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Pro bike: Katie Compton's Planet Bike-Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team

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Stevens Bikes has provided US national champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) with this special red, white, and blue carbon racer.

Stevens Bikes has provided US national champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) with this special red, white, and blue carbon racer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) has a number of Dugast tires available to suit the day's conditions.

Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) has a number of Dugast tires available to suit the day's conditions. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zipp's latest 303 has proven to be a potent 'cross wheel.

Zipp's latest 303 has proven to be a potent 'cross wheel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A bit of cable liner and a short section of heat-shrink tubing and - bingo! - you've got your own homemade sealed cable system.

A bit of cable liner and a short section of heat-shrink tubing and - bingo! - you've got your own homemade sealed cable system. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Katie Compton's (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) nickname is even applied to the ends of the SRAM Red DoubleTap levers.

Katie Compton's (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) nickname is even applied to the ends of the SRAM Red DoubleTap levers. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Needless to say, this paint job isn't available off the shelf - it has to be earned.

Needless to say, this paint job isn't available off the shelf - it has to be earned. (Image credit: James Huang)
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'Colorado sand and super glue' add some extra grip to these Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals.

'Colorado sand and super glue' add some extra grip to these Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Gore Ride-On sealed cables help keep the SRAM Red rear derailleur working reliably in foul weather.

Gore Ride-On sealed cables help keep the SRAM Red rear derailleur working reliably in foul weather. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Despite appearances, the rear end of the Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team frame is reportedly remarkably comfortable.

Despite appearances, the rear end of the Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team frame is reportedly remarkably comfortable. (Image credit: James Huang)
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As with the special paintjob, this sort of treatment has to be earned.

As with the special paintjob, this sort of treatment has to be earned. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) has long preferred WTB Silverado saddles and Thomson seatposts.

Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) has long preferred WTB Silverado saddles and Thomson seatposts. (Image credit: James Huang)
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These bottle cage mounts won't likely ever get used in competition but they're handy to have just in case regardless.

These bottle cage mounts won't likely ever get used in competition but they're handy to have just in case regardless. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The brass cam follower in Zipp's latest skewer makes for more fluid motion and higher clamping forces than Delrin ones.

The brass cam follower in Zipp's latest skewer makes for more fluid motion and higher clamping forces than Delrin ones. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Red and blue anodized end caps finish off the Zipp hubs nicely.

Red and blue anodized end caps finish off the Zipp hubs nicely. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Like many pros, Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) prefers the stiffer steel cage option for the SRAM Red front derailleur.

Like many pros, Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) prefers the stiffer steel cage option for the SRAM Red front derailleur. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zipp's VumaQuad crank sheds heaps of weight relative to most other high-end offerings.

Zipp's VumaQuad crank sheds heaps of weight relative to most other high-end offerings. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Giant chain stays? Check. Well reinforced bottom bracket area? Check, check.

Giant chain stays? Check. Well reinforced bottom bracket area? Check, check. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) runs both the front and rear Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes in the narrow-profile, high-leverage position for maximum stopping power.

Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) runs both the front and rear Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes in the narrow-profile, high-leverage position for maximum stopping power. (Image credit: James Huang)
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TRP's top-mount brake levers add minimal weight with their pared-down clamps and carbon fiber blades.

TRP's top-mount brake levers add minimal weight with their pared-down clamps and carbon fiber blades. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A red grub seal keeps mud and water out of the Gore Ride-On front derailleur line while a bit of heat-shrink tubing keeps the cable end from fraying.

A red grub seal keeps mud and water out of the Gore Ride-On front derailleur line while a bit of heat-shrink tubing keeps the cable end from fraying. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Integrated barrel adjusters make for easy on-the-fly tweaks to the shifting performance if needed.

Integrated barrel adjusters make for easy on-the-fly tweaks to the shifting performance if needed. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Mechanic/manager/trainer Mark Legg-Compton says he likes the wax-based Squirt chain lube for its ease of cleaning in between messy laps.

Mechanic/manager/trainer Mark Legg-Compton says he likes the wax-based Squirt chain lube for its ease of cleaning in between messy laps. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A metal plate protects the chain stay from chain suck.

A metal plate protects the chain stay from chain suck. (Image credit: James Huang)
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WickWerks makes a special outer ring for Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) to yield proper 'cross gearing on the four-arm Zipp VumaQuad crankset.

WickWerks makes a special outer ring for Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) to yield proper 'cross gearing on the four-arm Zipp VumaQuad crankset. (Image credit: James Huang)
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There's heaps of room in the radial direction down by the bottom bracket - and more importantly, absolutely no shelf on which mud can build up.

There's heaps of room in the radial direction down by the bottom bracket - and more importantly, absolutely no shelf on which mud can build up. (Image credit: James Huang)
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There's plenty of space beneath the crown for mud to pass through while cutouts around the sides let the brake open wide for faster wheel changes.

There's plenty of space beneath the crown for mud to pass through while cutouts around the sides let the brake open wide for faster wheel changes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The riveted-on rear brake housing stop is attached high enough on the seat stay wishbone to allow a wide range of setup options.

The riveted-on rear brake housing stop is attached high enough on the seat stay wishbone to allow a wide range of setup options. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A Bike Pure headset spacer sits atop the Thomson Elite X4 stem.

A Bike Pure headset spacer sits atop the Thomson Elite X4 stem. (Image credit: James Huang)

Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes) had better like red, white and blue – because after scoring her sixth consecutive US elite national cyclo-cross championship last December she gets to wear the stars and stripes for another season and now has yet another custom finished race machine to toss into the garage.

Aside from the spectacular paint job, the underlying Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team frame is the same model as what she first started using last season. Claimed frame weight is an impressive 1,240g (2.73lb) but according Compton's husband/manager Mark Legg, what the national champion really loves is its remarkable compliance. According to Legg, it's this feature that helps Compton consistently keep power down on the ground even on rough terrain, especially when combined with the frame's ample drivetrain and front triangle rigidity.

Credit likely goes to the well-designed carbon fiber lay-up schedule as the tube shapes themselves don't immediately conjure up images of leaf springs and movement. If anything, rigidity is the theme here with the frame's tall and fat chain stays and relatively stout wishbone-style seat stays coupled to a chunky seat cluster – and even an oversized 31.8mm-diameter seatpost to boot.

Things visually settle down a bit up front, though, with more moderate tube diameters and a straight 1 1/8" steerer on the all-carbon fork.

Legg says the frame geometry also suits Compton's aggressive riding style and uncannily smooth handling technique with its low bottom bracket and reasonably nimble 71-degree head tube angle.

Mud clearance is particularly generous throughout, including heaps of room beneath the fork crown – and even additional cutouts to the sides that let the brakes open up more – at least a finger's worth of air up around the seat stays, and absolutely no shelf whatsoever down near the bottom bracket on which mud can collect.

The corresponding build kit is mostly unchanged from last season, which doesn't bother Compton one bit. SRAM continues to provide the Red transmission and more 'cross-friendly PG-1070 cassette while Zipp again steps in with its ultralight VumaQuad carbon crank, shallow-drop SLC2 carbon handlebar, and tough-yet-light 303 carbon tubular wheels customized with personalized rim labels and red and blue anodized hub end caps.

One major change, though, is a move to Avid's new Shorty Ultimate cantilevers, which Legg (who also acts as Compton's mechanic) sets up in the high-leverage/low-profile configuration both front and rear for maximum braking power.

Filling in the rest of the gaps are a variety of Dugast tubulars – imprinted with Compton's 'KfC' moniker, no less – a set of previous-generation Crankbrothers Eggbeater 4ti pedals (custom coated with "super glue and Colorado sand" for extra grip), KMC's ultralight X10SL chain, TRP top-mount brake levers, a Thomson aluminum seatpost and stem, a WTB Silverado SLT saddle, and Gore Ride-On sealed derailleur cables and housing.

Given the premium build list, one would expect to see a feathery total bike weight as a result and you'd be right, too. As seen here, total weight is an incredible 7.12kg (15.70lb).

Complete bike specifications:

Frame: Stevens Cyclocross Carbon Team, size 52cm
Fork: Stevens full carbon
Headset: Cane Creek 110
Stem: Thomson Elite X4, 110mm x -6°
Handlebars: Zipp SLC2 SS, 42cm (c-c)
Tape/grips: Zipp
Front brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate, low-profile configuration, with Zipp cork pads
Rear brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate, low-profile configuration, with Zipp cork pads
Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap with TRP RL950 top-mount levers
Front derailleur: SRAM Red with steel cage
Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Cassette: SRAM PG-1070, 12-27T
Chain: KMC X10SL
Crankset: Zipp VumaQuad, 175mm, 34/44T with custom WickWerks outer chainring
Bottom bracket: Zipp VumaQuad
Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeater 4ti
Wheelset: Zipp 303 Cyclocross
Front tire: Dugast Rhino tubular, 32mm
Rear tire: Dugast Rhino tubular, 32mm
Saddle: WTB Silverado SLT
Seat post: Thomson Masterpiece
Other accessories: Gore Ride-On cables and housing