Trek Emonda SLR Disc Project One - First Look

What bike to ride in the upcoming Haute Route Ventoux? Decisions, decisions, decisions... After much thought, I've decided to opt for the brand new Trek Emonda Disc, one of the lightest disc-equipped road bikes currently available, and brand new for 2018.

A 665g frame underpins the brand new Emonda Disc, just 25g heavier than the non-disc version and making it one of the lightest disc frames currently available. Disc brakes are controversial in some corners of the cycling world but there's no denying the growing appetitive for them from Bespoke customers, and it's great to see bike brands advancing the frame technology to reduce the weight difference.

Built up with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 with hydraulic brakes and a full sweep of Bontrager equipment, from the Aeolus Pro 3 carbon tubeless disc wheels to XXX OCLV carbon handlebar and Montrose saddle with titanium rails, it's a very light bike: 6.8kg for the size 56cm pictured above with H2 geometry, proving that disc brakes don't have to be heavy.

Not only are disc brakes getting more popular, but so too are wide tyres. The Emonda is clearly a race bike, its remit is to be fast, light, stiff, responsive and agile, but there's massive tyre clearance and this bike is fitted with 28mm Bontrager tyres, and there looks to be space for potentially wider tyres. While the pros won't be racing such wide tyres outside of the spring classics, for everyone else wider tyres are ideal for smoothing out the poorly surfaced roads.

As with all Trek's SLR bikes, there's a choice of H1 (race) and H2 (endurance) geometry and the bike here has the latter. That means a stack of 577mm and 387mm on this 56cm bike, so it's a bit more relaxed with a higher handlebar position than the more aggressive H1 fit. All other measurements are the same, including the super short 983mm wheelbase and 410mm chainstays.

While it's the headline-grabbing weight that impresses, Trek has also worked on making this new Emonda more comfortable and stiffer, two traits that should certainly be appreciated on the roads leading up to Mont Ventoux and on the climb itself. Advanced computer simulations have led to some very shapely tube profiles, most noticeably the top tube which flares at the head tube and seat tube but goes very skinny in the middle. Admittedly at a glance, the new Emondo looks visually the same as the old one, but look closer and differences soon stand out.

Key carryover features include the E2 tapered head tube, ride tuned seatmast, BB90 press-fit bottom bracket and DuoTrap speed sensor concealed in the chainstay. Cable routing is nicely managed, with a central port on the down tube for the Di2 wiring and rear brake thought the front brake hose is externally routed along the new fork. With the adoption of disc brakes, Trek has used the now standard 12mm thru-axle configuration with flat mount calipers.

So that's an overview of the bike I'll be riding up Mont Ventoux next month. For sure, I won't be laying any blame on the bike if I struggle (and I will struggle) on the steep slopes of the fearsome mountain, so I'll have to prepare some other excuses!