I got to ride the new Trek Emonda SL 6 over the weekend to see what all of the hype was about around this groundbreaking lightweight series of bikes. Trek boasts that the Emonda series, specifically the SLR 10, is the lightest production line of bikes out there, period. The SLR 10 weighs in at 10.25 pounds out of the box before pedals, that’s pretty impressive! So here are my thoughts on the SL 6…
Out of the box, it weighs in just over 16 pounds, and with a set of Crank Bros Candy 3, two water bottle cages, and my SRAM Garmin mount with my Edge 200 mounted, it weighed in at 17 pounds and 7 ounces, not too shabby.This bike comes equipped with Shimano Ultegra 11 speed shifting, Bontrager Race tubeless ready wheels, Bontrager RL stem, Bontrager Paradigm saddle, Bontrager R2 tires, and is constructed of Trek’s 500 series OCLV carbon. Not a bad package.
So here comes the performance and geometry part. Trek says that to really feel what this bike is all about (aside from weight) to take it to a hill you normally climb and you’ll feel the difference in the performance. So, I took it home, climbed the hill to my house as I normally do on my Kagero and my Crockett, and I felt no benefit. It wasn’t easier, it wasn’t faster, it just wasn’t there. I climb that hill faster on my fixed gear and on my Crockett. Even in the granny gear, there was no clear benefit of the geometry for climbs. That being said, the handling on the road was a bit off as well. It just didn’t feel smooth or responsive like I was expecting it to. Compared to the other bikes in Trek’s lineup, specifically the Domane, it just didn’t feel fun or fast. I know it’s a different approach from the Domane and the Madone, but it lacks somewhere in the lateral handling and the raw power of it. The geometry felt incomplete and like it could use a few more tweaks on the drawing board, and the internal cable routing is louder than anything I have ever heard when you hit bumps. The Ultegra 11 speed shifting felt great though. Super smooth, seamless shifting.
All in all, the Trek Emonda isn’t an awful bike, it’s not a bad bike, it’s just a bike that needs some more tuning in my opinion. The new Duotrap S compatibility is a cool feature which allows you to use your smartphone and transmit ride info through Bluetooth, or to any ANT+ compatible setup, and that is a very convenient feature. It’s a new bike in a line up in the great “let’s make a super light bike” race, and I’m sure they will modify it in the years to come, but right now I just honestly was not that impressed with this bike.