Inside Lance Armstrong TREK 5500 OCLV US POSTAL 1999

In 1999 Trek Bicycles became the first bike manufacturers outside of Europe to win the world’s most prestigious bicycle race, the Tour de France, with US Postal Service leader Lance Armstrong‘s triumphant performance.
Armstrong and his unrelenting teammates race on stock Trek 5500 OCLV carbon frames, making them the only team in the Tour de France to race on frames identical to those that are available to consumers around the globe. Thanks to Optimum Compaction, Low Void (OCLV) technology, the 5500 was the world’s lightest production frameset, weighing in at a scant 912g.

Lance Armstrong’s Trek 5500 was the first full-carbon frame to be piloted to Tour de France victory.

Lance Armstrong was the first man to Win the Tour de France on a full-carbon bike (1999).

Shimano supplied the groupset for the first time and, by 2000, the quill stem had also been replaced by a tapered steerer as the modern bike took shape. In 2003, Shimano Dura-Ace went to ten-speed and the Japanese firm’s latest gruppo was used for the first time on a machine said to be the lightest ever used in the Tour – Armstrong kept weight down further by using a downtube shifter on mountain stages.

Inside George Hincapie’s Trek SPA proto Paris-Roubaix 2006

When George Hincapie was pounding the pave’ in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, the American had a little help from his bike sponsors Trek…. Sure, it was mostly Hincapie’s legs that got him there, but he may have been fresher because his Trek prototype bike was using some new suspension technology from the Wisconsin outfit called SPA (Suspension Performance Advantage). Trek says that the SPA technology reduces road shock and provides increased traction for a more efficient transfer of power, thanks to a lightweight suspension unit built into the seatstays.
Originally developed by Gary Klein in 2001, the SPA system is a simple microcellular elastomer spring that is placed in the wishbone seatstay. It provides 13mm (1/2 inch) of travel and doesn’t rely on articulating pivots for suspension action.

There were some questions whether the SPA prototypes would pass the UCI technical inspection before Roubaix, but Discovery Channel team with the team manager Johan Bruyneel and the race officials reached an agreement on the bikes and Big George rode the Trek SPA prototype to a superb second place podium finish in the 103rd edition of Paris-Roubaix (2005), in the 2006, bad luck struck Hincapie in the cobbled sector of Mons-en-Pévèle, when the steerer tube of his Trek snapped, leaving him dangling with no handlebars and crashing heavily. He was near the lead group but had to abandon the race.

“I wonder if he would have used this bike how it would have gone… He was so strong that day!”


George Hincapie’s Trek back-up bike in the Paris-Roubaix 2006


Hincapie’s Trek is obstensibly a modified Trek 5200


The S.P.A. (Suspension Performance Advantage) elastomer shock will equip all Discovery Channel bikes in this year’s Paris-Roubaix.


Something borrowed – the Bontrager OCLV carbon fork is in fact an item borrowed from Trek’s Satellite range because of its slightly more laidback rake and aluminium steerer.


Bontrager accessories abound, naturally.


Brake hoods sit high on Hincapie’s machine to provide as much leverage as possible.


The most controversial item on Hincapie’s Roubaix proto is Bontrager’s Aeolus 5.0 tubular wheels.


14 gauge bladed spokes are laced to Swiss made hubs.


The massively oversized bottom bracket cluster.


A 12-23 rear cluster will be matched with 44/53 tooth front chainrings.


Hutchinson’s 23mm Carbon Comp tubulars.


Shimano’s 57mm long-reach Ultegra-level brake calipers allow that little extra tyre clearance required when things get muddy.


Trek’s BuzzKill bar plugs have a suspended aluminium rod running through them; when the vibration hits, the weight starts to activate and is claimed to cancel out the shockwave.


George Hincapie’s Trek Paris-Roubaix special. Paris-Roubaix 2006 “Hell of the North”