2019 Trek Madone SLR 6 Disc Review – Life in the Fast Lane

Rating
/10

There are two types of cyclists in this world; those that want to go fast, and those that don’t. The upgraded and evolved, 2019 Trek Madone satisfies the appetite of those riders who dream about speed. Put yourself in the saddle of this bike for a second… You’re going flat-out… You’re dropping down on the handlebars… You’re tucking in your arms… You’re fixing your eyes on the speeding tarmac…. You’re hearing the bike pierce the air… You’re feeling the smooth roll of the wheels, every time you pedal… You’ve got rhythm, you’ve got symmetry, and you’re manufacturing speed like it’s nothing!

Our ride on the 2019 Madone is probably best described by what you’ve just read. Nothing but pure elegance from Trek’s flagship aero-road bike. We’ve mentioned that its fast. We’ve mentioned that it’s a wind weapon. But is it comfortable? As far as aerodynamically focused road bikes go, yes it is. Trek have managed to combine all three essential aspects of road bikes, into one. Lets find out how.

#1: Aerodynamics

The Madone SLR 6 follows a perfectly designed shape of a plane wing if you look it straight in the eyes. Trek’s 700 Series OCLV carbon fibre material forms the frame’s lightweight and aero features. The wind flow around and over the bike is seamless, and this is because of the down-tube that takes form in what Trek call, a KVF aero shape. Along with wing-like, Bontrager dropper handlebars; clinched by an aero stem, that uses the brand’s Blendr technology to integrate your cycling computer, without buying extra mounts. Even though the Madone is centred around aerodynamics, the designers at Trek kept a clear mind in adding practical features to the bike itself.  

#2: Comfort

Comfort is key with any road bike, especially if you intend to spend more than 2 hours in the saddle. The Madone’s comfort levels are acceptable for a bike of its standard. It comes with an adjustable Top-Tube IsoSpeed decoupler, which lets the seat post flex under impacts from irregular roads. The bar and stem of the bike, are also adjustable and can allow you to fine tune how the bike handles. Bontrager’s Montrose Elite lightweight saddle also made a difference in comfort. It was less restricting to leg movement and was quite well cushioned.

#3: Quality

Components can make or break any bike. Trek, however, are well acquainted with desires of road bike riders. Therefore, when questioning what components were best for the Madone, they looked at what was the most functional. For starters, going with flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes made braking solid and reliable on the Madone SLR 6. Minimizing the strain on your hands. And that’s a point a we’ll always argue. Integrating with the disc brakes was Shimano’s Ultegra drivetrain that literally gets smoother every time you shift.

Specs:

  • Frame-set: Frame700 Series OCLV Carbon
  • Wheels: Bontrager Aeolus Comp 5 Disc Tubeless Ready
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra, 11-speed.
  • Saddle: Bontrager Montrose Elite
  • Seatpost: Madone carbon seatpost, 25 mm offset w/integrated light mount
  • Handlebar: Madone-specific adjustable aero VR-CF, internal cable routing
  • Grips: Bontrager tape
  • Stem: Madone-specific internal cable routing
  • Brake-set: Shimano Ultegra flat-mount hydraulic disc
  • Total Bike Weight: 56cm – 8.38 kg

Trek’s road bike geometry is always on point, and provides riders with a little bit of everything, from responsive handling to rider proportional sizing. The Madone SLR 6 makes use of the brand’s H1.5 FIT frame measurements. Which have been tried and tested countless times, with the Trek Segafredo, and Drops cycling teams. You can play around and find out what geometry works for you. However, our test bike was 56cm frame size, with which we got a 73.3-degree seat post angle, and 73.5-degree head-tube angle.

Keep it Fast and Low!

The Madone SLR 6 is like a fighter jet on steroids! Its unique and full-out aerodynamic design can pierce the air efficiently. The bike creates an ideal setup that almost comes as a second nature, to duck-down into an aero-tuck. Which gets you out of the full brunt of wind resistance.

Having been tested and raced by pro teams around the world at grand tours and one day events, Trek’s Madone has a perfect design for climbing and descending. Its low and fast! The cassette on the Ultegra drivetrain can feel like its meant for really hard pedaling, with its smaller gear ratio. Nevertheless, it was lenient enough to get us up a fair amount hills, without burning out. One thing that we really like about aero road bikes, is the stiffened up frame. During a sprint you simply have to pick a line with the bike, and it holds it. No matter how hard you hit the pedals. The same can be said coming down descends. It didn’t wobble around, instead it was smooth and firm, even when banking on corners. The slightly thicker handlebars supplied good grip, and great control over this race horse.

Negatives:

A good review is never complete without a few criticisms over a bike or product. And so sadly, yes. There were a few things we didn’t like on the Madone SLR 6. Mainly, the tyres. We’re not sure if this was just a bad batch of rubber, but we had a lot of punctures! Most of the punctures’ cause was from a simple stone, and we couldn’t fathom why. It could’ve been that we were running the tyre pressure too high, and thus we lowered it. Alas, no-luck. The punctures still accrued. We eventually put it down to the fact that Bontrager’s R3 Hard-case Lite tyre set, are not that durable. In fact, that’s quite a hick-up, because it’s enough to dampen your mood on a ride. Perhaps a tyre swap on this bike model, to one with a harder compound, is in order.

Verdict

The big question is, does the 2019 Trek Madone SLR 6 Disc do enough to break away from the pack, and get you to the finish first? In our opinion, it does! As far as technology goes, the brand’s IsoSpeed and smoothly moulded carbon fibre, along with integrated disc brakes, are able to enhance your performance greatly. While the bike did lack a bit of agility, and the tyres weren’t impressive, the Madone is still elite when it comes to speed. It’ll keep you living life in the fast lane!

Price: 98 999.00 – 2019 Trek Madone SLR 6 Disc

Joel Meintjes

Joel Meintjes

Joel's goal is to help you become an expert in the field of cycling. He has helped many riders decide on buying new bikes and coached a handful of young aspiring riders. He's been on the bike and on the roll since 2013, and has gained bucket's full of knowledge from his tinkering with bicycles.

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