RadioShack-Nissan-Trek is racing on a new Trek Madone at the Critérium du Dauphiné (James Huang/BikeRadar)
Trek’s next-generation Madone isn’t
set for official release for another two weeks but RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
riders were racing on it at the Critérium du Dauphiné. This new version borrows
several key design features from the company’s Speed Concept time trial
machine, giving the Wisconsin company the aero road bike they’ve been missing
for the past few years.
Much like Scott’s Foil, the new
Madone doesn’t actually look all that
slippery with its broad tubes and relatively shallow profiles. However,
markings on the frame – not to mention strategically applied paint – point to a
Kamm tail design with truncated airfoils that are said to mimic the aerodynamic
benefits of a much deeper profile without violating UCI technical guidelines or
sacrificing chassis weight and ride quality.
Trek have taken the radical step of
moving the rear brake down below the chain stays. Just as significant, Trek has
wholly adopted Shimano’s new direct-mount interface, which does away with the
traditional center mounting holes in the frame and fork and replaces them with
twin posts on which the newly symmetrical calipers attach directly. In some
ways, this is similar to the U-brake posts of old mountain bikes.
In theory, this design could save a
few grams by virtue of the omitted caliper parts but the bigger expected
benefit is a more direct lever feel and increased power thanks to reduced flex.
In addition to locating the caliper arms closer to the base of the frame, the pivots
themselves look to be adjustable for play for truly slop-free action.
Another side benefit is the more
slender seat stay design. In contrast to the current version’s wishbone layout,
the new Madone stays are fully separate from dropout to seat tube and there’s
no bridge whatsoever. These changes could yield a more comfortable ride.
Notice anything missing between the seat stays?
Given the more complicated
position, the rear brake is built with a more convoluted X-shaped scissor
linkage and the housing runs through the down tube. There’s no barrel adjuster
built into this end but seeing as how no rider would be able to safely use it
anyway Trek has wisely opted to integrated one into the stop on the head tube.
Speaking of routing, Trek maintains
fully internal paths throughout but with new easy-to-access ports on the head
tube that provide a clea look with optional flush-fit plugs when using
Carryover features from the current
Madone include a tapered ‘e2′ head tube, Trek’s no-cut seatmast design, a
pocket in the chain stay for a Bontrager Duotrap wireless speed and cadence
sensor, and a 90mm-wide bottom bracket shell with correspondingly broad down
tube and chain stay spacing and direct press-fit bearings.