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2018 Trek Emonda SLR
More than just the world's lightest production bike
Even with a base model that cheats the UCI weight limit by a handful of paperclips, weight is only part of the story for Trek's flagship Emonda. Newest to Trek's family of road bikes, Emonda was born in 2014 and came out kicking as the world's lightest production road bike. It was quickly regarded as a climbing bike. What's wrong with that? Anyone who doesn't consider themselves a climber or live near the mountains will look past this bike as an all-around option. The completely new 2018 Emonda is here to clear things up.

Yes, it got even lighter. The new frame weighs less than a pound and a half without paint and small hardware (cable routing fittings and chain guard). There's nothing to worry about, though, because the flyweight Emonda chassis has a 275lb weight limit and is covered by a lifetime warranty - same as every road bike in Trek's lineup. When the SLR frame and its fork are weighed together, they are lighter than a fair amount of carbon frames alone.

A complete Emonda SLR is so light that its weight only seems comparable to other road bikes after you mount a GPS computer, Flare R taillight, packed saddle bag, and full bottle of water on it. We can't be the only ones who geek out about this sort of thing - riding a fully accessorized bike that weighs about the same as other bikes do before they're loaded up with common ride necessities.

Riders who contend with bumpy roads (ahem... Wisconsin) can still enjoy riding an impressively light bike with the comfort of 28mm tires free of frame interference worries. Both the rim brake and disc brake frame configurations sensibly fit 28's, affording extra room for debris stuck to the tires to pass through without scratching the paint. Tire size and pressure considerably effect ride comfort and quality, but Trek also increased vertical compliance of the frame itself for more comfort overall - something you will appreciate on those longer than average rides.

The stock Bontrager XXX carbon handlebar provides a plush experience for your hands and wrists, which is a great spec from Trek for contributing to the full package goal of the bike. Riders who prioritize comfort over everything will be better served by Trek's ultra-plush, more relaxed, Domane. Now is also a good time to note that the completely new 700 series carbon layup offers more strength, especially in the downtube, so don't you think of easing off the gas when entering a stretch of gravel. Remember, all-rounder!

Nobody is going to complain about throwing around the weight of an Emonda SLR through corners. And thanks to real world testing under some of the most discerning riders, including professional racers, the new SLR received a lot of focus on its cornering prowess. In-house testing data supports their real-world feedback, as the head tube on the new frame is quantifiably stiffer than the previous one.

Prototypes were created using state-of-the-art computer modeling that wasn't available before. Numerous one-off frames were ridden, evaluated, and critiqued before finding the layup that was just right. Proof that real world testing is needed; something that Trek places considerable value on. Buyers will find that the new Emonda SLR favors quick handling and is addictively fun above 18mph around corners. Some riders may find it twitchy under 18mph, but will eventually adjust to a new normal as more time is put on the bike.

Of all the things we love about the new Emonda SLR, our favorite characteristic of the frame is the way it transfers energy. Trek made the bottom bracket even stiffer, but stiffness doesn't tell the whole story. You could have a stiff rear triangle that resists deflection but feels dead under acceleration. Liveliness is the key ingredient to making stiff bikes scoot, and the new Emonda got a heaping of that magic sprinkled in to the mix.

It's not that simple, really. Trek completely redesigned the layup of the new SLR with deliberate exactness to make the frame behave this way, across all sizes. Of course, the recipe for this secret formula is well protected behind many checkpoints of limited access at the mothership in Waterloo, so that's all we know - we swear! All you need to know is that this frame makes stomping on the pedals tons of fun. With the slightest effort, you'll be launching up to speed and leaping up hills. This feeling never gets old!

Emonda has other talents besides sitting on a scale. One ride is all it takes to appreciate everything you can't see, but can certainly feel.

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