The Trek Madone has always been at the forefront of bike technology, the bike has had numerous wins to its name under some of the best bike riders in the world. For many years Lance Armstrong was at the forefront of the Madone’s technical advancements.
The Madone is named after the Col De La Madone a 12k climb which Armstrong used as his self-testing ground. The Madone was the successor to the much loved 5000 series bike and was launched in 2003. It has come a long way since then.
The Madone has been Treks flagship bike for showcasing the achievement of their bike tech boffins. For example the introduction of the integrated seat mast and Kammtail design. Up to 2010 the Madone was a serious lightweight racing bike. In 2010 the game changed, as manufacturers started to introduce outright aero bikes there needed to be some distinction to the everyday lightweight climber (initially a category reserved for less stiff, more comfortable and lighter bikes. So Trek joined that fray with the Emonda and it’s record breaking lightness. It was also time for the Madone to shift to outright aero - tube shapes changed and stiffness was increased. This was the dawn of the iconic Madone we see today, with innovative features like hidden direct mount brakes.
2016 was when the Madone went serious aero, with hidden cables and an integrated handlebar and stem. The Madone 9 series was one of the first bikes to have no cables on show, routed through the bar, down the headtube and then to the various components. The bike is utterly distinctive, unlike many of the other aero bikes on offer, which look very similar across manufacturers (except the Venge Vias which has now been retired). The watt hunters dream is the mechanics nightmare though with the aero set up being tricky to work on.
The latest Madone SLR is a combination of all that Trek have learnt about aerodynamics and integration. The new integrated bar and stem gives the user more flexibility as different bar angles can be achieved and stem length and bar width can be swapped around unlike the previous fixed set up. Trek have also mirrored tech from the Domane with the iso speed decoupler. In this version the adjustment is in the top tube and it makes for a -17 to +21 degree stiffness variance from the previous version. One of the biggest changes with Arguably the biggest change though is the addition of a disc braked model which although make it heavier than the rim version, it is more aero due to the integration.
The Madone has come a long way since it was first introduced, it wins races at the highest level of cycling, whilst still being a bike which can be enjoyed by the regular rider. It’s distinctive, iconic and now more user friendly.