Skip to main content

Pro bike: Katie Compton's Trek Ion CX

This article originally published on BikeRadar

In place of a full name, three letters adorn the top tube of Katie Compton's Trek Ion CX: KfC.

For anyone who has spoken to the gracious Compton but not seen her race, the emphatic 'f' may be befuddling. But for anyone who has watched Compton absolutely demolish the front of a ’cross race, as she did twice this weekend in Fort Collins, "Katie f—ing Compton" makes perfect sense.

For the pair of Trek US Gran Prix of Cyclocross-Smartwool Cup races in Colorado, Compton raced her custom Trek Ion CX, an aluminum 52cm prototype Trek has her on while they collectively dial in geometry for an upcoming model.

Custom frame aside, a number of modifications separate Compton's ride from a stock bike. For starters, there are the national champion graphics; both the frameset paint and Avid Shorty brake finish are red, white and blue.

Trek's current top-end ’cross bike, the carbon Cronus CX Ultimate, comes with a SRAM Force group. In the aluminum Ion line, the current top-end model comes with SRAM Rival. Compton's SRAM 2012 Red group is fairly straightforward - including the use of Gore Ride-On Professional lined shifter cables - but she uses WickWërks chain rings, an older SRAM front derailleur and a 175mm crank. The Red crank is unusually long for a 52cm bike, but Compton became accustomed to the 175mm length when racing as a tandem pilot for the Paralympics.

The seat clamp was modified for the rear brake hanger, resulting in better alignment for less cable drag and keeping the brake cable centered.

For better alignment of her body on the bike, Compton runs two spacers on her drivetrain pedal (crankbrothers titanium eggbeater 11) and three spacers on the left side.

If you noticed that her saddle dips down in the front slightly, good eyes. She prefers a slight (-3 degree) downward tilt on her Bontrager Affinity RXL WSD Carbon saddle.

Compton had a prototype SRAM Red cassette on another, otherwise-identical bike in Fort Collins. Similar to the X Glide 11x28 cassette shown here, that Red prototype has a wide-open back with plenty of sculpted openings throughout the underside to shed debris. SRAM spokesman Michael Zellmann declined to comment on the prototype, except to say "more news very soon."

Similar to the small "KfC" top tube emblem, Compton has a light blue headset spacer beneath her top cap that sends a message. Registered in Australia, Bike Pure is an international nonprofit organization against doping in cycling.

Finally, Compton is racing on handmade FMB tubulars this season. In Fort Collins, she had a Pro Super Mud up front and an SSC tread in the rear, both in a 32mm width with pink sidewalls. Cyclocross tire expert Molly Cameron, owner of the Portland Bicycle Studio, explained to BikeRadar the story behind the pink sidewalls. The color comes from the dyed cotton from which the sidewall is woven.

"Unlike some tubulars, FMB tires come with the sidewalls coated. These [pink models] have an additional layer of latex over the cotton sidewalls," said Cameron, who sells a lot of FMBs through Portland Bicycle Studio. "They should be pretty watertight, especially if you use a tape, which seals the rims holes."

Custom colors on the Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers, with Bontrager cork pads

Complete bike specification

Frame: TREK Ion 200 Series Alpha Aluminum, 52cm, custom paint
Fork: Trek Carbon Cyclocross E2
Stem: Bontrager XXX 31.8, 110mm
Headset: Cane Creek Forty Integrated
Headset spacer: Bike Pure
Bar tape: Bontrager Gel Cork
Handlebar: Bontrager Isozone Carbon Compact Variable Radius, 42cm
Front Brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate National Champ Edition
Rear Brake: Avid Shorty Ultimate National Champ Edition
Brake Pads: Bontrager Carbon Cork
Brake Levers: 2012 SRAM RED
Front Derailleur: 2011 SRAM RED clamp on 34.9 down-pull bottom swing
Rear Derailleur: 2012 SRAM RED
Shifters: 2012 SRAM RED
Cassette: 2012 SRAM X Glide 28x11 (also testing a Red prototype)
Chain: SRAM PC-1091
Crankset: 2012 SRAM RED Compact, 175mm
Chainrings: WickWerks 44/34
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP PressFit
Pedals: Crank Brother’s 4TI Egg Beaters (2 Pedal spacers on drive side, 3 on non-drive)
Wheelset: Bontrager Aeolus D3 3.O Carbon Tubulars
Front Tire: FMB Pro Super Mud, 32mm
Rear Tire: FMB SSC, 32mm
Saddle: Bontrager Affinity RXL WSD Carbon, 138mm
Seat post: Bontrager XXX 27.2
Seat Clamp: modified for rear brake hanger, better alignment for no cable drag and keeps the brake cable centered

Critical measurements

Rider height: 1.68m/5’6”
Saddle height: 686mm
Setback: 5cm
Saddle Angle: -3 deg
Grip Angle: 35 deg
Handlebar reach: 463mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.1kg/15.7lbs

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1