There are bikes and then there are bikes, great bikes, those bikes that make a difference between great cyclists and great champions, those bikes that make the difference between winning and losing. Trek has been building such bikes for the last thirty-five years and has reached its peak with the Madone 6.
The achievements of the Trek Madone 6 series is already stuff of legends, having won 9 of the last 12 Tour victories, and Lance Armstrong describes the Madone as being the best bike he ever rode. Other famous Madone riders include Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer.
But what makes this bike so special and what sets it apart from so many other bikes?
Hardcore riders will say the what makes the Madone a great bike is that it is very stiff, light, comfortable and precise, which is all true but it is also true that these same things could be said about other bikes. While there are many great bikes out there only some can seem to compete with Madone for the title of best road bike in the world, so let’s look at how the Madone is different from other bikes and what technologies Trek has used to make it so good.
The Trek Madone bikes feature a patented carbon production process called OCLV (Optimum Compaction Low Void) which means that the carbon used to create the Madone frames is highly compressed, which reduces the microscopic gaps between the several layers of carbon, minimizing weight and maximizing strength. Load tests are also carried on each frame in order to analyze how particular frames react to under strain.
Madone 6 bikes feature the BB90 bottom bracket which is 90mm long, making one of the widest bottom brackets in the market. The BB90 is made of carbon and features only two extra parts making the frame lighter.
The Trek Madone 6 series also features an asymmetric E2 fork which has a double function: it improves the steering of the bike and it enhances shock absorption, increasing stability and confidence.
A great way Trek has found to increase comfort in the Madone is by using the Ride-Tuned seatmast. This particular seatpost uses less components than traditional seatpost thus reducing weight while it is made to increase stability, comfort and performance by bump absorbing technology. It is also completely adjustable, up to 10cms.
The Madone 6 is also perfectly compatible with the Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system and is capable of integrating it without any need of anything extra. To do this the Madone features completely adapted frame and a replaceable battery mount in the bottom bracket. For those who might not know, the Di2 increases shifting accuracy and makes gears change faster eliminating the problem of missed shifts.
Some of the Madone 6 series bikes are part of Trek’s Project One program. The Project One allows riders to customize their bikes. First comes cosmetic options like choosing color patterns which can be completely custom or a Radio Shack, Leopard Trek or Trek/K-Swiss Team replicas; riders can also add their signature to the bike. Then riders can choose their drivetrain, they can choose between many of them, from Shimano Dura Ace 7900 compact to Ultegra 6700 Double and Triple, passing through the Dura Ace Di2(Leopard Trek Pro team rides the Durace Di2 in the 2011 season) Compact and Double which are probably the best in the market right now. Then it is also possible to choose between the various components of the bike. The wheelset, tires, stem, handlebar, bar tape, seatmast cap, saddle and headset are all customizable and each one as wide array of choices giving the rider plenty of freedom to create a bike that suits his needs and his style.
Three fits to rule them all
The Madone features a three fit system to adapt to all kinds of riders and to what they wish to do with their bike.
The H1 Fit features the lowest hands position and it is perfect for those riders who wish to mainly ride their Madone in the Aero position. The H2 Fit is an intermediate position that keeps the riding characteristics of the H1 while increasing the height of the head tube allowing the rider to be in a more erect position relieving any strain the Aero position might cause. The H3 Fit is one the other side of spectrum allowing the rider to be in a more upright position while still retaining a pro performance level.
The Madone 6 models
The Madone 6 series features several models. All of these models have the Madone 6 qualities: they’re comfortable, their steering is precise, great acceleration and are customizable. All models come in seven sizes – 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm.
The Madone 6.9 SSL WSD features the H2 frame fit. This is the standard Madone 6 SSL WSD and not the customizable version . The wheels and tires are from Bontrager and the drive train is a Shimano Dura Ace. WSD means by Trek, Women Specific Bikes.
Yet there is the custom Madone 6 Series SSL WSD which is fully customizable using the Project One program. As stated above, the Project One program allows the rider to choose the SSL WSD’s colors and components.
Next comes the Madone 6.9 SSL which, as the previous one, comes with two choices: the standard version and the customizable one. The Standard version offers two fits: the H1 and the H2. The H1 Fit features the Shimano Dura Ace drivetrain with the double crank while the H2 Fit features the same Shimano Dura Ace drivetrain but with the compact crank. The custom version of the Madone 6 Series SSL is fully customizable according to the Project One program.
The Madone 6.7 SSL WSD features the H2 frame fit. It features Bontrager wheels and tires and the Shimano Dura Ace drivetrain. It features a lower price than the 6.9 SSL WSD and the 6.9 SSL and the difference is mainly in the components. The previous bikes featured Bontrager Race XXX Lite Handlebars and Stems and the Cane Creek AER headset while the 6.7 features Bontrager Race X Lite handlebar and stem and a Cane Creek IS-8 headset.
The Madone 6.7 SSL features both H1 Fit and H2 Fit with the double crank and the compact crank. The Shimano Dura Ace is present and the components are the same as the Madone 6.7 SSL WSD.
The Madone 6.5 WSD features the H3 frame fit. It has a SRAM Force drivetrain and Bontrager saddle and seatpost and Bontrager Race X Lite handlebar and stem, the headset is a Cane Creek IS-2.
The Madone 6.2 WSD features the H3 frame fit. Bontarager Race Lite wheels and R3 tires. The drivetrain is a Shimano Ultegra. The handlebar is a Bontrager Race Blade and the Stem is Bontrager Race X Lite. It features a Cane Creek Headset.
The bottom Madone model is the 6.2. It features all three frame fits and uses most of the 6.2 WSD components, the only difference being the H1 fit uses a double crank.
It is also possible to customize both the Madone 6 WSD and the Madone 6 using the Project One program.
The Madone 6 series offers an ample selection of great bikes in a wide array of prices. Even the bottom models, the 6.2 and the 6.2 WSD, are great bikes and will deliver a great riding experience taking its rider to new heights.
Of course components can make a difference and every little difference in high competition can make all the difference in the world between winning and losing. In this case the top models, the 6.9 SSL and the 6.9 SSL WSD, offer the best possible experience the Trek Madone 6 can offer and possibly among the best experiences available today in road biking.