08/11/11- Various new frames & options! We now have the
less-expensive 5-series Madones, no longer manufactured in the US
but featuring the same hidden gear & brake-cable runs found on the
domestic 6-series. For 2012 we get even get the new Ultegra Di2
electronic shift system at less than $5000. The 6-series now has
three different sizing options for handlebar height, H1, H2 & H3
(with H1 being the lowest and H3 being highest). There's also an SSL
option which drops a couple more ounces off the frame for an
01/16/09- Customer Review of Madone 5.5-
Hey Mike, did my standard Saturday ride
on the Trek 5.2 and I am just amazed at how superlative a bike it
is. The guys and I are in a rut - up OLH, out 84 over to Pescedero
via Haskins, out to Hwy 1 and down to Pigeon Point then in at Gazos
Creek, up Cloverdale and across the Stages to Tunitas Creek. I have
barely ridden and am in awful form and even so the Trek was an
outstanding ride soaking up road bumps/buzz better than my Merlin
yet having a rock-solid bottom bracket! Truly sharp handiling, even
better than my Steelman. And the massive gear range meant I could
spin with a "no chain" feeling even while climbing the steepest
parts of Tunitas. Just absolutely fabulous and clearly a quantum
improvement over my current stable. I am absolutely delighted with
All the reviews were right! Silky buttery smooth ride,
awesome road feel, scalpel precise handling, rock solid bottom
bracket, and light as a feather. Wow!!! I am a believer, Millo
04/09/08- Save by buying a new '08 Madone! Word on
the street is that, when the new models hit, prices will be up
10-15% (primarily due to the effect of the weak US Dollar vs foreign
currencies, and while the 5 & 6-series Madone frames are made in the
US, most of the parts, as on all bikes, are imported). What this
means is that the most-popular model, the 5.2 Triple, will run about
$300 more than it currently does, with the same components. We're
doing what we can to stock up on '08 bikes while we can still get
11/27/07- "We'd have to say TREK knocked this one out of the park"
Cyclingnews.com in their follow-up long-term test report on the
Read all about it in the media's most comprehensive test-report
to date. And below, read our behind-the-scenes report on what makes
this bike so special... so light, so fast, so comfortable, and so
different from everything else out there. --Mike--
When John Burke, president of TREK, stated that "We didn't want
incremental improvement; we wanted to leapfrog the competition,"
Velonews' Leonard Zinn responded "My first impression is that Trek
accomplished that." Praise doesn't get much better.
Still, first-hand information is better yet, and I'm in a position
to provide it, after having ridden a new, hot-off-the-press Madone
5.2 at the TREK 100 benefit ride on June 2nd. And I've concluded
that the competition does, indeed, need to be scared. Very scared.
But other bike manufacturers aren't the only ones to be afraid of
the new bike. As a long-time loyal TREK dealer, we have a large
inventory of prior Madones in stock... many of which we've had to
drastically reduce pricing on to sell. And, at the reduced prices,
their values are so good they will sell. We've made sure of
But let's get to the details of what makes these new bikes
In a nutshell, TREK came up with a way to reduce the weight of their
carbon fiber bikes without any reduction in strength. That's pretty
much the holy grail- keeping strength up and weight down- and, until
now, nobody has been able to do this. Every superlight frame
on the market (those advertising frame weights below 850 grams) have
had significant durability issues. Unavoidably so; as you make
things thinner (using less carbon, even though the carbon you're
using is higher strength), you make the frame far less resistant to
incidental impact. Incidental? I'm talking about falling against the
corner of a coffee table, or crashing and having the handlebar come
around and smack the top tube, that sort of thing.
So how do you do it? How can you reduce weight and not
You start with a clean slate. You look at where things interface
with the frame, and consider that new ways of working with carbon
fiber might allow things to be done differently than before. And the
new Madone does three things very differently.
Who needs it? Why not just drop the bearings directly into the
frame? Well, in the old days, you couldn't do that. The frame
materials weren't durable enough to handle the load, or couldn't
be machined well enough to allow a proper fit when new and not
wear out to too-loose a fit down the road. That was then, this is
now. TREK engineers use a new method of molding carbon fiber
that's so accurate, so durable, that what comes out of the mold
allows you to use a simple drop-in bearing in the headtube, no
headset required. Improvement? The weight of the headset cups
(normally pressed into the frame)? Gone. Installation of bearings
& fork? From 30 minutes to 5. Overall strength, with new 1.5"
lower bearing? Dramatically improved.
Check it out in the picture. Lots of headset pieces, normally used
simply to interface the headset to the frame, simply disappear. No
need for them, because now the bearing cartridges simply drop into
the frame. Tough to imagine something simpler.
- Bottom Bracket? Again, who
needs all that stuff you'd normally thread
one? All you care about are the bearings that the crank runs
on, and with the new Madone, that's all you get. Just drop-in
bearings, just like the headset. And changing the cranks and/or
bearings becomes another 5-minute job, instead of 30. But that's
not all. Because we no longer have to thread a bearing holder of
some sort into the frame, the bottom bracket is no longer
constrained to being a narrow 68mm. The new Madone goes to 90mm,
allowing dramatic improvements in bottom bracket rigidity.
The diagram to the left tells the story; all threaded pieces have
been removed, leaving only the bearings and appropriate spacers
for the particular crankset involved. Very slick, and one of those
things you wonder why it hadn't been done before... and then you
realize that material technology didn't exist to support it. Until
Talk about "think different", this one's definitely outside the
box. Instead of having a seatpost that slides into the frame,
you have a seatpost that slides over it. The assembly is tightened
on the seatpost itself, not the frame. This allowed for a
significant weight reduction plus added comfort since the new
assembly is designed to have about .7cm of flex when you encounter
The result? A bike that
immediately feels like the original Madone (one of the
best-riding-bikes ever) only more so. Stomp as hard as you want on
the pedals, and you're not going to flex the bottom bracket. And
while the original Madone was phenomenal at dealing with road buzz,
the new Madone takes it one step further and deals with things that
go bump against your butt. All with a weight reduction of around
8-12 ounces, yet no reduction in strength.
I'll also point out that
my 100k test ride in Wisconsin revealed another favorable
characteristic of the new headset & bottom bracket bearings. About
halfway through, we hit a mondo rainstorm. Rain so heavy you
literally couldn't hear someone talking next to you. In the photo
you can see that a group of us hid out in a flea market building
while we waited for the rest of it to pass over. And then, 10
minutes later, it was gone. Everything quickly dried out and... my
bike was still quiet. Normally, after a bike gets drenched and then
dries out, things tend to get a bit creaky. Not this bike. It stayed
nice & quiet. This event proved very much to be a real-life test of
the new Madone's capabilities!
Is there a downside to the new bikes?
Change inevitably causes somebody grief, so here's the lowdown on
the new Madones-
- No choice in seatposts but what
TREK provides, at least for now. Not a huge deal, because they're
light, they're strong, they come in two lengths and three offsets
(5mm, 20mm and forward 10mm). And, since we're clamping carbon
fiber, it's a good idea to be using a torque wrench.
- All modern "pipe-style axle"
cranks will work great, including those from FSA, Shimano,
TruVativ and Campagnolo. What will not work are old-style
cranks that require either an Octalink, ISIS or square-taper axle.
So the old stuff you've got lying around isn't going to cut it.
- Some people actually like
a bit of lateral flex in a frame, believing it makes it feel more
lively. The new Madone provides lots of comfort, but if you're
looking for lateral flex, that springy feeling when you push on
the pedal and it comes back at you a moment later, this isn't the
bike for you. The original Madone, to me, offers a lot of
character, in the same way people feel a classic steel frame does.
The new Madone is built for comfort, strength, lightweight &
efficiency. No compromises were put in place to give it the feel
of a bike from yesteryear.
- Price. Well, this one is a bit
weird. These bikes don't cost any more than prior bikes did, but
their introduction has caused a marked reduction in what other
bikes will sell for. Both from TREK and everyone else. So as the
various new Madone models arrive, you're going to see some '07,
'06 & '05 models at Chain Reaction at prices that will definitely
give you something to think about. Those are still great
bikes! And we're going to find good homes for them. So in
comparison, you'll be paying more for the new bikes. And this
isn't going to affect just TREKs; my guess is that bike brands
everywhere are going to be re-thinking what people will be willing
to pay for their bikes.
What models are available now?
That depends upon the model & size you want. The lightest versions,
the 6.X series, began to come into stock in November, with very
limited quantities. Even
the Discovery team didn't get 6-series bikes for the '07 Tour de
France; they were riding on stock 5-series frames. Also late
to the party will be the women's models (the "WSD" series),
of which the larger size 5.1 models (52, 54 & 56cm) started to
arrive in early October, with the smaller sizes (47 & 50cm)
scheduled for around the first of the year. 5.2 & 5.5 models are in
fairly good supply.
note that the 5.1 men's model, which sells for $2749.99 as a triple,
has been discontinued and replaced with an import model (the 4.7)
for a bit less money (around $2400). The import will not have
the same features as the domestic bikes- the bottom bracket, headset
& seatpost are all conventional. The switch from domestic to import
was made so that Trek could concentrate more resources to build the
more-expensive bikes. We did bring in quite a few before the change
Do I want a "Performance" or "Pro" fit?
There is no quality difference whatsoever between the "Performance"
& "Pro" fit. This has been the source of a lot of confusion; there's
a tendency for people to believe that something called "Pro" is
better. This is simply not the case.
The geometry & materials are identical, so the ride is identical.
The only difference is that the "Performance" fit has a front end
that's 3cm taller than the "Pro" version. Most will be
better served by the "Performance" version, which will allow a wider
range of useful handlebar height options. Please note that the "Performance" version doesn't allow use
of wider tires than the "Pro." They are, as I said, identical in
every way aside from the taller handlebar position (made possible by
a taller head tube).
Do these new bikes really represent a major advancement in
Yes. The things that make these new bikes so different... the
headset, bottom bracket (crank area) and seatpost... all three of
those incorporate materials & designs found nowhere else. It is
unquestionable that others will work quickly and hard to try and
copy what TREK's done, but they will succeed mostly in appearance.
Without the OCLV technology (the manner in which TREK prepares and
"cooks" their frames, which remains their own process), these
improvements would simply be a designers' clean-canvas dream bike.
TREK was able to make that dream a reality.
What about the carbon used? Are these GSM 55, 110, or 120
In the past, manufacturers (including TREK) have "rated" the quality
of carbon used in their frames by the GSM count, which tells you how
many grams of carbon fiber there are in one square meter of
material. But that
doesn't really tell the story, because you must know how to use the
correct material for each application. Different regions of the
frame require unique blends of carbon fibers. A successful frame uses a combination of
different types of carbon in different areas, and those different
carbons aren't spec'd in "GSM" as much as they are their modulus of
measurement of how much the fibers elongate under a given load.. The
reason a higher-modulus carbon is used in some areas is that its
resistance to flex allows for a stiffer section of the frame (as
might be needed around a bottom bracket) with less material
(resulting in lighter weight).
So TREK has come up with three materials designations.
It's all explained on TREK's website better than I ever could,
but in a nutshell there are three levels of frames- Red, Black and
White. White is the basic high-performance OCLV frame, using
primarily standard-modulus carbon. Black uses more high &
intermediate-modulus carbon, allowing a significant reduction in weight
while maintaining similar ride characteristics. Red takes it as far
as TREK believes you can presently safely go (another 65 grams
lighter than the black frame), with a greater
percentage of high-modulus carbon and a more-complex lay-up
"schedule" (the manner in which you hand-lay the various sheets of
carbon in order to get the exact ride qualities you're looking for).
What does all this mean to YOU?
It means there has never been a better time to buy a bike than right
now, because we've got this incredible new technology arriving at
our store, and fantastic pricing on older models. For many, the 8-12
ounce weight savings, plus easier maintenance of the bottom bracket,
won't be enough to offset savings of many hundreds of dollars on
equivalent '07, '06 & '05 models. But when those bikes are gone, the
alternative, one of the new '08 Madones... well, that's not a bad
way to go either. You can't lose. Sure, it's self-serving for me to
say that, but after having ridden the new bike, and after having to
take quite a hit to price many older models to sell through, I truly
02/05/08- The first 64cm product
(5.1 & 5.5) is finally heading to Chain Reaction. Not enough 5.5s to
fill all our customer's orders yet, but the rest should be coming
soon. We will actually have some of the 5.1 64cm product available
though. This will be the largest carbon frameset we've ever had to
offer our customers, so finally, that person who's 6'3-6'6 (maybe,
not sure yet) will have an opportunity to own a truly great bike at
a reasonable price.
Women's WSD supply remains extremely
tight. The 6.5s have begun to ship, in very limited numbers. We've
got some on the floor now, but best to call to see if we've got
something that might fit you in stock.
We've also got some highly favorable
ride reports from two Chain Reaction alumnus who have picked up
Madone 5.2s, Todd & Brian. I'll get some info from them posted here
12/21/07- 47cm 5.1 WSD (women's
models), along with 64cm men's 5.1 Madones, remain the
most-difficult models to get. I spoke with the Madone product
manager earlier today, who believes that we're probably a month away
from seeing enough come in to take care of customers of ours who
ordered them 4 months ago. Maybe it's time to tell them my story
about having to wait 6 months for my first really nice bike 35 years
updated their initial report on the Madone 5.2, having now put the
bike through several months of riding.
Were they impressed? 5
jerseys out of 5!
10/04/07- A real shocker; the Madone 5.1 is being
discontinued due to the demand for the 5.2 & above being far more
than what can be produced. Unfortunately, the Madone 5.1 is the
only version available for women with a triple crankset. Trek is
filling the void with a pair of new, non-OCLV imported models, the
Madone 4.5 & 4.7. Thankfully, Trek will be building enough of the
5.1 Madones to fulfill backorders placed prior to September 15, and
we placed very large backorders.
08/31/07- Our first 5.1 models are arriving! These are the
least-expensive '08 Madone offerings, at $2749.99, but still feature
the drop-in headset & bottom bracket bearings, external seatpost and
7/12/07- Our first shipment of 5.2 triples has arrived! The
60 & 58cm are already sold out, but we still have 54 & 56cm
(although possibly not by the time you read this; please call
6/13/07- We've built a few of the new bikes up, and can now
answer the question of, exactly, do they weigh. A 58cm 5.5 with
compact crank (including wheel reflectors, but no pedals) weighed
16.24 lbs. A 56cm 5.2 with compact crank (plus wheel reflectors but
no pedals) weighed 16.4 lbs.
(updated 8/23) The reaction in the press to the new Madone has been nothing short
Pez Cycling and
Velonews have all given exceptional reviews.
Equipment options- It's all laid out on TREK's website, but
just to confirm, there are no triple crankset options for any bike
above the 5.2. We're presently trying to figure out whether it will
be more reasonable for us to build up a high-end Shimano DuraAce
triple by switching parts on a stock double or starting from the
ground-up with a bare frame. Either way such options are a bit off,
since the 6-series bicycles aren't going to exist until Fall.