The 2009 season has been an especially busy one for our creative team here at Trek. With the three-time Tour of California Champ, the 2007 Tour de France winner, and the seven-time Tour de France Champ all riding Treks this year, there’s a lot to crow about, and a lot high-profile racing going on. As a bike company that still actually makes bikes right here in the good ol’ USA, we like to do what we do best, which is make bikes. And one of the things we really, really like to do (because we can), is make bikes that reflect the personality of their riders. Riders just like you and me. Plain ol’ folks, if you will. That’s the whole raison d’etre behind our custom bike program, Project One. Of course, we also use our Project One resources to show some love to our sponsored riders. After all, who better to showcase Project One—Trek’s ability to make customized bikes—than our sponsored athletes?
As the 2009 Tour de France kicks-off—and more custom Treks are soon to be unveiled—here’s the first in a series of entries that will review what we’re calling “Trek Artist Series” bikes.
But before we review our 2009 work, let’s dial-up the way back machine and look at the bike that started it all. Lance Armstrong’s “Daddy Yo-Yo” Sabreline 5900 from the 2002 Tour de France.
Ever since that first Sabreline 5900 back in 2002, for the rest of his career, and even after retirement, Lance has more or less ridden Project One painted bikes. That’s why after announcing his intention to return to professional cycling in 2009, it was natural for Trek’s Creative Group to begin working on a new set of custom-painted bikes for Lance.
Bike Name: The 1274 Madone
About the Bike: For
his first race back in the pro peloton— Australia’s Tour Down Under—Trek built
Lance Armstrong a special LIVESTRONG-themed Madone 6.9 to help him carry his
cancer-fighting message around the world. In addition to the distinctive
LIVESTRONG badging used throughout the frame, components, and Bontrager Aeolus
wheels, Armstrong’s custom-painted Madone was themed around two important
numbers: 1274, and 27.5. Prominently displayed on the seat tube, as well as
painted on the insides of the fork and chainstays, 1274 signifies the number of
days since Lance’s last race as a professional cyclist—the final stage of the
2005 Tour de France (July 24). In that time, nearly 27.5 million people
worldwide have died from cancer, a number that’s called out on the rear
seatstays of Armstrong’s bike. For the Tour of California, Trek outfitted Lance
with a matching 1274 Equinox TTX 9.9 SSL, which was stolen after the Prologue
but later recovered in time for the Stage 6 ITT. And for the Tour of the Gila,
Lance rode a special white and silver 1274 Madone.
Lance isn’t the only champion on the Trek-sponsored Astana Team. Levi Leipheimer’s a champion in his own right. It’s only fitting we show him the love too.
Bike Name: The Bear TTX
About the Bike:
Trek delivered Levi Leipheimer a special, custom-painted Equinox TTX 9.9 SSL to
help fuel his bid for a third-consecutive Tour of California Championship.
Designed by in-house Trek designer Shane Siedschlag and painted by , the unique ursine-themed TTX gave
the two-time champ both the recognition he deserves and a little something
special to help fuel his chase for number three. And it worked. Levi sealed up
his third ToC Championship by winning the critical Solvang time trial.
He’s the best stage racer in the world, he’s won all three
of the Grand Tours, and he rides Trek. Translation: get that man a
Bike Name: The Contador Madone
About the Bike: The Tour de France. The Giro d’Italia. The Vuelta a España. The three Grand Tours of cycling. All won by Alberto Contador. And all won on a Trek Madone. Only four other riders in the history of cycling have won all three races, and none has won in quicker fashion than Alberto Contador, who needed just 14 months to etch his name alongside the legends of the sport—Anquetil, Gimondi, Merckx, and Hinault. With success like that, it’s only fitting that Contador’s Trek pay tribute to his accomplishments. (And it doesn’t hurt to remind the peloton who they’re dealing with.)
Working closely with Trek’s design team, Contador had an active hand in crafting his special, one-of-a-kind championship Madone. Revolving around a simple, stylized, and abstracted interpretation of his signature victory salute (found on the top tube and Aeolus wheel decals), the overall design is tranquil and unassuming—just like the man himself. And of course the three colored bands on the seat tube—yellow, pink, and gold—reference his Grand Tour wins and work to tie together the entire design theme by playing off the mark itself. Of course, Trek’s Project One crew turned the design concept into a rolling reality.