The Best. Le Meilleur. The latest generation of the Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc promises to be even faster, more aerodynamic and lighter. With its oversized tubing and eye-catching paint scheme, the 2019 Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc definitely stands out, and thanks to the IsoSpeed suspension, supposedly even aero bikes can be comfortable. Has Trek succeeded in doing so, and will it be enough to beat the competition?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best aero bike of 2019 – 3 race machines head-to-head

Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc 2019 | 7.63 kg | € 11,499

The Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc 2019 gets you a lot of bike for € 11,499; no other bike in the test field features tubes as massively oversized. Rather than looking clumsy, however, the Madone looks as if the whole thing has been popped out of a single mould, thanks to the harmonious design and the organic shapes. The gorgeous matt black frame, paired with glossy logos and colour accents screams speed. Only when examining it closely will you discover Trek’s individually adjustable IsoSpeed damper, which is designed to provide adjustable flex between the frame and seat tube for comfort. The designers have done a great job of integrating the damper into the overall design. As with the competition, integration is one of the key aspects of the Madone. Cables and hoses are routed internally through the cockpit and the frame and the Di2 junction box is hidden in the handlebars. The chain catcher, as well as the cadence and speed sensor, are hardly visible, and the aerodynamic transition between frame and fork is much smoother when turning than compared to the competition.

No matter the light – the Madone looks imposing

Trek has also installed a steering block to prevent damaging the internal cables. The integrated seat post (ISP) is beautifully colour matched and the adjustment is easily accessible. The only drawback is the open design on the back, which is susceptible to collecting dirt. A cover would have been nice. On a positive note, the saddle clamp has an attachment point for Bontrager’s Flare RT tail light, which slots in beautifully under the saddle for increased visibility and safety on the road.

The cockpit of the Madone is definitely a highlight. The cables and hoses are routed through the bars and disappear directly into the frame. The handlebars are clamped from below with four bolts, which requires some practice if you want to avoid unsightly gaps. Advantage: the angle of the handlebars can be adjusted individually and when everything is in place, you have a great looking, tidy cockpit. We liked the slightly flared drops off the bat, offering a great compromise between an aerodynamic position on the hoods and control in the drops. Besides looking clean, the stem is horizontal with the ground – the #slamthestem community will be happy. For those who want to mount their GPS device on the cockpit, Bontrager has got an appropriate option in its catalogue of accessories. With regard to the hefty price tag, we would have expected this – as with Specialized – to be a part of the standard spec.

The Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc 2019 in detail

The Madone doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the components, offering a mix of the high-end Shimano DURA-ACE groupset and Bontrager’s own XXX carbon components. The DURA-ACE Di2 R9170 comes with a compact 50-34 crankset and an 11-28 cassette, 160mm brake rotors, and 60mm deep Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6 tubeless ready wheels, which in combination with Bontrager’s 25mm wide R4 320 tyres provide the lightest wheel-tyre combination in the test field. The geometry of the Madone is new: the H1.5 geometry now offers only one geometry variant which is meant to provide “the best of both worlds,” instead of the race-oriented H1 and the more comfortable H2.

Drivetrain Shimano DURA-Ace DI2
Wheels Bontrager Aeolus XXX 6
Brakes Shimano DURA-ACE 160/160 mm
Tires Bontrager R4 320
Weight 7.63 kg
Price € 11,499

In combination with the frameset, AEOLUS 6 wheels provide the necessary aerodynamics
The amount of clearance is another sign of the maturing of second-generation aero bikes
High-quality – the Madone’s price tag radiates from every fibre and every component
Nice detail: the house-brand Flare taillight has got a mounting point in the Madone’s seat tube.
Integration meets customisability – second-generation aero bikes seem to have grown up

If the standard colours of the Madone aren’t flashy enough for you, for an additional € 1,200 the one-off Trek Project One ICON paint job, only available for the Madone, might be the ticket. The “regular” Project One finishes are available as well for € 600.

Anyone expecting sluggish and cumbersome handling due to the sheer volume of the frame will be taught otherwise right from the get go. The Trek Madone surprises with its nimble and agile handling and gets up to speed very quickly thanks to the stiff frame and the light wheelset. When pedalling you can feel the efficiency, which is a joy when climbing too. The Madone isn’t only fast, but also sounds that way. Thanks to the large volume of the frame, the whoosh of the Madone announces itself like a low flying jet.


Tuning Tips:

  • 140 mm rear brake rotor for better braking balance
  • matt black carbon rims for a more matching look
  • steerer spacers must go
  • semi-compact crank instead of compact crank


The geometry of the Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc 2019

Going downhill, cornering and also on the straights, the Madone impresses with its confidence inspiring stability in all situations. It corners like it’s on rails and the Trek even makes quick direction changes feel easy. Hard braking never feels uncontrolled whereby we would actually have preferred a 140 mm rotor instead of the 160 mm rotor at the rear, for a better distribution of braking power.

Helmet POC Ventral | Glasses Alba Optics DELTA | Jersey CHPT3 GIRONA 1.27 Jersey | Bibs CHPT3 GIRONA 1.17 Shorts | Socks The Wonderful Socks #5 | Shoes Specialized S-Works 7 Road

When it comes to comfort, the Madone easily puts the competition in its wake, thanks to the IsoSpeed shocks. Individually adjustable, they offer a high degree of comfort at the rear, which is almost at the level of a comfortable non-aero bike. Vibrations, bumps and potholes are muted by the IsoSpeed shock, making even long rides a joy. Despite all this extra comfort, Trek manages to keep the weight of the size 56 at 7.63 kg, slightly lighter than the Cannondale. The front is a lot stiffer, but the fork and a slightly flared handlebar combined do a great job of absorbing vibrations and bumps. We’re going to go out on a limb and say we would try Paris-Roubaix on the Madone.

A great feature for the mechanics who want to tinker with the Madone is the opening beneath the bottle cage, which gives access to the cables in the frame.

Conclusion

The 2019 Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc convinces with its absolutely outstanding riding characteristics in all aspects. The stability combined with first-class agility and the incredibly high level of comfort for an aero bike not only ensures fast times but also good times. The sprightly but composed handling conveys a lot of confidence and gladly forgives occasional rider errors. Despite the IsoSpeed shocks, Trek manages to keep the weight of the size 56 down at 7.63 kg. The Madone is a masterpiece of engineering. Trek has created an aero bike for everyone – from beginners to professionals, everyone wins, and it’ll make a lasting impression at the café too. A deserved best-in-test for the € 11,499 Trek.

Strengths

– best handling in test
– comfort
– integration of the IsoSpeed shock

Weaknesses

– compact cranks
– missing cover for the ISP adjustment
– is no longer in our garage

Uphill | Downhill | Stability | Comfort


For more info head to: trekbikes.com

The test fleet

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best aero bike of 2019 – 3 race machines head-to-head

All bikes in test
Cannondale SystemSix Hi-MOD DURA-ACE Di2 | Specialized S-Works Venge 2019 | Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc 2019

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #010

GRAN FONDO Cycling Magazine is published in a digital app format in both English and German. Download the app for iOS or Android to read all articles on your tablet or smartphone. 100% free!

Words: Manuel Buck Photos: Benjamin Topf