A New and Different Feel
Pros: Great in the wind, Comfortable, Efficient And Stiff
Cons: Rear Brake
Best Uses: Racing, endurance
Was this a gift?: No
I received this bike as part of Trek’s crash replacement program after wrecking my 2011 Madone frame. Its a very different feel: stiffer, more efficient…but strangely more compliant in the rear. On the one hand, the steering is no nonsense: precise, with no room for error. This bike turns with subtle shifts in weight. Until the rider gets this, it’s easy to over-steer. On the other hand, removing the brake bridge makes for a smoother ride with no compromise under power.
The Bontrager brakes are universally disliked by all my racing friends, so I ordered the Dura Ace brakes. Still, I needed to seek out a mechanic who knew how to do a proper setup. The factory toe-in makes braking feel spongy, rather than positive and secure. Once dialed in, the rear brake [in particular] is very powerful.
After riding this bike in a week long mountain tour, I can testify to how well it tracks at speeds over 35 mph. However, it demands proper descending technique, because it is NOT forgiving. It climbs VERY well. What you put into the pedals translated directly to the wheels.
All in all, I really like the new frame. It demands to be ridden well, though. If you want to step up your riding skills, get this bike. If you want something that responds in a more casual and forgiving manner, try a Madone 3 or 4 series.