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Pro bike: Lance Armstrong's Team Radioshack Trek Speed Concept Unity

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The rear disc wheel is badged as a Bontrager but the underlying pattern suggest it's a Lightweight instead.

The rear disc wheel is badged as a Bontrager but the underlying pattern suggest it's a Lightweight instead.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Lance Armstrong (Team Radioshack) has not just one but two of these specially painted Trek Speed Concepts to use in this year's Tour de France. This is his spare machine.

Lance Armstrong (Team Radioshack) has not just one but two of these specially painted Trek Speed Concepts to use in this year's Tour de France. This is his spare machine.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's primary rig differs little from the spare with the lone exceptions being a modified rear derailleur and a very slightly different base bar grip.

Armstrong's primary rig differs little from the spare with the lone exceptions being a modified rear derailleur and a very slightly different base bar grip.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A recent visit to the folks at Retül prompted Armstrong to run two pedal axle washers on the driveside to straighten out his stroke.

A recent visit to the folks at Retül prompted Armstrong to run two pedal axle washers on the driveside to straighten out his stroke.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Just one pedal washer is used on the non-driveside.

Just one pedal washer is used on the non-driveside.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The Trek Speed Concept's unique Kamm tail tube shapes supposedly mimic the aerodynamic performance of a far deeper section but with less material and better lateral stiffness.

The Trek Speed Concept's unique Kamm tail tube shapes supposedly mimic the aerodynamic performance of a far deeper section but with less material and better lateral stiffness.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's Zipp VukaR2C shifters are decorated with a pair of SRAM's frog icons.

Armstrong's Zipp VukaR2C shifters are decorated with a pair of SRAM's frog icons.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Bontrager's new 'SC' skewers tuck neatly behind the fork blade and rear dropout.

Bontrager's new 'SC' skewers tuck neatly behind the fork blade and rear dropout.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Early_samples of the Speed Concept included a molded-in hump behind the stem but it's now been replaced with a rubber cap.

Early_samples of the Speed Concept included a molded-in hump behind the stem but it's now been replaced with a rubber cap.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's spare bike features a full SRAM drivetrain.

Armstrong's spare bike features a full SRAM drivetrain.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's carbon fiber rear derailleur cage was made by Wolfgang Berner.

Armstrong's carbon fiber rear derailleur cage was made by Wolfgang Berner.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The_bar_layout is decidedly clean with all of the cables running inside the stem right into the frame.

The_bar_layout is decidedly clean with all of the cables running inside the stem right into the frame.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's base bars have a small built-up section just at the end, presumably to provide a more secure purchase for his hands.

Armstrong's base bars have a small built-up section just at the end, presumably to provide a more secure purchase for his hands.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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This is essentially what's hiding beneath that massive rear derailleur cage - an oversized 13T upper pulley and a 15T lower one. The thinking is that it reduces drivetrain friction and it's an idea that's gaining popularity in the peloton. SRAM is currently evaluating the concept for production.

This is essentially what's hiding beneath that massive rear derailleur cage - an oversized 13T upper pulley and a 15T lower one. The thinking is that it reduces drivetrain friction and it's an idea that's gaining popularity in the peloton. SRAM is currently evaluating the concept for production.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Direct press-fit bottom bracket bearings allow for an extra-wide 90mm shell and broadly spaced chain stays.

Direct press-fit bottom bracket bearings allow for an extra-wide 90mm shell and broadly spaced chain stays.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A removable cap allows access to the brake cable.

A removable cap allows access to the brake cable.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The center-pull front brake is directly integrated into the fork legs.

The center-pull front brake is directly integrated into the fork legs.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The proprietary rear brake arms are aerodynamically shielded by a small pod beneath the bottom bracket.

The proprietary rear brake arms are aerodynamically shielded by a small pod beneath the bottom bracket.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Mechanics work out some last minute bugs.

Mechanics work out some last minute bugs.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The front end of the Speed Concept is highly integrated, resulting in one of the cleanest looking setups in the peloton.

The front end of the Speed Concept is highly integrated, resulting in one of the cleanest looking setups in the peloton.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Team Radioshack leader Lance Armstrong may be drawing attention at this year's Tour de France prologue for the wrong reasons at the moment, but at least his bike is being pushed into the limelight for all of the right ones. Trek and Livestrong (Armstrong's cancer awareness organization) have paired up for the 'Unity' campaign, which aims to make things a little more personal – as far as cancer is concerned.

Trek is offering customizable 'I Ride For __________' frame decals, water bottles and posters directly through its web site with the idea that riders can call attention to specific cancer sufferers they'd like to support. In the case of Armstrong's main bike, it's Italian cycling coach Aldo Sassi, who is currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumor – actor Dennis Hopper is called out on the spare.

Beneath the fancy paint job is Trek's latest Speed Concept time trial machine with its unique Kamm tail truncated airfoil tube shaping. According to Trek, the more structurally efficient tube shapes are nearly as aerodynamic as far deeper teardrop sections but can be made wider and stiffer without violating UCI dimensional guidelines, thus yielding a lighter and stiffer frame than most aero bikes.

Additionally, Trek has gone to considerable lengths to tuck the proprietary front and rear brakes out of view from the wind. Up front, the external-steerer fork directly incorporates brake arms right into the structure while the similarly stealthy rear brake caliper is built into an aerodynamic pod housed beneath the bottom bracket shell.

The integrated bars are highly incorporated into the overall structure as well, with smooth lines flowing neatly into the frame and fully internal cable routing that runs inside the flip-top stem.

Naturally, Armstrong's bike also gets a few special touches that go beyond skin-deep.

Team mechanics have augmented the standard SRAM Red group with a special carbon fiber rear derailleur pulley cage from Wolfgang Berner. Berner's unique pulley layout – using a massive 15T lower wheel and 13T upper – is nothing new but Armstrong's version goes one step further with a huge wraparound carbon cage that's sleeker and more aero.

Mounted to the front of the Zipp carbon aero extensions are a pair of Zipp VukaR2C shifters with custom graphics and while the rear disc is badged 'Bontrager', the underlying pattern reveals it to be a Lightweight instead. Wrapping things up is Armstrong's usual Selle San Marco Concor Lite saddle.

Unfortunately, the frenzied atmosphere prior to the start of the prologue precluded us from taking our usual array of Pro Bike measurements, though based on the team's recent behavior, we likely wouldn't have been allowed to weigh the thing anyway.

For those of you keeping track, Armstrong finished fourth today – 22 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank) but more importantly, five seconds ahead of Alberto Contador (Astana). Consider the first salvo fired.