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The Green Hornet
Chris Horner's time trial machine we saw at the Tour of Georgia is a very special bike indeed. But it took Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan some searching to figure out where it came from.
We knew LeMond was yet to make a TT-specific frame, and while the company is owned by Trek, Horner's machine looked nothing like Lance's custom rig or Trek's Team Time Trial frame upon which it is based. So what the hell is it?
"The bike that arrived in Georgia for Chris was a modified version of the custom aluminum TT bikes the Trek factory built for the Postal team a few years back," explains Dean Gore from LeMond Racing Cycles' marketing division.
"Our first plan for the Webcor guys in 2004 was to buy some stock TT bikes from the Trek folks down the hall, paint them up in team colors and be done. But since Chris and the Webcor team have been riding so well, we decided just after Redlands that we would pull out all the stops and build something custom for Chris to maximize his chances at Georgia."
No surprise that Horner was rapt with the idea - although it only left the guys at Lemond roughly 20 days to build, heat-treat, paint and ship the frame. You could say it was a race against the clock for a bike designed to race against the clock! An incredibly fast turnaround in any custom shop, but they did it; after all, they couldn't leave the defending champ without a bike, could they?
Horner's fully UCI-legal, super-aero frame is made from 6061-T6 aluminium, and although made at the firm's Waterloo, Wisconsin headquarters, inside the mighty Trek facility, the frame only's resemblance to Trek's TT creation is the internal cable routing and massive airfoil-shaped down tube and cut-away seat tubes, the latter reaching all the way past the top tube to the bottom of the seat clamp and cut according to hard-man Horner's dimensions. The ovalised top tube, rounded wishbone seat stays and oversized chain stays, in combination with this previously mentioned features, make this bike unique to both brands.
You may have also noticed that Horner's riding on a Reynolds fork. Lemond's Dean Gore explains: "We were happy to let Chris ride a Reynolds fork, as we had no extra one-inch aero forks around here. Although we do make a Bontrager TT fork, they are produced only in small batches for the Postal team and we had none to spare."
Other tidbits include: stock HED tri-bars with the extensions cut right down; a HED carbon tri-spoke front wheel coupled with Bontrager's Race X-Lite tyre, and on the rear, Vredestein rubber along with Bontrager's Race X Lite TT carbon disc wheel makes rollin' along ever so easy. And when it's time to slow down, stopping power is courtesy of Zero Gravity's calipers, with Horner's tush parked on Fi'zi:k's Arione saddle. A trivial but important component is Trek's Batcage bottle-cage - although look out for Bontrager's fandangle carbon fibre cages coming soon.
Images by Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews.com
note: all weights shown are manufacturers' claims
Frame: Custom-built Lemond, made from 6061-T6 aluminum
Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace nine speed
Rim: HED H3 carbon tri-spoke clincher (F), 820g; Bontrager Race
X Lite TT carbon (R), 960g
Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace SPD-SL, 277g