Lance Armstrong titled a book It’s Not About the Bike, but for Dave Lettieri, the 2000 Tour de France was all about the bikes. As Armstrong’s mechanic that year, Lettieri tended sprockets, levers, chains, and lubricants, but he remained blissfully unaware of how Armstrong and his team might have been lubricating themselves. The longtime owner of Santa Barbara’s Fastrack Bicycles and part of the U.S. track cycling team at the 1988 Olympics, Lettieri shared with us a recipe for transforming a basic $700 road bike that weighs 22 pounds into a tour-ready model.
* Super lightweight carbon-fiber frame: $3,000-$5,000
* Electronic shifting assembly: $2,500-$4,000
* Ultra-light carbon-fiber wheels: $1,200-$2,800
The resulting bike would weigh about 15 pounds, which is the minimum designated by the International Cycling Union.
Expensive? Of course. But considering that the best bike your money could buy runs about $12,000, Lettieri said, to achieve the same status with a car, boat, or even a motorcycle would cost many, many times that amount.