Preserving History: 1997 GT Team Saturn Project 96 Version 3 Bike

 This bike and its US National Team siblings result from Project ’96, the US cycling team’s million-dollar program to gain a technological advantage at the 1996 Olympic games. Unlike Team Saturn’s GT Reynolds 853 road frames, GT never produced time trial bikes for commercial sale.

With minimal written or photo documentation available on the Saturn team time trial bikes, we contacted former Team Saturn rider Mark McCormack to learn more about the original build and component specs. Mark explained that each bike’s seatpost was cut to individual team riders’ measurements with white electrical tape to cover the small gap between the post fairing and the frame seat tube. Mark’s race bike from the 1997-1998 season is currently on display at Fast Splits in Needham Heights, MA.   

With the research complete, it was time to go ahead and begin our build. We sourced the correct date code for the Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 groupset and Mavic wheelset. While hunting for a Mavic rear disc, good fortune struck a proper Team Saturn team-ridden wheel surfaced for sale from Toby at Hot Tubes Cycling. Taking creative license, we added a Dura Ace 7700 55-tooth TT Chainring, a team-issue crankset, and the same Vision cockpit used on the US National Team Project 96 bikes.

The finished project is unquestionably a ‘Superbike,” and its forward-thinking design still resonates today. 

The Build:

Year: 1997

Frame: GT Time Trial

Fork: Aluminum GT Edge

Headset: Shimano Dura-Ace 7410

Handlebar/Stem: Vision One Piece Trimax

Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 7700

Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace 7700

Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace 7700

Brake Levers: Tektro 

Front Brake: Shimano Dura Ace 7700

Rear Brake: Shimano Dura Ace 7700

Crankset: Shimano Dura Ace Team Issue 7700

Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace 7410

Rear Tire: Continental Supersonic

Front Tire: Continental Supersonic

Rear Wheel:Mavic Comete Disc Clincher

Front Wheel: First Generation Mavic Cosmic Clincher

Saddle: Concor Light No Slip System Custom Team Saturn

Chain: Shimano Dura Ace 7700

Cogs: Shimano Dura Ace 7700 9-Speed