The Lightest Production Bike in the World: Trek Émonda
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On the eve of the 2014 Tour de France in Harrogate, Yorkshire, Trek presented its all-new Émonda bike to the World. At just 10.25lb (4.65kg) for the SLR 10 version – with Bontrager’s new Blendr bar/stem combination, a SRAM Red groupset and a host of lightweight Tune components – it truly lives up to Trek’s claim that it is the “World’s lightest production bike”.
Ben Atkins/Photos: Trek
According to Trek’s Road Product Manager Ben Coates, “the 10lb bike idea had been thrown around for a while” and, after three years of development, it has become a reality.
The name comes from the French verb ‘émonder,’ which means to prune, or to trim away, because Trek has trimmed away as much weight as it can whilst leaving a frame robust enough to enjoy the Wisconsin company’s lifetime warranty. Despite pairing the SLR down to just 690 grams for a painted 56cm frame, the Émonda comes with the same hefty 275lb rider weight limit as Trek’s other top models.
“The idea was; we have the resources to build a complete bike system. Let’s use that advantage to look at every aspect of the bicycle and how each component interacts with all the others,” Coates explains. “Once we covered the basic bike functions, we focused on every minute detail. Every decision was based on what was the overall lightest option for the system.”
Trek used the usual Finite Element Analysis, strain gauge instrumentation, and a custom-designed cornering computer model to trim away as much material deemed unnecessary as possible, but credits the testing of its Trek Factory Racing team riders – including Jens Voigt, Fränk and Andy Schleck, Markel Irizar, Stijn Devolder and Bob Jungels – riding iteration after iteration of different carbon layups and ride characteristics, before finally settling on a product that everybody was happy with.
“It’s lighter, it’s stiffer, it’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden. Accelerating this bike feels amazing.” said a clearly satisfied Jungles, who rode an unlabelled Émonda at this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné.
Like the 7-series Madone, the Émonda SSL is built to take direct-mount brakes but, along with the new frame, Bontrager has developed some new Speed Stop calipers, which save a claimed 35 grams each. the new frame also comes fitted with a new-generation DuoTrap S sensor in the non-drive side chain stay, which offers Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity for a variety of devices.
Rather than replace the Madone, the Émonda will sit alongside Trek’s existing frame line up, as part of a three-model invitation to “Choose Your Weapon.” The idea being that those wanting aerodynamics will go for the Madone, those wanting comfort will choose the Domane, while the Émonda is aimed squarely at those wanting light weight above all else.
While the 690 gram SLR level frame makes all the headlines for its super light figures, and stiffness-to-weight ratios, those with lower budgets are catered for with the SL (1050g) and S (1220g) frames. Aside from the less-svelte numbers, these differ from the SLR only in that they are built for conventional brakes, rather than direct-mount.
The frame has now been rolled out to the rest of the Trek Factory Racing team, and many of its riders are set to use it in the Tour de France, with former US champion Matthew Busche remarking: “It seems crazy that a bike can be that light.”
The Émonda is not just a super light dream bike, it is a full line of bicycles starting with the $1650 Émonda S4 that weighs 19.27lbs, to the $15750, 10.25lb Émonda SLR 10. An Émonda SLR frameset is $4200. They are available as H1 frames or with the taller, more relaxed H2 head tube and fit.
More: Trek Bikes