Former Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb is lining up for the Tour of Flanders on a custom bike that has been modified in a few unusual ways. Laser-etched graphics on brand new wheels, and cranks shortened after gebioMized testing on the cobbles highlight the uniqueness of his Trek Madone.
Trek-Segafredo technical director Matt Shriver worked with German biometric company geobioMized to test a variety of product and positions with his riders over the winter, measuring pressure on their saddles and under their feet. Riding on pavement and cobbles, the team tested various types of frames, handlebars, wheels and positions.
One takeaway for Degenkolb was a shift from 172.5mm cranks to 170mm cranks for the cobbled classics.
"Degenkolb tends to shift his pelvis and close off the hip angle, and [the geobioMized testing] showed a drop in power and less stability," Shriver said. "So a shorter crank allowed him to keep his pelvis open and power stable. Pressure data correlated to his feedback. He stays on 172.5mm for other races."
Two bikes are pictured here. One, with the custom wheels and integrated bar, is the bike Degenkolb will race most of the year, Shriver said. The other, with the standard bar, is what Degenkolb will race on Sunday at the Tour of Flanders. (He will race yet another bike, a Trek Domane, for Paris-Roubaix, which he won in 2015.)
Sometimes, aero isn't everything
Trek engineers spent considerable time and effort integrating the front end of the bike, tucking all cables inside the integrated bar/stem in the pursuit of lowering drag. But sometimes, aero isn't everything. For the Tour of Flanders, Degenkolb and many of this teammates will use standard handlebars because they are more comfortable.
Degenkolb is using a Bontrager XXX IsoCore bar, with sprint shifters on the tops and in the drops.
"We spent time over the winter testing all the wheels, and all the bars with John and Jasper [Stuyven] on the cobbles," Shriver said. "That bar was the winner. There is an aero penalty for sure, and it is a little bit heavier, but they felt the compliance was worth it."
Also, it's easier to grab the tops on a traditional round bar, compared to a thin and flat aero bar.
But for wheels, aero is an advantage
Bontrager just launched its new Aeolus XXX carbon wheels in 28, 47 and 60mm depths. Degenkolb will most likely race the 60mm XXX 6 wheels Sunday. While the cobbled hellingen feature prominently in the Tour of Flanders, it is still a 250km race with lots of smooth asphalt and high speeds. So, for wheels, aero it is.
Bontager has a new laser-etched brake track for the Aeolus XXX. To show off the new technology, Bontrager laser'ed up a pair of XXX 6s with custom graphics for Degenkolb. He, Trek and Bontrager are all hoping that Sunday will come up aces for Trek-Bontrager at the Tour of Flanders.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at two of Degenkolb's bikes.