Subaru-Trek must have something in the team mandate that requires all of its female riders to be of shorter stature. The team lost World Cup contender Willow Koerber to its more globally oriented Trek World Racing squad during the off-season but making the opposite move was Emily Batty, who stands just one inch taller than Koerber and yet has still happily made the move to 29in wheels – once considered the sole realm of the vertically gifted.
"I do have the option to ride 26" wheels although after doing some test riding on the 29" wheels and realizing that Subaru-Trek had such a lightweight option for bikes and wheels I've chose to roll on the big wheels," Batty said. "It's such a light set up and gives me a lot more confidence descending and pushing the bike.
"The early season World Cups suit the 29" bike set up so perfectly," she continued. "The later season World Cups make for a difficult decision as the courses could suit either of the bike's strengths. I will have to try both bikes and then make my decision. The equipment overall is getting so reliable and lightweight now that it really comes down to the rider's preference on the day."
Despite the bike's short head tube, Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) still has to run a -25° stem
Not surprisingly, team bike sponsor Trek produces its top-end Superfly Elite carbon hardtail in an especially accommodating 15.5in size, complete with a short 103mm-long integrated head tube and manageable 570mm effective top tube length. Even so, Batty's position still requires a few tweaks: the seatpost is flipped around to provide less setback and there's a -25° Bontrager Race Lite (instead of the usual RXL or RXXXL model) stem fitted up front, sitting right atop the headset compression ring with the upper cover removed to cut out a few millimeters of stack height.
Aside from the sizing tweaks, Batty's Superfly Elite frame is standard team-issue and supposedly identical to those available to consumers. In addition to the lighter weight relative to the first-generation Superfly hardtail, this latest iteration also features Trek's trademark extra-wide bottom bracket shell with direct press-fit bearings, a tapered head tube, and carbon dropouts. Trek team mechanics forego the standard Carbon Armor plate on the underside of the down tube, however, in favor of a lighter swatch of clear vinyl.
The bottom bracket bearings press directly into precision molded sockets in the extra-wide bottom bracket shell
For the most part, the build kit is fairly standard stuff, too, including a complete SRAM XX group, RockShox's latest SID World Cup XX fork (with a standard-offset crown instead of the consumer-spec G2 version), Crankbrothers Eggbeater 11 pedals, Bontrager cockpit components and tires, ESI silicone foam rubber grips, Serfas bar ends, and Nokon cables and housing.
Batty's prototype wheels foreshadow things to come in the 2012 model year from Bontrager, however. The tubeless-compatible carbon hoops are laced with straight-pull spokes to new oversized aluminum bodies with flanges pushed way out to the edges in a "stacked" configuration that Bontrager product manager Chris Clinton claims to yield a boost in lateral stiffness.
Subaru-Trek team bikes are outfitted with prototype Bontrager hubs
Those new hubs are also equipped with freehub internals from as yet unnamed European source (apparently not DT Swiss) and the convertible axles will work with 135mm quick-release or 142x12mm thru-axle rear configurations and 9mm quick-release or 15/20mm thru-axle front fitments – a good thing since Subaru-Trek has also opted for 15mm-compatible front ends for enhanced steering precision and a change Trek will likely integrate for 2012 consumer models, too.
Total weight as pictured is just 8.93kg (19.69lb).
This article originally appeared on BikeRadar