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Pro bikes, February 22, 2007

Ivan Basso's Discovery Channel Trek Madone SSL 6.9

Photo ©: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com
The head tube and top tube of the Trek Madone
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At 1.83m (6'0") tall, Basso uses 175mm long crankarms,
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The Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 wheel is built around
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What Ivan Basso sees during a "day at the office".
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Basso's saddle of choice is a Selle Italia Flite,
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Vive la Madone

By Kirsten Robbins

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team held its preseason training camp in the picturesque region surrounding Solvang, California, partially in preparation for this year's Tour of California. Unlike the December 'social' camp in Austin, TX, the Solvang camp found the boys logging long hours test riding their new 2007 race bikes.

It's a little of every cyclist's fantasy to open a gift like the Trek Madone SSL 6.9; after all, Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times on a Trek carbon frame, and there is no exception for Discovery Channel's Ivan Basso. "I think the Trek is one of the best bikes in the world," Basso said in comparison to the Cervélo Soloist and R3 Carbon bikes he used last year with Team CSC. However, Basso is wisely careful not to knock his past sponsors, adding, "But I think that both the Trek and the Cervélo are the best in the world so it is difficult for me to find big differences in the way they handle. The feeling of my Madone is very similar to the Cervélo I used last year."

Both companies take a great deal of pride in their standard frame selection. Basso claimed the final maglia rosa in last year's Giro d'Italia on an off-the-shelf Cervélo Soloist Carbon, and likewise, his new Trek Madone SSL 6.9 is built around a completely stock frameset that is available to the public. This reinforces Trek's opinion that anyone can find the perfect fit in a standard frame with just a few adjustments.

Basso's team of mechanics, Julien Devries, Vince Gee and Chris Vanroosbroeck, found his ideal position on the new machine by fine tuning his measurements from last year and incorporating components that suit his comfort needs. "I rode the Cervélo with a 58cm standard frame and I ride with a 58cm standard frame with Trek, too," Basso said. "I only needed to find the correct parts like the stem and seatpost and adjust my saddle and handlebars to find my exact position from last year."

Shimano and Bontrager supply the Discovery Channel squad with only the best of their components and wheels, which are also used by Basso's teammate, Levi Leipheimer, the team's designated leader at the ToC. The Treks are built with Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrains, brakes, and pedals, while Bontrager covers the stem, handlebars, wheels, saddles and bottle cages. Hutchinson has provided the team with tubular as well as clincher tires and Trek has also equipped each rider with a wireless Incite 9i computer.

Among a fleet of identical bikes lined up outside the team bus at the start of Stage 3 in Stockton, CA, several components and parts stand out on Basso's bike. Basso uses an aluminum Bontrager Race X Lite OS stem on his Race Lite VR handlebars, in contrast to the carbon fiber Race XXX Lite stem used by most of the rest of the team. "I have the aluminum stem on my bike because the angle is less steep than the carbon stem which is twelve degrees," he said. "With this stem I found the same position as I've always had. There's no real difference in the weight of the carbon versus the aluminum stem anyway." In keeping with current trends in the professional peloton, Basso's race bike was also equipped with an SRM Training System Power Meter based on the Dura-Ace crankset.

The team has a number of different Bontrager wheel models at its disposal for any day, and in spite of the relatively hilly profile of Stage 3 of the ToC, Basso opted for the deep section Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 Carbon tubulars wrapped in Hutchinson rubber. Bontrager Brand Manager Dean Gore says that the 50mm deep Aeolus 5.0 is actually the team's standard wheel of choice for all but the most demanding climbing stages, when the team may use the lighter (but less aerodynamic) Race XXX Lite.

Basso has already transformed into an excellent time trialer, but he has also expressed interest in improving even more this season. Normally that sort of goal would force riders to invest a lot of time in finding the perfect position but Basso is a rarity amongst the time trialists, showing little concern for perfection. "As for my time trial bike, I didn't think I need to change too many things," Basso said. "If my legs feel good in the time trial I will go fast. I don't want to make changes just to try something new. I think it is better to continue in the same direction as always and try to make few adjustments, only for comfort."


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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Trek Madone SSL 6.9 58cm
Fork: Bontrager Race X Lite
Available sizes: 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62 cm

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.83m (6'0") Rider's weight: 70kg (154lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 580mm
Seat tube length, c-t:
Saddle height, from BB center to top:
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars:
C of front wheel to top of bars:
Top tube length:

Cranks: SRM Training System - Dura-Ace compatible Standard, 175mm, 53/39T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7800
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7800-SS
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7800
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7800
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7800, 12-25T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-FC7800


Rims: Classics Clincher 22mm wide/OCLV Tubular 50mm carbon aero cross section
Hutchinson Gold tubular
Wheelset: Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 tubular
Spokes: 14/15
Hubs: Bontrager

Handle bars: Bontrager Race Lite VR
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite OS
Headset: PRO RM-11
Tape: Bontrager Race Lite Grippy Tape

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seat post: Shimano Ultegra SP-6600
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite
Bottle cages: Bontrager Race Lite
Computer: SRM

Total bike weight: 7.1kg (15.62lb)