We were at Silverstone yesterday, watching some Formula 3s and very noisy Maseratis ranting round the circuit. But then The nice people of Trek, including UK marketing guru Chris Garrison, yanked us inside and told us to stop looking at the cars and instead have a gander at their bike range, since that’s why we were invited. So we did, and this is what we saw.
Émonda SL5 WSD
We’ve seen the Émonda a couple of times already: at the launch, and also underneath Andy Schleck when we chatted to him about his plans for the Tour, which sadly he didn’t get to fulfil. That Mat Brett has even had a go on one. But this is the first time we’ve seen the whole range, and it’s quite a big range.
There’s three frame levels. The SLR is the super-light 690g that Trek have mostly been touting up until now, and that’s understandable. The scary-light 4.6kg SLR 10 build was on display at the bottom of the tornado (more on that in a sec). The SL frame is the middle spec, with a weight of around 950g, and then there’s the entry-level S frame which is 1,200g. They all look similar but of course the materials and construction of the more expensive frames can shave a lot of weight out. The SLR is the only frame of the three that uses the direct mount brake points as opposed to the standard single bolt.
There’s a variety of builds of the Émonda. Cheapest of the lost is the S4 with a full Tiagra groupset (Trek are speccing full groupsets on nearly all Émonda and Domane bikes now) for £1,200. There’s a Shimano 105 S5 (£1,500) and an Ultegra S6 (£1,800). The S5 is available in a women’s WSD build.
Stepping up a frame grade, the cheapest SL bike is the SL5 with Shimano 105 running gear, at £1,900. Then it’s the SL6 (Ultegra) at £2,300. Both of those bikes have a WSD option. Above them there’s two SL8 builds, both at £3,100. You can choose from Shimano Dura Ace or SRAM Red. If you just want an SL frameset, that’s an option too: it’ll cost you £1,350.
The SLR frame is available in two geometries, the racier H1 or the more upright H2. The cheapest SLR build is the SLR6, at £4,300. That’s a full Ultegra groupset. The SLR8 (£5,800) is full Dura Ace, and the SLR9 (£7,800) gets Dura Ace Di2 and Bontrager’s Aeolus 3 carbon wheels. And of course to top it all off there’s the £11,000 SLR10 with Tune finishing kit and SRAM Red. That’s only available in an H1 geometry. The frameset (£3,000) you can have in either. So in all that’s 20 models, the top one costing nine times as much as the bottom. Clear? Good.
If you want a fancy paint job on your Émonda through the Project One website then you’ll have a choice of either the S or the SLR, with the SL missing out. That’s similar to how it worked with the Madone, where the 4 Series was an option but then it skipped to 6 and 7. The reason for that? “Too much crossover”, apparently.
And the tornado? Well, it’s made up of development frames that have been tested and failed in one way or another, en route to arriving at the finished frames. “It takes us hundreds of prototypes to arrive at the finished product”, Chris said. “We’ve always been open about how many prototypes it takes but we haven’t actually shown any of them before, where they’ve broken and how. Every one will have some variation in the layup before we arrived at the finished frame.” Some frames were displaying obvious shears in the main tubes whereas others had snapped or cracked in other, more subtle ways. It’s certainly interesting to see. The upshot of all that testing is that all the Émonda frames get a lifetime frame and fork warranty and a 125kg rider weight limit. The SLR 10 only goes up to 90kg, but that’s because the limit of the über-light Tune kit pushes it down.
“The big question is where the Émonda leaves the Madone”, Chris said, and we had been wondering. The answer? Out on its ear, largely. Everything from the 3 Series Madone to the 6 Series Madone has been removed from the range. The three levels of Émonda frame go into the gap.
That leaves the Madone as a 2 Series option with an Alpha Aluminium frame, and the top-end 7 Series frame will still be available too. “For the majority of people the Émonda is a better bet”, said Chris. ‘Someone who was buying a 3 or 4 Series Madone wasn’t getting an aero bike anyway. If someone was buying a 5.2 Series Madone, are they really riding in a way that means they need an aero advantage from the frame? The majority of people would be better off with a lighter bike. Most people are buying Domanes at those levels anyway.
“If there’s someone out there who’s super race focused and they still want an aero frame rather than a super-light frame then there’s still a 7 Series Madone for them. The Madone 2 Series took on some of the aero elements of the carbon frame, and to go back to a standard 2 Series would be a step in the wrong direction. We’re keeping it as an intermediate step between the the 1 Series and the cheapest Émonda, the S4, which comes in at £1,200.”
Domane 4.3 Disc
Everything in the Domane range that doesn’t have discs is more or less unchanged, save for the colour options. So the cheapest Domane you can get is still the Tiagra-equipped 2.0 at a round £1,000, and the most expensive the Dura-Ace 6.9 at £5,500. There’s 8 other models in the range too, covering the price points in between over four frames: the Aluminium 2 Series and three levels of carbon frame: 4, 5 and 6 Series.
The only other tweak is that non-series groupsets and brakes are out, and all the bikes will come with a complete groupset, so they’re a bit better value for money.
Moving on to the Domane Disc, there are five models in the initial launch.
“I’ve been getting asked, where do we see the disc brake market going”, Chris said. “We don’t see it on highest level race bikes because the pro riders don’t want it, and they don’t need it because they know how to brake, and they know when to do it”. That’s one view but it’s not shared by all pros. Andy Schleck was all for disc brakes when we talked to him at the Shimano hydraulic disc launch in Sicily. "If you're descending in the wet then there's often water on the braking surface of the rim", he told us. "You need to brake in time to clear that water, you're often dragging the brakes into a corner with no guarantee of what's going to happen”, he said then. And Geraint Thomas’ comments about waiting two or three seconds for his brakes to do anything at all on stage 10 of this year’s Tour certainly mirror that. Anyway, let’s not roast that old chestnut here. “We’ve focused on the Domane because that’s a bike we see people using for more varied riding: it’s got room for wider tyres, at least a 28mm and some 32mms will fit. And if you don’t want discs on the Domane we’re not forcing people to use them, there’s a full range of non-disc bikes.”
Domane 6.9 Disc
The Domane 4.0 Disc (£1,500) is Shimano Sora with TRP’s excellent HY/RD mechanical interface hydraulic discs (and breathe). Next up, the 4.3 Disc (£1,900) keeps the same brakes but steps up to 11-speed Shimano 105. The 4.5 Disc (£2,300) gets Ultegra, and Shimano’s new BR785 mechanical shift/hydraulic brake levers. Or, at least, it will, when they’re ready. It sounds to us like they’ve been delayed, and the bikes at the show had Di2 levers instead. The 6.2 Disc (£4,000) is running the same groupset but with the better frame and upgraded componentry, and the top-dollar 6.9 disc (£6,000) is stacked out with Dura Ace Di2. We tried to weigh it on the scales the Émonda SLR 10 was lounging on, but they only went up to 5kg so the Domane sent them all the way round and some. It’s under 8kg though and probably more like 7.5kg.
“The Silque is probably one of the best bikes we’ve ever done”, Chris said of their new women’s comfort platform. “Let me reiterate: it’s not a women’s Domane. The Isospeed decoupler isn’t the only thing that makes the Domane the Domane. The Silque borrows the Isospeed but everything else has been designed from the ground up.
“The real story behind this bike is that we’ve done a lot of work in the last ten or eleven years to match the anatomy of women to the geometry of women’s bikes. Centre of gravity has a huge role to play in how comfrotable women can be on a bike. Women’s centre of gravity tends to be lower and that has an impact on bike fit.
“We found was that power generation differs slightly from men to women, and we know that weight distribution does too. We’ve stiffened up the back end of the Silque and we’ve been able to remove some material from the front end to save some weight. The IsoSpeed helps to balance out some of the inherent harshness that you get from making the back of the bike stiffer.”
So it’s basically a women’s Domane then. Just kidding! It’s available in four stock builds. The Silque (£1,400) is a Tiagra build, then you get the Silque S (105, £1,700), the Silque SL (Ultegra, £2,200) and the Silque SLX at £3,000. That’s also an Ultegra build but it uses a 6 Series frame; all the others are 4 Series. As well as the stock builds there’s an SSL version available to paint however you like on Project one.
Lexa SL and SLX
The entry-level Lexa women’s bike has had a paint-centred facelift but otherwise remains the same. The top-level Lexa SLX gets an alloy frame with the IsoSpeed decoupler, and 11-speed Shimano 105. That’s £1,200, and there are three other bikes, the Lexa (Claris, £600), the Lexa S (Sora, £700) and the Lexa SL (Tiagra, £800).
“There’s not much to say about the 1 series because it got a facelift last year”, Chris told us. What’s new basically is just the colours: the bikes and specs stay the same, as do the prices. There’s three bikes. The 1.1 runs a Shimano Claris trasnmission and SRP is £600. The step up from that is the 1.2 with Sora (£700) and the 1.5 (£800) tops out the 1 series with 10-speed Tiagra. All three share the same 100 series Alpha Aluminium frame. The new paint schemes look good, too, with nice touches such as anodised gear hangers to match the frame colour scheme.
The Crossrip platform is primarily aimed at longer-distance commuters, and anyone whose riding takes them across a wider variety of terrain than a road bike can cope with.
“A lot of these people are city riders, and they don’t want a super flashy bike that looks like it’s worth stealing, so we’ve toned down the frame colours but added some anodised hubs and other touches”, Chris told us. Anyone not wanting a bike that looks nickable should probably steer clear of the Crossrip LTD (£1,250) with its ball burnished frame and shiny orange bits, as it’s not exactly a wallflower. It’s a Tiagra build with TRP’s HY/RD discs. the subtler Crossrip Elite (£1,000) and Crossrip Comp (£850) are Sora- and Claris-equipped, respectively. All Crossrip bikes are disc-equipped now.
KRX kids race bike
Trek are back in the performance end of kid’s bikes with this KRX 26” wheeled racer. There’s a Shimano Sora drivetrain, Shimano CX50 cantilevers with cross-top levers for more braking options, and it’s all built around an Alpha Aluminium frame that’s “Inspired by the Madone” according to the catalogue. There’s one size only (it’s aimed at 10- to 12-year-olds) and it’ll cost you £600.
IsoSpeed on the 7.7FX
Trek’s FX range is more or less unchanged, presumably because they sell a huge amount of them. It it ain’t broke… Anyway there’s some new colours and a few component tweaks. The only major news is that the top-of-the-range 7.7FX (£1,300) used to have a 4 Series Madone frame, but now it’s swtiched over to a 4 Series Domane frame. Which makes a lot of sense to us.
Got all that? Great! Availability depends on the exact model and build, but all of the bikes are either shipping now or are likely to land between now and September, with a question mark over anything that’s supposed to have Shimano’s mechanincal/hydraulic shift levers on.
That wasn't all we saw, there's a bunch of new Bontrager goodies too. More on them in a separate story.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.