Redefining the Ride: Gabriel Chua’s Unique Trek 1.1 Triathlon Conversion

Balancing Budget and Performance: The Student's Journey to Triathlon Innovation

Gabriel Chua’s Vision: Crafting a Triathlon Bike on a Budget

In the realm of multisport disciplines, the gear often speaks as loudly as the athlete’s spirit. Enter Gabriel Chua, a dentistry student with a fervor for triathlon and a keen eye for innovation. Faced with the high costs of triathlon-specific bikes, Gabriel embarked on an audacious project – transforming his Trek 1.1 series road bike into a triathlon-ready machine. This tale isn’t just about cost-saving measures; it’s about a student’s determination to blend his athletic passion with practical creativity.

Practicality Meets Passion: A Student’s Customization Saga

Gabriel Chua’s story resonates with many athletes who juggle financial constraints with their sporting ambitions. His decision to modify an existing road bike into a triathlon model illustrates a blend of practicality and passion. It’s a narrative of a young athlete refusing to let budget restrictions hinder his triathlon dreams. By customizing his Trek 1.1, Gabriel not only conserved funds but also engaged in a deeply personal and educational experience, acquiring hands-on knowledge in bike mechanics and aerodynamics.

Collaboration with a Craftsman: The Role of Sir June Guaño

The transformation of Gabriel’s bike took shape in the hands of Sir June Guaño, a name synonymous with exceptional bike restoration and fabrication in the Philippines. His expertise was pivotal in turning Gabriel’s vision into reality. The collaboration saw the crafting of custom parts like the crank saddle and bento boxes, each designed to enhance functionality while maintaining the bike’s sleek aesthetic. This partnership highlights the fusion of a student’s innovative concept with the seasoned skills of a master craftsman. : Can you share the inspiration behind converting your Trek 1.1 series road bike into a one-of-a-kind triathlon bike?

Gabriel: As a student and budget-conscious individual. Converting my trek 1.1 series road bike into a one-of-a-kind triathlon bike is a practical and creative solution especially when price is a limiting factor. I choose this path to still pursue my passion for bicycles without breaking the bank since I’m still a student and
still have no stable work. Here are some of my common inspirations behind such customization. Triathlon bikes are expensive, and as a student, budget constraints are a significant consideration when planning to buy a brand new triathlon bike. By converting my existing road bike, I can save a substantial amount of money compared to buying a overpriced triathlon specific bike which is one of the best decisions that i’ve made. It allows me to be resourceful and innovative. It’s also a hands-on project that can be both challenging and rewarding. I get to learn more about bike components, aerodynamics, and the specific requirements of a triathlon setup. But all of this customization has been made possible by the one and only king of bicycle restoration and fabricator AKA Mang Jun Guano who built this bike on his own in exactly 30 days. It also gives me the opportunity to customize it according to my own preferences. I can experiment with different handlebars, aero bars, and other components to enhance the bike’s aerodynamics and overall performance. As a student who is currently studying Dentistry, I’m likely someone who enjoys problem-solving and working with my hands. This learning experience allows me to develop and learn new skills and knowledge in bike mechanics and maintenance. I do see this customization as a stepping stone. While I may start with a customized road bike, my long-term goal might include saving up for a dedicated triathlon bike in the future. Lastly, it’s not about the bike you have, but the dedication and passion you bring to the sport which will also make you and your heart happy. I believe that this customized bike can still be a powerful tool for training and
participating in races, helping me pursue my love for tri bikes while managing my budget as a student. What was the inspiration and process like in designing and fabricating the custom parts
such as the crank, saddle, and bento boxes?

Gabriel: Simply because we do really love bicycles, especially tri bikes and how they ride. Sir Jun Guano’s expertise in fabricating and designing custom parts such as the crank, saddle, and bento boxes is truly one of a kind. He first layout the design using cardboard to see if it’s feasible and does the final cast and shaping using high impact plastic (engineering plastic materials) with a lot of body filler and sanding in frame customization and making those custom accessories which are strong, rigid, and very lightweight. The process involves a lot of trial and error, prototypes and testing. When the final product was tested, Sir Jun Guano started painting the finish. Have you used the bike in races? Did you get faster?

Gabriel: Not yet, but hopefully soon I can participate in some events such as Duathlon and Triathlon. I just needed to learn to swim muna hehez! . It’s kinda expensive kasi joining those events eh but right now I enjoy doing solo long distance cycling and how tri bikes ride. The aerodynamic design is striking. Can you explain how the stem cover and nose cone
contribute to the bike’s performance?

Gabriel: Honestly, the customized stem cover is for aesthetics to make the look of the bike more cool and expensive but it is also functional because you can mount a bottle cage holder in the stem cover and the nose cone is also screwed in the stem cover. The nose cone on the other hand is built to gain some aero gains for faster speed and it also has a big impact on the bikes overall look. How do the custom components of your bike compare to those found on standard triathlon bikes like the DB Andean?

Gabriel: This custom made Trek Triathlon Bike is inspired by the DB Andean but we decided to retain the brand “TREK” because it’s based on Trek 1.1 series so we didn’t rebrand the original bike frame. It differs from other standard triathlon bikes especially to the DB Andean because of it’s built in accessories (saddle, crank, bento), customize chain ring, and customized stem cover and a bigger nose cone which makes this bike unique. What challenges did you encounter while customizing your Trek bike into this Lamborghini Edition?

Gabriel: Sir Jun Guano made everything possible in this bike because he is the one who built this one of a kind machine, I’m just the one who thinks of the design and the positioning of the logos that would be put in my bike, we also decided to make it simple to make it look more stunning like the Lamborghini SuperCars just plain
Matte Black Paint Job no such decals of “TREK” such us in the seat stay, fork etc. How has the bike’s performance in terms of speed and handling changed since its transformation?

Gabriel: The bike becomes heavier in terms of weight, not because of the additional accessories and frame customization but because of the Solid Disc Wheel. This bike doesn’t have any problems in crosswinds despite it’s aerodynamic design because it’s quite heavy, estimated 15kg overall. Working with Sir June Guaño, known as the King of Restoration in the Philippines, must have been quite an experience. Can you tell us about the collaboration process?

Gabriel: Working with Sir Jun is fun since we both share the same passion and love for bicycles but all of the customization is only made by Sir Jun Guano and I’m just his assistant/secretary who talks and communicates to his clients for customization inquiries. How much did it cost you to complete the setup? Rough estimate if part by part is not available.

Gabriel: The complete setup costs me around 50k Philippine pesos overall but it’s not yet fully upgraded since I’ll still be replacing the front wheel into a tri spoke and changing my rear derailleur with DuraAce with an oversize pulley etc. I saved up my allowances in school just to fulfill and made this setup come true. This bike is touted as 1 out of 1 in the Philippines. How does it feel to ride such a unique

Gabriel: I feel like I’m riding a bigbike (motorcycle) or maybe a sports car whenever I’m riding this machine outside. I always do get many compliments on the road from fellow cyclists and motorists (car and motorcycle) whenever I’m using this bike. So i’ve installed a multi system alarm on this machine for security purposes and will be installing a GPS tracker soon. Can you discuss the functionality and design process behind the built-in features like the
crank box, saddle box, and bento box?

Gabriel: The built in accessories are all functional in terms of storing extra inner tubes, wallet, cellphone, patch kit, hand pump etc. Sir Jun Guano suggested having it built in to make it more unique and truly one of a kind. He wanted to make this custom bike stand out among others because this machine can only be customized and found only in the Philippines “Gawang Pinoy”. Thanks for the time, Gabriel! Lastly, what future upgrades are still in the works?

Gabriel: More expensive tires. (Continental Gatorskin/GP5000 or Vittoria Corsa Speed), Front Tri Spoke, Dura Ace Rear Derailleur w/ oversize pulley, Dura Ace Brake Shoe, GPS tracker and a Magene Cyclo Computer

Gabriel Chua’s journey from a simple Trek 1.1 road bike to a bespoke triathlon marvel is a shining example of how vision, creativity, and collaboration can lead to remarkable achievements. This story is not just about a bike transformation; it’s about the relentless spirit of a student athlete who dared to dream big and the masterful craftsmanship of Sir June Guaño that brought that dream to life. Gabriel’s experience serves as an inspiration to many, proving that with ingenuity and determination, the road to triathlon success is accessible to all, regardless of budget constraints.

Stay tuned to for more stories that celebrate the passion, innovation, and community spirit in the world of multisport. Remember, it’s not just about the bike or the gear; it’s about the heart and soul you put into every ride, every race, every challenge. Embrace your journey, and let’s keep pushing the boundaries together. “Your Multisport Source” –


comments Team

A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)

Leave a Reply

Back to top button