First impressions: the new trek Emonda SLR9

I have tested quite a lot of bikes over the last 6 months. My increased Strava activity is witness to this! But this is first time in ages that I have tested a brand new model that's just been launched to the market.

It's the next generation Emonda and it promises to be lighter and stiffer than before.
Dave did a quick overview here when it was launched just the other week.

Trek have very clear families:
Madone is your out and out aero race bike where speed is key.
Domane is your sportive bike and for bad roads.
Emonda is your climbing weapon; Euro sportives here we come. This is the bike that the Tour boys are on (poor Bertie - but it has won a stage with Mollema already).

The Emonda frame weight is meant to be 640 gms - which is frankly silly light.
I am riding a 58cm bike and completely stock out of the box we weighed it at 5.8 kgs.
It's the lightest bike I have personally ever ridden.

When a stock bike comes with a one piece, full carbon, 68gm(!) saddle you know the bike means business.

This is the current flagship of the Emonda range - at least until the SLR 10 comes which will only be available in super aggressive H1 geometry. The SLR9 comes in H2 geo, which is better for the vast majority of riders.

Currently only caliper bikes are available. The big news will be the disc versions when they land in Q3.

The bike only arrived in the UK 2 weeks ago, so my time on it is limited. But I have done enough miles for some very brief first impressions.

Blown away by:

Climbing out of the saddle: just ridiculously easy. The lack of mass is very evident.
Its also very stiff; feels very snappy indeed.
The Bontrager Aeolus wheels are very good - its criminal how undervalued these are in the market. They spin up very quickly and the DT hubs spin for ever.
Often light bikes feel quite 'whippy' but this is super stable. Descending and carving down corners is a dream.

Less impressed with

I find some of Trek's spec decisions very strange. They put on super trick brakes, and a very light and expensive saddle (which will divide opinion). Yet the put on the R3 Hard Case tyres, which could be generously described as training tyres…
They should not come on a £8500 top of the range race bike.
Specialized have gotten this right - all their flagship S-Works bikes come with the sublime Turbo Cotton tyres.
What is more annoying is that Trek have a fantastic tyre - the R4 320 which is a tyre I love; it's as good as the very best from Vittoria and Continental. Will be interested to see what tyre the SLR10 comes with. Either way, if you buy an SLR9 from us we will swap your tyres out FOC. Friends don't let friends ride 'slow' tyres…

The saddle will take some getting used to; it looks cool and is very light. But I can't help feel that the adage ' the more you ride the more padded your saddle' is true. You look at Pros doing 30,000 km a year and they often have old heavy saddles (partly to get the bikes up to the UCI weight limit). A wafer thin carbon saddle often shouts weekend warrior to me - which I clearly am, but that does not stop me being in denial…
I need to do a few very long rides before I make a judgement.

So far

If I was doing the etape tomorrow I would most likely pick this bike from all the ones available to me. It feels like you are cheating when going uphill.

Will be fascinated to see how good the disc versions are when they land. You combine the low weight and stiffness with complete disc stopping power and you could have the ultimate Alpine super bike.

See the ful build in the gallery here and contact us now for availability.