Field Tested: Trek Émonda SLR8

The Madone has been the staple of Trek’s elite road bike lineup since the Armstrong era, and while you’ll still find it in Trek retailers, a new model has surpassed it as the lightest production bike Trek has ever built. The new Émonda line shows what Trek’s decades of experience building with its OCLV carbon fiber can create.


Weighing in at just 14 pounds as tested, the bike is in a category that simply needs to be experienced to be believed. As bikes get lighter, each additional pound of weight shaved off represents an even larger percentage of its mass. and while knocking five pounds off my mid-section might help me get to the top of the climb just as quickly, a bike this light has an instant tailwind.


While the Madone is still the out-and-out aerodynamic race bike, the Émonda was designed to appeal to a broader range of riders. While not everyone is pushing a bike hard enough to enjoy the aero benefits of the Madone, everyone can immediately notice a lighter bike. To ensure everyone can enjoy one, the Émonda is available in a remarkable 16 sizes with two different fit profiles from 47 cm to 64 cm, not including the Trek WSD women’s specific sizes.


The simple white-on-black paint with gold accents of the Émonda SLR8 recalls the John Player Special livery of the 1970s Lotus F1 cars. While most modern bikes have crazy aero shapes and bizarre curves, the Émonda has a handsome, traditional look to it. And just like Lotus race cars have done for decades, the Émonda gets its advantage from “adding lightness.” A bare Émonda frame weighs a ridiculous 690 grams. That’s less than a full water bottle.


I was expecting a super rigid ride to go with the stiffness and weight, but when out on the Émonda I was often checking to see if I had a low tire. The ride is taut yet refined—it sends enough of a buzz through the frame to remind you that you are on one heck of a fast bike, but it remains remarkably poised over impacts like potholes. Last year I rode and reviewed Trek’s spring classics-inspired Domane model, with its unique isoSpeed decoupler system, and while the Émonda isn’t quite as supple on rough roads, it is darn close.


Climbing is what the Émonda was born to do. Every meager watt I can generate goes straight to the road through the bike’s massive down tube and BB90 bottom bracket. The full-size 53/39 crankset is clearly meant for racing, but the 11-speed 11-28 cassette gave me plenty of range to tackle the local hills.


What goes up must come down, and the Émonda responds to corners with a razor sharp response, but settles in once it spots the apex and sets an arc. It can’t quite match the glued-to- the-road feeling of the Domane, but it can change direction remarkably quickly. Controlling the descent is a pair of Shimano’s dura-ace direct-mount calipers, which require a specially designed frame and fork to mount. They’re likely the finest rim brakes to ever see the road before disc brakes inevitably take over. The rest of the Dura-Ace running gear works as flawlessly as a Swiss clock, though i do think the throw of the cable release levers is a bit long.


The SLR8 model comes equipped with Bontrager’s RXl tubeless-ready wheels, with a generous helping of carbon fiber in the XXX OCLV handlebar and Paradigm RXL saddle, which certainly looks intimidatingly slim but is in fact remarkably comfortable.


As the keystone model in Trek’s road bike lineup for the foreseeable future, the Émonda is likely to reset riders’ standards of just how good a modern bike can be.

Vital stats

  • Price: $7,880
  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Sizes: 16 sizes, plus women’s specific models; size 62 H1 tested

Trek releases new Émonda ALR line


Trek announced today the release of an all-new line of ultra-lightweight aluminum road bikes that carries forward the prestige of the Émonda name. The all-new Émonda ALR is built with unmatched attention to balance and handling, offering elegance on a new level and far surpassing the lightness, performance, and ride quality of many of its carbon competitors. The same standards of excellence that brought prominence to the Émonda family were applied in the development of Émonda ALR, the next chapter of the Trek’s lightest and best-performing production road bike line.

With Émonda ALR, Trek delivers the same ultra-lightweight performance and superior handling of Émonda with an advanced aluminum frame that projects the ride characteristics and even the aesthetics of a carbon bike.


“As with the original Émonda, we pruned away every unnecessary element of Émonda ALR to create not just Trek’s lightest aluminum road bike ever, but also the best-performing,” Trek’s Eric Bjorling said. “For Émonda ALR, Trek engineers developed the all-new premium 300 Series Alpha Aluminum, which is hydroformed into size-specific tubes for the perfect balance of weight and stiffness.


“Every detail of the Émonda line, from frame design to each component choice on every model, serves the same audacious goal: to create the lightest line of production road bikes ever offered. One of those details is something never before seen on an aluminum road bike: the elegant and revolutionary Invisible Weld Technology, a process that cuts weight by requiring less material while simultaneously increasing the strength of the joint. The results are smooth and flawless seams, stronger bonds between the frame’s tubes, premium aesthetics, and a 56 cm frame that weighs only 1,050 grams.”

Read our Trek Émonda preview here, and check out the upcoming complete review in Issue #35, available later this month!

Émonda ALR is available in the popular H2 fit and geometry. Every model is spec’d top to bottom with complete gruppos and equipped with DuoTrap S, allowing riders to take full advantage of this leading-edge technology on an aluminum bike with a pure racing pedigree. Bringing the same level of class-leading weight and ride feel to an aluminum platform, Émonda ALR pushes the boundaries of possibility and sets a new benchmark of excellence in the craftsmanship, ride quality, weight, and performance of an aluminum bike.

What is ALR?

Building upon the legacy and success of the Émonda lineup, we bring the same level of class-leading weight, ride quality, and attention to detail down to aluminum pricepoints. Don’t be fooled though – these are phenomenally light and great riding bikes. This level of performance will make you seriously rethink what is capable with aluminum.

Does ALR come with complete gruppos?

As with every other Émonda model, every ALR comes with COMPLETE gruppos. This means that if you order the Émonda ALR 5, with Shimano 105, it is going to come with a 105 chain, cassette, crank, brakes, derailleurs, and shifters.


What is ‘Invisible Weld Technology’?

A revolutionary welding technology used on the frame allows for less material used in the welding process, while simultaneously increasing strength and the connection. The results are smooth and flawless seams, stronger bonds between the frame’s tubes, premium aesthetics, and decreased frame weight.

How much do the framesets weigh?

Émonda ALR comes in at a 1,050 grams for a 56 cm unpainted frame, with the painted fork weighing 358 grams with a 240 mm long steerer tube.

What do the ALR models weigh?

Émonda ALR 5 weighs 18.77 pounds (8.51 kilograms) and ALR 6 weighs 17.25 pounds (7.82 kilograms)

How are the models set up?

All Émonda models are organized by their frame level and drivetrain build. The frame levels are S, SL, SLR, and the new ALR. The number that follows the frame designation represents the drivetrain spec.

4 – Shimano Tiagra

5 – Shimano 105 5800

6 – Shimano Ultegra 6800

8 – Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 mechanical

9 – Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2

10 – SRAM Red

For example, on the Émonda ALR 6, the ALR designates the premium ALR frame and fork, while the 6 designates the complete Ultegra gruppo.

What forks come on the bikes?

Both ALR 5 and ALR 6 come with the Émonda SL fork. This 358 gram fork (painted, 240 mm steerer tube) features our tapered E2 technology and uses full carbon construction – including a carbon steerer tube. This creates a great riding front end with laser-precise steering, all in an ultra-lightweight package.

Does ALR work with DuoTrap S?

One advantage of this second generation speed and cadence sensor is that it can be integrated into aluminum frames, so we wanted to take full advantage of this technology on a bike with this much performance capability. Furthermore, the DuoTrap S offers Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity and offers optimal aesthetics, weight, and aerodynamics. Plus, it means zero zip ties to rub your frame, no sensors moving around and losing contact with the magnet, and nothing to fall off mid-ride.

What fit and geometry does ALR come in?

All ALR bikes come with Émonda’s popular H2 fit and geometry.


Does ALR have a rider weight limit?

Just like every other Trek road frame, the rider weight limit is 275lbs.

What is ALR’s warranty?

Just as with every one of our road bikes, Trek backs its lightest aluminum road bike with the best warranty in the world – lifetime.


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