About once a year a bike comes along for review at road.cc that I really don't want to send back, so I spin the test period out for as long as possible. The Émonda SLR 8 is the one for 2014. This is a bike that's astonishingly quick on the hills, flattering your climbing abilities, and it's easy to live with for long hours in the saddle.
The Émonda is a racer; of that there is no doubt. But unlike most of its ilk, it is still capable of taking a step back, dipping its toes into a wider, rougher world. For that, it’s our 2015 Bike of the Year.
Trek invested this featherweight with the liveliest feel of any Trek yet built and any true production bike aimed at the pure climbers. When the road points up and it's time to turn the screws and shed the fatties the Trek Emonda SLR8 is the ultimate climbing bike
The chassis is not only extremely light but also remarkably rigid and efficient. It's quick and responsive when you get on the gas and, as you'd expect with a total weight of just 6.19kg (13.65lb) without pedals, it's an absolute beast on steeper climbs, where that stiffness-to-weight ratio can really shine through.
Émonda: I have simply never ridden anything like it. if you have never ridden the lightest bike in the world I suggest you give it a try, even for kicks. Pulling away gives you the sense of having a tail-wind and built in electric motor all in one. Madone: The Madone is brutalist cycling architecture where everything plays second fiddle to straight-line speed over distance. Out on the road I have always found that Madone is a bike with an agenda. You forgive its propensity to kick back off bumps and be over-sharp into turns because it is devastatingly efficient at speed. Domane: With a low-slung BB and long chainstays with super-stable steering, just add a set of good wheels and 25c tyres the Domane is a literal go-anywhere, do-anything bike. It is astonishingly adept and stupidly compliant and comfortable. Everywhere. CYW: Trek Factory Racing were involved in the development of all recent Trek bikes. All Fabian's classic squad run the Domane and he likes it that way. The rest have switched to Emonda a
I’ve since travelled to Italy, and all over my regular Dorset stomping grounds with the Émonda, and not once have I come back disappointed. It’s a dream to ride uphill, and it carries on delivering over the top and down the other side. I haven’t, in over two months of testing, found a chink in the Émonda’s armour.
I'm a fan of long climbs. Put me on a bike, point it upward, and I'm good to go. The Émonda is a shoo-in for such rides. While I can keep gioing on climbs, long stretches of rollers can often leave me quite tenderized. I foudn the light weight of the Emonda made it a great partner for taking on my nemeses. The bike as whole is not just for climbing
Compare the Emonda SLR8 with another hot 58cm full-mechanical Dura-Ace build launched this summer, the 2015 S-Works Tarmac, and the Emonda SLR8 is $800 less and a pound-and-a-half lighter. Riders who could care less about the scale can get as excited about the Émonda as weight weenies. The Émonda is the liveliest bike Trek has ever made, combining scintillating road feel and ultra-low weights that don't rely on gimmicky builds or meaningless "advertised" frame weights
[Émonda] actually reminds me of my first road bike. Of course this bike is light-years more advanced, but it reminds me, in a way, of how simple and light my first one looked and felt. I was a complete mountain bike goon when I acquired my first skinny-wheeled ride, but I loved how light it was, and how fast I could go. That's the feeling I get on the new Emonda. It's super light and simple, and it doesn't have any crazy gimmicks. Trek kept the bike traditional looking, yet produced an amazing race bike.
Sure the bike is light and it shows this quality when the road heads upwards, but the way it sits on the road, the comfort and handling are all areas that I feel it excels in in equal measures. It may not be sold on these points but they are qualities that shouldn’t be overlooked.