2019 Trek Madone SLR – First Look

Yesterday we shared the new BMC Timemachine ROAD – a bike 5 years in the making. And at 5 years BMC is delivering a new bike in the timespan we typically expect for generational gaps between new frames. But Trek it seems doesn’t except “typical” expectations. What others took 5 years to do – they decided to do in 3. Meet the all new Trek Madone SLR – a bike that starts with the still front of the pack 2016 Madone and pushes the boundaries yet again.

The Trek Madone SLR

The first thing to know about the new Madone is that there is not one new frame being introduced, but in reality two. Yes you will be able to get a Madone with either disc or rim brakes (something almost unheard of with the latest generation of super aero bikes). And while some may see that as a fairly easy offer – the truth is quite the opposite. Trek is producing two sets of frames with two sets of forks both of which are aero optimized for their specific needs. (The flip side is that while the last Madone was offered in both H1 and H2 geometries, the new SLR gets a single goldilocks H1.5 geometry.) So where did Trek start with this new bike – the new Madone aims to be the best all-around race bike and a refinement of the current Madone. Trek engineers wanted to improve comfort, fit, integration, and overall refinement over the current Madone while keeping or bettering it aerodynamically and at the scales.

Did they succeed? Lets start with aerodynamics. Final new Madone numbers show an average of 3216g across a -12.5° to 12.5° yaw sweep vs the current Madone at 3202g. A 14g difference that was within Trek’s project goal and within a wind tunnel’s experimental error band.

And at the scales Trek had to deal with adjustable compliance technology, a rebound damper, split bar and stem, and a redesigned aesthetic that they believe make this the best all-around race bike but also add quite a bit of weight. The disc brake bike was assigned a target of 7.5kg. The result is that the rim brake bike matches the current Madone (7.1kg), and the all-new disc brake bike that weighs in at 7.5kg depending on paint scheme.

Knowing that Trek hit their goals – lets dive into what’s new with this bike. And it all starts with the new Top Tube Adjustable IsoSpeed. Adjustable IsoSpeed was first released on the seat tube of Trek’s Domane line. Top tube IsoSpeed on the Madone SLR is adjustable to customize the compliance to rider preference and terrain.

The Madone Adjustable Compliance technology is comprised of two frame elements integrated into each other just like the Domane SLR but has been rotated into the top tube for aerodynamic advantage. This method also aids in more uniform compliance for all frame sizes. Lastly, Trek has implemented hardware on the back of the seat tube that offers rebound damping characteristics to the bike. The two frame elements are connected by the IsoSpeed Decoupler and the bolted joint at the front. In between the two frame elements is a vacant space with an adjustment slider that can move along the entire path. The seatmast element utilizes the IsoSpeed Decoupler to transfer the aft deflection of the upper aero section of the seatmast to an upward deflection of the lower seatmast element. The vacant space allows the lower seatmast to deflect in the upward direction while the main frame top tube element remains independent from the lower seatmast. The slider contacts both the lower seatmast element and main frame top tube element to limit the upward deflection of the lower seatmast per the rider’s preference. If the slider is towards the front of the frame, a rider will experience more compliance because of the greater vacant space that allows the lower seatmast to deflect more. If the slider is near the back of the frame towards the IsoSpeed Decoupler, a rider will experience less compliance because the slider is inhibiting deflection in the vacant space in front of it.

The result is that the new Madone is up to 17% more compliant over its predecessor when set to the most compliant setting and 21% stiffer in the stiffest setting. Top Tube IsoSpeed is damped to rebound in a smooth and controlled motion providing the rider more stability. Rebound is reduced by 13% on the New Madone SLR over the current Madone.

The new IsoSpeed is applied to Trek’s new H1.5 geometry. H1.5 is meant to split the difference between the aggressive positioning the pros use and the slightly more relaxed geometry us meremortal age groupers are looking for.

The previous Trek Madone was one of the first truly integrated aero road bikes and the Madone SLR builds on that legacy. Trek’s bar and stem for the new Madone has been separated into a more traditional, yet still proprietary system. This new set up offers 40 possible configurations versus the 26 possible configurations when considering the H1/H2 frames. Riders also get the added benefit of +/-5 degrees of bar roll to allow deeper fit refinement. The -7deg stems offer the industry standard set up and the -14deg stems are intended to allow current Madone H1 riders to match their same fit as well as offer more flexibility to new consumers. Stems are offered in 90mm to 130mm lengths in both -7° and -14° angles. The bar receives one additional width size and is offered in Variable Radius Compact Flare (VRCF) fit in widths from 38cm to 44cm. With these expanded options, changing fit is now easier and more affordable.

As on the current Madone and now again on the new Madone, the IsoSpeed system once again frees up the seat post to use the Kammtail Virtual Foil technology. The seat post head continues to use an independent pinch bolt and rail clamp system to allow for infinite tilt and setback adjustment. Also, new for the seat post is an integrated internal wedge design to provide a cleaner look to the back of the seatmast. No more external wedge clamp design and now the back of the seatmast will be fully painted. The post now comes with four color options as well as full customization through Trek’s P1 program. Lastly, to integrate safety into the design, a Flare R light mount has been designed to clip onto the back of the seat post head and offers a clean and integrated look.

Those looking to go a little more in-depth on the new technologies and testing protocols can check out the new Madone’s white paper here.

The Builds

The new Madone SLR is available in 4 builds today. All SLR frames are built with Trek’s 700 Series OCLV Carbon and are available in multiple color ways (with some paint options having an upcharge of $500). At the top we have the Madone SLR 9 Disc starting at $11,999.99. The SLR 9 gets Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 wheels, and a Bontrager Montrose saddle with carbon rails.

Next is the SLR 8 rim brake model starting at $7,499. For that you get Bontrager Aeolus Pro 5 wheels, Shimano Dura-Ace (mechanical), and a Bontrager Montrose Elite saddle with titanium rails.

The SLR 6 Disc rounds out the last two models and is available in both mens and womens models for $5,999.99.  Women specific touchpoints like saddle, handlebar width and stem length that are spec’d to fit most women better from the start. Both models get a Bontrager Aeolus Comp Disc wheelset and Shimano Ultegra mechanical. The womens version gets a Bontrager Ajna Elite with titanium rails and the men get a Bontrager Montrose Elite saddle with titanium rails.

You can check out the full range of bikes at https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/madone-slr/.

Our Thoughts

With such a short hiatus between new bikes we are seriously impressed with the amount of innovation in this new bike. And we are even more excited to see if (and hopefully how) this IsoSpeed technology is applied to the next generation Speed Concept (which has been on the market for 5 years now! Stay tuned for an in-depth review in the coming months as we get a chance to have some seat time with this new bike. And until then keep an eye on AeroGeeks.com for the latest from the Tour and Eurobike.

 

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