Emondas-1
  • BRK

    To be honest… there’s not really anything about this bike that makes me want it. My initial reaction, in a word – Uninspiring. Just sayin’.

    • Neil

      I’ve got to agree. I’m not sure why I should want an Emonda. Trek seem to be putting all it’s eggs in the lightweight basket, but once you get beyond the $17000 model, they aren’t actually that light. For the SL, I could by an Addict 20 for the same money that is lighter, more compliant and more aero.

    • RiderBobo

      Try riding one and you will soon change your mind.

  • Moneybagsihavenot

    $8,499 for mechanical ultegra, dreaming.

    • Hamish Moffatt

      And $5000 more than the SL6 just to save 750g? More dreamining.

      • bob

        especially when half of that can be gained by upgrading the wheels

        • Stompin

          .. or losing some body weight ;-)

    • Seb

      Not a fan of this bike personally for a few reasons, but I’ll have to pull you up on that point. I think too many manufacturers, and as a result consumers, focus far too much on the groupset a bike has on it. The frame, wheels and tires make a far bigger difference to the ride quality, performance, and dynamics of a bike than the marginal differences between any reasonable groupset- with 11-speed it’s basically just a matter of weight (and declining longevity as you get more expensive). Moreover, groupsets are easy to upgrade later. If anything, this is the one thing I think Trek have gotten right with this bike: through selling it on account of the frame as opposed to based on the groupset on the frame.

      • Hamish Moffatt

        The groupset might not be that important but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to ask for Dura Ace prices for Ultegra.

        • jules

          I agree. I’m fairly confident that Trek are making a fat margin on sales of the SLR-6 – how much extra would Dura Ace cost and does it matter when you’re already at $8.5k? having said that, I reckon Ultegra is very high quality and I doubt there’d be much noticeable gain. but I suspect that’s not necessarily the point for someone dropping that money on a new bike.

          • Jessy Vee

            I agree, Jules. I don’t think there’s a big enough performance difference between Ultegra and DuraAce (for your average 100-400km a week non-pro) to warrant spending the extra money on a groupset that will wear out quicker. Perhaps a better compromise would be a mix of Ultegra and DuraAce components? DA hoods, brakes, derailleurs and Ultegra chain, cassette, rings?

  • Nath

    17 grand should buy a lot more than a non-offensive all-rounder. Vanilla makes this look interesting.

    • Nath

      Or should I say ‘This makes vanilla look interesting’ : )

    • OS

      Yeah, but “The bike obeyed my every instruction” says the reviewer. LOL what bike doesnt turn when you turn the handlebars?

  • Shan

    I have always found Trek bikes to be over hyped and over priced…and rarely ridden by the serious or fast people around where I live. At nearly all price ranges you get a bike that is loaded up with Bontrager parts and other in-house/generic crap. For the money, at this price range, and at others, you could get a Cervelo, BMC, or Scott frame with Ultegra or Dura Ace and Zipp or high end Mavic wheels… I hate to put it this way but I feel Trek bikes are for people with more money than sense…

    • VK

      I couldn’t agree more. It surprises me when some people actually regard these generic brands – Bontrager, Roval as premium products. Generic components used to appear on lower range model and it was quite funny how a Giant retailer recently tried to convince me why it is justifiable to pay more for the Propel SL0 because it has a generic integrated handlebar. Unfortunately, most manufactures are moving down this path as a cost cutting measure.

      • Richard Smith

        I totally get that you don’t get much romance from a Bontrager component (be it wheels, bars, stem or anything else) and it can seem almost ridiculous to build up a non-Trek bike with Bontrager components… HOWEVER in my experience they are really damn good almost without exception. I’ve owned handlebars, stems, wheels, bottle cages and never been let down. It’s all really solid kit that works well and the higher end stuff is very competitive weight-wise. The top end Aeolus wheels in particular are sublime – excellent rim shape and depth options, proper DT Swiss hub internals, and hand made in the USA. I think you’d be hard pressed to do better from any manufacturer. The only Bonty component I can recall owning and not getting on with too well is the RXXXL bottle cages which don’t hold bottles as securely as I’d like (although I’ve never actually lost one; they just rattle a bit) – but really what did I expect from a 15g bottle cage!?

        • VK

          Yes Richard, you are right. Maybe I should elaborate a little further. I am also a brand advocate for Bontrager. I ride Focus and Time bikes and both of them have Bontrager’s Serano saddles, I just like the shape, quality and most importantly – price! Cycles Galleria in Melbourne always do me a good deal on Bontrager products. I have also previously used the RXXL handlebar, really light weight but found it to be too flexible. My MTB and commuting shoes are both Bontrager, again, because they are economical and good quality. However, I just don’t see how Trek can justify the price tags of their top of the range bikes using generic components since the brand has been somewhat diluted as their being used across their lesser range and can be found all over the shelves of their dealers. A good example is Focus’ Izalco Max range topping model using THM brakes, Schmolke seatpost, I don’t even know these brands, but they appear to be premium product from smaller specialised component producers – and hence the more hefty price tag.

        • jules

          there’s nothing wrong with Bontrager. I’m just saying that I rock Campy SR, that’s all. have you seen my bike? there’s only 5 in the country like it.

          • Sean

            What do you ride? I always assumed you didn’t ride.

            • jules

              ride? I’m more of a collector

    • disqusting

      what, objectively, makes the cervelo or bmc or scott frames superior, other than the sticker?

      brand whores in bicycling are the funniest

  • velocite

    “Thus it seems the Émonda is defined more by the absence of any sensation rather than what can be felt by the rider”. That sounds like the real summary, thanks Matt!
    A couple of years ago I spent a week in the Pyrenees on a hired Scott and a week in the Alps on a hired Giant. The Scott I loved. It was like an Alfa Romeo, in that you were immediately comfortable with chucking it around. The Giant was..well, there was nothing wrong with it, it was fine, but bland. Not memorable. This Trek sounds like that Giant. Not on my wish list.

  • Abdu

    Not an original concept (car reviews do it all the time), but I like this bike vs. bike comparison. More please.

  • Ragtag

    Good useful, balanced review Matt. Thanks. Comparisons are infinitely more useful than standalone reviews, since in the real world we do make comparisons. Could you do a few more? May I suggest the CAAD12 vs CAAD10? Cheers.

    • De Mac

      I think that many people would be interested in such a comparison.

    • bob

      Amen to this

  • Tomer

    I would go for a 5000$ bike, but invest in a good set of wheels and some aero snug jersey and bib, cost a lot less and does a big impact.

    • echidna_sg

      right now with the 2016 models beginning to roll out you can get those $10k bikes for $5k+ anyway… just in 2015 colours…

    • Stirrer

      Don’t forget your clear plastic safety goggles from Bunnings, save heaps on silly Oakleys.

      • Tomer

        I use Rudy Project, Oakley too expensive :-)

        • sss

          I use clear plastic safety glasses pinched from work :)

  • philipmcvey

    I own a Domane and was interested in trying the Emonda. The Domane is a fantastic all round bike, but I was after something more ‘nippy’ in terms of acceleration and handling. I had a longish ride on an SL6 which included some moderate dragging climbs – I didn’t have it long enough to get to any actual ‘hills’. My main take out was that the Iso Speed on the Domane really does work, as the Emonda clunked over rough patches of tarmac where the Domane glides. So, my main impression from riding the Emonda was how well another bike worked. It is smooth and it is slightly – only slightly – stiffer in the head tube and BB than the Domane, but it’s not the kind quantum leap in responsiveness I was imagining. I wouldn’t call it compromised, but it doesn’t seem to excel in anything. And I don’t think that’s enough in a market packed with choices. As for spending thousands more on the SLR? Madness.

  • kpny1

    Sounds like a Honda Accord. Nice enough ride, well appointed, but with no soul. The ride is uninspiring, but gets you there safely. Meh.

    I had a trek fuel EX mtn bike and liked it a lot…until I started to experiment with other brands.

  • kasual

    “The use of the highest-grade carbon affords the SLR a weight saving of
    over 300g when compared to the SL but almost triples the price of the
    frameset.”

    Not to mention domestic manufacturing.

    • peteonbike

      But it is made from 700 series carbon fibre.

      You may not realise,
      700 Series OCLV – The lightest, strongest carbon lay-up in the cycling world, built from military grade materials available only in NATO countries. 700 Series OCLV is the ultimate combination of superior modulus and superior strength, and it’s only from Trek.

      By using optimum compaction low void Trek are able to build a carbon frame with an acronym most other manufacturers can only dream of. If you aren’t one of the 28 NATO member countries you may have to look elsewhere to source your carbon fibre and try an obtain that blend of superior modulus and superior strength.

      • kasual

        Thanks for the Trek marketing copy.

        Yes, I realize it’s made from a superior material. I was pointing out that domestic manufacture also increases the cost.

      • bob

        isnt there 1000 series carbon fibres that the level above 700 series…i know the dogma f8 uses it

        • jules

          i’m unsure that > series no. automatically = better

      • Kim

        How much commission Peteonbike?

        • disqusting

          i think the joke went over your head

  • jules

    no mention of the key spec for its target market – rider weight limit?

  • Sam

    Quite a few bikes seems to be getting these good but not great reviews, which is fair enough as its probably hard to stand out in these times when most brands are able to make competent bikes.
    In your experience Matt which bike would deliver the extra pizazz that the Emonda seems to be missing among its direct competitors in the super lightweight segment?

    • jules

      “extra pizazz”… ahhhhhhh! :-)

    • Ah, that’s a compelling question, one that has kept me preoccupied for some years. The answer all starts with the individual’s definition of pizzazz, but of course, there’s more than one answer. In fact, the answer probably changes with time, and could even vary like a mood. Hence the correct number of bikes is n+1 with perhaps n+1 wheelsets to fine-tune the performance of each.

      • Ragtag

        Ok fair enough. Maybe a rephrase then of the above query: In present times which bike meets your pizzazz criteria Matt? Thanks.

        • Canyon’s Ultimate CF SLX is a recent standout, as was Storck’s Aeroad and Basso’s Diamante. And then there was Moots’ Vamoots CR too. The longer I dwell on this question, the bikes I can think of, like Scott’s Addict.

          We’ve been tossing one idea around the office recently, a kind of challenge: what bike would you get if you had $7K to spend?

          • Ragtag

            Thanks. I will be very interested to know the results of your office survey. Perhaps a forthcoming article?

          • Sean Doyle

            For that sort of money it’s custom metal. No brainer but then I’m biased.

          • Nathan Hosking

            So the Addict gets an 8.8 and ‘pizzazz’ status while the Emonda scores a near identical 8.6 yet achieves ‘boring’ status?

            • There’s not much that separates any of these bikes, it’s a matter of nuance really. If riding a bike is like conducting a conversation, then the Emonda talks in whispers while the Addict is audible and the BH Ultralight is quite shouty. So what kind of conversationalist would like to hang out with?

  • Stompin

    I think Trek and Giant are bland as you can get. If I’m going to spend $5k+… I want more than a souped up Camry.

  • DL

    Slightly off topic as not about SL6 or SLR6 but SL5. I have test riden the Emonda SL5 today. My usual bike is old 2011 Trek 2.3 which I love however it is due for an upgrade. My short experience with Emonda is that it is not a amazing bike, but it will be my next bike. I don’t need excellent bike. i don’t even know if such exist. It meets my demands: speed, weight, components, ride quality and comfort. And obviously the price. The geometry is perfect. New 105 groupset is excellent. I don’t need anything more.

  • Sean Doyle

    I think what Trek have done with these bikes is perfect. They’ve created bikes that are dependable, handle appropriately and tick all the boxes that are real world performance considerations. I think most people kind of miss the point of where these bikes have ended up. When your tired at the end of a road race or a GF you don’t want the bike to be a bucking bronco. You just want to be there and only doing what’s asked of it. Anything under 7kg is light and is going to climb well. Anything approaching 6kg is, well, illegal to race on anyway for road racing. This is an all day big km bike. If you want a crit bike which everyone seems to want to ride these days, and not appropriately skilled at in a lot of cases, then there are better choices.
    The Bontrager range is probably amongst some of the best out there. Just because it has the B on it does not mean they are not worthy of competing in the same market as other big name high end brands like Zipp, Enve, Mavic etc. etc. People are free to buy what they want and spend the money they want but I’ll guarantee that the highly strung fancy Euro uber light weight parts are a bitch to look after at times and are a lot more fragile in some cases. At this level it’s not the components holding you back.
    The price point is up there. Especially when you consider how much manufacturing and technology go into similar priced mtb. It makes road bikes seem like they are taking the piss.The SL6 with Ultegra would be a perfect bike for a lot of people. Get the model that’s been run out and score a great bike.

    • jules

      of course, you can get away with racing a pimped out bike that squeezes under the limit, but the minute you turn up on an Emonda :)

      • Sean Doyle

        I have no doubt a lot of bikes these days are under the limit at the amateur level, except for championship events where they are weighed. Even then……. I couldn’t care less to be honest. If your bike is 6kg then good for you. it doesn’t make a lick of difference with the racing we have in Australia. I have raced and won on a bike that weighed 8.5kg. On a slightly hilly course too. Shock horror! I only know it weighed that much because I had to get it weighed before the State Crit Champs. Point being that if you’re buying a bike based on how much it weighs then you’re restricting yourself to a narrow field of choice where there are compromises.
        All with a smile.

  • Les

    testing

  • Les

    For what its worth, I purchased a glossy black Emonda SL8 (D/A) eight months ago in December 2014. It has the RXL wheelset, XXX carbon bar and carbon railed paradigm saddle. It weighs <7kg with pedals, bottle cages and all extras. I previously owned a 2010 six series Madone with SRAM componentry and DT swiss Tricon wheels (total weight was 6.4 kgs), a 2008 six series Madone and before that, a bright orange Orbea with Ultegra. I have also ridden other bikes, hiring bikes in the Pyrenees and Colorado (Focus Cayo, Bianchi Infinito with DI2 and a Giant Defy) to ride classic mountain rides and I have owned/own various mountain, hybrid and fixie bikes.
    I'm no tester, but I have never ridden a better bike than the Emonda. It is easily the best bike I have ever ridden. The first thing I noticed was the instant acceleration and the way the bike tracked down hill. Of course, it goes great uphill and sprints well. Especially noteworthy is the comfort, it doesn't bounce over the rough roads so prevalent around Brisbane and the Gold Coast and beat me up on long rides (8 hrs+) and is brilliant on shorter rides. I think the bike is a fair dinkum all rounder. As I mentioned, the bike is better descender than anything I've ridden (especially in comparison to the twitchy Bianchi I hired for several days in Aspen), with 23 mm wide rubber and especially with wider tyres (currently testing 28 mm tyres, but will go for 25 mm tubeless next). I don't require affirmation on my bike choice, but I still get comments about having a nice bike, including one last Sunday from a guy riding a very nice Willier with Campag Record. I was amused by people writing in this column that the Emonda is boring and bland, like a family friendly Camry. People can say what they like, no matter how ill informed, but in my view, the bike is a brilliant all-rounder and a future classic. I love every ride.

  • Nathman

    Thanks for another great review but for all the ‘bland’ talk it’s getting on here, I’m surprised the Emonda scored an overall 8.6 from CTech while the much praised Scott Addict then only got a similar score of 8.8! So it seems there’s not much practical difference apart from personal preference…

    And BTW, you can dress up any ‘boring’ looking bike by getting creative with socks/biddons and kit, anything can work!

    (PS – I tested both and went for the SL6 thanks to the seatpost design… My Avanti Corsa DR race bike is stiff as fark, so OK then maybe I’m leaning towards being comfort biased)

    • We’re always quick to pigeon hole the things around us, I suppose it helps us understand their significance to us (or it conserves our RAM for more important matters). I’m always reluctant to use a single word to sum up a bike when the differences between them are often a matter of nuance. So I relate what I know about the bike and use a scoring system that provides a relative measure of its strengths and weaknesses. It’s quite satisfying that the scores show how close the bikes can be when the words used to describe them can have vastly different connotations.

  • Ralph

    It’s a pity Trek got sucked into this lightness thing, the Domane and Madone are/were both great bikes which people seem to go for, whereas the Emonda is just ‘meh’. Maybe the marketing department got in control..

    • Sean Doyle

      That because a lot of people still equate light weight with superior bikes. They are hedging their bets on all facets of consumers.

  • RiderBobo

    I bought an SL6 at the end of March 2015 and have ridden it almost 7,500 kms. I have a Specialized Roubaix I use for a winter bike now here in British Columbia.

    I have only been cycling for 3+ years and just love the Emonda.

    I would recommend that the naysayers ride one before they throw out all the disparaging comments.

  • Martin

    I find it interesting that the more stiff SLR isn’t less comfortable ride than SL. That’s good.

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