Utilizing the 2010 Tour de France Grand DÃ©part from Rotterdam, Netherlands as a venue, Trek has shown their hand when it comes to the hottest bikes of 2011. Building on the already immensely popular Madone line, the newest models boast lighter weight, more features, and a wider range of pricing.
While the biggest news is the release of a new 6 series SSL model which is over 100 grams lighter than the previous 6 series, there are big changes to the 5 series, as well as an additional fit geometry that are not to go unnoticed.
Check out Trek’s new carbon, all the changes to the 5 series, and the most upright Madone ever after the break!
How did they manage to make the 6 series SSL even lighter? With a new carbon fiber, of course. Dubbed OCLV Hex SL, it exhibits the same stiffness as High Modulus carbon, but with over four times the strength and twice the elongation properties. When asked about the new material, Trek Road Product Engineer Chris Pomering had this to say, â€œOCLV HexSL is really a game-changing material. Before this materialâ€™s culmination we had to use two, sometimes three different layers of carbon to get the same strength and performance that we get from just one layer of OCLV HexSL.â€Like most Trek OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void), Trek claims that you won’t see many others using it due to the fact that the US Government declares it Defense grade material, and therefore it is prohibited to be shipped outside the NATO alliance. Believe what you will, but Trek puts it in aÂ good perspective by stating, “Our frames are imagined, tested, and perfected by our 37 carbon engineers, including 11 Composite Materials Engineering specialists and 9 bonafide rocket scientists. (Why rocket scientists? Because the aerospace industry is THE hotbed of carbon innovation.)”
While new to the public, the SSL has already been under Team Radio Shackâ€™s Jani Brajkovic, propelling him to an overall win at the 2010 Tour of Dauphine in June, resulting in the Madone SSLâ€™s first stage race win. Team Radio Shackâ€™s entire 2010 Tour de France squad will be riding the Madone 6 Series SSL throughout July. As expected, the new SSL 6 series carries all the same technology as the current 6 series that has driven it’s success.
What may be unexpected however, is that the new 5 series Madone will also get most of the tech features that makes the 6 series so special. While the 2010 version of the 5 series carried the BB90 integrated bottom bracket, and E2 tapered head tube already, the new 5 series will get all the other features lacking from the 6 series such as the revised round seat mast, integrated cables with internal DI2 option, a zip tie-less ANT+ computer mounting system called Duotrap, and a weight shavings of more than 150 grams. In addition to shaving a significant amount of frame weight, the 5 Series will be stiffer and more vertically compliant for 2011. The Madone 5 Series will be available in 5 different models, including the 5.9, 5.5, 5.2, 5.5 WSD, and the 5.2 WSD.Perhaps even more impressive is that all this comes at a lower cost than last years 5 series, $3149 vs $3779 for a 5.2 Madone.
How is this possible? Well, the new 5 series Madones will be a TCT (Trek Carbon Technology) frame, meaning they will be manufactured over seas in Taiwan. While obviously not being OCLV bikes, the move makes sense as when offered the choice of the 5 vs. 6 series at similar prices customers overwhelmingly went with the 6 series. Also, this allows Trek to become more competitive in the Carbon road bike arena, and allows customers a clear difference between a 5 and a 6 series.
Obviously, this will eliminate 5 series bikes from Trek’s Project One – their full custom bike program. However, this is yet another reason for customers to upgrade to the six series or six series SSL and should allow shorter lead times for the Project One bikes in the future.
The other big news from Trek in their Madone line, is the creation of a third fit geometry. In 2010, there were two Madone geometries – Pro Fit and Performance fit. The Pro fit was just like it sounds, and the performance fit was the slightly more upright riding position with a longer head tube and higher bar position. In 2011, the fits will now be H1, H2, and H3 with H(headtube)1 being the old Pro fit and H2 being the old Performance fit. The new H3 fit, looks to be essentially the old Pilot geometry with an even taller headtube and slightly more stable handling. Now riders regardless of fit needs will be able to experience the performance of the Madone series.
Understandably proud of Trek’s new Madone line, company president John Burke remarked â€œThis is an exciting time for Trek, our Retailers, and our customers. Weâ€™ve never been more invested in our product development, and those investments are yielding the most advanced products Trek has ever offered. The 2011 Madone product line represents the collective effort of many individuals. Iâ€™m very proud of what weâ€™ve accomplished.â€
For more information, and to check out all the new specs head over to Trek’s Madone site.