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Review: Trek Madone SLR 7

700c wheels

800 Series OCLV carbon frame with adjustable top tube IsoSpeed

17.81 lbs. (size 56cm)

Madone SLR

Most reviews will say "this is the most amazing bike I’ve ever ridden!" Though it may be cliche, I'm going to say it too - Trek’s Madone is an incredible bike and I love it every single time I throw a leg over it. I’m not just saying that because it’s brand new and shiny. I have ridden many different high-end road bikes and this one is up to snuff. I’ve spent the last 10 years cycling through one to two different road bikes a year including models from Trek, Specialized, Cervelo, Cannondale, and Fuji.

Trek Madone

Morning rides on the Madone

Each new bike seems to feel better than the last, but the most noticeable jump in performance occurred when I tried the first aerodynamic version of the Madone in 2018.  Immediately that bike felt faster, more efficient, and stronger than anything in its class. I expected it to be a little slower on climbs because it was heavier than some of my previous bikes, but my Strava times proved that the Madone was faster all around, even on steep climbs. I think the primary difference lies in the aero frame and stiff integrated handlebar, which transfer sprinting power more effectively from your upper body into forward movement of the bike. The bike feels extremely responsive when I stand up and hammer on it, and I never realized how much traditional bar/stems can flex, even on high-end carbon fiber options.

Madone Project One

The Watermelon Madone is always a crowd pleaser, available in Trek Project One

Another benefit of Trek’s carbon layup and design is compliance. Most aerodynamic road bikes have no compliance built into the frame which makes for a very uncomfortable and rattling ride. Madone’s “Isospeed” integrated carbon seatmast is designed to flex slightly, contributing to a smooth riding machine. Trek has done an amazing job at balancing the three critical elements of a road bike – aerodynamics, weight, and compliance. I know this all sounds like jargon out of the Trek catalog or website, but for me it equates to a very fun bike, simply put. Oftentimes it feels like the closest thing I can get to flying an F-16, and every time I’m done riding I can’t wait to get back on. One caveat is that the Madone is a pain to assemble (but Guthries can handle that), and it will cost more to service due to the “hidden” cable/housing routing within the handlebar and frameset. However, this lack of external cables makes the bike look super clean. 

Most of my rides are 1.5 to 2 hours long with a group of strong guys that like to go fast and push themselves. We will usually sprint to the finish, and the Madone has performed flawlessly during these “daily races”. Many of the riders in my group are on Treks and each of them loves their bike, but personally I can never resist riding the Madone. Feel free to call and pick my brain any time about the Madone or any of Trek’s other models. 


Jeff Goddard, owner