I'm a Trek fanboy, but the '08 Madone?
Trek's new '08 Madones are being touted all over the place ..
I'm a Trek fanboy, I make no apologies for this. I have 5 of them, and many of my friends ride them, and when I give bikes to people, they're generally Treks ... Why is this? My first roady was a Trek 1400 and it's still going (after some 65,000km or so) and I love the ride and handling, and when I went up to a carbon bike, the Madone 5.2 with Project 1 graphics just seemed 'right', and I wasn't disapointed by it, to say the least. It rides like a real bike should ride, it handles high speed decents with confidence and predictability, even with my lardy backside on it, and it looks like a proper road bike should look , even with the tail on the seat tube and the bulgy down tube on the '05 Madone.
They're not perfect (nothing is ...), and the T1 track bike in particular has some missing things that a track bike at its price point really should have - the most glaring missing feature is replaceable rear dropout surfaces. It really should have them, but it doesn't. At least, unlike the Specialized 'Langster' it does have stainless dropouts, but at a RRP of around $2,600 in Australia, it has less real track features than the Raceline 'Record' at a thousand dollars less. It also comes with some pretty ordinary road cranks, not track cranks, and the wheels are servicable but the bearings are low end Bontrager and mine haven't survived a summer's racing all that well. A service will probably fix them up, but now I have high end wheels (Bonty Carbon track, yum!) it's not urgent.
Their roadies in particular, I do love, the traditionally shaped top tube, the feel and poise on the road, the handling works for me.
Trek have just released their '08 (it's June '07 ... this US marketing stuff is crap!) Madones, and there's a -lot- of new stuff in them. New to Trek anyway, long time Cannondale fans will see a few borrowed features, and, shock/horror the new shape looks very similar to a Giant TCR! Sloping top tube, seat masts. I don't like, mkay? They've also obfuscated their OCLV carbon, instead of knowing what the frame is made of, now you get a rather insulting 'red, white or black' to signify the three 'levels' of frame material used. Huh? I'd actually like to know what's in there, please.
Of course, the proof is in the pudding, and until I actually get one under my backside for a ride, all the above is based purely on not liking the look of the sloping top tube and the obfuscation of the carbon grades used. If Mark G from Trek wants to lend me a 56cm '08 Madone to test and review, then I'll be able to make up my mind about if it's a better bike, despite the Giant TCR looks and the rubbery seat mast. Does the huge BB shell (90mm, with integrated bearing seats) keep the bottom bracket more solidly in place? Does it weigh significantly less than the '07 models? Enough to justify the sloping top tube? Enough to justify the 1.5" lower headset bearing. The UCI limit for weight starts to make weight loss a waste of time anyway, we can't race a 6kg bike, it's illegal. Does Chris King make something to suit the new headset or do we have no choice with bearings? LBS's will have to carry (or order in) different seat 'post/mast' bits for different saddle heights, which is a PITA. We already have a pile of seatposts and stems, now we might have to carry these bits, and for how long until the trend swings back? Will Trek Aust have stock of these in 5 years time?
You can read a less biased review at Cyclingnews.com here, or see Trek's own marketing spin here. Make up your own mind, but have a testride first, I'll be riding one as soon as I can to see if I'm full of it and the bike's a real winner, or if it's a pile of gimicks and slick spin. I'd like to see it tested and some hard data, weight, flex at the BB etc.