This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
Adam Hansen's early days of racing were on mountain bikes, and included one of the world's toughest mountain bike stage races - the Crocodile Trophy. It's a race Hansen won twice, earning him the affectionate nickname of the "Crocodile Man".
Back then, Hansen had a reputation of pushing technical boundaries with his engineering expertise, and was a frequent contributor to Weight Weenies. These old habits are very much still alive, however, as is evidenced by his unique bike build and the shoes he's made for personal use, which are soon to be made available under his own brand - Hanseeno.
Hansen is a true strongman of the peloton. He's the only non-Spaniard to have ridden all three Grand Tours in a year on more than one occasion, and in 2014 is aiming to extend his impressive race record to 10 consecutive Grand Tours. Last year's Giro d'Italia stage 7 win provided proof of his continuing strength as a rider, especially when conditions get tough.
We managed to get a detailed look at Hansen's Ridley Helium SL during the Tour Down Under in Australia, where he was riding in full support of André Greipel, his Lotto Belisol teammate.
While German national sprint champion Greipel picks the Ridley Noah Fast for ultimate sprint aerodynamics, Hansen rides the Helium SL for a priority of stiffness-weight ratio. The frame features ultra-thin seatstays to help create a smoother ride, while a tapered head-tube and oversized C-Bear PF30 bottom bracket add stiffness where it counts.
It's common for many riders to have their bikes set up to what team fitters believe is best, but it's clear that Hansen takes a hands-on approach to his steed. We'd argue that his bike is one of the most customised in the WorldTour, and it clearly works for him.
There are two standouts in Hansen's bike fit: super narrow 38cm handlebars and ultra-long 180mm length crank arms.
Narrow handlebars enable Hansen to reduce his frontal profile to the wind; his mountain bike background empowers him to control the skittish handling.
Meanwhile those 180mm cranks provide Hansen with massive leverage. To overcome the extra length, Hansen employs a very forward position, with an inline Thomson Elite seatpost (graphics concealed) and a 130mm stem with negative 20-degree slope creating an extremely low position.
Helping keep the seatpost in place is a second collar, tightened directly onto the post. This ensures the seatpost cannot slip during a race, but also guarantees that Hansen's seat height doesn't change between travels.
As part of an SRM-sponsored team, Hansen was riding with an SRM PowerControl 7 head unit; however, at the time of shooting, an SRM crank was missing from his ride. We suspect this was to get the bike closer to the minimum weight limit, though other factors could have been at play.
The rest of the build is very Italian, with a full Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset running the new internal race battery. Keeping it all rolling are 50mm deep tubular Campagnolo Bora Ultra Two wheels, with CULT ceramic bearings.