Inside The 2010 Trek Madone Six Series
As new model launches go, you can hardly blame Trek for following the same page from the same play book that they've relied on for the last six years. It's a simple strategy really, but one that has proven more successful than any other bike company could ever hope to duplicate. In a nutshell, Trek's recipe is this: design a new bike, make sure Lance is racing, enter both in the Tour de France, sit back and wait for the phone to ring.
It's been three years since Lance Armstrong last raced the Tour de France and it's been five years since Trek introduced an all new pro peloton worthy road bike. It was in fact at the 2003 Tour de France that Lance first race tested an early prototype of the bike which would go on to become the three time Tour de France winning Madone (replacing the venerable Trek 5200 which he won four Tours on).
So here it is in 2009 and although it owes more to coincidence than purposeful planning (Lance didn't announce his return to racing until well after the new bike was being developed) Trek has once again used the annual French foray in July to showcase a new model Madone with the Texan aboard. Trek's Team Astana team liaison Ben Coates was kind enough to take some time and roll the new team bikes out for us to shoot while traipsing around the marina in Monaco - thanks Ben.
For 2010 Trek is releasing three different bikes that live within the Madone family. The entry level 4 Series is Asian made and has a frame similar in style to the Madone. The mid-line 5 Series is a carry-forward model from last year, a bike which has won all three Grand Tours with Alberto Contador. Finally, there's the bike that Lance and the Astana team is riding in this year's race, the brand spankin' new 6 Series.
Like the 5, the 6 is also handmade at the Trek factory in Waterloo, Wisconsin with Trek's proprietary OCLV Carbon. But that's where the similarities end. Key to the new bike is a completely re-shaped frame that we're told is 17-percent stiffer laterally and close to 150-grams lighter. Also new is the evolution of Trek's proprietary OCLV Carbon frame material. Trek is now using what's called OCLV2 with Resin Right technology to maximize frame stiffness and weight savings through a more controlled lay-up process.
Trek is making two models of the 6 series available, both outfitted with Shimano 7900 Dura Ace drivetrains. Look for retail prices of $6614 and $8609 for the respective models which are further distinguished by their level of Bontrager components. You can choose between five different Signature color options or go the custom route using Trek's much evolved Project One program where you can also order a bike with a team spec SRAM Red drivetrain and best of all, any number of color choices for your cable housing.
Trek's E2 carbon fork has been totally redesigned (and now weighs 30 grams less), just as the new Bontrager Aeolus wheels have - no more paired spoking! Here, Contador is running with the Race XXX Lite carbon wheels.
The tapered, full carbon E2 fork is now ovalized just above the crown to provide both increased stiffness and comfort (with more fore/aft flex). Internal cable routing is designed to accommodate both mechanical and Shimano DI-2 cables. The Madone frame now uses what Trek calls their Step Joint construction process to minimize frame tube overlap which not only helps the frame lose weight, but also provide an improved ride quality.
The underbelly exposes the internal cable routing. An example of Trek thinking ahead, is the black plastic plate which can be replaced with one specifically designed as a mount for a Shimano's electronic drivetrain battery so there's no need to drill holes in your frame. The Madone is dedicated to the maxi-wide BB90 bottom bracket.
Both the internal cable routing and Trek's new Duo Tap computer can be seen here. The inboard Duo Tap which records speed and cadence and Lance is also using the Duo Tap handlebar mounted computer as it also records SRM info as well.
The 2010 Madone 6 Series has lost the aero shaped seatpost of old (and 20 grams) and has been replaced with a round unit. Trek still makes two different length seat caps available to help nail sizing needs. The Bontrager post head remains one of the easiest to use of any on the market.
The 6 Series Madone will be available in five select colors as well as an array of Project One paint/build options...luckily this isn't one of them! Our 2010 Madone test bike is supposed to be arriving any day now so soon enough we can get started finding out what all the Wisco hoopla is about. Stay tuned.
A Look Back: Lance's Bikes of Old
The Trek 5200 was the original bike of the Postal team and became probably the best selling road bike in history back in the early Lance years. Like the current Madones, the original 5200 was hand built at the Trek factory in Wisconsin.
For the 2004 Trek had big plans for Lance to ride a brand new Madone with fancy 2005 model year production spec team graphics. Two nights before the race began Lance announced that he would instead stay aboard his "Plata Negra" Madone that he had been already been riding for over two months. Within days of that surprise news, Trek had a new "Lance Replica" black flame color way added to the Project One menu and added to the catalog.
The Madone SSLX was a sexier version of the already sex'd up Madone SL. The SSLX was lightened throughout (machined dropouts, drilled out front derailleur mount, steerer tube and bottom bracket shell) and used Boron sheets mixed with the OCLV Carbon to help maximize stiffness.
Trek would often make Lance a "Paris Bike" that he would ride on the last day of the race and eventually become a limited edition model following the Tour. To celebrate win #6, Trek made 600 bikes that used real gold leaf panels. Expensive then, they should be able to fetch a pretty penny now.
For more info, head over to the Trek web site.