Heather Jackson’s Custom Painted E-118 Tri+

Inspiration comes in many forms, but for a pro triathlete it can often be in the shape of a bike. Heather Jackson’s new custom-painted E-118 Tri+ was designed with just this purpose in mind – to provide inspiration and encouragement exactly when it’s most needed.

Made for the Queen K

The first thing noticeable about Heather’s bike is that it features a fairly subtle black and white design – unless it happens to be over 30°C (86°F). The black paint is thermochromic, meaning that it changes based on the surrounding temperature. As the temperature creeps up the black turns translucent, revealing completely different artwork underneath: a deep red hue comes through on the fork, frame and handlebar. For a bike that will be first raced on the lava fields of Kona at the Ironman World Championships, that red ‘eruption’ through the black is exactly the desired effect. “The design was created around seeing the bike in ‘cold mode’ on the morning of the race, and then seeing it evolve during the race,” says Alexandre Saint-Jalm, Art Director at Argon 18. “No doubt, it will finish red like lava at the end of the 180km bike leg.”

Words of Wisdom

The fork features words chosen by Heather, celebrating people or places that inspire her. This includes Daida and Nana, her grandfather and grandmother; Linda, her sister’s mother-in-law who was one of Heather’s biggest supporters, and sadly passed away earlier this year; and of course Wattie, Heather’s husband Sean ‘Wattie’ Watkins. Also on the fork is the motto of her home state of New Hampshire – Live Free or Die – and a slogan that has shaped her career as an athlete: You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take. “The idea is that the words will be released when things start to heat up in the race, literally and figuratively,” says Saint-Jalm. “The goal was to embrace the heat, and show encouraging and meaningful graphics just when they’re needed.”

A Creative Partnership

Designed by Saint-Jalm at Argon 18, the bike was painted by JoAnn Bortles from Crazy Horse Painting, a leader in custom motorcycle, bicycle, hot rod, and truck paint, with a specialization in painting carbon fiber bike frames. The thermochromic effect took a lot of testing to be sure the effect functioned as designed. “It was really important to work with a real professional like JoAnn,” says Saint-Jalm. “We went through a lot of tests to get it right.” Along with the thermochromic treatment, the white base is also unique, featuring a subtle iridescent effect like a rainbow caught in the paint. All told, this custom bike is definitely not something that you see every day along the Queen K.