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Pro Bike: Cancellara's Trek Speed Concept Tour de France

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It's a woefully overused cliché but it's still utterly appropriate: Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard Trek) Trek Speed Concept looks fast standing still - and thankfully Spartacus has the legs and lungs to back it up.

It's a woefully overused cliché but it's still utterly appropriate: Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard Trek) Trek Speed Concept looks fast standing still - and thankfully Spartacus has the legs and lungs to back it up.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The broad and flat top tube leaves plenty of room for eye-catching graphics on Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) custom Trek Speed Concept.

The broad and flat top tube leaves plenty of room for eye-catching graphics on Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) custom Trek Speed Concept.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Bontrager Aeolus wheels are wrapped with Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular tires.

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Bontrager Aeolus wheels are wrapped with Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular tires.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The sword and dice on the stem distract your eyes from the cutout that provides access to the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 control box button.

The sword and dice on the stem distract your eyes from the cutout that provides access to the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 control box button.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Bontrager's Speed Concept Ti rear skewer blends perfectly with the rear dropout.

Bontrager's Speed Concept Ti rear skewer blends perfectly with the rear dropout.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The graphics on Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Speed Concept aren't just decals - they're raised appliques that add a bit of texture to the frame.

The graphics on Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard-Trek) Trek Speed Concept aren't just decals - they're raised appliques that add a bit of texture to the frame.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The head tube on the Trek Speed Concept is amazingly narrow with especially little cartridge bearings used up top.

The head tube on the Trek Speed Concept is amazingly narrow with especially little cartridge bearings used up top.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Trek is able to use an unusually narrow head tube since the steerer is captured by the fork at both ends.

Trek is able to use an unusually narrow head tube since the steerer is captured by the fork at both ends.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The center pull front brake is neatly hidden away inside the fork.

The center pull front brake is neatly hidden away inside the fork.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Leopard Trek team mechanics had to do some custom extension work for Fabian Cancellara's Trek Speed Concept.

Leopard Trek team mechanics had to do some custom extension work for Fabian Cancellara's Trek Speed Concept.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The stark grey-on-black paint scheme on Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard Trek) Trek Speed Concept is rather serious looking.

The stark grey-on-black paint scheme on Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard Trek) Trek Speed Concept is rather serious looking.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) keeps his hands close together but his elbows are surprisingly far apart - probably to gain power at the cost of a little more drag.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) keeps his hands close together but his elbows are surprisingly far apart - probably to gain power at the cost of a little more drag.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Leopard Trek team mechanics were still building up Fabian Cancellara's spare time trial bike a day before Stage 1. Unfortunately for them, it's anything but a straightforward job.

Leopard Trek team mechanics were still building up Fabian Cancellara's spare time trial bike a day before Stage 1. Unfortunately for them, it's anything but a straightforward job.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard Trek) Bontrager Aeolus 5 front wheel rotates around a carbon fiber hub.

Fabian Cancellara's (Leopard Trek) Bontrager Aeolus 5 front wheel rotates around a carbon fiber hub.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moving the rear brake down into the chain stays leaves the rear end of the bike looking especially clean and uncluttered.

Moving the rear brake down into the chain stays leaves the rear end of the bike looking especially clean and uncluttered.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Trek says the Speed Concept's Kamm Tail tube shaping mimics the aerodynamic performance of a much deeper airfoil but without violating UCI technical guidelines.

Trek says the Speed Concept's Kamm Tail tube shaping mimics the aerodynamic performance of a much deeper airfoil but without violating UCI technical guidelines.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Prologo has provided Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) with this custom Nago Evo TTR saddle, specifically designed for time trials with its heavily padded nose and anti-slip ridges.

Prologo has provided Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) with this custom Nago Evo TTR saddle, specifically designed for time trials with its heavily padded nose and anti-slip ridges.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A bit of tape keeps the valve stem from rattling.

A bit of tape keeps the valve stem from rattling.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The rear wheel is covered with a big 'Bontrager' decal but underneath is a Lightweight disc.

The rear wheel is covered with a big 'Bontrager' decal but underneath is a Lightweight disc.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The rear brake is neatly tucked away underneath the bottom bracket. Battery placement could maybe be improved a bit, though, in terms of aerodynamics. If nothing else, this whole area creates some headaches for the team mechanics who have to remove all of this stuff in order to mount the bike on a repair stand.

The rear brake is neatly tucked away underneath the bottom bracket. Battery placement could maybe be improved a bit, though, in terms of aerodynamics. If nothing else, this whole area creates some headaches for the team mechanics who have to remove all of this stuff in order to mount the bike on a repair stand.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) has been using Shimano's Yumeya hop-up bits for some time now. Apparently he's a fan of gold.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) has been using Shimano's Yumeya hop-up bits for some time now. Apparently he's a fan of gold.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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It's almost a shame that there's a drivetrain on the bike as it looks remarkably clean from this side.

It's almost a shame that there's a drivetrain on the bike as it looks remarkably clean from this side.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) now gets an extra icon next to his Swiss flag.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) now gets an extra icon next to his Swiss flag.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 time trial componentry allows Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) to shift from either the base bar or the extensions.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 time trial componentry allows Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) to shift from either the base bar or the extensions.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Trek looks to have done a pretty good job of incorporating lots of adjustability into the Speed Concept cockpit.

Trek looks to have done a pretty good job of incorporating lots of adjustability into the Speed Concept cockpit.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Leopard Trek strongman Fabian Cancellara is perhaps the most pampered rider in this year's Tour de France – at least in terms of equipment – with custom designed and finished Trek Madone 6.9 SSL and Speed Concept road and time trial bikes designed in collaboration with graphic artist Joshua M. Smith (a.k.a. "Hydro74"). While the bikes themselves are of course very different, both share a similarly menacing theme with a matte black base and an array of grey graphics playing off of Cancellara's "Spartacus" moniker.

Dark grey carved floral patterns are littered throughout the frame (and the rear disc in the case of the time trial bike) but the dominant visual features are the big Spartan helmets on the head tube and top tube, the threatening sword and lucky dice plastered on the stem, and a giant "Spartacus" logo on the top tube.

The broad and flat top tube leaves plenty of room for eye-catching graphics on Fabian Cancellara's custom Trek Speed Concept

Cancellara's road bike is dressed up even further with baby blue accents on the frame, headset spacers, and even the custom tire labels from Schwalbe, and both bikes receive the full Yumeya treatment from Shimano with gold anodized titanium bolts and even cable end caps.

As for the equipment itself, Trek has pulled out the stops for Leopard Trek's time trial wizard with its innovative Speed Concept. Rather than use true airfoil sections as was commonly done in the past, Trek instead uses Kamm tail truncated airfoils that supposedly mimic the aerodynamic performance of sections much deeper than what the UCI normally allows but with aspect ratios that are structurally better suited for weight and stiffness.

Trek say the Speed Concept's Kamm Tail tube shaping mimics the aerodynamic performance of a much deeper airfoil without violating UCI technical guidelines

The proprietary brakes are fully integrated into the external-steerer fork crown and chain stays, the bar and stem are present noticeably less frontal area than conventional setups, and all of the cabling is almost entirely internal from end to end for an ultra-clean surface throughout.

Save for the proprietary bits and the SRM crankset, Shimano provides most of the rest of the running gear in the form of its Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group, which is especially useful in this configuration with its multiple shift button location. It remains to be seen what wheels Cancellara will use for Saturday's decisive time trial but on the day we spotted it, his Speed Concept was fitted with a Carbonsports Lightweight carbon rear disc and Bontrager's new Aeolus 5 50mm-deep, wide-profile carbon tubular wheel up front.

Finishing bits include Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals, an SRM Power Control 7 computer, and a single Bontrager Speed Bottle (which supposedly actually improves aerodynamics over not having one mounted).

The rear wheel is covered with a big 'Bontrager' decal but underneath is a Lightweight disc

Position-wise, Cancellara's setup is notable for its emphasis on power. True, his position is plenty aerodynamic but the custom Prologo Nago Evo TTR saddle is pushed roughly 10mm further back than minimum UCI guidelines and the armrest pads are set relatively wide – especially when compared to someone like Garmin-Cervélo's David Zabriskie.

Total weight as pictured is 8.41kg (18.54lb).

Save for the custom finish and Yumeya accents, Cancellara's Trek Madone is essentially standard team-issue with two major exceptions: a SRAM PG-1070 cassette in lieu of the Shimano Dura-Ace equivalent (SRAM team liaison Alex Wassmann says he just likes the 11-26T ratio) and while the rest of Leopard-Trek happily uses Di2 there as well, the four-time time trial world champion instead sticks with the mechanical Dura-Ace group.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 time trial componentry allows Cancellara to shift from either the base bar or the extensions

Cancellara's choice of the mechanical Dura-Ace group is something we initially noticed back at the cobbled spring classics – along with a few other notable riders – but team spokesman Tim Vanderjeugd insists that, "It is a simply a matter of preference. Shimano offers the team the choice to use their components of choice. Fabian chooses to use mechanical Dura-Ace on his road bike simple because he prefers the feel. On the TT bike the Di2 offers a distinct advantage with multiple shift points and Fabian prefers to take advantage of that."

Complete bike specifications

Frame: Trek Speed Concept 9.9, size L
Fork: Bontrager SC
Headset: Trek Speed Concept integrated
Stem: Bontrager Speed Concept RXL direct mount, 100mm x 10°
Handlebars: Bontrager Speed Concept, 42cm (c-c), w/ custom straight extensions
Tape/grips: Bontrager cork
Front brake: Bontrager Speed Concept integrated w/ Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads
Rear brake: Bontrager Speed Concept integrated w/ Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-7971
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-7971, SW-7971
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900
Crankset: SRM Wireless PowerMeter DuraAce 7900 Compatible, 177.5mm, 54/40T
Bottom bracket: Trek BB90 integrated with Enduro XD-15 bearings
Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless
Rear wheel: Carbonsports Lightweight Disc tubular
Front wheel: Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 tubular
Front tire: Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular
Rear tire: Schwalbe Ultremo HT tubular
Saddle: Prologo Nago Evo TTR
Seat post: Bontrager Speed Concept Race X Lite, 50mm offset
Bottle cages: Bontrager Speed Bottle
Computer: SRM Power Control 7

Critical measurements

Rider's height: 1.86m (6' 1")
Rider's weight: 82kg (181lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 809mm
Saddle setback: 62mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 559mm
Seat tube length, c-c: -----
Tip of saddle nose to armrest center: 605mm (to armrest center)
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 168mm (to armrests)
Head tube length: 127mm
Top tube length: 541mm (horizontal)
Total bicycle weight: 8.41kg (18.54lb)