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First Ride Review: Trek Émonda SL6 Pro 2021 + video

Stu gives his initial thoughts on the brand new Trek Émonda lightweight – and now aero – road bike

Trek has launched a brand new Émonda range and I’m lucky enough to have been able to get the miles in on the SL6 Pro model ready for a full in-depth review in a few weeks' time. For now, I’m just going to whet your appetite with my initial thoughts based on the first 100 miles or so.

Mat’s piece covers all of the technical and design details of the new Émonda, but if you haven’t read it yet I’ll give you the basics here.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro.jpg

The new Émonda focuses much more on aerodynamics than its predecessor while maintaining its position in Trek’s range as a lightweight climbing machine. Trek has achieved this by using a new material in the frameset of the top flite SLR models and various other bits of clever design to keep it significantly lighter than both the Madone and Domané bikes.

Go to our story: All new Émonda gets aero

The model we’ve got in for testing, the SL6 Pro, doesn’t use the new 800 Series OCLV carbon found on the SLR, instead using the 500 series which does add a bit of weight, but this 56cm Émonda still tips the scales at 8.23kg (18lb 2oz).

For a disc-equipped bike of this price (£3,350) that weight is in the right ballpark and the SL6 Pro certainly feels light and responsive especially when pulling away from a standing start or when getting out of the saddle to attack a climb.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - bottom bracket.jpg

Stiffness is impressive too. The bulky bottom bracket area, large down tube and tapered head tube all do a great job of resisting flex during the sprints I’ve tried and the Émonda really gets a shift on.

Aerodynamics are always difficult to gauge out in the real world, but the SL6 Pro is no slouch, especially when the speed starts to increase.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - head tube.jpg

The first destination on my six hour ride was to the office in Bath, around 17 miles from home, taking in undulating terrain, a mixture of town and village centres, some long but not too steep climbs, a bit of descending and a section of flat dual carriageway.

The Trek suits most situations. I found it nimble through the urban traffic and general road clutter, and when out on the open road you can just get the hammer down.

The Émonda shares its geometry with Trek’s Madone aero road bike, so on the long descent the handling felt smooth and easily controllable.

My early feelings are that this is a very well behaved and competent bike, although I’m yet to try it on my favourite test hill with its varying gradients, cambers and a range of corners which always show up any handling issues or quirks.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - riding 6.jpg

When it comes to comfort, the Émonda does have quite a firm ride; slightly firmer than I was expecting, to be honest. That said, my first ride was quite a long one and I didn’t feel any real discomfort when getting off the bike at the end, neither from the ride position or from being beaten up by the road surface, so comfort levels are well within the range of what I’d expect from a bike of this ilk.

One thing that I'll need to adapt to over the test period is the width of the top tube.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - top tube shape.jpg

As it leaves the head tube the top tube narrows, but as it reaches the seat tube it widens again before flowing into the seatstays. I was conscious of my thighs just brushing the sides of the top tube on each pedal revolution so I’ll possibly be tweaking my position over the next few weeks to see if I can get around that.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - seat stays 2.jpg

So, those are my findings to date – pretty positive all round. I’m looking forward to living with the Émonda over the coming weeks to see how things develop .

Stay tuned to road.cc for the full review. In the meantime, find out all about the technology behind the new Trek Émonda range here and go to www.trekbikes.com.

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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