Week two of the Tour went off with a bang... Read more →
This one goes to 7. Hot on the heels of a new 6 Series steed, the Domane, launched during last spring’s classics, Trek has launched an all new Madone just in time for the Tour start. The new flagship Madone leaves the 6 Series behind to become the very first 7 series Madone in the Trek family.
The new Madone earns its 7 by being so much more than just an update to the Madone launched in 2008. This is a radical reimagining of not just the previous Madone, but what a road bike should be. They began the introduction by stealing a page from Steve Jobs book. Trek president, John Burke, took the stage and announced three new bikes, an aero road bike, a super light road bike, and true to Madone heritage, a bike designed to be the ultimate GC racer. Of course, he was talking about one bike, the all new 2013 Madone.
The new Madone will be raced officially for the first time at Le Tour with this livery.
Where current thinking has gone, with the exception of SCOTT and their Foil, is two bikes, a dedicated lightweight GC bike and a separate aero road bike – the Specialized Venge and Tarmac, the Cervelo S5 and R5. This trend admits compromise. An aero bike isn’t going to have the stiffness-to-weight ratio a true GC bike has and a GC bike will never be as aero. Trek decided their technology had reached a point where they could achieve all these goals with no compromise. How’d they do it?
Kamm Tail For the Road
Reaching into the aero research that delivered the SpeedConcept TT bike they took the Kamm Tail design, the truncated airfoil, and applied it to the new Madone. While simulating a much deeper section than UCI rules allow it also pays off for stiffness. The blunt trailing edge is much better at staying true laterally than a sharp airfoil.
Trek went deeper than just tube shapes, and created their own SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo compatible Bontrager integrated brakes. The rear brake resides under the bottom bracket, like many TT bikes, leaving the rear seat stays with an incredibly clean look. The forks, and updated E2 tapered headtube fork with KammTail blades, accept those brakes on flattened crown and traditional brakes are not compatible.
According to Trek the bike saves 25watts at 40kph in a 10degree wind angle over last years Madone. That is a significant number, worth over 2 minutes after an hour of riding. Insiders at Trek say the bike matches up head to head with the Cervelo S5 and Specialized Venge very well and in fact is faster at some wind angles. Look for more details from the wind tunnel soon.
So, its aero, but what about light? How does 750 grams sound? Sure, its not the lightest frame on the planet, but its near enough as makes no difference, especially when you consider the aero benefit. They left no stone unturned in the race to lose weight, utilizing defense grade carbon only available in the US and Finite Element Analysis to dial the lay-up in perfectly. They even challenged their paint department to shave grams and were rewarded with a paint scheme called U5 Vapor Coat that weighs less than 5 grams.
The overall package was kept light by making weight reduction a priority everywhere. Those new brakes are bascally a dual pivot with two arms doing the job of three. A carbon front derailluer hanger, carbon water bottle bosses, BB90, carbon dropouts and their inverted seat mast all do their part in keeping the bike skinny.
Trek is very aware that their Madones have a very distinct ride quality and they did not want to sacrifice that for weight or aerodynamics. Of course the entire process of the lay-up and carbon selection plays a huge role in distilling that ride quality out of the new tube shapes but they found quite an ally in the new brake placement. With the rear brake now mounted in an area with inherent stiffness, the chain stays, the seat stays could really be allowed to invest the bike with more comfort, something Madones have always been known for.
Multpile headtube heights are another feature Madone aficionados will recognize. The new 7 Series gets H1 and H2 heights with a twist. Riders looking for the typical Madone fit will opt for the taller H2, while riders wanting to get really low and long will go H1, which is now lower and longer than previous H1 geometry. After all, the rider is the biggest part of the aero equation, and any aero bike needs to allow a rider to get low on the bars.
Happily we learned that the both the 7 series and 6 series are being built at their facility in Waterloo. With the Domane being outsourced to the far east we were concerned the trend would continue. Happily, Made in the USA is still a big part of Madone DNA.
Unlike most bike launches, which get us all worked up for a bike we cant get for another seven months, Trek has both 7 Series and 6 Series 2013 Madones available in their Project One shop now, as in hit www.trekbikes.com and you can order one today and have it 14 days later. The Madone will also come in 5 Series and aluminum 2 Series bikes which will be available later this summer.
The Madone 7.9 with Dura Ace Di2 and Bontrager Aeolus D3 Wheels will set you back $11,550. But all the new Madone technology can be had starting with a new Madone 6 series frame set for $3,650. Where you go from there is up to you.
We will be ride testing the new Madone tomorrow on the roads of Belgium, in and around the city of Liege. Stay tuned for a first ride report soon. We will find out if Trek has indeed been able to deliver an aero Madone with none of the compromises we all believed were the price of entry when it came to cheating the wind. According to Mr. Jens Voigt who took the stage flanked by teammates, Frank Schleck , Chris Horner and Andreas Kloden, “After the first two pedal strokes you say, ‘Oh, this is something different.'” We cant wait to find out.
Week two of the Tour went off with a bang... Read more →