On an unseasonal ride along Lake Michigan, I find salt, dirt, and grime deposited on my face from the wheel I was hugging. A misty winter crosswind being thrown our way was a good reminder that we were still alive. Though most cyclists wouldn't consider 50 degrees and damp to be favorable for riding, this sort of weather brings out the masses on wheels in the dead of a Wisconsin winter. On this happy-go-lucky day, the Trek Emonda ALR was my main squeeze.
Being Trek's premiere aluminum road bike chassis, the Emonda ALR is perfect for discerning cyclists on a tight budget. First impressions are everything these days, and the ALR needs no filter to impress. My riding partner instantly admired the finish quality of the bike at first sight. Sporting a metal-flake black paint job, which in the bright overcast daylight turned a deep sparkling green, this particular ALR was accomplishing what most riders wish their bikes could do - WOW their friends.
As the metallic sibling in Trek's light-weight-family, the ALR maintains Trek's intentions with this bike; be light and stiff to go fast. Acceleration was explosive. Even with my large frame size, Trek's size-specific tubes keep stiffness and handling on point. At cruising speed is where the ALR surprises. Being aluminum, it should have rattled a tooth loose, but the Emonda was well mannered, and for that my incisors are thankful.
This bike is a cut above other aluminum road bike options I've ridden. Trek has not cut corners with the ALR's premium-grade hydroformed aluminum tubes, which are connected by new welding technology that uses less material and increases the strength at each tube junction. Furthermore, the ALR is fitted with the same full-carbon fork featured on the Emonda SL. Dressed in a full Shimano 105 groupset, the Emonda ALR sets a benchmark for value with quality that you would expect from bikes with much higher price tags.
It's not uncommon to see this bike at your local race, but it's easy enough on the wallet to be a top contender for riders looking for their first road bike. Out of the box, it delivers a perma-grin on my face, however, I just wonder what kind of beast this would become with a set of carbon wheels and maybe a lighter cockpit. But for now, I can't wait for the next early spring day to attempt a local KOM.