Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Who's the Real Tour de France Winner?

Jan Bakelants rides Trek's Madone 7 for a second leg win.


On Stage 2 of the 2013 Tour de France, RadioShack rider Jan Bakelants earned his first stage win, and the first for Trek’s newest race bike, the Madone 7. Trek, which is taking over sole sponsorship for the powerhouse pro team in 2014, gave us an early look at the revised—and noticeably improved—aero-road bicycle.

This is not a brand-new bike, but rather an update to the current iteration, which was an Editors’ Choice finalist this year. The most significant change is to the chainstays, which now feature a revised carbon lay-up and a tweaked shape. In addition, Trek's designers changed the lug that joins the bottom bracket and chainstay. According to Trek, both modifications are designed to improve ride feel and increase braking performance.

Just have a look at this video that highlights the improvements for 2014:


Road Brand Manager Michael Mayer explained that the new shapes work better with direct-mount style brakes, which increases power, helps the rear wheel track straight, and minimizes brake rub. He added that the bike’s new carbon lay-up, designed to improve the bike’s ride feel, is the final variant of a process that saw Trek employees evaluate 300 different combinations during combined lab-, and road testing. The new frame is also about 25 grams lighter—Trek says the bike now weighs 725 grams, once coated with the company’s lightweight U5 paint.

What’s new?

The Madone 7 is the result of a series of tweaks of the 6.9, rather than a wholesale redesign.

Weight drops by 25 grams to 725 grams, with Trek’s ultralight U5 Vapor Coat paint. The decrease comes from new lay-up designs, and stiffness is maintained.

A less sexy but likely more significant change has been made to the chain stays. They’ve been stiffened near the brake to improve braking performance (a vastly underrated part of going fast is, of course, stopping fast), and tweaked along their length to “improve ride feel.”

The previous Madone had the best braking of any frame with a integrated or semi-integrated brake system, particularly with Shimano’s new dual-bolt Dura-Ace brakes, but Trek apparently thought it could do better.

The improved ride feel comes from a bit of added vertical flex near the end of the stays, improving comfort without compromising the aforementioned brake performance.

The 6-series Madones get the same chain-stay changes, but don’t lose the 25 grams.

Project 1

The Madone 7 will be available through Trek’s Project 1 custom program, which will include new paint schemes, colors, and signature options specifically for the new frame. The program will add new component choices and a new color for the U5 vapor coat as well.

One of those signature options is the electric Leopard blue that adorned the Radio Shack bikes in the Tour de France. Yes, it is that bright in person.

Give us a call or stop by to see us. We'll work through the process of building your own custom model.