Trek merge the aero Madone with the lightweight Émonda, following the all-round racing bike trend. Thus, the Émonda is history and the Madone is now a whole lot lighter. We put the all-purpose racer to the test on the steep climbs, fast descents, and flat plateaus of Ávila, Spain. Can it deliver? Read on to find out.

Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 | € 13,999 | 7.04 kg (size M/L) | Manufacturer’s website

The bike and the concept are new, but the name Madone remains. On the one hand, Trek want to stick to the established name of their flagship race bike and, on the other hand, coming up with a new name in the Trek drop bar line-up isn’t easy due to the anagrammatic naming convention. So, Madone continues to stand for the fastest race bike in the Trek cosmos, the 8th generation of which has become significantly lighter.

It’s not just end users that struggled choosing the right Trek for the job: Do you want a very light or a very fast bike? Even the pros were confronted with this dilemma before and after every race, wondering which bike will be or would have been the right one. The feedback received from the Lidl-Trek UCI WorldTour Team was unanimous: a Madone weighing 6.8 kg would definitely be the bike of choice. To achieve this ambitious goal, Trek’s development team had to break new ground in terms of both the aero concept and material choice.

Merging the Émonda and Madone

The Trek Madone and Émonda had the same geometry, so pros didn’t have to get used to changing bikes. But the two bikes looked very different. While the Émonda stood out with its delicate carbon stays and accessories, the Madone was characterised by elongated tube shapes, a deep aero seat post, and the striking IsoFlow cut-out in the seat tube.

The latter also dominates the look of the new Madone, as Trek have kept the IsoFlow concept for compliance at the rear. Overall, however, the frame and, above all, the fork have become significantly skinnier, which is undeniable when looking at the area around the IsoFlow cut-out. It almost looks a little fragile due to the skinny carbon stays. But don’t worry, like all Trek bikes, the frame is approved for a gross weight of up to 125 kg.

Svelte! The seat stays clearly show the new Madone’s all-round ambitions.

You can see that Trek have saved weight when looking at the shape of the Gen 8 frame:

The tubes are much skinnier than those on the previous Madone, and Trek were able to save a particularly large amount of weight on the fork. In fact, Trek’s development team achieved their goal of making the frame lighter than the Émonda. A painted M/L frameset is claimed to weigh just 1,146 g. That’s a whole 320 g lighter than the frame of the previous Madone SLR Gen 7.

However, the slightly more aerodynamically optimised components like the cockpit and wheels are a bit heavier than those of the climbing specialist Émonda, the complete bike of which tipped the scales at an impressive 6.8 kg, thereby maxing out the UCI weight limit. The flagship version of the new Madone on test weighs just around 240 g more.

Saving so much weight without sacrificing aero gains was no easy task. The material used plays an important role here, setting new quality standards with OCLV 900 carbon. This is around 20% stronger than the previous OCLV 800 variant, which in turn allows Trek to use less material while achieving the same level of stiffness.

The new carbon is further optimised through a revised moulding process. A preformed bladder inside the mould ensures a more precise material distribution and less wrinkles on the inside of the frame, thus further reducing weight. However, the new carbon fibre and optimised moulding process are exclusive to the SLR line. The SL models are still made from OCLV 500 carbon, which results in heavier frames, but also lower prices 😉 .

This is supposed to be aero? The widened down tube section doesn’t look particularly fast, but it serves a purpose.
It helps direct the airflow over the frame, past the aero water bottles.

To avoid compromising the aerodynamics compared to the previous Madone, Trek rely on a new aero concept. In general, the extremely elongated tube shapes are a thing of the past. At first glance, the flat down tube looks anything but aero, though it ensures that the air stream flows over the frame and aero water bottles, only rejoining behind the bike. With the aero water bottles attached, the new Madone is even said to be faster than the 7th generation, despite the tire width having grown from 25 to 28 mm. Incidentally, the water bottles are included with all SLR models, and available separately for the SL versions.
If you get handed a round bottle in a race, you can rest assured that the bottle cages are cross compatible with traditional, non-aero optimised bottles.

Bang on trend: the tire width and clearance has increased to 28 and 33 mm, respectively.
The new cockpit is 3 cm wider in the drops than in the hoods.

The 2024 Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 in detail

The bright colours of the team livery and matching bottles make for an eye-catching bike, likely reminding art fans of Piet Mondrian and Europeans of a certain chain of discount stores. For those wanting something a little more subtle, Trek also offer monochrome versions. Alternatively, you can go wild with your own designs using the Project One configurator.

Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS 2025

€ 13,999

Specifications

Seatpost Madone aero carbon seatpost, 0mm offset, short length
Drivetrain SRAM Red eTAP AXS 2 x 12
Handlebar Trek Aero RSL Road integrated bar/stem 410 mm
Wheelset Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51, 12 x 100/12 x 142 mm Through Axle
Tires Pirelli P Zero Race 700 x 28c 28
Cranks SRAM RED AXS E1, power meter, 48/35, DUB, 175mm length
Cassette SRAM XG 1290 10-33T

Technical Data

Size XS S M ML L XL

Specific Features

Iso FLow

For the flagship version on test, Trek rely on the new SRAM RED groupset. The bike rolls on 51 mm deep Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 wheels and 28 mm Pirelli P ZERO Race tires. The saddle and cockpit are sourced from Trek’s in-house brand Bontrager. Together with the bike, Trek have also launched the new Aero RSL Road handlebar and stem combination, boasting fully integrated cable routing, flare, and optimised ergonomics, available in many different length and width combinations.

The geometry of the 2024 Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8

The geometry has hardly changed compared to the predecessor. The reach-to-stack ratio remains at around 1.5, which corresponds to Trek’s H 1.5 geometry. This should be relatively aggressive, but not extreme, favouring a centred riding position. The seat and head tube angles also remain the same. Trek emphasise that they were already very satisfied with the geometry of the Madone Gen 7 and Émonda. Because the two predecessors already shared the same geometry, there was no need for Trek to find a compromise.

The frame itself is a bit more compact, though this may be partly due to the new frame sizes. Instead of eight sizes from 47 to 62 cm, the 8th generation of the Madone is available in six sizes, now classified as: XS, S, M, M/L, L, XL. The seat mast cap allows you to adjust the saddle height by ten centimetres. From size XS to XL, the range of possible saddle heights has increased to anything between 54.9 and 85.9 cm. As such, it accommodates riders at the outer ends of the size spectrum. The new sizing convention should also be more clearly distinguished from each other to make it easier for riders to choose the right frame size.

Size XS S M ML L XL
Top tube 517 mm 532 mm 545 mm 557 mm 568 mm 584 mm
Seat tube 404 mm 440 mm 476 mm 512 mm 548 mm 609 mm
Head tube 100 mm 121 mm 136 mm 150 mm 172 mm 201 mm
Head angle 71,6° 72,2° 72,9° 73,5° 73,8° 73,9°
Seat tube 73,8° 73,8° 73,6° 73,4° 73,4° 73,4°
Chainstay 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm 410 mm
BB Drop 72 mm 72 mm 70 mm 70 mm 68 mm 68 mm
Wheelbase 971 mm 976 mm 981 mm 980 mm 990 mm 1.007 mm
Reach 370 mm 378 mm 384 mm 389 mm 394 mm 402 mm
Stack 507 mm 530 mm 546 mm 562 mm 582 mm 610 mm

First ride aboard the 2024 Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8

A bike as fast as the previous Madone and as light as the Émonda? Let’s go! Trek’s claims set our expectations quite high long before we got to set off on the first test ride. Once in the saddle, however, the combination of minimal weight and aero optimisation delivered! There are two aspects on the new Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS that stand out: acceleration and comfort. The new Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 accelerates with ease on the climbs, out of corners, and on the straights. Input equals output. The reduced weight is clearly noticeable. While the previous Madone took a little more effort to get up to speed, it now has the lively character of the Émonda.

The quick acceleration of the Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 is strongly reminiscent of the Émonda.

Comfort was already the mainstay of the Madone SLR Gen 7, debuting the IsoFlow technology, yet Trek have made significant improvements here too. The overall compliance feels a lot more balanced. The skinnier fork, new cockpit, and wider tires offer significantly more vibration damping at the front than the predecessor. The revised IsoFlow system performs as unobtrusively as ever at the rear – apart from the look 😉. It flexes noticeably, effectively mitigating vibrations and bumps. The Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 is surprisingly comfortable for a thoroughbred race bike, which is partly due to the centred riding position and ergonomics of the cockpit. Speaking of which, the handlebar is 3 cm wider in the drops, resulting in a flared shape that offers aero benefits on the hoods, and ample control in the drops for the descents and sprints. The pro peloton trend of using ever narrower cockpits with flared drops suits the bike’s the character to a tee, putting the rider into a more aerodynamic position, because the rider is responsible for most of the drag.

The narrow yet flared cockpit scores well in terms of ergonomics and confidence inspiring control.
Comfort zone.
The IsoFlow system offers plenty of compliance at the rear of the Madone.

The handling of the new Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 is more reminiscent of the Madone Gen 7. It’s got none of the razor-sharp handling of the Émonda. The new all-round racer feels stable and composed, yet precise and responsive. Perfect for high speeds, which the Madone is more than capable of. In terms of efficiency and speed, the new Madone is in no way inferior to its predecessor. In fact, it’s even better. Thanks to the narrower tube shapes, the new Madone is less susceptible to crosswinds and is therefore easier to control. The aero water bottles take some getting used to. Because the bottles only fit in a specific position, you have to fiddle a bit to get them back in place.

Helmet Sweet Protection x PNS Falconer Aero 2Vi | Glasses 100% Glendale | Vest Angry Pablo EarthTone All-Purpose Padded Gilet | Jersey Angry Pablo EarthTone Cycling Jersey | Bib Angry Pablo EarthTone Men’s Bib Shorts | Shoes Giro Imperial

Who is the Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 for?

Trek’s new all-rounder racer is a very versatile bike with a wide range of applications, even off the racetrack. It serves for everything from fast group rides, epic tours on legendary climbs, or simply as a comfortable and fast means to get from A to B. The IsoFlow system, increased tire width, and centred seating position make the new Trek Madone one of the most comfortable and compliant race bikes currently on the market. It also ranks very highly in terms of acceleration, efficiency and handling. The new Madone SLR 9 AXS is the right bike for everyone who prioritises speed and comfort, assuming it’s within your budget.

Our conclusion on the Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8

The all-round race concept works. A bike as fast as the Madone and as light as the Émonda is as good as it sounds, and it makes easy work of choosing the right bike. In addition to performance, however, it’s the compliance and ergonomics that make the Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS Gen 8 stand out from the crowd. Added to that are the latest generation aero bottles and perfectly matched components. All in all, this is a race bike that isn’t just fun in a local criterium.

Tops

  • quick acceleration
  • superb comfort

Flops

  • fiddly handling of the aero water bottles

For more information, visit trekbikes.com


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Words: Jan Richter Photos: Jan Richter, Trek