TREK MADONE SLR9 DISC
£10,000 › Latest evolution of Trek’s flagship aero bike
Before we delve into the Madone’s phenomenal quality, let’s just look at that price. Yes, that’s right – its five figures. For the same (or less) you could buy a brand-new Ducati Scrambler or Kawasaki Z900RS, or a brand-new car like the Smart Fortwo. If you opt for used, a 2005 Maserati Quattroporte or 2007 Porsche Boxster. The Madone SLR9 is a serious amount of money, but it’s a serious amount of bike.
The new bike looks similar to its forerunner. With the same gentle arch to the top-tube, deep aerosection tubes and aggressive stance it’s one of the best looking of the current crop of aero bikes, yet still looks quite traditional. That’s down to its use of conventionally placed rear seatstays and no wheel cut-outs on the seat-tube or down-tube.
As soon as you start pedalling, it’s obvious the SLR is something special. Pick-up is instantaneous and the acceleration is everything you’d expect from a superbike.
The equipment is superb with the Aeolus XXX 6 wheels the stars of the show. They’re deep at 60mm, and 28mm wide, so not the sort of wheel we’d expect to use daily, but they’re light for their depth and the slick DT Swiss internals mean they run smooth. In adverse conditions they are truly impressive. In some fairly stiff crosswinds we could feel a little pressure on the front wheel but nothing we couldn’t easily counter with a little weight shift or gripping a little more on the bar. They wear Bontrager’s equally impressive R4 tyres with supple 320TPI casing.
Trek has managed to hit the heights with the drivetrain. Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace Di2 is brilliant. Gear shifts are slick and accurate and the brake feel is what you want from a disc system – powerful yet precise.
Trek’s new integrated VR-CF bar/ stem is just right. It’s smoothly
The equipment is superb with the Aeolus XXX wheels the stars of the show
shaped, with built-in adjustability to be adaptable to your ride position. The slight backsweep to the tops and angled transition towards the hoods means plenty of clearance when down in the drops, and the flat tops are comfortable to hold.
The Montrose saddle is quality and comfortable, but we felt that the SLR would benefit from a short saddle, as on aero bikes you tend to be in a more aggressive riding position and the extra nose on the Montrose occasionally feels like it’s in the way.
The Madone’s geometry is racebike stuff. Our 58cm test bike has an effective top tube of 57.4cm and short 99cm wheelbase. The steep 73-degree seat angle is matched to a 73.8-degree head angle, making the Madone handle with criterium-bike agility. Combine this sharpness with the amazing ride quality that really is comfort redefined thanks to the adjustable IsoSpeed.
Taking the SLR as a whole, and forgetting the price for a moment, it’s a monumentally capable bike – the speed, sharpness and handling prowess we’d want from a pro-level bike but with the compliance we’d expect of the best endurance bikes.
But we can’t ignore the price and for this we want absolute perfection. We’d change the saddle and would like to see the inclusion of Shimano’s BW-WU111 wireless antenna in the Di2 setup, which allows the use of Shimano’s E-tube project app (IOS and Android) so you can customise the Di2 operation and setup compliance with a Garmin.
Below Trek’s new integrated VR-CF bar/stem is just right Bottom The geometry is race-bike stuff with an effective top tube of 57.4cm
The Madone features the speed of a race bike but with the compliance of an endurance bike