From the moment we saw our first aero road bike we knew we were in love. A bike that was almost as fast as a true time trial bike, but able to be used for group rides spoke to our pragmatic side. Buy one bike – but essentially get two was music to our ears. But the first generation of bikes was more compromise than utopia. Not nearly as fast as a TT bike and not stiff enough to be a serious road bike. But with advances in aerodynamics and carbon construction the generations that followed continued to get closer and closer to that promise. And the latest bikes have become the true best of both world bikes we have hoped for… except for one item. As aero road bikes have moved to aero drop bars – clip on aerobars have become a challenge. And also, some place innovation has been waiting for. Meet the Trek Madone Speed – a best of both worlds aero road bike that features the aerobars straight off of the Trek Speed Concept.
The Trek Madone Speed
The Trek Madone Speed starts with the new 2019 Trek Madone Disc. The 2019 Madone featured a new albeit more traditional, yet still proprietary bar and stem 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.
To that system, the Speed adds a new stem faceplate that simplifies the process of adding and removing aero bars. The included Speed Concept Mono Bar Extension is held to the stem faceplate with a pair of bolts,and adding and removing the aero extensions takes as little as thirty seconds.
“Madone Speed has all the award-winning speed and handling ofMadone SLR—plus the added benefit of a lot more versatility,” said Trek’s Director of Road Product Jordan Roessingh. “You can train with a group without the bars, then throw them on for race day. It’s the smartest option for most people doing triathlon or time trials today.”
Being that it is based on the 2019 Madone you get the same frame as all Madone SLR models. It’s made with Trek’s lightest 700 Series OCLV Carbon and features Adjustable Top Tube IsoSpeed, which allows riders to tune the frame’s compliance to their preference. For those not familiar with how this is done – lets recap.
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 Madone SLR 6 Disc Speed ($6499.99 MSRP) is spec’d with a 2×11 Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 5 carbon wheels, and flat-mount disc brakes.
Let’s start with the good – we really love where Trek went with this. The monoriser aerobar from the Speed Concept is a tried and true system. While it is proprietary to Trek, because of the amount of time it has been available on the market there are all sorts of spare parts already available on the second hand market for those looking to switch from s-bends to straight bars to ski tips. After four years of riding our Trek Speed Concept test bike, we are fans of these bars and love riding with them.
The Madone SLR 6 Disc Speed at $6,499 is just $200 more than the standard Madone SLR 6 disc, and for that $200 you get carbon fiber aerobars and the mount which we think is a fair add on price.
But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the one item that bothers us about the Madone Disc Speed – this should have been introduced with an electronic group set. Aero road bikes with clip on aerobars are begging for electronic shifting so that you can shift while in the aero bars. With electronic shifting it is truly as simple as plugging and unplugging from the junction boxes. We would have much preferred to see this released on their SL 7 build which features Di2 and a slightly lesser grade of carbon. An argument can be made that those looking for a best of both worlds bike are looking for something more affordable. And in that case stepping down to the lower grade carbon but up to electronic at essentially the same price of the SLR 6 would have been a winning combination.
While we may not agree with the build this was first released on – we absolutely think that Trek has a great idea on their hands with this bike. Clip on aerobars have become incredibly common now a days, and having a bike built with them in mind is a great move for consumers. And while there is not yet a more affordable version featuring electronic shifting, we have little doubt that Trek will find a way to make one available in the future. For those interested in a SLR 6 Disc Speed you can head over to www.trek.com or to your local Trek retailer. As always thanks for reading AeroGeeks.com and stay tuned as we have a number of new bike reviews in the pipeline that we cannot wait to share with you!