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Trek Madone Race Shop Ltd | Review | Cycling Weekly
The Trek Madone Race Shop Ltd frame is the highest spec offered by Trek and is fabricated from 700 Series OCLV carbon – which Trek claims is the lightest and the strongest in the cycling world.
As soon as the Trek Madone was unveiled, existing aero bike designs with external cables flapping in the wind instantly looked antiquated.
We have previously reviewed the Trek Madone 9.9 in the H2 geometry, which is more relaxed, but here we present the higher-spec Trek Madone Race Shop Ltd. The bike is the same as used by Trek-Segafredo and features higher-grade carbon-fibre and a more aggressive geometry.
The Trek Madone might have had controversial origins with its name coming from Lance Armstrong’s favourite training climb, but don’t let that put you off.
The Race Shop Ltd frame is the highest spec offered by Trek and is fabricated from 700 Series OCLV carbon – which Trek claims is the lightest and the strongest in the cycling world.
While I haven’t performed quantitative stiffness to weight tests, the Madone certainly feels very stiff, while also being impressively light.
Changing to SRAM Red and tubs would no doubt lead towards a sub UCI 6.8kg build. A key difference to the lower spec models is the geometry with the Race Shop Ltd available in Trek’s aggressive H1 geometry. This translates to a longer top tube and shorter head tube than the more relaxed H2 fit.
There are loads of neat details such as a port in the down tube to allow easy access to the junction box and the Vector wings that help keep the front brake integrated.
Aside from the heavy integration and hidden cables, the key frame detail is the IsoSpeed Decoupler on the seatpost. Similar to that found on the cobble-conquering Domane, this feature offers great levels of compliance and comfort without compromising bottom bracket stiffness.
How easy is it to work on?
To find out, I took it apart. I switched the brakes from Euro to ‘moto’ style and also changed the handlebar and stem for a size I preferred.
Trek’s manual for the bike is very thorough and well set out, meaning that if you follow the instructions, things work well.
Changing the handlebars and routing the cables is no less or more difficult than that on an aero bike with external head tube cables, such as the Canyon Aeroad or Cervélo S5.
On bikes like the S5 and Aeroad, you still route cables internally through the aero handlebar and frame. The only difference is that they enter the frame externally on the head tube rather than through the top of the head tube such as on the Madone.
Cruicial to this working is Trek’s clever design of the integrated stem and head tube spacers which are all split, meaning they can be removed or added without having to undo cables – a design flaw found on the Cervélo P5 TT bike.
I think it’s an easy and therefore lazy criticism to label the Trek Madone as impractical and hard to work on compared to other bikes with internally routed cables on the handlebar and frame. Let’s face it, most bikes have internally routed cables now.
The brakes have impressed me too.
In terms of power and stiffness Shimano Dura-Ace are still top of the pile for me, but Trek’s integrated brakes are very good and, crucially, easy to adjust.
Changing cables is much easier than you might think too. The brake cable outers route internally through the frame, meaning that when you come to change the cable, the outer is there as a guide.
Other bikes typically use a small section of outer once the cable exits the frame. This helps reduce some weight, but thanks to the high spec OCLV 700 carbon, the Madone is in no need of a diet.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.com/reviews/road-bikes/trek-madone-race-shop-ltd#7elijMLpUi1G4vHT.99
The Trek Madone and Venge ViAS are very close aerodynamically. Although we did repeat runs the results are so close they are potentially within the realm of experimental error, with both bikes representing the fastest available. The Madone has drool-inducing looks, class-leading aerodynamics and is also comfortable thanks to the IsoSpeed decoupler. It is also impressively light for such an aero design. If I could race on any road bike, the Trek Madone would be it.
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