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Home » Cycling » Trek’s Ten Pound Production Road Bike, The Best Road Bike for the Serious Cyclist – Top Ten List, Discuss…

Trek’s Ten Pound Production Road Bike, The Best Road Bike for the Serious Cyclist – Top Ten List, Discuss…

July 2014
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I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a few of the guys I ride with regularly.  Now we are the serious cyclists they talk about when they write articles about serious cyclists (and the best bikes for them)…  I ride a Specialized Venge Comp, my buddy Mike a Trek Madone 6.2, my other buddy Mike an S-Works Tarmac (14 pounds dripping wet) and there were two guys (whose names I don’t know, but bikes I do) who ride a Madone 4. something and a NielPryde Diablo…  All serious race bikes and only one or two of the guys actually race.

The discussion centered around the new Trek Emonda, a complete bike that weighs only ten pounds, out the door.  The cost?  A little more than a sub-compact car – or a Custom Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 (brand new, including taxes and tags – technically, you could buy a new version of my bike and the sportster and still save a grand or so).  And so the discussion went, how much is too much and is it worth $15 grand…  It turned out that we all want one, but we weren’t willing to spit out the cash either.  We’ll come back to the Emonda in a minute though because, for serious cyclists, this bike is going to be HUGE

So, what does the serious cyclist want in a bike? The answer will vary with every individual cyclist but I think noobs, myself included not too long ago, take the whole “super-bike fever” too far and for all of the wrong reasons. First, and anyone who has spent a decent amount of time on a bike will agree;  a great bike may ride well but nothing is better than time in the saddle and thousands of miles…  Not only that, the bike isn’t the status symbol, real status is determined by how you ride what you have, not what you have.  If you ride a Pinarello Dogma like crap, it’ll show.  Sure you might get an older lady to compliment you on how pretty your bike is but she won’t know the difference between a Trek 1.2 and that Pinarello.

With that out of the way, I like a blend of comfort and speed.  My Venge achieves this excellently – it won’t flex where it needs to be stiff without being too rigid…  Personally, I don’t need (or even want) the stiffest, lightest bike they made.  On the other hand, the dude on the Madone 4 wanted no flex and had even considered buying a well equipped aluminum bike – great for speed and acceleration but man, that’d be gnarly over 100 miles.  My buddy Mike with the Madone 6.2 wanted a nice bike built for speed (his rain bike is a 5200 as well, interestingly enough) while the other Mike, on the S-Works Tarmac is all about the speed and is fast enough to justify the $12,000 he has into that bike (I believe that’s what he quoted – upgraded wheels and bar).  The guy who rides the Diablo pretty much stayed out of the fray…

Then I ran across an article at Men’s Fitness that gives their suggestions for the “Ten Best Road Bikes for the Serious Cyclist”.  They go pretty much by price, starting with a Tarmac SL2 and ending with the Scott Plasma…  They cover all of the big three (Specialized Tarmac, Cannondale Caad 10 and Trek Domane 6.9) and the two other big American brands (Scott – which is HUGE in Europe and Giant) and include Bianchi, Cervelo, PlanetX, Orbea and the Pinarello Dogma frame rounds their list out…  While I don’t have a problem with top tens, as far as this one goes I don’t know how a top ten bikes list wouldn’t have a Venge, SuperSix Evo or a Madone on it…  Or a Cervelo S5 for that matter – and therein lies the rub for top ten lists.  They’re impossible to get right!  I wouldn’t trust Bicycling Magazine to a top ten list, let alone Men’s Fitness.

However, let’s get back to that Emonda for just a minute, because this is one special bike…

There are ten models that range in price from $15,000+ to just $1,500.  Where it gets impressive is the SL8 and SL 6 models…

What if I told you that you could have a 15 pound, DuraAce equipped race bike for only $4,520?  That’s really the price folks.  What if I told you that the Ultegra 11 sp. is less than $3,200!  Seriously – and it weighs only 16.3 pounds!  Folks, I paid $3,000 for my Venge and I got a 17.5 pound bike (with pedals, cages and bottles 18.3 pounds) and I only got 105 components…  I had to upgrade my wheels to get down to 16.5 pounds and that cost another $370.  So figure I’ve got $3,500 into my 105 equipped Venge and I’ve got a 16.5 pound bike…  For $300 LESS, you can have an Ultegra equipped bike, ready to go with race wheels and knock off two tenths of a pound at the same time…  Ladies and gentlemen, had I not just bought my Venge eight months ago, this bike would be sitting in my bedroom.

TrekEmonda SL8 DuraAce - 4,500 or maybe the LS-6TrekEmondaSL6Yeah, the six…  I like the paint job on the six.


20 Comments

  1. There are always going to be another new bike that is prettier,lighter or even advertised as faster. The bike industry is getting like the computer industry with advances technology coming every six months it seems. For most of us, a middle of the road computer should be good for what most would do, yet we want the fastest most powerful that only a professional might need.

    We can all dream but we should also appreciate what we have. We can make small changes at a time to improve on what we have.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Great points…

      Except there will never be, for the foreseeable future, a road bike as badass as my Venge. Specialized got that one perfect (then they went and messed up the paint for this year).

      Of course, comparing bikes to computers isn’t quite fair – or maybe it is… Let’s look at this. Without a doubt, I ride happier on my Venge than any of my other bikes. So, that purchase on the one item I use the most to keep me fit, makes for a happier rider, right? Riding that one bike is less like work and more like being a kid again than any other bike I own.

      Therefore I enjoy my sport more and I’m more apt to keep with it should I struggle. Now, did I “need” my race bike? You may think not, but it puts a smile on my face so it’s not a matter of “need” Happiness is not a need, it’s desirable but not a necessity. If I went by everyone else’s idea of what I “need”, I’d be broke, riding a huffy. That $200 bike satisfies the definition of need, no? Well maybe in somebody’s dictionary, but not mine. I needed that Venge by my definition and that’s the one that counts. 😎

      • My lust after bike is the Cervelo P3. The way I look at it, want versus need, is this way. Want: you want something just to impress people or have the latest and greatest. Need, is when you get something that you enjoy and puts that smile on your face. It is something you use and maintain so that you have future enjoyment.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love those guys that “want” the latest and greatest and then do nothing with. These are the guys that you and I love as we are the ones that can scoop up a great deal from them.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I get ya… We were going by different definitions of need and want. It’s all good brother.

  2. sxeveganbiking says:

    What a lot of people forget, though, is it’s not just the weight of the bike, but also the weight of rider. You can have the lightest bike on the planet, but if you’re carrying extra weight and you’re not in your best form you are going to struggle on the flat, let alone on a climb.

    • bgddyjim says:

      There is truth to that, but put a Clydesdale on a 30 pound bike, then give that cyclist an 18 pounder and I’ll guarantee you they’ll pick the 18 pounder any day.

      Also, I’m ten pounds up from last year (170) but I’m faster and climbing MUCH better (more muscle maybe?). Point is, power production, propulsion and ascension are not necessarily about a lighter body… At the same time, slap me on a 30 pound bike and I’m gonna know it.

      • sxeveganbiking says:

        Absolutely! 🙂 Sorry, to clarify, by a lower weight I should have said to be at your ideal weight for cycling, in terms of body fat and muscle mass, to be more efficient. I agree, anyone would choose a lightweight bike over some old clunker! 🙂

      • bgddyjim says:

        Ooh, that will make a GREAT post!

  3. I know nothing of expensive bikes, but my worry would be the same as with an expensive car- when something breaks it’s going to be expensive to fix (I assume). But if cycling is your passion and you’re not going it debt for it, why not? Those light-weight bikes do appeal to me, but if I had one of those nice bikes I wouldn’t be able to blame my bike any more 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      I can tell you, the first ten minutes right after I realized that I had no more excuses really sucked. Those were the only ten minutes since I bought my bike that I regretted buying it.

      I’ve since gotten over all of that, of course… And filed it in the “silly” garbage can. 😎

  4. hi says:

    I think i am getting old 😦
    Looking at these bikes, my first thought is ‘Can i put mudgaurds on them!’

  5. cyardin says:

    These race steeds in the list are lustful, but where I ride in Sydney the road quality absolutely sucks! So when I went in my LBS and saw the Cervelo R5 hanging up I got excited, but then when you have a look at what the guys in the Garmin Sharp team ride on the bumpy days it is the cheaper R5. The S5 is a speed machine dream, but would be uncomfortable as hell on some of the routes that I do where if you closed your eyes you could be mistaken for thinking you were on the Strade Bianche.

    What’s most important is that eventually the trickle down will mean that the mid-range speed machines in one or two years time will contain a lot of the improvements.

    Case in point – your brand new 105 groupset on the Venge is probably better than my 2009 Ultegra groupset on my Madone 4.7. Never mind the pressfit BB versus the external that I have, or the hidden things like the carbon modulation in your frame.

    Still, I would not say no to parking an Emonda in my dining room.

    • bgddyjim says:

      That’s a good point, I tend to take good roads for granted. The Roubaix is the Specialized version (I call them squishy bikes). The Trek Domane is another… It’s not that they’re cheaper (even if they tend to be), the frame is designed to cushion the nasty pavement a little bit. Great on the cobbles but you lose a little in top-end performance.

  6. Rick Everett says:

    Any publicity for cycling is hope for people to get off the couch and exercise and perhaps improve an environmental perspective.

    I’ve got a Record 11 Scott which was 14 pounds with KOM Tubulars and is now 18 with clinchers, pedals and a seat bag which is how i ride it Let’s not be haters and instead be ambasadors of our sport and the progress the big and little companies provide which spreads to us. The Tiny Klein company back in the 80s revolutionized aluminum frames, mine was 16 lbs. Then Ti, then STI, then Carbon forks, frames, rims, the list is long, I’m betting 95 out of 100 elite cyclists would take an Emonda if given one and they had to lose what they ride, I don’t like seat masts, but I would take one.

    On my honeymoon with a non riding wife, we rented 30 lb hybrid bikes, no cleats or jersey or lycra shorts, I rode the long way to town twice while my wife took the flat road, the long way added a 1.5 mile 1000′ climb road …on a 30 pound rental hybrid…in tennis shoes and shorts. The bike was hard to accept, but the ride was still great after I adjusted my attitude. My speed was ~60%, my joy was double my normal high.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Absolutely…

      Neat story about the honeymoon… Though I’d have hated the hybrid, I’d have ridden it anyway just to get the miles in on vacation, same as you.

  7. elisariva says:

    I bought the Madone 7.7 last year with SRAM Force components. I got lucky, the pain is mint green with burgandy accents – retro look. It wasn’t selling so the shop sold it to me for about the cost of the frame. I love it! And I actually get compliments on the color. It is incredibly light too. My tt bike is a Cervelo P2, which also is light, but the Madone is lighter 15 pounds at most. Trek was my first roadie in 2000 with a 5200 and continues to be my favorite for road bikes!

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