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Tech Gallery – Lance Armstrong’s Leadville mountain bike: 2010 Trek Top Fuel

“Lance in Leadville” has a nice ring to it. The high altitude, 100-mile fire-road-heavy mountain bike race looks like an MTB event made in heaven for the Aspen-dwelling Texan. But seeing the man himself astride a mountain bike is still a touch odd, after his chiseled visage has been photographed for so long on road bikes.

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By Zack Vestal

Lance Armstrong’s Trek Top Fuel is sure to turn heads with his custom graphics.

Photo: Zack Vestal

“Lance in Leadville” has a nice ring to it. The high altitude, 100-mile fire-road-heavy mountain bike race looks like an MTB event made in heaven for the Aspen-dwelling Texan. But seeing the man himself astride a mountain bike is still a touch odd, after his chiseled visage has been photographed for so long on road bikes.

But Trek Bicycles has done everything possible to erase whatever incongruity might crop up between man and machine, by creating a 2010 Top Fuel full suspension mountain bike that looks right at home under Armstrong. VeloNews got a close-up look at his bike two days before the Leadville showdown.

A 2010 Trek Top Fuel for Big Tex

The color palette is taken straight from his Livestrong road bikes, with a white and black background accented with yellow highlights. But numerous details make this a one-of-a-kind bike.

SRAM XX brakes, disc rotors, and 11-36 cogset fitted on the Top Fuel.

SRAM XX brakes, disc rotors, and 11-36 cogset fitted on the Top Fuel.

Photo: Zack Vestal

• The headbadge is a cattle skull, in Texas Longhorn style.
• On the back of the seat tube, a horseshoe hangs right side up, for good luck.
• A Western Wear cowboy theme is stenciled across and along all the tubes.
• The stem wears a sheriff’s badge with an “MJ” (Mellow Johnny) logo in the center.
• And a Leadville Trail 100 decal on the down tube serves to remind all that this bike has a singular purpose.

Armstrong’s Trek Top Fuel is dressed in a full SRAM XX parts group. He selected a 42-28 front chainring setup, and the XX 11-36 cogset. He’s got the complete Matchmaker brake/shift lever clamps, and on the left side, a XX “XLoc” hydraulic fork lockout for his SID XX World Cup fork.

Armstrong said he had initial concerns about getting over Leadville’s toughest climbs with the two-ring XX setup. But he did test rides up the Columbine Mine and Powerline climbs recently. “I rode the whole thing on both of them, so we are OK,” he said.

The rest of the parts kit is classic Trek, Bontrager, and Armstrong. Bontrager XXX Lite carbon wheels are set up with 26×2.2 Bontrager XR-1 Team Issue tires, tubeless with Stan’s NoTubes sealant (26 PSI front, and 28 rear). The wheels have a dash of custom Livestrong yellow added to the graphics. The bar and 120mm stem are both Bontrager XXX-Lite—a XXX-Lite carbon riser bar, and a 2010 XXX-Lite carbon stem (custom painted white).

Bontrager XXX-Lite carbon wheels dressed in XR-1 Team Issue tires.

Bontrager XXX-Lite carbon wheels dressed in XR-1 Team Issue tires.

Photo: Zack Vestal

As on all his bikes, Armstrong runs Shimano pedals (in this case, XTR) and his saddle of choice, a classic Selle San Marco Concor Light. The rear shock is a DT Swiss rather than a SRAM/RockShox Monarch due to some last minute fitting issues.

Manolo Blahnik got nuthin’ on Nike

Getting ready for a shakedown ride with Armstrong, we noticed his white, custom Nike mountain bike shoes. “They’re the same as my road shoes, but with a mountain bike sole glued on,” said Armstrong, handing them over for some photos. The road shoes are black Nikes, with molded carbon soles, and yellow flames across the bottom.

Armstrong’s fully custom, one-off road and mountain bike shoes.

Photo: Zack Vestal

Both the road and mountain shoes are very, very light, with custom molded, orthotic carbon soles. The carbon wraps high up on the arch and heel for support, while the upper is light, supple, and soft. Three Velcro straps provide retention, and the forefoot and toebox look quite roomy.

Armstrong’s mountain bike shoes have a substantial lugged sole glued on, while the road shoes have only heel and toe pads. But both have a “Mellow Johnny” molded in to the toe lug, and both have a mix of Livestrong and Nike graphics.

The clear Shimano cleat on Armstrong’s road shoes is a special version of the Dura Ace cleat, said to provide higher retention.

Stay tuned for more tech coverage from the 2009 Leadville 100.


VeloNews.com and Singletrack.com will have a big crew at Leadville Saturday – reporting, shooting pictures and video and, in a few cases, racing. Follow along at twitter.com/singletrack_com.

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