Prior to the Tour de France, the 2023 Trek Madone was the most significant new bike to be seen thanks to its radical aero design. But now that the bike has been released, we can take a proper look at the bike that the Trek-Segafredo team has been using in this year’s race.
We don’t think it’ll surprise you to learn that an aero bike with a massive hole in the seat tube comes with a fair few aero claims attached to it. Trek says that this bike, with a rider aboard, is 60 seconds per hour faster than the previous generation thanks to new aero frame shaping, a redesigned bar/stem, and a more aero riding position.
Trek explains that this bike saves 60 seconds per hour at 45km/h. What Trek means is that you'll achieve 45km more efficiently. If you ride at the same power, you'll hit 45km 60 seconds sooner.
The hole in the seat tube is called IsoFlow and it is designed to improve aerodynamics, flex over bumps to smooth the ride and save weight over previous Madones. Trek says that it offers a similar level of compliance to the previous adjustable IsoSpeed system in its stiffest setting.
The Madone is also lighter than ever with a frame weight of just under 1,000g and a fork weight of just over 400g.
While the claims are interesting, bike racers win bike races, not bikes and thankfully for Trek-Segafredo, they’ve got a few very handy racers. Mads Pedersen took an excellent stage win during a gruelling second week of the Tour, so let’s have a closer look at the team’s setup.
Trek-Segafredo is one of just two Sram-sponsored teams in the peloton, so it’s no surprise to see that their groupset provider is providing a few special pieces for team leader Mads Pedersen.
The gold chain and cassette aren't going to be seen on many Sunday club runs. You have to really fast to get this sort of bling.
The team uses the top-end Red eTap AXS groupset which means wireless shifting and hydraulic disc brakes.
While the Red eTap AXS groupset introduced the 10T cog to road bikes, the Trek-Segafredo pros don’t always run this tiny cog. The thinking is that the tiny cog allows you to use smaller chainrings, which Sram says is better for general riders. But while the riders do sometimes use the 10T cogs, they generally opt for larger chainrings than Sram officially offers.
> Review: Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc
The brakes and rotors are also Sram Red and all of Trek’s riders use 160mm rotors up front and 140mm at the back.
The Sram Red groupset offers decent value for money to those of us that pay for our kit because it comes with a very good dual-sided power meter built into the crankset and this is what the Trek riders use to monitor their training and deliver the data that confirms that this has been an insanely tough Tour.
The wheelset comes from Trek’s in-house component brand Bontrager and the riders are sometimes on tubeless setups at the Tour though some still like to have their tubulars around for select days. The wheels on most riders’ bikes were the Aeolus RSL 61 though they will chop and change given the day’s profile and conditions.
The tyres are from Pirelli and when on a tubeless setup, the Trek riders use the P Zero Race in the classic colourway.
At the front of the bike, you’ll find more aero trickery from Trek with a brand new Bontrager cockpit that is specific to this bike. The shifter clamp area is narrower than the drops to give a rider a super sleek frontal profile while the drops then flare out to provide the handling feel that the pros want.
Bontrager saddles and bar tape finish each bike.
So, is this actually the most aero road bike in the Tour de France? Well, that is what Trek would like us all to think, but unless you have a wind tunnel and the cash to buy one of every road bike in this year’s race, we’re never going to find out. We certainly don’t have that sort of time or money but let us know in the comments if you do!
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