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Trek1100, aluminum triple-crank road bike : modifications, gearing updates, new shifters on my trek 1100

About My Trek 1100 (aka Rosinante)

Trek's First Aluminum Road Bike with a Triple Crank

NY Times article about touring on a Trek 1100

Twenty Dollar Bike

The Buying Decision

This a 1993 Trek1100 with a 52 cm aluminum frame, with a Cro-Moly front fork. The tires are 700C x 28. I bought it at the Ambridge Bike Shop for $619.95 on July 29, 1994 (I found the receipt.) With water bottle cages, frame pump, rear rack and light, and a small bag containing spare tire, tire levers, and a multi-tool, it weights 28 pounds.

I wanted a road bike that would climb well (Pittsburgh) and tolerate the stresses of my Clydesdale body profile. The 1100 had just come out with a triple chain-ring, which appealed to me, but I was concerned about the rear wheel staying true under my weight (285 at the time). The Trek folks said it wouldn't be a problem, but experience proved otherwise, and the wonderful outstanding folks at Ambridge Bike Shop rebuilt the rear wheel with a 3x spoke pattern (under warranty from Trek) and I've never had another problem with it. I'm very pleased with the bike, which I've named "Rosinante".

Gearing Changes

2004 Rear Cassette Upgrade: In spite of the Eddy Merckx' hallowed advice "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades" I wanted to improve the gear ratio for climbing, and so in conjunction with the shifters I asked Ambridge to swap to a mountain bike cassette for an improved gear ration.

2005 Small Chainring Upgrade: In May 2005 I asked Snitger's to swap out my small chainring with an aftermarket bailout gear. Interestingly, my road bike's gear range of 19 to 108 gear inches is better than my commuter's gear range of 18 - 92 gear inches.

The charts below show the various gear-inch patterns:

1994 Trek OEM Gearing f/r*27"
rear cassette
12 14 16 18 21 24 28
30 67 585145 39 34 29
4294 817163 544740
52117 1008778 675850
Fall 2004 Modified Gearing f/r*27"
rear cassette
13 15 17 20 24 29 34
3062 544841 34 28 24
4287 7667 57 47 3933
52108 94 83 70 584841
Spring 2005 Modified Gearing f/r*27"
13 15 17 20 24 29 34
2450 433832 27 22 19
4287 7667 57 47 3933
52108 94 83 70 584841

2006 Details

I borrowed a set of aero bars from Bob C., and I really enjoyed them - not so much for the aero benefits, but more for the alternative hand position. It was a pleasure to be able to take my hands off the bar and support the weight on my forearms occasionally, though it's not appropriate in situations involving manuevering around potholes or proximity to another rider - they seem more for ideal conditions and descents. I decided to invest in Profile Design AirStryke aero bar with F19 hinged pads; I liked that the pads fold down for use, leaving more handlebar space available when stowed. 

 Since I was going to add the aerobars I also swapped the handlebars, going from the 42-cm bar I've had since I bought the bike for a 44-cm Specialized Body Geometry handlebar, which has a retro Randonneur design. I had the shop put 4.5mm Body Phat padding and tape on top of the new bar.

I dreaded the loss of my handlebar bar, so I've added a Bento Box to sit above the top tube, just aft of the handlebar stem.


My tires were shot, the rear tire was showing thread, so I changed to 700C x 28mm Armadillo tires, touted in Popular Mechanics as the "ride flat-free" tire because of the Kevlar layer. They're a nice smooth ride, but there's a noticable increase in rolling resistance.

I'm always concerned with visibility on the road, so I added a reflective triangle from Team Estrogen - theirs is a big clean triangle, whereas some of the others (like Adventure Cycling) print logos on the triangle and reduce the visibility.

The other maintenance item for Spring 2006 was I replaced the chain.

2005 Details

Trek 1100
2005 Photo

2005 is the year I learned to love my road bike. I've had it since 1994, but it's always been my secondary squeeze, my back-door bike. In 2004 the people I occassionally ride with started drinking the Road Bike Koolaid™ (and there's just no stopping that) so I thought I'd bring my 1100 up to contemporary standards. In 2005 I spent more time on my road bike than on my commuter, and now I really enjoy the 1100.

Fall 2005 Tweaks : I've replaced the rear rack with the Jannd Expedition Rack. It's stronger (heavier, too) but the main attraction is it moves the panniers 2 inches aft, moving them out of the arc of my foot when I pedal.

I've been experiencing a certain amount of "chain suck" when the chain comes off the front chain rings and often gets stuck and wrapped around the crank, so I've added a "Third Eye Chain Watcher" which seems to do nicely. These are often de-rided as non-serious, but if it's good enough for Lennard Zinn, I've got to try it.

  I've added a Cateye TL-LD1000 rear light, the "only tail light bright enough to be seen in the day". From what I read in a few forums, this light is a new technology that outperforms the RealLite while adding side visibility.

Spring 2005 Handlebar Tweaks for TOSRV

I replaced the Vibe wrap with Specialized Phat Bar gel-pads and tape, and also placed Bontrager vibration dampening plugs in the ends of the handlebars.

These two changes, plus rotating the handlebars up a bit, gave me a huge increase in hand comfort on long rides.

Other Minor Tweaks

  • Added Crank Bros. Candy 'clipless' pedals, which you clip into.
  • I put a third water bottle cage below the down tube using a Zefal attachment.

Fall 2004 Shifter, Handlebar, Computer Upgrade

The 1100 had the shifters on the down tube, with index shifting on the rear derailluer and friction shifting on the front chainring. I'd seen the new bikes some friends had gotten with STI shifters (integrated with the brake levers) and I wanted that, so over the winter Ambridge Bike Shop upgraded the shifters.

While they were re-doing the cables, I asked them to put on some VibeWrap "gel-pillows" for a more comfy handlebar. After I got it home, I put a new Cateye Astrale-8 computer on it, it's my favorite computer because it displays speed and cadence simultaneously and lets you choose which you want to see in bigger numbers (I'm a bit cadence-obsessive).

When I bought the bike, I replaced the seat with an EasySeat, which I love. (Click here to order one.)


Trek's 1989 Dealer Handout on the 1100

(source: vintage-trek.com ) Selling Features: Trek's first triple crank equipped aluminum road
bike makes it the ideal bike for light touring and hilly sport riding.

Trek bonded aluminum frame provides the ultimate blend of:

  • Stiffness for efficient pedaling
  • Durability for long life under stressful conditions
  • Comfort through the superior shock absorbing properties to aluminum
  • Light weight for fast and easy pedaling

SunTour 4050 Edge group includes:

  • 7 speed indexed shifting
  • BRS braking for low effort
  • Aerodynamic crankset with oval chainrings
  • Wide range gearing with triple crank for easy hill climbing

Matrix wheel system features:

  • Hard anodized Matrix Titan rims
  • High pressure Matrix CD2 tires

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