Glen Alden's Custom Speed Concept
Mar 4, 2011
images by Glen Alden
When we first caught wind of what Glen Alden was doing with his Trek Speed Concept, we knew it deserved to be showcased. This bad boy has some one-of-a-kind additions that make this already phenomenal bike even more beautiful. Glen gave us a detailed writeup on how this bike came to be, so we'll just let him tell it himself:
The bike, in Glen's own Words:
I decided it was time to pass down the always faithful 2006 Scott Plasma to my 15-year-old son and get myself a new bike for the 2011 race season. With this decision made, it was time to look for my new race bike, and with all of the buzz in the industry of the new Trek Speed Concept, it looked like this might be the bike for my future. My son and I were very fortunate to be accepted into the Men of Steel Racing Team and I will be racing the Trek Speed Concept Project One series bike that the team's sponsor Summit City Bicycles and Fitness has made available to the members of the team.
This Speed Concept is the standard 9.9 Project One series outfitted with the SRAM Rival group set. The bike is the small size with the standard 100/10 stem to get the front of the bike where it needs to be for my 5'7" tall body. There are no extension risers so this allows the bike to meet my 565mm stack height requirement.
My profession involves concept design engineering , using computer simulations and models for design iterations of components and airflow visualization's. So I used those skills for this project, and ran some initial CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) calculations to determine that a cover over the bike's crankset would gain me a little speed by reducing its drag by nearly 40-50grams or 4-5watts. The stem / cable cover could reduce drag nearly 20-30grams or 2-3 watts, at 30mph. It was time to make the components.
Making the Chainring Covers:
I made the male mold of the shape I wanted from a Styrofoam mold form that I smoothed over. Then I made the reverse female mold by pouring plaster of paris around the original mold to form the shape for laying the carbon fiber. Once the plaster of paris was all set up, I sanded it smooth and painted it with several coats of gloss black enamel paint. The mold was coated with mold release agent, and the carbon fiber was laid up into the mold. After curing, I cut the outer shape with a pair of tin snips and sanded the rough edges. Next, I lined up the cover with the chainring to determine the locations of the screws used to attach it to the chainring. I drilled the holes in the cover and drilled and tapped the holes in the chainring.
Finally, I cut the opening for the crank arm to pass through, sanded the outer surface, and clear-coated it with enamel paint. The total weight of the cover and screws came in at 45 grams, or just a bit under two ounces. To finish off the carbon fiber crank project I made a small chainring cover by bonding two layers of carbon fiber together between two sheets of flat polycarbonate plastic. After I had this small sheet of carbon fiber made, I cut it to shape and bonded it to the chainring with silicon adhesive.
Making the Stem Fairing:
This was an easier project than the crank cover. All I needed to do was make a male mold of the shape I wanted and lay carbon fiber over the top of it. The mold was made from balsa wood . I made the basic shape a tad smaller then the final size I wanted. This was to account for the thickness of the carbon fiber which was laid over the top of the form. Once the carbon fiber was laid up and cured, I pulled out the inner mold, than sanded and trimmed the edges. I painted the cover black, and applied the Speed Concept decals, and finally clear-coated it with enamel paint. The cover is held in place by the most forward threaded mounting hole on the top tube (used for a bento box) with a screw and rubber grommet. A piece of double sided adhesive foam tape was used at the other end of the cover just behind the cable pass-through slot in the frame.
The other areas on the bike are pretty typical of things others do to get a bike set up for their needs. I did make a custom mount for the Powertap computer out of a 1/16" thick sheet of 6061-T6 aluminum and formed it to shape and painted it black as well. The mount incorporates an air re-director feature in the front to allow the airflow to smoothly around the computer mount when out of the aero position. I might make this out of carbon fiber as well in the future. My Powertap Pro cables have been run through the bike and held to the chainstays with zip ties. Finally, I took my old Zipp 950 disc and re-badged it with an Easton decal to match the front wheel. I found the Easton decals on E-bay..
The Speed Concept is a great bike. The bike as shown in race trim tips the scale at just under 19 pounds. Overall this bike is an amazing bike with fit and finish being first rate.
I ride on the Men of Steel Racing Team . The team is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Team MoSR is comprised of 27 riders between the ages of 11 and 82, including three women and three juniors. For 2011, we've added a 16-member Women of Steel Racing Tri Team. The team is committed to getting more riders of all ages and abilities on the road and introducing new sponsors to bicycle racing. We have a cool name and we'll admit it helps us promote a race for steel frames only. But it also describes the strength and heart of our team.