Van Dijk’s track-adapted Trek Speed Concept

The world time trial champion is set to attempt the Hour Record on Monday aboard a custom track-specific Trek Speed Concept.

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Trek has unveiled the track-adapted Speed Concept Ellen Van Dijk will ride in her bid to break the UCI Hour Record on Monday. Van Dijk is the current world time trial champion and will attempt ‘the hour’ on an almost identical bike to that which she won the world title with just last year. But the Hour requires a fixed gear track bike, something Trek does not currently offer. So, much like Factor had to adapt Alex Dowsett’s Hanzo frame for his attempt at the Hour last year, Trek had to get inventive with its road-going Speed Concept.

An adapted frame

Earlier this week, Trek-Segafredo’s team support manager, Glen Leven, explained to CyclingTips some of the work involved in converting a road time trial frame into a track Hour Record ready bike. Van Dijk’s track Speed Concept started out life as a road spec Speed Concept, coming out of exactly the same mould as Trek uses for Van Dijk’s time trial rigs, before having the dropouts cut out. In their place, Trek bonded CNC-machined aluminium track-specific dropouts, with a horizontal rear dropout making a bike that is fixed-gear ready and adjustable to accommodate different gear ratios.

With Van Dijk having only decided to make this attempt in late December 2021, Trek had just three months to modify, convert, and test the track bike by April to give Van Dijk the opportunity to get her pre-attempt training underway.

The build

Van Dijk will ride in a position identical to her road time trial setup, but still, the demands of staying on the power for a full hour, with the g-forces in the bends and no opportunity to freewheel or sit up, mean the Hour will still be a huge challenge for the body. To achieve that identical position, Trek has created what Leven calls a “semi-custom” set of aero extensions. Such custom aero extensions are now almost the norm, but it was the Hour Record and Victor Campenaerts who played a key role in starting the custom extension trend when the Belgian took his Hour Record in 2019. Trek’s aero extensions are said to be “available” but expect lengthy lead times.

Wheels

Van Dijk’s disc wheels might look familiar. The track-specific discs are from Zipp and feature a design very similar to that seen on the wheels Jens Voigt used to break the Hour Record in 2014. Pirelli was on hand to provide Van Dijk’s team with 23mm prototype track tubulars. Perhaps surprisingly on the super smooth track, Van Dijk plans to line up for the attempt with 8bar/116psi of pressure in her tubs.

Drivetrain

Of course, to break Joss Lowden’s current 48.405km record, Van Dijk will need great legs, everything to go right on the day and plenty more, in addition to those aero extensions. Gearing wise, Leven tells us Van Dijk prefers a cadence somewhere in the 93-97rpm and the team has worked with SRAM to get a 58-tooth Quarq power meter chainring up front paired to a 14 tooth rear sprocket.

Interestingly, Leven and Koen de Kort, his colleague at Trek-Segafredo, have decided on a SRAM XX1 1x chain, explaining that the mountain bike chain tested as most efficient and also runs well with the single-speed drivetrain. Hidden away in the hubs, Van Dijk will have ceramic bearings from Kogel and between the cranks, SRAM has a ceramic bearing bottom bracket for every last marginal gain.

Kit

Van Dijk will use a Santini skinsuit with a one-off design to mark the occasion. The skinsuit, in addition to the Giro Aerohead TT helmet, are said to be identical to Van Dijk’s team edition kits for the road, but that doesn’t mean any shortcuts were taken. Van Dijk went straight from the Amstel Gold Race to the wind tunnel in Magny Cours, France to test her position, clothing, helmet, and the new bike as a complete package. Leven explains that while her position is identical and Van Dijk has wind tunnel tested her time trial position several times previously, all those tests were completed at a series of yaw angles. The Hour Record-specific test in April was specifically at zero yaw in line with the yaw angles experienced on the track.

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