Saturday, November 1, 2014

Trek Émonda SLR 8 ridden and reviewed

SLR 8 = ÉSS-EL-ARE-ATE = Accelerate

ac·cel·er·ate verb 
  1. (of a vehicle (Bicycle?) or other physical object) begin to move more quickly.
  • increase in amount or extent
  • undergo a change in velocity

At its unveiling in Australias TrekWorld in July the new Émonda SLR 10 was the most talked about product on show. The incredibly low 4.65kg (size 56) fighting weight certainly attracted a lot of attention; so too did the lofty $16,000 asking price. Surely we are reaching the limits of what is achievable with bicycle production.
The Émonda is a series of 18 models (not just one bike), including:

Trek Émonda SLR 9 WSD | $12999rrp
We LOVE the Chi Red of  the Trek Émonda SLR 9 WSD

Sure the pinnacle of production road bikes is the SLR10, but just a few steps down from this unobtainium bike is the SLR 8, with a 40% $$ saving.
Trek Émonda SLR 10 | 'unobtainium'
Trek Émonda SLR 10 | World's lightest production road bike

 Émonda (or  French verb émonder): to prune or cut.OR...less poetically, an anagram of M-A-D-O-N-E or D-O-M-A-N-E.

Émonda is light, there IS no denying this. But look beyond the scales and you'll see a remarkably well-balanced road bike that will continually impress from the second you get on board. Bontrager's direct-mount brakes offer a the perfect balance of modulation and power that we have never experienced.
Bontrager direct mount brakes
Bontrager direct mount brakes

Shove it hard into the hairpin off One Tree Hill and you can control your speed at will; supremely confident from the hoods or drops. Trek opted for a seat stay rear caliper on the Émonda, like a 'proper' bike,  rather than the aero position under the chainstay like the Madone.

....believe the hype, Émonda climbs beautifully. We couldn't believe how well, either in or out of the saddle. Needless to say, the reason won't be the bike if you can't beat your best times up Haddock Drive. But we know it's a lot to do with the efficient engineering as much as it's weight. There's magic built into this frame with a broad, flat downtube and BB90 bottom bracket providing an incredibly solid pedalling platform with no perceptible flex, even under Thunder's 'sprinter' legs. The excellent Dura-Ace crankset is...well....excellent, as always; And, "Make mine mechanical," says Matty. Brilliance is not just about the pedalling platform; the spec of the rest of this build is amazing, including the Bontrager Race X Lite TLR wheels.

So if not all about the weight, what's the ride quality like? We think it's nicely balanced front to rear, 'cat-like'; with gentle bzzz filtering up from the road through the frame equally to the handlebar and the seat. For Epic rides, this vibration could deaden the feel a bit, but your performance won't be compromised. Émonda isn't designed with comfort as the main goal, that's Domane's domain. 
Yep, Émonda was built to be a featherweight, but the ride will blow your socks off. Trek didn't sacrifice the ride over grams.