Thursday, January 17, 2008

1/17/08 - New Trek Madone 6.9 Now Here!

(Pictures posted 1/28/08 4:50p.m pst)
What an amazing machine!

Wednesday at the Beaverton store we received our first Trek Madone 6.9; the top bike in Trek's road series and what would have been the team-issue bike had the Trek sponsored Astana Pro Cycling Team not signed a deal for components with SRAM. None-the-less, this impressive bicycle is still drool-worthy.

Of course, the first thing we had to do was take it over to the scale and see what it weighed in at. The model we received was a 56 cm , "performance" geometry bike featuring the Trek OCLV Red fuselage, Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon clincher wheels wrapped in Race X Lite 700x23 tires, and Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon stem and handlebar. The component spec was mostly Shimano Dura Ace with a Bontrager Race X Lite carbon compact crankset and SRAM OG 1070 cassette with a 12-26 tooth count. As built (including the geek-tastic, but required wheel reflectors) the bike weighed in at 15.03 pounds - just above the 14.96 lbs allowed by the UCI in a sanctioned road race.

The "new and improved" Trek Madone 6.9 Performance

So of course, my ever-analytical mind went to work. My colleagues in Tennessee will remember that I had guessed that this bike would be "UCI Illegal" out-of-the-box with a full Dura Ace or SRAM Red component group on it. Since we haven't received a 6.9 Pro yet - I broke out my trusty notepad and calculator and went to work changing the bike to be built as a true pro-level bike. I substituted a Shimano Dura Ace double crankset and cassette, exchanged the carbon clincher wheels and tires with their tubular siblings, and made the arbitrary call to trade out the carbon stem for it's lighter Race X Lite 2024 Aluminum counterpart (alloy stems - and occasionally handlebars - are still preferred parts in the pro ranks for their efficient stiffness, usually lighter weight, and crash-resistance). These changes cut a lot of fat off the bike. Granted, some of these changes were reasonable for the average rider; however it could be argued that the change to tubular wheels (a large source of the weight savings) is a luxury that should be reserved for the pros who rarely have to pull off to the side of the road to change their own flats.

So, what were the numbers? Well, the UCI weight limit is 6.8 kilograms. Our sans-pedals bike comes in about 3 grams over that number. With the above changes, we drop down to 6.1 kilos (13.42 lbs); enough to add pedals and bottle cages and still have to find other ways to weigh-down the bike in order to be legal to pull up to the start line of the Tour of California. We can currently only speculate just how light the SRAM Red bikes will be with their significantly lighter OG 1090 cassette and shift/brake levers. On paper, these items are more than 100 grams lighter than their Dura Ace counterparts which is enough to drop below the 6 kilo mark without pedals! Enough for me to opt for my preferred wheels: the Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 and still keep the bike under 16 lbs. ready to ride.

With the continuing reviews of this bike's great stiffness and comfort qualities; it appears that Trek has delivered a bike that is; as advertised, a best-in-class road-racing machine. Where will we go from here?

Thanks for reading.


  1. Will 100 grams make you faster? Nope ;)

    I can see your excitement though..

  2. Ron-

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Somehow I'm starting to gather readers from outside my circle of friends and clients. I'd be interested to know how you found me.

    I visited your blog and see that I'll have to spend more time there. I appreciate your evaluation of products from a mechanical engineer's point of view. I can seriously "geek-out" on that stuff. Thanks for adding me to your list of links.

    However, my response to your comment is this: it depends.

    If my deeper-section aero wheels are 100 grams lighter than my box-section wheels - I would indeed be faster for the same energy expenditure. But, as you're stating; not because of the reduced weight, instead from the aerodynamic economy of an aero rim section.

    My post about the weight of the 6.9 merely comes from a "here's what can be achieved" direction and is aimed at an audience that continues to be obsessed with weight.

    I myself don't feel confident on anything lighter than about 17.5 lbs and my Waterford R33 is currently hovering around 18.5 ready-to-ride. I don't buy the "lighter is better" stuff either. If heavier is more efficient; give me the extra weight in the right proportions.

    I look forward to reading more from you.

  3. Matt-

    Thanks for the post on the new Madone 6.9. I'm seriously going to look into this bike.

    Just one questions for you. How did you come up with a 700 gram savings from the stock bike? I figure about a 200 gram savings on the crank and about 200 on the wheels and tires. Not sure where the other 300 grams came from.

  4. Is Trek going to do a SRAM Red version? Seems like even though Trek is slow to adopt SRAM, the Astana sponsorship would lead them to do a Red version for retail...

  5. Anonymous-

    Currently, while Trek only offers a Sram Force equipped production bike (in the form of the Madone 5.5 Pro), Sram Red is available on a 6.9 through the recently re-launched 2008 ProjectOne program; currently in beta. There are rumors of a 2009 Sram Red bike - but only time will tell.

    Trek has pretty close ties to Shimano - who is releasing one (maybe didn't read it here...) new version of Dura Ace next year and I'm sure Trek will have some significant incentives to feature it prominently.



All content - except where otherwise noted - copyright 2006 - 2013 Matthew Magee. Do not use without permission.

Google Analytics