This article originally published on BikeRadar
In place of a full name, three letters adorn the top tube of Katie Compton's Trek Ion CX: KfC.
For anyone who has spoken to the gracious Compton but not seen her race, the emphatic 'f' may be befuddling. But for anyone who has watched Compton absolutely demolish the front of a ’cross race, as she did twice this weekend in Fort Collins, "Katie f—ing Compton" makes perfect sense.
For the pair of Trek US Gran Prix of Cyclocross-Smartwool Cup races in Colorado, Compton raced her custom Trek Ion CX, an aluminum 52cm prototype Trek has her on while they collectively dial in geometry for an upcoming model.
Custom frame aside, a number of modifications separate Compton's ride from a stock bike. For starters, there are the national champion graphics; both the frameset paint and Avid Shorty brake finish are red, white and blue.
Trek's current top-end ’cross bike, the carbon Cronus CX Ultimate, comes with a SRAM Force group. In the aluminum Ion line, the current top-end model comes with SRAM Rival. Compton's SRAM 2012 Red group is fairly straightforward - including the use of Gore Ride-On Professional lined shifter cables - but she uses WickWërks chain rings, an older SRAM front derailleur and a 175mm crank. The Red crank is unusually long for a 52cm bike, but Compton became accustomed to the 175mm length when racing as a tandem pilot for the Paralympics.
The seat clamp was modified for the rear brake hanger, resulting in better alignment for less cable drag and keeping the brake cable centered.
For better alignment of her body on the bike, Compton runs two spacers on her drivetrain pedal (crankbrothers titanium eggbeater 11) and three spacers on the left side.
If you noticed that her saddle dips down in the front slightly, good eyes. She prefers a slight (-3 degree) downward tilt on her Bontrager Affinity RXL WSD Carbon saddle.
Compton had a prototype SRAM Red cassette on another, otherwise-identical bike in Fort Collins. Similar to the X Glide 11x28 cassette shown here, that Red prototype has a wide-open back with plenty of sculpted openings throughout the underside to shed debris. SRAM spokesman Michael Zellmann declined to comment on the prototype, except to say "more news very soon."
Similar to the small "KfC" top tube emblem, Compton has a light blue headset spacer beneath her top cap that sends a message. Registered in Australia, Bike Pure is an international nonprofit organization against doping in cycling.
Finally, Compton is racing on handmade FMB tubulars this season. In Fort Collins, she had a Pro Super Mud up front and an SSC tread in the rear, both in a 32mm width with pink sidewalls. Cyclocross tire expert Molly Cameron, owner of the Portland Bicycle Studio, explained to BikeRadar the story behind the pink sidewalls. The color comes from the dyed cotton from which the sidewall is woven.
"Unlike some tubulars, FMB tires come with the sidewalls coated. These [pink models] have an additional layer of latex over the cotton sidewalls," said Cameron, who sells a lot of FMBs through Portland Bicycle Studio. "They should be pretty watertight, especially if you use a tape, which seals the rims holes."
Custom colors on the Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers, with Bontrager cork pads