Gear News

Trek Madone 5.2 road bike – first look

The upper echelons of Trek’s Madone range received an aero overhaul last year and this, the 5.2, marks the entry point into the line-up.

Trek unveiled their model year 2014 range back in July – we were there to see the 4-Series Madone, as well as the updated Domane 2-Series and the all-new Crockett cyclo-cross machine – but, as far as the 5-Series Madone is concerned, the frame design remains the same.

The model year 2013 Trek Madone 5.2. Its replacement will have an 11-speed groupset, but the same spec in other regards

The spec and frame colour (black or red/white for MY2014) will change, however. The onset of autumn sees the start of the transition between model years, so while our machine is specced with Shimano’s outgoing 10-speed Ultegra groupset, the 2014 Madone 5.2 will gain an extra sprocket by the time it arrives with Trek dealers.

Otherwise the spec will remain the same. More on that soon, but first let’s cast an eye over the frame. It’s made from Trek’s 500-Series OCLV (Optimum Compaction, Low Void) carbon fibre and has a distinct aero flavour. That manifests itself in the Kammtail Virtual Foil tube profiles and the integrated brakes.

Kammtail profiles – truncated aero foils – abound on the Madone 7

The KVF tube profile is a truncated airfoil, whereby the tail of the tube is essentially chopped off. This tricks the wind into following a ‘virtual’ tube profile, which is long and narrow, but allows Trek to use wider tubes which they say are lighter and stiffer and offer a better ride quality. KVF has been applied to the fork, headtube, downtube, seattube and seatstays.

When we first spotted the updated Madone at the Criterium du Dauphine back in June 2012, we couldn’t help but notice the second aero feature: the integrated brakes. Trek were among the first of the big bike brands to move the rear brake from the seatstays to the chainstays. Like the Kammtail tube profiles, the design was first applied to Trek’s Speed Concept time trial bike and has now made its way on to the Madone.

The use of a direct mount rear brake has allowed Trek to dispense with a brake bridge

The integration of the front brake into the fork crown is less obvious but creates a clean front-end. Trek also say that by integrating the brakes, they have been able to eliminate the need for mounting plates and bolts, thereby saving weight.

Trek gave the 4-Series Madone an aero update for MY2014 and while it gets the KVF tube profiles, it doesn’t get the integrated brakes. The 5.2 is the first bike in the range to have the full aero treatment.

Otherwise, the Madone 5.2 has a tapered headtube, internal cable routing and a 90mm-wide bottom bracket dubbed, you guessed it, BB90. Trek say the exclusive design is the widest available for a road bike and boosts the Madone’s power transfer. There’s also a neat chain catcher and Bontrager’s DuoTrap sensor, which transmits cadence and speed to any ANT+ compatible computer.

The Madone’s top tube is seemingly flat enough to eat your dinner from

While the top-end 7-Series Madone is available in two fit options, the rest of the range, including the Madone 5.2, comes only in Trek’s H2 geometry, which they say is “right for most riders”. That translates to a geometry which is more relaxed than the racier H1 fit, with a slighter taller headtube (170mm), more relaxed headtube angle (73.5 degrees) and shorter effective toptube on our 56cm test bike.

Back to spec and the shifters, front mech, rear mech and chainset are all Shimano Ultegra, with the 105 cassette coming from the next rung down on the Japanese firm’s groupset ladder. The combination of a compact (50-34t) chainset and 11-28t cassette provides a wide spread of gears. The integrated direct mount brakes are Bontrager Speed Limit units.

The rest of the spec also comes from Trek’s in-house componentry brand, with an aluminium handlebar and stem, a carbon fibre seatpost, and a well-padded saddle from the Affinity range. Finally, before we head out on the road, the tubeless-ready Bontrager Race wheels come wrapped in 23mm R3 tyres.

Price: £2,800
50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm

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