An all-day experience with almost 14,000 toes of climbing appeared an acceptable proving floor for this new light-weight bike from Trek. There we’re – in pink – grinding away.
A few half dozen miles west of Boulder, Colorado, is a nasty little pitch of grime generally known as Lickskillet Highway. In line with Strava it is precisely one mile lengthy with a mean gradient of 14 p.c and quite a few pitches in extra of 18 p.c. Some child named Taylor Phinney has the KoM of 8 minutes, 53 seconds. My first (and certain final) try at this ridiculously steep ascent took greater than 17 minutes. Common pace was 3.3mph. I actually rode gutter to gutter, paperboy type, all the manner up – and nonetheless almost toppled over on a number of events.
The explanation I share this woebegone story of marginal biking expertise pushed to its breaking level is to verify that the just lately launched Trek Émonda is certainly one very mild bike with severe climbing chops. I dare say, had I not been pushing the pedals of a wispy compact cranks-equipped machine on that balmy July afternoon, strolling, not driving, would have been the lasting reminiscence of that street experience to perdition.
As an alternative, it was the defining second of the 2014 Rapha Colorado Gents’s Race, an 103-mile affair with almost 14,000 toes of climbing and roughly 50 miles of grime roads. No, my crew of six didn’t parlay this effort into podium glory. However we had been one of many few squads that completed intact.
The choice to make use of a check bike that day had been fraught with nervousness. It is one factor to pedal an unfamiliar steed across the flats for an hour or so, one other to ask it alongside on a two-wheeled imaginative and prescient quest. However the mixture of top-shelf components spec (mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace), huge tire compatibility (I squeezed on a set of 28s to counter the tough street sections), and that impossible to resist tagline (Trek trumpets the Émonda as, the world’s lightest manufacturing street bike) made it too arduous to cross up.
After just a few transient shakedown excursions, the Émonda and I rolled away from the storage early that July day hoping for the very best. And luckily all of it labored out, thanks largely to a motorcycle that delivered on its promise of being each mild and actually enjoyable to experience.
Aerodynamic enhancements are nowhere to be discovered on the Émonda. As an alternative tube shapes are designed to be stiff and light-weight.
When Trek launched the Émonda again in early July, the gross sales pitch to a gathering of media sorts was direct and easy: using an excellent mild body (claimed weight for a measurement 56cm SLR mannequin is 690 grams) and mixing it with a number of light-weight components, they’d managed to construct that aforementioned, world’s lightest manufacturing street bike. The halo mannequin within the new line, the SLR 10, ideas the scales at 10.25 kilos and could be yours for simply $15,750.
However as attractive as that sounds, actuality is that neither of these numbers have a lot bearing on the vast majority of the bike shopping for public. It is merely an excessive amount of cash. As an alternative, the extra germane dialogue revolves round the remainder of the Émonda line, which incorporates three body ranges (SLR, SL, and S) and 16 bikes, starting from the 19-pound Émonda S4 ($1650), to the 13.45-pound SLR 9 ($12,080), to our check bike, the SLR 8, which weighed 14.1 kilos out of the field (measurement 58cm) and can solely set you again $7500.
For that comparatively modest outlay you get a top-level SLR body dressed with full Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical shifting groupset, Bontrager RXL tubeless prepared alloy clincher wheels, and a Bontrager ending package, which incorporates XXX carbon bars, an alloy Race X Lite stem, Journey Tuned Carbon seatmast cap and a Paradigm RXL saddle with carbon rails. It a beautiful package deal each by way of potential efficiency and aesthetics.
Shimano’s direct-mount brakes shed weight and add tire clearance. Cable routing is inside and modular. Simply be cautious of cable rub. Our body was scared proper out of the field.
Additionally notable is the usage of Shimano’s more and more fashionable direct-mount brakes, which come inventory on all of the SLR Émonda fashions (SL and S get conventional put up mount set-ups). Apart from providing a touch of aero effectivity resulting from integration with the fork and chainstays, these stoppers are lighter than conventional set-ups as a result of attachment threads are molded instantly into the body, which means fewer components and fewer redundant materials.
There’s additionally better tire clearance. The bike comes inventory with a set of 23c Bontrager R4 Laborious-Case Lite tires, however as talked about above, we had no downside slipping in a set of 28s for our all-day Rapha experience journey, and doubtless might have gone even greater. The direct-mount brakes additionally present distinctive stopping energy due partly to the diminished flex that is a trademark of the design.
Fare to say, we might wish to see these brakes adopted as customary gear on all street bikes. Simply watch out when braking arduous. The chunk level comes a bit of faster than customary fashions. I’ve managed to lock up my brakes twice within the final month, with out consequence fortunately.
Our first check experience got here on the bike’s launch in the UK, the place the ever rolling roads supplied an ideal proving floor.
Not a Wind Cheater
Alas, maybe the one factor aero concerning the Émonda is its brakes. One have a look at the body’s form and you already know this bike was not designed to cheat the wind. The downtube is the form of Popeye’s forearm, the pinnacle tube is bulbous, and even the rear of the highest tube bows out in an effort to keep up entrance triangle stiffness. Certainly, with this bike, body design was centered solely on structural effectivity. The thought is that stiffer and lighter (not slimmer) equals quicker.
Frames are made from descending grades of carbon, with the SLR fashions getting Trek’s prime shelf 700 collection OCLV, SL fashions dropping to 500 collection, and the S line getting 300 collection composite materials. As we talked about, the SLR body is claimed to weigh 690 gram, with the mid-range SL frames coming in at 1050 grams and the S line at 1200 grams, all for measurement 56cm frames. The SLR fork is claimed to weigh 280 grams.
Trek additionally trumpets its use of measurement particular tubing, taking a refined jab at Specialised, which earlier this 12 months used the idea as a major advertising level when launching a brand new model of its Tarmac race bike. “What about all this size-specific tube shaping that has been within the media these days?” a bit of Trek PR collateral reads. “We have been forward of the size-specific curve since 1992, after we first launched OCLV carbon… We have led the business on this space ever since.”
We’ll go away the business infighting to the crews from Waterloo and Morgan Hill, and simply say that we respect the truth that the Émonda is accessible in two inventory headtube lengths, customary (H1) and tall (H2). Being 6-foot-4, our check rig got here with the H2 sizing, which means our headtube measures 19cm versus the 16cm customary peak. Higher for this growing older again.
Crankset set-up can also be tied to your alternative of H1 or H2. The extra racey H1’s get a mid-compact 52-36, whereas the H2’s include a 50-34 compact configuration.
Body geometry is shut however not similar to the Madone, heretofore, Trek’s go-to race bike. The Émonda’s chainstays are tad longer (on measurement 58cm H1’s, chainstays are 41.1cm to 40.7cm respectively), whereas the wheelbases for each bikes of that measurement are 99.2cm. Path and head angle measures for each bikes additionally mirror one another pretty intently. That little further chainstay size provides the Émonda a bit extra stability and predictability. However actually the 2 bikes deal with nearly precisely the identical, which definitely is not a foul factor contemplating the Madone’s lengthy and profitable monitor document.
Proceed to Web page 2 to learn the way this bike misplaced all that weight and what our remaining experience impressions are. Plus see an prolonged picture gallery »
Apart from the wispy body, particulars similar to carbon dropouts and fork ideas, an extremely minimalist backside bracket information, and even a redesigned Duo Entice pace and cadence sensor have helped cut back general weight.
Occurring a Weight loss plan
In case you have not observed by now, Trek likes phrase play. Émonda, Madone and Domane are anagrams of one another, all three names utilizing the very same letters, save the Émonda’s accent aigu. That remaining truth is a nod to the phrase’s international roots. Emonder is the French verb, to prune or trim, which is precisely what Trek’s designers did with this bike to be able to make it so mild.
Apart from the wispy body, particulars similar to carbon dropouts and fork ideas, an extremely minimalist backside bracket information, and even a redesigned Duo Entice pace and cadence sensor (now known as Duo Entice S) have helped diminished general weight. The brand new sensor presents each Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, and is built-in instantly into the chainstay utilizing a brand new mounting system that’s lighter and aesthetically cleaner than the earlier model.
Extra weight is shed through the Émonda’s seatmast set-up, which makes use of much less materials than a standard seatpost, however does not require the dedication of a totally built-in system, which have to be lower to size. The newly designed seatmast topper saves further weight utilizing a carbon clamp and titanium bolts. Decrease down on the body, is a BB90 pressfit backside bracket with direct press-fit bearing cartridge seats. Up entrance, headset bearings drop instantly in. It is all carried out within the title of weight financial savings.
Extra weight is shed through the Émonda’s seatmast set-up, which makes use of much less materials than a standard seatpost, however does not require the dedication of a totally built-in system.
Cable routing is inside and Di2 convertible. Simply be cautious of any trace of cable rub. Even out of the field our body confirmed indicators put on. Liberal use of the included package deal of body defending stickers is extremely really helpful.
After about two dozen rides, suffice to say we actually like what Trek has carried out right here. Sure, the Émonda SLR 8 is a blissfully mild bike that is a godsend on the myriad steep climbs that jut out from our Boulder, Colorado, testing grounds. Climb out of the saddle and step on the fuel and this bike goes, no hesitation in any way. Energy switch is direct and environment friendly. The bike is vigorous, by no means boring.
The Émonda additionally offers a agency and confidence-inspiring experience really feel, monitoring exceptionally nicely at pace via turns, and by no means skipping round, even via the occasional pothole or street tarmac floor. Throughout our inglorious Rapha experience journey, we tackled all method of grime roads, uphill, downhill, unfastened, rocky. Positive the huge tires helped, however this bike maintained composure throughout some pretty dire conditions. No it does not take in bumps like its massive brother, the Domane. However on the finish of our 100-plus-mile day, we did not really feel beat up. Simply massively exhausted.
The Émonda does not take in bumps just like the Domane. But it surely hasn’t left us feeling beat up both.
Backside line, should you’re the kind of rider who counts grams and likes to climb, however is not keen to sacrifice all method of efficiency, the Trek Émonda SLR 8 is value a cautious look. We have definitely been completely impressed to date.
Extra information at www.trekbikes.com