Rear brake: SRAM Red w/ Bontrager carbon pads
Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Front derailleur: SRAM Red w/ Force steel cage
Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Cassette: SRAM OG-1090, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Crankset: SRAM Red, 175mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: Trek Madone integrated
Wheelset: Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 tubular
Front tyre: Hutchinson tubular
Rear tyre: Hutchinson tubular
Bars: Bontrager Race XXX Lite, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: Bontrager Race XXX Lite, 120mm x -7º
Headset: Cane Creek E2
Tape/grip: Bontrager Race Lite Grippy tape
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seatpost: Trek Madone integrated, 20mm setback
Saddle: Selle San Marco Concor Lite
Bottle cages: Bontrager Race XXX Lite
Computer: Trek Incite 9i
Other accessories: SRAM Professional System by Gore cables
Total bike weight: 7.26kg (16.01lb)
Rider’s height: 177 cm (5ft 10in)
Rider’s weight: 73kg (161lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 500mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 520mm
Saddle setback: 75mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 753mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 580mm