Ellen van Dijk breaks hour record on custom Trek Speed Concept

Dutch rider sets a new record of 49.254km

Dutch rider Ellen Van Dijk races during her world hour record attempt in the Velodrome Suisse, an indoor velodrome in Grenchen, northern Switzerland on May 23, 2022. - Ellen van Dijk attempts to break the world hour record record of 48,405 kilometers on May 23, 2022, on the track of the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen. (Photo by GABRIEL MONNET / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL MONNET/AFP via Getty Images)

Trek-Segafredo rider Ellen van Dijk has set a new UCI Women’s hour record, riding 49.254km at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland.


The time trial world champion beat the existing record of 48.405km set by Joss Lowden last October on board her Argon Electron 18 Pro.

Van Dijk was a minute ahead with three minutes to go and passed Lowden’s record in the 58th minute of her attempt.

Van Dijk felt she was ahead of the record at lap 81 and rode 197 laps of the velodrome to set the new milestone.

Van Dijk rode a Trek Speed Concept bike, which is a version of Trek’s new Speed Concept time trial and triathlon bike, adapted for use on the track. While it might have seemed more logical to choose a dedicated track bike for the record, van Dijk has proven success with the Speed Concept, having used it to win the 2021 time trial world championship.

Trek also doesn’t have a dedicated track bike in its catalogue, so an adapted bike is a sponsor-correct approach.

Trek has precedent for adapting a time trial frame originally designed for road use instead of using a dedicated track bike for the hour record. When Jens Voigt broke the hour record in 2014, he did it on a modified Trek Speed Concept 9.

Ellen van Dijk’s Trek Speed Concept hour record bike.

Like Voigt’s hour-record bike, van Dijk’s modified Speed Concept bears a strong resemblance to its road equivalent, but features horizontal dropouts, making it suitable for track cycling events.

In a blog post on Trek-Segafredo’s website, Glen Leven, one of the two-man Trek team supporting van Dijk, explains they also removed the Speed Concept’s front thru-axle, saying it is “unnecessary for such a specialized [sic] bike”.

Van Dijk’s bike bears a visual resemblance to Voigt’s too, with wheels featuring a clock-face design.

However, while Voigt used wheels from Trek’s in-house component brand, Bontrager, van Dijk used Zipp Sub 9 Track disc wheels, front and rear.

Trek has adjusted the time trial frameset to be track legal with horizontal dropouts.

The wheels were wrapped in 23mm tubular tyres from Pirelli, Trek-Segafredo’s official tyre sponsor.

Elsewhere, van Dijk used a Bontrager Race Space handlebar with 40mm of spacers under a set of custom carbon fibre armrests and a Bontrager Hilo XXX saddle.

This is the same setup as van Dijk’s time trial bike and puts her in the same riding position as her world championship victory.

Leven says this is beneficial because “we know that she can keep that position for a long time, and that she can be successful in that position”.

The bike is adorned with reminders of the duration of the event.

Gear choice is paramount for hour records, and van Dijk has opted to pair a 58-tooth front chainring with a 14-tooth sprocket.

Pictures of van Dijk’s bike show the chainring is fitted to SRAM cranks with a SRAM power meter, though UCI rules dictate that athletes are not allowed to view power (or any other related data) during track events.

A rationale for the gear choice hasn’t been provided. What is certain is that to beat Lowden’s record van Dijk had to pedal a marginally higher cadence than the Brit, who ran a slightly larger, 64×15 ratio.

Another reminder of how long the record is.

Along with the clock-face wheels, Van Dijk’s Speed Concept has a unique paintjob in honour of the hour-record attempt.

The bike has a ‘Split’ design, according to Trek, with the driveside of the bike painted white and the non-driveside painted Cote d’Azure blue.

The white is said to represent a finish line and the Cote d’Azure blue is the colour used for the no-cycle line on the inside edge of a velodrome.

The handlebar has ‘hold the line’ printed on it.

The top tube of the bike has ‘1 hour 00 minutes 00 seconds’ on it and the handlebar has a graphic that pairs a velodrome design with text that reads ‘hold the line’.

Trek-Segafredo paired with Greenhope, “a Swiss-based charity that organises happy and funs events for children with cancer and their families.” Viewers were able to donate to Greenhope and Trek says it will match the total donations raised during the hour.


Ellen Van Dijk’s hour record bike specification

  • Frame: Trek Speed Concept (size large)
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Race Space (40mm spacers)
  • Wheels: Zipp Sub 9 Track
  • Saddle: Bontrager Hilo XXX
  • Chainring tooth count: 58
  • Sprocket tooth count: 14
  • Tyres: Pirelli Tubular (23mm)