Trek has a huge road bike range that could seem a little confusing at first, but the US brand offers some guidance: if you prioritise aerodynamics you should check out the Madones, if you prioritise light weight you should look at the Emondas, and if you prioritise comfort then the Domane might be the bike for you.
Most of the bikes in those three lineups are carbon-fibre, but if you don’t want to spend that much there are aluminium ones available in the shape of the Emonda ALR and 1 Series. Trek also has women’s specific models throughout the range, plus Silque and Lexa bikes that are solely women’s.
The vast majority of Trek road bikes are equipped with Shimano groupsets, with a sprinkling of SRAM included too. Most other components are from Trek’s in-house Bontrager brand.
The Madone is a top-level race bike that has been in the Trek range for many years but it has recently had a major redesign that has seen the inclusion of an IsoSpeed decoupler for the first time.
“Trek engineers designed a decoupler that allows the seat tube to rotate independently from the top-tube-to-seatstay junction, increasing vertical compliance to twice that or our nearest competitor, without compromising pedalling efficiency,” says Trek.
The Madone is designed to be aerodynamically efficient with tubes shaped to minimise drag and many integrated features such as dedicated direct-mount brakes, the front one melding almost seamlessly into the fork legs and crown.
The Madone is available in two different grades of carbon – 700 OCLV being lighter and stronger than 600 OCLV – and in two different fits. The H1 fit is low and aggressive while the H2 fit is slightly more relaxed but still performance orientated.
Currently, all of the Madones are high-end, the most affordable (it’s all relative!) model being the £4,500 Madone 9.2 (above) with Bontrager Paradigm Elite tubeless ready wheels and a Shimano Ultegra groupset.
The 9.5 is £6,000. The extra money gets you Shimano’s flagship Dura-Ace groupset and Bontrager’s Aura wheels.
Go to £9,000 and you can have the Madone 9.9 (above) with Bontrager’s very fast Aeolus 5 D3 wheels and the electronic Di2 version of Shimano’s Dura-Ace groupset.
The super-high-end Madone Race Shop Limited (above) tops the range. It comes with the same components as the Madone 9.9 but the Race Shop Limited is built around a 700 Series frame rather than 600 Series – the same version used by the Trek Factory Racing professional riders.
If none of those builds or finishes is exactly what you want, you can use Trek’s Project One system and have a Madone in your dream build. Prices start at £5,450, depending on your spec. We had one made for review and it was a fabulous ride, but it costs!
Trek boasts that the Emonda has been “the lightest production road line ever” since its introduction in mid-2014.
The Emonda range covers three different carbon-fibre frames – the S, the SL and the SLR – and an aluminium model (see below). Each of those frames comes in various different builds, and some come in women’s specific versions.
The most affordable carbon-fibre Emonda is the S 4 (£1,100, above), made from Trek’s 300 Series OCLV carbon. It gets a tapered head tube and an oversized bottom bracket for stiffness and is compatible with Trek’s DuoTrap computer sensor that integrates into one of the chainstays. It’s built up with a Shimano Tiagra groupset.
The S 5 (£1,300, above) looks a really attractive options. It’s built around the same frame and fork but its groupset is the next level up in Shimano’s hierarchy, 105 – and we’re big fans of Shimano 105 here at road.cc.
The £1,600 S 6 (above) gets a higher level again: Shimano Ultegra.
The Emonda SLs are made from a higher level of carbon fibre – Trek’s OCLV 500 Series – have wide BB90 bottom brackets and full-carbon forks. They also have seatmasts rather than standard seatposts to save weight and improve comfort.
The most accessible of the Emonda SLs is the 5, available in both men’s and women’s models (above), equipped with a Shimano 105 groupset and Bontrager Race tubeless ready wheels.
We very much like the look of the £2,100 Emonda SL 6 which comes in a Shimano Ultegra build while the top-level SL 8 (£2,900) is available in either Dura-Ace or Red – each the top level offerings from Shimano and SRAM respectively.
The SLR Emondas are the lightest of the bunch. Trek claims that the 700 Series OCLV carbon-fibre frame weighs just 690g. That’s astonishingly light.
The Shimano Ultegra-equipped SLR 6 (£4,300, above) is available in either an H1 or and H2 fit (see above), so you can pick the setup that works best for you.
The same is true of the SLR 8 (above, £5,800) which comes with Shimano Dura-Ace components.
If you want electronic shifting, the £8,000 SLR 9 (above) is a real stunner with Dura-Ace Di2 and Aeolus 3 D3 TLR wheels from Trek’s in-house Bontrager brand.
Trek claims that the top level Emonda SLR 10 (above) weighs an incredible 10.25lb (4.6kg) in a 56cm frame and H1 fit. The boutique build includes superlight wheels and a carbon saddle from Tune and an integrated bar and stem from Bontrager. How much? Um, sadly it’s £11,000!
A year after the introduction of the carbon-fibre Emondas, Trek introduced an aluminium version. It’s not quite as lightweight as the carbon ones but it’s still pretty darn light and fast, and the ride quality is very good.
The alu Emonda features a tapered head tube for accurate cornering and it comes in Trek’s H2 fit – performance-orientated but not extreme. The welds are almost invisible to the point that you’d be hard pressed to see that this is an aluminium bike at first glance.
The Emonda ALR 4 (above, £900) is fitted with a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset but we think that the £1,100 ALR 5 (below) is the pick of the bunch.
It has a full Shimano 105 groupset, a full carbon fork and a very good Bontrager Paradigm Race saddle.
The ALR 6 (above), which we have reviewed here on road.cc, comes equipped with Shimano Ultegra and it’s another aggressively priced model at £1,400.
Like most bikes at this price point, all of the Emonda ALR models come with compact gearing (smaller than standard chainrings) to help you get up the hills.
The Domane is Trek’s endurance race bike that sits alongside the Madone and the Emonda (above). This is the bike you’ll see most of Trek’s professional riders aboard on the cobbled classics like Paris-Roubaix because of the way it copes with lumps and bumps.
The frame features an IsoSpeed decoupler (see above) that allows the seat tube to move independently of the top tube and the seatstays. It can pivot back and forth to soak up vibrations and cancel out bigger hits from the road surface.
The Domanes also come with IsoSpeed forks that are designed to add more comfort to the ride, and they’re built to an endurance geometry, meaning that the position is a little more upright than normal to put less strain on your back.
The Domane range opens with the £900 2.0 (above) that centres on a 200 Series Alpha Aluminium frame and a carbon fork. The 10-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset includes a compact chainset and an 11-32-tooth cassette, giving you some small gears for climbing long, steep hills.
Pay £1,100 for the Domane 2.3 (above) and you can upgrade to a Shimano 105 groupset.
All the other Domanes are carbon-fibre. The 4 Series bikes get oversized BB90 bottom brackets and tapered head tubes for stiffness, along with almost invisible mudguard mounts. As well as standard rim brake models, this series includes disc brake bikes for more stopping control in all weather conditions.
The cheapest of these is the £1,400 Trek Domane 4.0 Disc (above) which is built with a 9-speed Shimano Sora groupset and TRP’s HY/RD cable-operated hydraulic disc brakes.
The 4.3 (above) looks like a winner to us. With a reliable Shimano 105 groupset, it’s priced at £1,500.
The 4.5 is available in both rim brake and disc brake versions (above). The bikes’ Shimano Ultegra components are the same whichever model you choose but the 4.5 Disc (£2,200) has Shimano RS685 hydraulic disc brakes that operate on 160mm rotors rather than the Shimano 105 rim brakes of the standard Domane 4.5 (£1,800).
The 5 Series Domanes are made from a higher grade of carbon-fibre and feature seatmasts rather than seatposts, the idea being to add comfort and save a little weight.
The £2,200 Domane 5.2 (above) is a Shimano Ultegra model that looks like good value for money while you can have the £3,000 5.9 in either top-level Shimano Dura-Ace or with electronic shifting courtesy of Shimano’s second tier Ultegra Di2. The choice is yours.
Go up to the Domane 6 Series and you shift from 500 Series OCLV carbon to 600 Series which is a little lighter and stiffer.
The 6.2 is available in rim brake and disc brake (above) versions – £2,900 and £3,200 respectively – the disc brakes in question being Shimano RS685 hydraulics. These are Ultegra-level, matching most of the rest of the spec.
The £3,900 Domane 6.5 (above) has a full Shimano Dura-Ace group along with a lightweight Bontrager Paradigm Elite TLR wheelset, while the 6.9 Disc (below, £6000) gets Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting, RS785 hydraulic brakes, and Bontrager Affinity Elite wheels.
The rim brake version of the 6.9 (below, £7,200) gets that same Di2 shifting, the higher price being down to Bontrager’s aero Aeolus 3 D3 wheels that we’re reviewed here on road.cc. They’re fast and they handle well whatever the conditions.
You can choose your own spec and finish for both the Domane 4 Series and 6 Series through Trek’s Project One scheme.
The 1 Series contains Trek’s entry-level road bikes. They’re made from Trek’s 100 Series aluminium (the Emonda ALRs are 300 Series) and they have eyelets for fitting mudguards and a rear rack. That’ll come in handy if you intend to commute by bike year-round.
Like the Emonda ALRs and many other Emonda and Madone models, the 1 Series bikes are built to Trek’s H2 geometry. This is a setup that’s designed for efficiency and speed, but it’s not quite as low and stretched as Trek’s H1 fit.
There are just two models in the range. The £575 1.1 (above) gets an 8-speed Shimano Claris groupset while the £650 1.2 (below) is built up with 9-speed Shimano Sora.
The Silque is a women’s carbon-fibre bike that, like the Domane and now the Madone, has an IsoSpeed decoupler to add comfort and control.
Trek doesn’t just change the colour and a few components when putting a women’s bike together, the frame geometry is altered too.
There are six different Silque bikes in the lineup ranging from the £1,500 Shimano Tiagra-equipped Silque (above) right up to the £3,800 Silque SSL (below) with Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting.
We think that the Silque SL (£2,200, below) looks like a great bike that’ll prove popular. With a full Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, Bontrager Race tubeless ready wheelset, and women’s specific Bontrager Anja Comp WSD saddle, you’re getting a lot for your money here.
The Silque SL and SSL are available through Trek’s Project One service from £2,700 and £3,970 respectively.
The Lexa is Trek’s aluminium road bike range that’s built to a WSD (women’s specific design) geometry.
Three of the four bikes in the range are based around frames made from 100 Series Alpha Aluminium, the same as the 1 Series bikes (above), while the fourth, the £1,000 Lexa SLX (above), uses slightly higher level 200 Series. All the bikes are mudguard and rack compatible.
The cheapest bike in the range is the straight Lexa (above) at £575 but the one that takes our eye is the £650 Lexa S (below). This one has a 9-speed Shimano Sora groupset and tubeless ready tyres from Bontrager.
For more info go to www.trekbikes.com.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.