Another custom finish for Armstrong
By James Huang
cork brake blocks are fitted
Even the rims are treated
This small detail perhaps
provides a little more of a clue as to Armstrong's intentions
The SRAM Red crankset is
Armstrong's familiar Selle
San Marco Concor Lite saddle
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 quite possibly his most ornate to date.
To commemorate Armstrong's first appearance at the Giro, contemporary
artist Shepard Fairey - the man behind the famous 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
rather 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 absolutely
superb. In spite of the frame's complex curves and limited real estate,
one has to look incredibly hard to locate any seams whatsoever - 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 millimeters 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
Aside from the fancy visual treatment, the rest of the bike is rather
standard fare for an Astana team bike. Bolted up is a complete SRAM
Red group with 53/39T chainrings, an 11-23T cassette, and a few minor
tweaks: gold-anodized alloy chainring bolts are fitted to the crank,
Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads are fitted to the brake calipers,
a stiffer Force steel cage is spliced on to the Red front derailleur,
and a Shimano Dura-Ace 7801 chain stands in for the usual PC-1090 unit.
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 provides 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 at the
moment. He certainly looks fit at the moment, though, and the
public is certainly aware of the Texan's disdain for losing. We predict
a high finish for sure - possibly even a support role for teammate Levi
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.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here