Review: Trek Emonda SL6 Roadbike

Today, I am reviewing the Trek…

EMONDA SL6…

 

BIKE SPECIFICATIONS

Frame:                  Ultralight 500 Series OCLV Carbon, DuoTrap S compatible

Fork:                      Emonda full carbon

Groupset:            Full Shimano Ultegra 6800

Crank:                   50/34 (compact)

Bottom Bracket: BB90

Cassette:             11-32, 11 speed

Seatpost:             Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon seatmast cap

Handlebar:         Bontrager Elite VR-C, 31.8mm

Stem:                   Bontrager Pro, 31.8mm, 7 degree, w/computer & light mounts

Saddle:                 Bontrager Montrose Comp

Wheels:               Bontrager Race Tubeless Ready

Tires:                    Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite, aramid bead, 700x25c

Weight:               7.4kg (with 2 bottle cages), 52cm size (excluding pedal); Trek website posted 56cm – 7.43 kg

About EMONDA

Every company has their own way of defining their carbon strength and technology. For Trek it is called OCLV or Optimum Compaction Low Void and it is patented. It is actually breaks down into 2 areas – Optimum Compaction and Low Void. In short, it is Trek processes of how they cut, mold, heat and compress the carbon. All Trek OCLV carbon frame is given a limited lifetime warranty. Emonda models comes with OCLV 300, 500 and 700. The SL6 is OCLV 500.

Emonda is not new anymore and it has been out since 2014. But, it was a newly added model into their lineup. The bike design is definitely meant for a purpose – climbing (and I would said endurance too). From the picture below, you can see the massive downtube that helps in climbing.

The tested bike was equipped with a full Shimano Ultegra groupset. There aren’t many bike companies would give out a complete groupset. Many times there are doing a mix match components to gain maximum profit. There is a slightly cheaper version that comes with Shimano 105 groupset. I am a bit of reserve of that… so, go for Ultegra and you won’t regret it.

 

Another thing worth to note here is the seat tube. It defied the conventional way of designing. Part of the seat post “extended” out from the frame. The purpose? To reduce the weight of the seat tube as it can designing it thinner.

All cables are all internal routed and nicely hidden. Whoever cleans the bike will definitely appreciate it.

Since cables are hidden away, can you do without cable tie also? With the DuoTrap S Compatible, you can now. So, no more messy cable tie for your speed and cadence sensor. The sensor is now nicely tuck into the frame.

A complete bike without pedals but with 2 bottle cages and stock wheels weights 7.4kg. It may not be an ideal weight as a climbing bike. Probably it was due to the heavy wheels. Published spec for the wheels are 1720g. Changing to carbon wheels probably can shed off 300-400g but that increases the price of the bike. If you are weight wheenie, get the Emonda SLR 10 that weighs 4.88kg only!!! And, it is a large frame with 56cm! Moreover, it is on sale now.

This is the weight of the bike without the wheels (of course, tires and tubes too).

This bike comes with 2 colors – Matte Dnister Black or Matte California Sky Blue. What I had tested was the Sky Blue. Ain’t she pretty with the high profile wheels?

THE RIDE

I believe everyone question now is can this bike climb as what it claimed. Personally, I find it average on climbing. It may be due to 2 reasons. 1) I picked the wrong time of the day to cycle as it was superhot (37C) to cycle and probably not my best performance. 2) It could be due to heavy wheels. Why? As the temperature cools down, I managed to gain speed and earned a Personal Record (PR) on one of the segment. It is a 3.6km path with small rolling hills. Secondly, each time when I was off the saddle and pedal, it did sprint. So, that tells me the bike is very stiff during the climb.

A bike is good if it can perform uphill, downhill and flat. Basically we wanted it all-rounded.  What about downhill and flat then? I definitely love the handling when coming down the hill and through each cornering. It has a superb handling and again, I have another PR. The steady frame and the 25mm tires helps a lot. On a flat road, I can feel that I need to put on a bit more effort but still manageable.

This bike is definitely set for endurance and comfort. The headtube length is 140mm for the tested bike vs 128mm for my Cervelo S3 and a chainstay length of 410mm. Also, the stack is 547mm. All these couple with 25mm tires, it was really a pleasure for me to ride that day. It was so comfortable that I can’t feel much of the road vibration even with a long stretch of road constructions during my ride. That earned the endurance title from me.

The wheels aren’t so bad as it didn’t flex so much when I was standing and pedal. Though it is heavy but a much better wheels than the 2 Mavic wheels I had tried on.

Beside the wheels, the only other thing I dislike about this bike is the handlebar. It is too wide for me. I find it not suitable for Asian size but this can easily settle by changing it.

Make sure you do fitting before deciding which size fits you well. Every single brand will have their own way of sizing. Trek personnel is happy to explain and get you fitted.

The price tag for this bike is RM12,499 before discount. The SL6 Pro comes with Vision Metron 40 carbon wheels. The 40 is indicating the 40mm depth and it weighs 1,490g without the quick release. The price tag of this bike? RM15,499. Is RM3k worth the upgrade? Hmm…. Probably, because you can’t get RM3k for carbon wheels. How it perform? You may have to test it out on your own as tested bike comes with standard wheels only.

Verdict

If you are looking for comfort and long ride that doesn’t taxing you. Also, most of your rides are rolling or climbing hills such as Cameron Highlands, Fraser Hill, Bukit Hantu or Peres. Then, this bike is definitely for you. Otherwise, you may want to consider Madone.

Trek Shop

There is a Trek concept store in Penang. It is called Treknology and you can actually borrow and test ride the bike. The criteria’s are simple. 1) You are genuine buyer that wanted to test out the bike before buying. 2) You are out in the group ride with them and you do not have a bike. They can lend you 1. You just need to bring your own pedal and spare tube during the ride.

There are 6 models that you can borrow and try it out. All you need is to fill up this form. And… Get a friend who knows Trek personnel very well to borrow the bike. Well, these are expensive bikes and they need to make sure you do take care of the bike and return in 1 piece. Oh… this program is also available in KL if you reside there.

Enjoy your ride… (I know I did :))

Advertisements