Unusual team, unusual bike set-up: McCutcheon’s Iran stage-winning rig

Team Illuminate is the only pro team with blank jerseys and bib shorts

Connor McCutcheon’s Team Illuminate has the most remarkable kit in the pro peloton. In stark contrast to the rolling billboards of every pro team ever, there isn’t a single logo plastered across the black Q36.5 clothing.


McCutcheon’s bike isn’t quite as different as the no-logo kit, but there are some unusual bits on it. BikeRadar caught up with the American rider who won a stage of this year Tour of Iran and the most aggressive rider prize on stage 9 at the Tour of Qinghai Lake.

While all WorldTour pros still race on tubulars, some American Continental pros race on clinchers. McCutcheon is one such rider.

Connor McCutcheon’s Team Illuminate Specialized S-Works
Ben Delaney / Immediate Media

“I like to put latex tubes in the tires, and talcum powder helps with punctures,” McCutcheon said. “I did [the Tour of] Iran without a single flat, and the roads are not good there — massive potholes, glass, debris on the road.”

His Selle SMP saddle, with its huge center channel and bent-beak nose, is not yet a common site in the pro peloton, either. After having some issues with saddle sores, he put on the SMP before riding to the team training camp in Southern California from Bend, Oregon — 850mi/1,368km away.  “I was just camping along the way,” he said. “I had problems with my previous saddle. By the time I got to team camp, everything was fine. I haven’t taken the saddle off since.”

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Team Illuminate uses wheels from Knight Composites, the relatively new collaboration between industry veterans Beverly Lucas (formerly of Felt and Enve), Jim Pfeil (formerly of Reynolds, Edge/Enve and Neil Pryde) and Kevin Quan (formerly of Cervélo and Kevin Quan Studios). Knight has three depths of carbon clinchers, with three choices of hubs: Aivee SR5, Chris King R45 and DT Swiss 240s. McCutcheon has the French Aivee hubs on his Knight clinchers.

McCutcheon at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, where he won the Most Aggressive Rider prize on stage 9
Courtesy Team Illuminate

For power, McCutcheon uses a Pioneer meter and computer, although he says he no longer studies his power files, thanks to six years of working with coach Bart Bowen. “For me, it’s more of a listen to your body thing,” he said. “I don’t even look at my power files, I just send them to Bart. That’s a real blessing. Makes training a lot simpler. Not stressing out or overthinking it. Just going day by day on what’s in TrainingPeaks [meaning workouts that have been prescribed by Bowen].”


For a closer look at McCutcheon’s bike, check out the gallery above.