Back in 2003, in the Lance era, Trek introduced their flagship race machine to the world, the Trek Madone. Named after the Col de la Madone, an infamous 12K climb in the French town of Menton, the Madone would soon become the most sought after bicycle on roads.
Over the next decade, the Madone would win multiple grand tours (not including the Lance "victories") and continued to evolve and re-shape what it meant to be a super bike.
Being a Wisconsin native, I have owned several Trek Madones in my day, including a Discovery Channel replica, circa 2006, and most recently a 2014 7 series. 2016 has marked the most unique changes to this historic race machine and I had to get my hands on one, for obvious reasons. Lucky for me, The Timex Team is fortunate to have a great partner in Trek, and that partnership afforded me the opportunity to get my hands on their new super bike - The Project one, Race Shop Limited H1 fit, OCLV 700 series carbon, Trek Madone.
It's been a little chilly here in Boulder, CO, but it warmed up just enough to take the new ride out for her maiden voyage. Here are some pictures and thoughts on Trek's new masterpiece.
The Madone's front end is the most notably unique part of bike. A proprietary bar/stem combo, proprietary headset cap and spacers, a completely redesigned fork with a unique steer tube, recessed brake, and last but not least, those wings!
The Vector Wings were a mystery to me - what did they do? After riding, even sprinting with the bike, it was clear that the wings don't really "engage" while riding. The wings are used to allow the front brake to be fully tucking into the frame for superior aerodynamics. When the bars are turned to a more extreme angle, the wings are engaged so the interior brake has somewhere to go - pushing the wings outwards.
The integration and cleanliness of the front end is unmatched by anything else on the market. Literally the only visible cable housing, or cable for that matter, is the inch-worth of cable housing visible from the opening on the non-drive side headset cap - that's it!
I'm a pretty flexible rider and after a professional bike fit it was clear I could get away with no additional spacers between the headset cap and the stem. For those needing a bit more height in the front end, Trek provides you with plenty of spacers so you can dial in your perfect height. Also something to note is the built in 5mm spacer on the top of the bar/stem. As most know, it is industry standard to have at least a 5mm spacer on top of your stem when you have a carbon steer tube. With the Madone stem, that spacer is built in so the top cap can sit flush on top of the stem, rather than have an ugly spacer on top - makes your bike look so much cleaner.
More integration is seen with the internal Control Center. I am running Di2 so this control center holds a 5-Port junction box where all the e-tube wires come together. The junction box is also the battery charging location and is easily accessible without a single tool. The Di2 micro trim button is also accessible for micro adjustments on the fly.
The integrated seat post has a unique dual tightening system. It seems to be aerodynamic and is very accessible when needing to adjust - no odd, tight angles to maneuver. The seat rail clamp is one of my favorite features of the bike. You torque the rails down to specification and then rotate the seat-mast topper to fine tune the adjustment. All in all, it is super easy to adjust your seat to the proper position, and once you have the position you want, it tightens down and doesn't budge.
Stealing technology from the Domane and Boone range, the Madone also features the IsoSpeed decoupler. I can't say I feel any movement down there when riding, but I think that's the point. You know it's soaking up some of those bumps, but your power transfer isn't effected one bit. I can say the front end is a lot less forgiving than the rear end - must be the IsoSpeed.
If you have a Trek Speed Concept, these Madone brakes will seem very familiar. They are both direct-mount and center-pull which equates to lots of braking power. They are also extremely easy to adjust with two micro adjustment screws on either side. They don't seem to have the same power that a traditional Shimano Dura Ace direct-mount brake would have, and they are a bit heavier, but once you swing a leg over the bike it's clear the brakes work, and work well. Some of Trek's competitors can't say the same with their integrated aero brakes - I'll take the tad bit heavier brakes any day of the week.
My new Madone only has about 70 miles on it so far, but I've got to say, it's easily the best bike I've ever ridden. Weighing in at just about 15.5lbs as show, it's light, fast and stiff. Coming from riding other aero bikes from a few different manufacturers, it's clear to me that Trek has taken everything one step further. This truly is a super bike.
Rider: 5'11" (155lbs)
Frame: Trek Madone H1 Size 56 (Nude Carbon Matte Finish)
Bar/Stem: Bontrager 110mm stem with 42cm wide bars
Groupset: Shimano Dura Ace 9070 Di2
Crank: Shimano Dura Ace 172.5 (53/39)
Cassette: Shimano Dura Ace 11/28
Chain: ICE Technologies - Shimano Dura Ace (Ultegra chain shown)
Bar Tape: Shimano PRO
Bottle Cages: Shimano PRO Carbon
Wheels: Bontrager Carbon Aeolus D3
Tires: Continental GP 4000s ii