In 2016, Bicycle Sport Shop sponsored racing team, Super Squadra p/b Eliel Cycling, will ride Trek bicycles and Bontrager components. Below, Jordan Oroshiba walks us through the highlights of his new Madone.
Words and photos : Jordan Oroshiba
As a pretty vocal ‘aeroweenie’ I was really excited about our new bikes for this year, as the new Madone is the bike to beat in the wind tunnel. And, according to many recent reviews, is also the top aero bike in terms of ride quality. Whereas Trek’s last top-of-the-line Madone tried to strike a fine line between an aero bike and a lightweight climber, the company’s newest race bike line-up went for two more dedicated models, the Emonda, a lightweight climber, and the Madone, a speed machine.
Design is often the first thing we all notice about bikes, and the new Madone is quite an eye catcher—whether it is to your liking or not. Trek has gone for complete integration on this bike. The integrated bar-stem combo feeds all cables and wires straight into the frame through the head tube. The only place on the bike you see cables or wires are the rear derailleur, front derailleur, and right in front of the rear brake. The front and rear brakes are specially designed by Trek to integrater into the bike aerodynamically while keeping all the adjustment options easy to access on the outside.
The real change to the aerodynamic bike paradigm is the seat post and mast design. For a number of years, Trek has used a unique seat mast featuring long toppers and short masts (which you don’t have to cut) to tune ride quality, while also making it possible to pack and ship your bike. However, designing a fully aerodynamic seat tube that also flexes is a challenge. The geometry of an aero seat tube does not lend itself to that much sought after “vertical compliance” sited in most bike reviews. Trek utilizes a tube within a tube and its “ISO Speed” de-coupler (also seen on their endurance bike, the Domane, and their cross bike, the Boone) to make a bike that is both aerodynamic and incredibly comfortable.
Given my lust for aero gear, I naturally wanted a Madone for my stable this year. Looking through the offerings for stock models I found paint jobs I liked and build kits I liked but not on the exact combo for the bike I wanted. Fortunately, Trek offers the “Project 1” custom paint and build program. The Project 1 program is really tailor made for ordering this new Madone as it not only allows you to pick your paint and build but also to designate your exact bar-stem combo, setback and length of the seat mast, and frame geometry (Trek’s lower and longer H1 fit is available on any Project 1 build). I opted for one of their more standard paint jobs, with an Ultegra Di2 build kit. This is my first time on robot shifters, and it is quite the experience. Easiest shifter adjustment setup I’ve ever done, quite nice.
For wheels, I opted for Aeolus 5 Carbon Clinchers, the first time in four years I’m racing on clinchers. I’m excited about being able to throw in a new tube if I flat on a Saturday so I can race on the nice wheels Sunday. I’m running Bontrager’s new 320 R4 tires, which are similar to tires like the Specialized Turbo cotton or Vittoria Corsa CX. Basically, take their tubular tires, which are proven at the World Tour level, and put a bead on it instead of sewing it shut. Additionally, the R4 tread is glued onto a cotton casing instead of vulcanized and molded to the casing, creating a suppler and faster rolling tire.
The rest of my choices are largely fit determined. A 40cm-120mm bar-stem combo, the longer of two seatmast options with 5mm of setback, Bontrager Paradigm 128mm width saddle, 165mm cranks on a power meter crankset, and the only pedals I have used in 7 seasons of racing (Speedplay).
Okay, it looks fine and dandy but how does it ride? Like a spaceship. I feel like this is the bike of the future. The one-piece front end is rock solid and tracks perfectly through corners. Comfort wise, it is the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden. I’m pretty proud of hitting high speeds down hills despite my skinny frame—the free speed the Madone carries down a hill and on flat ground is absurd. It is a hard thing to quantify without pointing to nerdy wind tunnel numbers, so I’ll just leave it at absurd.
I’m not the best person to test stiffness, as I’m not heavy and don’t produce sick sprint watts, but it meets my demands in that department with no qualms. Most important to me is that it feels lively and responsive out of the saddle climbing, and accelerates like I would expect in a sprint. The one place the stiffness really stands out to me, again, is the rock solid front-end.
Editor’s Note :
So, what every bike geek wants to know… what did this bad boy cost and how much does it weigh?
Follow-up email from Jordan :
Retail for my bike with the ultegra crankset instead of my power meter is $9800 (Includes the carbon clinchers). The stock mechanical ultegra build is $6000.
With the stock Shimano Ultegra cranks, the bike weighs about 16.5 lbs, and with my power meter 17lb.