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Trek Madone SLR - The most aero bike in the Tour de France?

Check out the bike being ridden to victory by Mads Pedersen and Trek-Segafredo

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 8

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 7

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 10

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 3

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 4

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 1

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 5

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.

Mads Pedersen Trek Madone Gold SRAM 6

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.

2023 Trek Madone 1 - credit Mat Brett

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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gary p | 1 year ago

For the pro Trek riders, I hope it's aero AF because it appears to be the heaviest road bike in the World Tour Peloton.  

tubasti | 1 year ago

Aerodynamically, it makes intuitive sense, and the suspension benefits appear simpler, lighter, and stronger than IsoSpeed decouplers or Zertz inserts. If I were a Cat 3 racing dentist I'd probably be all over this bike.

sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

I'd love someone like Hambini to test the current crop of pro peloton bikes in a wind tunnel. Then take them apart and assess the build quality, geometry etc.

It's all at the say-so of the manufacturers and complete bollocks without an independent test done. 

In any case, a lot of people will choose their bikes on looks and that, imo, is where the new Trek falls flat on its (fugly) face. 

Secret_squirrel replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago

I quite like it - looks good in a futuristic kinda way. 

 Not sure Hambini has the credibility to report on anything anymore.  Isn't he just another dick with a youtube channel?

sparrowlegs replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

I'll admit he's done himself no favours but I'd bet he's more qualified than most and has the right connections to assess aero and build qualities. Easily more qualified than many of the cycling press that's for sure.

As for the frame, I'd be very surprised if we don't see a glut of issues with that seatpost. 

How can it be strong enough to take a 100kg masher and yet give any kind of vibration damping to a 60kg racing snake? Is there a weight limit applied to the frame that we know of?

Gribs replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago

It's got a total system weight limit of 125kg.

sparrowlegs replied to Gribs | 1 year ago

Thanks. That's way higher than I thought it would be. 

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