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Pro bike: Chris Horner's Trek Madone 6.9 SSL

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Chris Horner’s Trek Madone 6.9 SSL RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Edition with H2 geometry

Chris Horner’s Trek Madone 6.9 SSL RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Edition with H2 geometry (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Speedplay is the pedal platform of choice for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

Speedplay is the pedal platform of choice for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Cork pads do the stopping

Cork pads do the stopping (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Horner is the only team rider on Bontrager’s wide Inform RL saddle

Horner is the only team rider on Bontrager’s wide Inform RL saddle (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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When you make it to the sport’s upper echelon, SRM will make you a custom-colored head unit, too

When you make it to the sport’s upper echelon, SRM will make you a custom-colored head unit, too (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Horner prefers a relatively wider 44cm bar (in aluminum, as many pros run)

Horner prefers a relatively wider 44cm bar (in aluminum, as many pros run) (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Being a Trek team, RadioShack-Nissan-Trek run Bontrager wheels, including this Aeolus 5 tubular with Schwalbe tire

Being a Trek team, RadioShack-Nissan-Trek run Bontrager wheels, including this Aeolus 5 tubular with Schwalbe tire (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One neat feature of the Madone is the integrated “DuoTrap” wheel-speed and cadence sensor in the non-drive-side chainstay

One neat feature of the Madone is the integrated “DuoTrap” wheel-speed and cadence sensor in the non-drive-side chainstay (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Horner is one of five members of the team that prefer Trek’s “H2” geometry, which has a head tube that is 3cm taller than the “H1” pro-style geometry

Horner is one of five members of the team that prefer Trek’s “H2” geometry, which has a head tube that is 3cm taller than the “H1” pro-style geometry (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Yes, that would be a hand pump Horner has strapped to the saddle bag he takes everywhere

Yes, that would be a hand pump Horner has strapped to the saddle bag he takes everywhere (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Horner is a self-sufficient man — even when riding with his team and a follow car

Horner is a self-sufficient man — even when riding with his team and a follow car (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Despite winning the 2011 Amgen Tour of California among other major races, Horner puts on no airs

Despite winning the 2011 Amgen Tour of California among other major races, Horner puts on no airs (Image credit: BikeRadar)

This article first appeared on Bikeradar

Chris Horner has never been overly concerned with what professionals are “supposed to do”. And at age 40, the RadioShack-Nissan rider who started the 2012 Amgen Tour of California Sunday as the defending champion isn’t about to change his style.

On the eve of arguably the biggest race in America, riding on one of the world’s biggest professional cycling teams, Horner’s Trek Madone looked more like the rig of one of the fans cruising the team parking lot than the stereotypical pro bike.

For one thing, Horner rides with a saddle bag, even when followed by the team car. And he carries a pump, strapped to said saddle bag. His seat tube bottle cage is filled with a spare tubular, just in case.

For another thing, Horner rides a taller head tube than Trek’s “pro” geometry that the company calls H1. H2 features a head tube that’s 3cm taller than H1 geometry. A 56cm Madone 6.9 SSL in the H2 geometry has a 17cm head tube. (The reach is also about .5cm shorter.)

In fairness, Horner isn’t alone on the team in riding the H2 geometry. Five riders, including 27-year-old Matt Busche, use the H2 bikes.

“It is a lot about cosmetics, but it is also structurally stronger not having a big stack of spacers beneath the stem,” said Trek team liaison Jordan Roessingh.

Another nod to Horner’s preference for comfort over the stereotypical pro look — 25cm tires. (He will likely be racing 23s Schwalbe tubulars with the rest of his team throughout the week in California.)

Horner is the only one on the team riding the wide Bontrager RL saddle, which he runs on a seatpost with almost no set-back. On the 56cm frame, Horner has a 120 stem.

“Chris is not exactly slammed,” Roessingh said of Horner’s position.

But despite his lack of concern for what pros are “supposed to do” for position, Horner continues to demonstrate the ability to deliver what really counts for professionals — getting himself first across the line.