This is Trek’s latest and greatest aero race bike, the Madone SLR 9 Disc with a full Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Bontrager Aeolus 6 XXX wheels, and a £10,000 price tag. Bikes don’t get much more super than this.
The Madone was given a big update last year and yes, it’s taken us a while to get a hands on a test bike. We’re a patient lot here at road.cc. This new version carries over the main aerodynamic technology from the previous version but adds disc brakes for the first time, an adjustable IsoSpeed decoupler and a new two-piece aero handlebar and stem.
Don’t worry, the Madone is still available with rim brakes, Trek being one of the few brands to offer its top-flight aero race bike with the choice of braking systems.
The big news is the adjustable IsoSpeed decoupler, a method of providing more seated comfort first introduced in the Domane endurance bike. It works by separating the seat tube from the top tube so the saddle can move back and forth under big impacts. It’s smartly integrated into the frame and the amount of deflection, or comfort, can be tuned by moving a slider underneath the top tube. There’s also a damper at the back of the seatpost to control rebound to stop the post twanging back after a big impact.
Trek reports that the compliance (the amount of force required to induce movement) at the saddle of a 56cm frame ranges from approximately 119N/mm to 175N/mm depending on the slider’s position. The 9 Series Madone had a stiffness of approximately 144N/mm. According to these figures, the new Madone is capable of both more compliance (+17%) and less compliance (-22%) than its predecessor.
Make of those numbers what you will, but we’ll aim to find out just how they measure up when we get the Madone out onto the roads, and with no shortage of badly surfaced rough roads around our way, we’ll be able to really put it to the test.
The new Madone retains similar Kammtail Virtual Foil frame tube profiles as the previous bike, but it’s obviously been redesigned around the disc brakes, with an all-new fork and full internal cable and hose routing. But Trek didn’t go after aero at the expense of every other consideration. It’s factored in the stiffness and weight requirements, saying: “the disc brake bike was assigned a target of 7.5kg with the same features.” The 56cm bike we have with all the lovely expensive kit weighs 7.73kg (17.04lb). That compares to a claimed 7.1kg (15.7lb) for a top-end SLR with rim brakes.
Brand new is the two-piece aero handlebar replacing the previous one-piece setup. The angle of the handlebar can be adjusted by up to 5°, and it’s easier to swap the stem with 90 to 130mm lengths and -7° and -14° angles, and bar sizes from 38 to 44cm. The bar and stem are still proprietary though so you can use regular components.
There’s a new geometry as well, say hello to H1.5, which replaces the previous choice of H1 (slammed) and H2 (more relaxed) which Trek reckons hits the sweet spot for most riders and racers. The 56cm model here has an effective top tube length of 559.9mm, a head tube of 151mm, a stack of 563mm and a reach of 391mm. The cheaper Madone SL is still built to the more relaxed H2 geometry.
The range-topping Madone SLR 9 we have here is constructed from high-grade OCLV 700 carbon fibre. There’s also an SLR 8, SLR 6 and as we revealed this week, there’ll be an SL Disc coming very soon, which uses OCLV 500 carbon to keep the price down a bit.
The SLR 9 is well-equipped as you’d expect for £10,000. A Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 TLR and 25mm Bontrager R4 320, 320 tpi tyres, with space for up to 28mm if you want to go wider. Oddly though, for a race bike, Trek has specced a compact 50/34t chainset when we might expect to see a 52/36t or 53/39t setup.
You have a choice of five stock colours, this paint job is called Matte Dnister Black/Gloss Sunburst. You can also have a replica Trek-Segafredo bike, or if you want to go custom Trek’s Project One provides a wealth of options.
Those are the key details then, watch out for a full review soon. More info at www.trekbikes.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.