Watch out Chicago! We’ve officially let Damien out the door with his Iron Cycles Fit Trek Equinox and he’s gunning for top ranks at the Accenture Triathlon this year.
Damien came into Iron Cycles just after we opened our doors riding one of the meanest looking Carbon Bianchi’s I’ve ever seen. We got to talking about his goals for competing in some local triathlons this season and asked what my thoughts were on a dedicated race bike. I suppose that my opinions on dedicated race machines come from my own experience trying to race my downhill bike on slalom courses way back when I was in high school. I found it a much better idea to use the proper tools for the job. When it comes to competing in a physically exhausting event like a triathlon its always best to use a bike built for comfort, aerodynamics and speed.
One of the most important aspects of fitting Damien was first to understand what type of races he was participating in. The fit of an aero bike or “tri-bike” can be tailored differently depending on what type of event the rider is competing in. For example, if an athlete is competing in a short course or sprint triathlon, it might be acceptable for the rider to be in the most aerodynamic position instead of the most comfortable. Reducing wind resistance by lowering the frontal profile of the rider might put them in a position that might not be the most comfortable. However, the concern with a short course is obviously to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. As long as the rider can maintain the most aerodynamic position over the duration of their bike event and still produce power, comfort does not necessarily need to be the focus of the positioning on the bike.
Don’t get me wrong, comfort is very important. If a rider is not comfortable they will not be able to produce power to the pedals which in turn will make them far less efficient. With Damien, we wanted to find the perfect balance between his comfort level and his ability to produce power while helping him maintain the most aerodynamic position possible.
Damien’s bike is the Trek Equinox TTX which is among some of most well thought out carbon aero bikes I’ve ever built up. One of the details I appreciate most about the TTX is the front end of the bike. Trek made some design decisions based on real world riders not just the elite racers that we all admire. Not everyone is as flexible as Hunter Kemper ( or paid to put their bodies through multiple hours of pain on a bike), unfortunately some bicycle manufactures think you should be. One of the biggest problems I’ve seen with tri bikes is that they use head tube lengths that are too short. Unfortunately this ultra short head tube length leaves most triathletes with an excess of steer tube looming above the top of the frame. In some cases this pushes the boundaries of what most carbon steer tubes can handle and in many cases compromises the handling characteristics of the bike.
Not here ladies and gentlemen. The Trek TTX has a reasonably tall head tube, which makes for a very versatile long or short course contender. Not only does the bike work exceptionally well for a wide range of body types it is also an extremely stable machine at speeds.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Trek had thought out the TTX’s cable routing also. Most bicycle companies producing tri-specific or aero bikes usually come up with excellent wind tunnel tested frame designs. For some reason cable routing has always seemed like an after thought for some of these designs. I cant tell you how many times I’ve had to refrain from shouting out obscenities while running cables in Kestral Talon’s from years gone by. It was refreshing to see how smoothly the routing for the TTX came together. Another detail that I loved was the front derailleur cable, was guided by an aluminum plate, which was designed to protect the carbon in the event that the chain falls off between cranks and the frame. Little details like this make me happy when I come across them, it makes sense, its execution is meaningful and it flat out works.
Don’t be surprised if all you see of Damien this race season is a flash of silver as he passes the competition. His bike is dialed in and fast as can be. We here at Iron Cycles can't wait for that podium finish!
Without further ado, let's see a picture!