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Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro 2021

First up, the comfort.

I picked up on the fact that the SL6 Pro has quite a firm ride – a little bit old school, dare I say. By that I mean that a lot of carbon fibre frames have become much more comfortable over the years as designers and manufacturers have learnt about carbon fibre grades, tube profiles and, more importantly, the layup of the composite material.

The Cube Attain GTC SL I tested recently highlighted this in the way that it really managed to reduce road buzz while retaining plenty of feedback through the frame and fork.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - riding 3.jpg

This isn't a criticism of the Trek at all, it just wasn't quite what I was expecting. I like it; I'm a big believer in ultimate performance over comfort when it comes to race bikes, and that is exactly what the Émonda delivers.

Stiffness throughout the fork and the lower half of the frame is very impressive, and means the Trek is responsive to your inputs. The wide bottom bracket shell allows for a large down tube and chunky chainstays to reduce flex when you are really nailing it, while the front end backs this up via the tapered head tube and firm fork legs. Sprinting and climbing are all taken in the Émonda's stride.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - UCI badge.jpg

As you'd expect from a race bike, the riding position can be set up to be pretty aggressive – with a relatively short 151mm head tube length on this 56cm model I could achieve a low handlebar-to-saddle drop to aid the aerodynamics, especially when in the drops.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro.jpg

The rest of the geometry follows the same theme with a 73.5-degree head angle and a relatively short wheelbase for a disc-equipped frame (the chainstays are often a fair bit longer than those on rim-braked frames because of the extra axle width at the rear dropouts) at just 983mm.

Trek has achieved a good balance here with the Émonda I reckon.

The shorter wheelbase makes it nippy, which allows for snappy direction changes at high speed, yet it's managed to tame the handling just enough that the Émonda never becomes a handful unless you do something really stupid.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - riding 4.jpg

In my First Ride piece I mentioned that I hadn't managed to point the Trek at my favourite test hill, one that is fast and twisty with off-camber bends and chicanes. It really tests every part of a bike's handling in a blur.

Well, I have now, about five or six times, and the Émonda really impressed. It has the quickness in the steering and the overall agility to be pushed very hard into the corners.

After a night of heavy rain, gravel had been washed out into the lane slightly out of sight as I went into a fast left-hander at about 45mph; I dabbed the brakes a little, but seeing the grit and stones spanning the entire road there was no real way out of it. Letting the bike hit the gravel and predicting where the slide was probably going to end was the only option, and it was a sketchy couple of seconds.

As the front tyre regained grip on the asphalt there was a second where the still-sliding rear wanted to get in front, but the Trek's well-balanced handling allowed me to quickly regain control and blast to the bottom of the hill.

In less extreme circumstances the Émonda is an absolute hoot to ride downhill, with just slight adjustments to body position and the handlebar allowing you to flow from corner to corner.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - riding 1.jpg

On longer rides the Trek is just as well mannered; it is a very easy bike to ride quickly even when fatigue can kick in or when you are on unfamiliar roads.

The stiffness I mentioned earlier doesn't come through as a negative on higher mileage jaunts, especially if you get on with the saddle and have a decent pair of shorts on. The three- to four-hour rides I used the Trek on were a lot of fun. Unleash the power for the fun bits and then when you are on the flat, straight slogs you can just hunker down and keep the pedals turning over.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - riding 6.jpg

The only thing I needed to do was to shift the saddle 5mm closer to the bar than I would normally have it, because of the width of the top tube as it flows into the seatstays either side of the seat tube. I have quite large thighs and I could feel them rubbing on the frame every pedal revolution when I first started riding the Trek.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - top tube shape.jpg

Frame and fork

The Émonda has always been the lightweight bike of Trek's road range, leaving outright speed to the Madone, but for this latest model Trek has incorporated more aerodynamic profiles in the Émonda's design.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - down tube.jpg

Unlike most aero bikes, though, the Émonda's frame doesn't focus on being fast in a straight line or at high speed, it is a climbing bike after all. Instead the engineers have focused on 'unsteady aerodynamics', which fit in with the much lower speeds found when ascending.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - riding 7.jpg

Most of the attention has been placed on the front end, including the head tube and down tube. The top-end SLR models use the Bontrager XXX aero handlebar/stem combo which further increases the benefits, but that isn't available on the SL options.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - head tube.jpg

The SLR models also use a new OCLV 800 grade carbon fibre while the SLs use the 500 series, which increases the weight a bit, although a claimed frame weight of 1,142g and 380g for the fork is far from shabby.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - frame detail.jpg

If wind cheating is your main goal then it's worth noting that the Émonda is optimised for 25mm tyres, as that is the most common size used for racing, but if you want something a bit wider 28mm will fit while still allowing 6mm of space around the tyre.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - clearance.jpg

As you'd expect on an aero-based bike, the Émonda has full internal cable routing but this is taken to an extra level compared with most frames, with the cables and hoses leaving the handlebar and entering the frame through the spacers rather than the head tube or down tube. This gives much cleaner lines at the front.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - steam detail.jpg

You won't find a standard seatpost either. The Émonda's seat tube continues up past the top tube by a fair old way and then an external seat mast is placed over the top; you tighten the hex bolt to clamp it into place at the right saddle height.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - seat post.jpg

The Émonda range is now completely disc brake-equipped which to my mind is a bit of a shame as I am a big fan of rim brakes, and it would certainly bring the weight down for a bike aimed at climbing.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - front disc brake.jpg

Many manufacturers are seeing sales of disc models outstripping rim options by a large margin, though, so it is kind of inevitable. There is also the cost – the Émonda is available in seven sizes so that'd be 14 different moulds required if Trek offered both brake options.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro 2.jpg

The Émonda comes with flat mounts, as you'd expect, and 12mm thru-axles front and rear.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - rear disc brake.jpg

I mentioned the wide bottom bracket shell earlier and this is normally only achievable by using a press-fit BB, where the bearing cups are pressed into the frame. If tolerances aren't adhered to, creaking can occur, especially after water or grit gets between the mating faces, which is why we've seen many brands return to external threaded options.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - bottom bracket.jpg

Trek has gone for what is possibly the best of both worlds with the T47 system. First introduced by Chris King and Oregon's Argonaut Cycles , they thread into the bottom bracket shell which allows it to be wider, increasing stiffness without affecting the width between the pedals (Q-factor).

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - bottom bracket 2.jpg

If you want a more in-depth look at what changes and design tweaks were made to achieve this new Émonda frameset then it'd be worth checking out Mat's full breakdown here .

Wheels and tyres

Trek says that the SL 6 Pro comes with all the lightweight components you need as standard, so there is no need to upgrade. You could save a few grams here and there, but overall it is a pretty complete package.

This model is the first carbon bike in the line-up that comes with a set of carbon fibre wheels. The 35mm Bontrager Aeolus Elite 35s are 35mm deep and are tubeless ready.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - wheel and tyre.jpg

It's a good set of wheels for a whole range of riding styles: shallow enough to work on the climbs and just about deep enough to give you a small aerodynamic gain without being affected by crosswinds. Comparing the price of the near-identical SL 6 suggests you are getting them for just £450 too.

Reliability isn't an issue as they took on everything that was put in their way over the test period, and should anything happen and they get damaged Trek will replace or repair them for free in the first two years of ownership.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - rear hub.jpg

Wrapped around the wheels are a pair of Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite tyres. They are all right in terms of rolling resistance, grip and durability, but their 60tpi casing does give them a bit of a 'wooden' feel. You aren't getting a whole lot of suppleness which would really benefit the frameset, so I'd definitely upgrade when they wear out.

I've been using the R3 Hard Case Lites recently and they are a much better tyre, so something like that would be a good upgrade if you want to keep the Bonty/Trek theme going.

Drivetrain and brakes

On the SL 6 Pro, Trek is giving you a full Shimano Ultegra hydraulic/mechanical groupset and it suits the bike very well. You are getting near-Dura-Ace performance but at a much reduced price.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - crank.jpg

Trek has specced a 52/36-tooth semi-compact chainset and an 11-30 cassette, which is a great choice of gear ratios for a bike of this style. There are plenty of top end gears for speed work while the 30-tooth sprocket will give you an extra bailout gear over the more usual 28T found on the majority of race bikes.

The gear shifts from Ultegra are top notch. You get quite a light feel at the levers, but one that also gives a very nicely defined click so you can be sure that the shift has taken place.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - bar and lever.jpg

When it comes to the braking, Trek has chosen to fit 160mm rotors front and back, which give more than enough power for a bike of this type.

Shimano's hydraulic systems are very powerful but also easily modulated thanks to loads of feel through the levers, allowing you to stop quickly without the fear of locking up the front tyre, even in the wet.

Finishing kit

All of the finishing kit is supplied by Bontrager, Trek's in-house parts department, and it's all decent quality stuff.

The handlebar is the Bontrager Elite VR-C which is an aluminium alloy model with a short reach and a shallow drop, making it ideal for a whole host of different riders' proportions. Helping that is the fact that different size frames get a different width bar, ranging from 38cm up to 44cm.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - bars.jpg

It's the same for the Bontrager Pro stem: the smallest 47cm bike gets a 70mm unit, with the 62cm extending that out to 110mm. The stem on each frame size seems to come up a bit shorter than most bikes of this type, but it seems to work.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - stem.jpg

I got on fine with the Aeolus Comp saddle. Its shape is well suited to riding hard and fast, and I like the firm padding which gives you a good platform to push against when you are really hammering it. (There's a separate review of it here .) 

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro - saddle.jpg

This SL 6 Pro model has an rrp of £3,350, which isn't a bad deal for what you are getting here with the aero carbon frame, fork and deep-section wheels.

> Buyer’s Guide: 21 of the best 2020 aero road bikes

The similarly themed Scott Addict RC 30 is £3,199 and also come comes with an Ultegra groupset, but it is begging for an upgrade to the wheelset. It is light, though, at just 7.88kg.

If it's aero that you want then there is the Orro Venturi . The closest model in price is £3,299.99; you only get alloy wheels, but you are getting Ultegra Di2 for the gear shifting.

Overall, the Émonda is a very good bike. The aero tweaks have turned it into a very fast and efficient bike that still manages to deliver on the weight front and this SL 6 Pro model is so well specced there's no need to update anything when it comes to the components, just the tyres when they wear out.

A quality frameset that works both on the flat and the climbs, and well specced for the money

road.cc test report

Make and model: Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro 2021

Size tested: 56cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Trek lists:

Front wheel Bontrager Aeolus Elite 35, OCLV Carbon, Tubeless Ready, 35 mm rim depth, 100x12 mm thru axle

Rear wheel Bontrager Aeolus Elite 35, OCLV Carbon, Tubeless Ready, 35 mm rim depth, Shimano 11-speed freehub, 142x12 mm thru axle

Tyre Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite, aramid bead, 60 tpi, 700x25 c

Max tyre size 28c

*Shifter Size: 47, 50, 52

Shimano Ultegra R8025, short-reach lever, 11-speed

Size: 54, 56, 58, 60, 62

Shimano Ultegra R8020, 11-speed

Front derailleur Shimano Ultegra R8000, braze-on

Rear derailleur Shimano Ultegra R8000, short cage, 30T max cog

*Crank Size: 47

Shimano Ultegra R8000, 52/36, 165 mm length

Size: 50, 52

Shimano Ultegra R8000, 52/36, 170 mm length

Size: 54, 56, 58

Shimano Ultegra R8000, 52/36, 172.5 mm length

Size: 60, 62

Shimano Ultegra R8000, 52/36, 175 mm length

Bottom bracket Praxis, T47 threaded, internal bearing

Cassette Shimano Ultegra R8000, 11-30, 11-speed

Chain Shimano Ultegra HG701, 11-speed

Max. chainring size 1x: 50T; 2x: 53/39T

Saddle Bontrager Aeolus Comp, steel rails, 145 mm width

*Seatpost Size: 47, 50, 52, 54

Bontrager carbon seat mast cap, 20 mm offset, short length

Size: 56, 58, 60, 62

Bontrager carbon seat mast cap, 20 mm offset, tall length

*Handlebar Size: 47, 50

Bontrager Elite VR-C, alloy, 31.8 mm, 100 mm reach, 124 mm drop, 38 cm width

Bontrager Elite VR-C, alloy, 31.8 mm, 100 mm reach, 124 mm drop, 40 cm width

Bontrager Elite VR-C, alloy, 31.8 mm, 100 mm reach, 124 mm drop, 42 cm width

Bontrager Elite VR-C, alloy, 31.8 mm, 100 mm reach, 124 mm drop, 44 cm width

Handlebar tape Bontrager Supertack Perf tape

*Stem Size: 47

Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, Blendr-compatible, 7-degree, 70 mm length

Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, Blendr-compatible, 7-degree, 80 mm length

Size: 52, 54

Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, Blendr-compatible, 7-degree, 90 mm length

Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, Blendr-compatible, 7-degree, 100 mm length

Size: 58, 60, 62

Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, Blendr-compatible, 7-degree, 110 mm length

Brake Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc

Brake rotor Shimano RT800, 160 mm, CenterLock

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Trek says, "Émonda SL 6 Disc Pro is the first carbon road bike in the line-up that gives you lightweight carbon wheels to match your lightweight frame. Aero tube shaping, disc brakes and a high-performance drive train make it a great option for roadies who value great handling and lots of speed."

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

There are five models in the range starting with the SL 5 which comes with a Shimano 105 groupset for £2,725, finishing off with the SL 7 with SRAM eTap at £5,250.

A frameset is also available for £2,200.

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

A well made and finished frame and fork.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Frame – Ultralight 500 Series OCLV Carbon, Ride Tuned performance tube optimisation, tapered head tube, internal routing, DuoTrap S-compatible, flat-mount disc, 142x12 mm thru axle

Fork – Emonda SL full carbon, tapered carbon steerer, internal brake routing, flat-mount disc, 12x100 mm thru axle

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry is race orientated with a steepish head angle and a short head tube length.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The stack and reach figures are pretty typical for this size and kind of bike. This 56cm comes with a stack of 563mm and a reach of 391mm.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Overall it's fine, although it does have a firmer ride than a lot of new carbon fibre frames.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness is very impressive, especially around the bottom bracket area.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Efficiency is very impressive, it is a proper point and shoot bike.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Responsive.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is very well balanced, making the Trek easy to ride whether you are just cruising along or pushing it hard through the bends.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

I liked the saddle, it was firm yet comfortable for all sorts of rides.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The Bontrager wheels offer loads of stiffness even when riding hard, out of the saddle.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

I'd change the tyres for something a little more supple which would help you achieve higher speeds in the bends.

The drivetrain

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The Shimano Ultegra groupset can't really be faulted. Gears and brakes offer great performance and reliability.

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

It's good to see a quality set of carbon wheels on a bike as standard at this price. They performed well in all sorts of conditions and seem to be durable.

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

The Bontrager R2s aren't bad, but the SL 6 Pro deserves something faster and grippier.

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Decent quality in-house kit that suits the bike well.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

For a semi-aero bike the Émonda is pretty well priced, like against the Scott and Orro mentioned in the review.

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Émonda's new aero frameset means that not only is it a good climber, it also works well on the flat sections too. The overall quality is very good and you are getting a well chosen spec. The firm ride might not be ideal for those who focus more on comfort, though.

Overall rating: 8 /10

About the tester

Age: 41   Height: 180cm   Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike   My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years   I ride: Every day   I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

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trek emonda sl 5 pro

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment


Quote: The Émonda has always been the lightweight bike of Trek's road range

8.23kg isn't 'lightweight'... that's porky. 1.4kg over the UCI minimum!

  • Log in or register to post comments


Not a big fan of the way the cables and hoses run at the front of the bar in order to fit under the stem like that, I'm surprised they haven't gone for a system where they run intrnally then under a stem cover etc

Quite a lot of money for an 8.2 kilo bike. 

"Comparing the price of the near-identical SL 6 suggests you are getting them for just £450 too."

The side by side comparison of the SL6 and the pro makes them identical bar the wheels. Which listed on the trek website retail at a price difference of £250, not £450. So either the stock wheels on the SL6 are over priced on their own (then maybe the bike is too) or the only reason to buy the pro is if the Aeolus are the wheel upgrade you want over everything else on the market.

I'm still more inclined to the RC30.

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trek emonda sl 5 pro

  • Rider Notes

2020 Trek Émonda SL 5 Disc

trek emonda sl 5 pro

A carbon frame race bike with upper mid-range components and hydraulic disc brakes.

Manufacturer Price

For This Bike

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Based on frame geometry and build specs.

A bike with lower gearing will be easier to ride up steep hills, while a higher top end means it will pedal faster down hills.

Émonda SL 5 Disc

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Have you seen Bontrager’s new Aeolus carbon wheel lineup? Spanning the gap between budget and race ready, the aerodynamic hoops are the perfect complement to another new Trek product launching today – the all new Émonda. Fans of super light, efficient climbing bikes needn’t worry. The Émonda is still as light as ever, but now […]

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Last updated February 12 Not listed for 1,244 days

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2021 Trek Emonda SL Pro 6 road bike review: for the climb lovers

The first review from our 2021 road bike field test. we review and compare the mid-priced version of trek's newly overhauled emonda race bike..

Don't miss a moment of the 2024 Tour de France! Get recaps, insights, and exclusive takes with Velo's daily newsletter. >","name":"in-content-cta","type":"link"}}'>Sign up today! .

When it was first released, the Emonda was a climber’s dream that Trek claimed as the world’s lightest production offering. Dealer events would have the ultra-premium 4.6 kg (10.25 lb) SLR 10 hanging from large helium balloons, and the American company made a big deal of it providing a benchmark stiffness-to-weight ratio. 

In many ways the Emonda back-filled the void left by the once round-tubed and low-weight Madone that was then becoming more aero. And as the Madone further trended to becoming Trek’s full aero racer (with an obvious element of comfort, too), the Emonda kept to its round tubes and stiff hill-attacking personality.  

That changed for 2021 with Trek overhauling the Emonda in a similar way to how almost every other brand has overhauled its lightweight race machine. The Emonda, now disc-only, gained a little weight by moving to slippery truncated airfoil tubes and a wholly new approach to cable routing in an effort to make it sleeker all-around. Additionally it should run quieter with a new threaded bottom bracket format, too. 

All of those techy details (and more) were covered in James Huang’s review of the top-tier Emonda SLR . And while James went pretty deep with that review, he left a few unanswered questions in relation to the more affordable 2021 Emonda SL. And so it’s exactly this more-affordable, second-tier version – specifically the Shimano Ultegra-equipped Emonda SL 6 Pro – that we took to our Field Test in Victoria’s High Country .

Emonda SLR vs Emonda SL

Story highlights.

What: A second-tier version of Trek’s all-round lightweight race bike. ||Key updates: Aero frame design, a more performance-oriented geometry, sleek semi-concealed cable routing, T47 threaded bottom bracket||Weight: 8.01 kg for the Emonda SL 6 Pro as tested (54 cm, without pedals), claimed frame weight is 1,142 g (56 cm).  ||Price: US$3,800 / AU$5,500 / £3,350 / €3,880-4,000||Highs: Obviously a race bike with geometry to match, agile handling, high-end looks, more tyre clearance than claimed, threaded bottom bracket, Shimano Ultegra is hard to fault, great saddle. ||Lows: Stiff ride quality, weight penalty in frame versus premium option, heavy carbon wheels, bend of handlebar is too tight.

There’s no denying that the Emonda SL (starting from US$2,700 / AU$4,000 / £2,275 / €2,580-2,600) is substantially cheaper than the pro-level SLR (starting from US$6,700 / AU$9,300 / £5,450 / €6,200), but what are you giving up in the process? Simply, it’s a matter of weight. 

An unpainted 56 cm Emonda SLR frame has a claimed weight of 698 g, while the matching fork adds 365 g. By comparison, the Emonda SL frame sits at 1,142 g, with the fork at 380 g. This 450-gram difference is simply attributed to the carbon composite layup used (in Trek marketing speak, that’s OCLV 800 vs OCLV 500), and simply less material is needed when the more expensive fibres and resins are stiffer and stronger.

That 1,142 g figure for the Emonda SL isn’t terribly heavy, but it is noticeably plumper than many other second-tier racing frames on the market. For example, the new Giant TCR Advanced frame offers a claimed weight of just 850 g, while Canyon’s comparable Ultimate CF SL frame has a figure of 980 g. And the Emonda SL’s higher frame weight is of course reflected in the complete bike weight, too, with our 54 cm SL 6 Pro tester tipping the scales at 8.01 kg (without pedals). 

Beyond the weight, the Emonda SL and SLR framesets are remarkably similar. They share the same moulds, and therefore the geometry and aero tube profiles are identical. Trek claims the stiffness profiles, and therefore ride quality is effectively equal. The way the cables are funnelled through the front of the head tube is the same, the new threaded T47 bottom bracket is mirrored, and likewise for the use of Trek’s reverser topper seatpost design. And heck, even the paint of our SL 6 Pro was an almost exact match to the SLR 9 that James tested. 

trek emonda sl 5 pro

Beyond the frame there are some more apparent differences. The SLR models feature a wonderfully light Bontrager one-piece carbon handlebar and stem, while the SL models use a more traditional bar and stem setup. And it’s a similar story for the other components which are lighter (and more expensive) on the SLR models. 

A race-ready geo and ride

The Emonda of old had two geometry options. There was the low and aggressive “H1” pro fit (offered in the SLR level only), and then the more mainstream “H2” with its more accessible and upright stack figure. For 2021 Trek combined those two fits into one with “H1.5” being used across all Emonda models. 

trek emonda sl 5 pro

That means the new Emonda SL is more aggressive than the last, and relatively speaking the reach figures are on the long side and the stack figures are fairly low. For example, our 54 cm tester offers reach and stack figures of 386 mm and 541 mm respectively, right in the realm of where many race-focused machines sit.

The handling is equally as sporty, with a traditional 73º head angle and 45 mm fork offset combining for a 58 mm trail figure with the control 28 mm Continental GP500 tyres fitted (25 mm Bontrager tyres are fitted as stock). And the wheelbase is kept fairly tight, too. 

Trek balances that longer reach by fitting a shorter-than-usual stem (90 mm on the 54 cm), and as a result the bike fits a little more upright than the figures may suggest. At the same time, that shorter stem produces a bike that handles even quicker and with less input than other race bikes with comparable trail figures. 

And it’s this quick-feeling attitude that will reward a rider with good handling skills. The Emonda can dive into turns and jump back out of them with little input. And it does that without an inkling of instability at speed. 

trek emonda sl 5 pro

Further rewarding a good handler is the stiff frame that pounces when called on and lets you feel what the tyres are doing through your hands and bum. No doubt, this was the firmest-riding bike we had at our small Field Test, and despite the wider 28 mm tyres, I could still feel the cracks and inconsistencies in the road surface. Thankfully that stiffness manages to find the right side of the line between a bike that speaks to you and one that skips about. 

Both Andy van Bergen and I agreed the Emonda was the most impressive under power when directly compared to the Giant TCR Advanced Pro and Canyon Ultimate CF SL , and similarly it beats the Specialized Tarmac SL6s that we both have sitting at our respective homes. I’d most liken the ride to BMC’s recently updated and stiffened Teammachine SLR01 . 

trek emonda sl 5 pro

That stiffness is great for riders who like out-of-the-saddle attacks and to feel their energy reach the rear wheel, but it’s less ideal for those seeking a smooth and compliant machine. And while many other brands utilise flexible seatposts to achieve more comfort through the saddle, Trek’s own reverse topper seatpost design just rides stiffer than the company claims and there are no options to change it for something more flexible – a somewhat surprising element given the company has gone to great lengths with its IsoSpeed technology to produce seated flex in its aero race and endurance platforms. 

Instead your best bet to add comfort to the Emonda is through the tyres. Trek officially states the Emonda can fit up to a 28 mm tyre, however that figure is extremely conservative. I trialled some 32 mm GP5000s (measured 32 mm width) in the frame without any sign of issue. 

trek emonda sl 5 pro

Compared to the previous version, living with the new Emonda frameset has some wins and losses. The new internal cable routing sees the brake hoses and shift cables enter through a funnel at the proprietary headset top cap, and then squeeze between the squared-off fork steerer and top headset bearing. It looks wonderfully clean, but as James previously covered, it does introduce some servicing difficulty, and that’s especially true for this model that uses mechanical shift cables.

Perhaps offsetting that servicing pain is the new T47 threaded bottom bracket , something that’s more universally compatible with oversized crankset spindles and surely simpler to service than Trek’s previous BB90 design that saw bearings pressed directly into the carbon frame. And while that new bottom bracket (made by Praxis) does require a unique tool, servicing it is vastly more accessible than with the former press-fit design.        

trek emonda sl 5 pro

I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of the aerodynamic design – we’ve done that – but I will say that the lines of this bike are quite stunning. The aero head tube is just so distinct, the wide and concave top tube offers a wonderfully interesting curvature, and similar can be said for where the long and flowing seat stays connect.  

The paint is also well done and makes this look far more expensive than it is. And as an added bonus there’s a second choice of colours, too (dark grey with chrome lettering). Although, perhaps Trek could have been a little more subtle with its logo, rather than turning the down tube into a rolling billboard. 

Carbon wheels aren’t always light

The tested Emonda SL 6 Pro sits smack bang in the middle of the Emonda’s range and features a full Shimano Ultegra R8020 mechanical groupset matched with a smorgasbord of Bontrager components (Trek’s own component and accessory brand).  

Below the SL 6 Pro (US$3,800 / AU$5,500 / £3,350) is the SL 6 (US$3,300 / AU$n/a / £2,900). The two bikes are effectively the same with the exception of the rolling stock. The cheaper SL 6 features Bontrager’s aluminium Paradigm Disc wheelset shod with the company’s R2 Hard-Case Lite tyres in a 28 mm size, whereas the tested Pro version moves to the carbon-rimmed Aeolus Elite 35 Disc wheels wrapped in a 25 mm version of the same tyre model. 

Adding US$500 to the bike’s price, those carbon rims offer a relatively shallow 35 mm aero-profiled rim that handles remarkably well without any sign of the flutter often present with deeper wheels in crosswinds. They offer a fairly modern profile, with an inner width of 19.2 mm and an outer width at 27.7 mm. However, the material is somewhat misleading and these wheels aren’t as light as you may expect. I weighed my sample set at 1,740 g for the pair (770 g front, 970 g rear).

trek emonda sl 5 pro

That weight doesn’t sound like much, but it impacted how the bike felt when attacking steep slopes, with Andy remarking that it made the bike feel sluggish to respond. Carbon isn’t always an upgrade. 

Another area that left Andy and I underwhelmed was the Bontrager Elite VR-C handlebar. We just didn’t get along with the ultra compact shape of the drops which left me complaining of wrist clearance issues, while Andy found that he was unable to make comfortable use of the drops due to his hand sitting proud within the tight radius. We both agreed that the handlebar would be the first thing we’d change.

Thankfully that’s the extent of our issues, and the rest of the build kit is hard to fault. Bontrager’s basic alloy stem works with its Blendr series of computer and light attachments (some of which are supplied), while the new Bontrager Aeolus Comp saddle features a modern short-nose design with a generous centre channel. And all the smaller details, including the proprietary headset top cap and seat post topper, add to a premium look and feel. 

trek emonda sl 5 pro

And finally there’s the Shimano Ultegra groupset. One thing James wasn’t able to test in his review of the SLR 9 was how the internal cable routing impacted mechanical shifting quality. I can confirm that it doesn’t. The shifts were just as snappy and consistent on this bike as they were on other bikes, and they should remain that way for a fair while with full-length housing used from shifter to derailleur. And that full-length housing should ease future repairs, although it does add to the bike’s total weight. 

Champagne tastes on a (craft) beer budget

Despite the lower price, Trek has done a solid job of bringing the Emonda SLR’s attributes to the SL. It offers the same handling, stiffness and aesthetic of its pro-level sibling, and that makes for an impressively enjoyable bike to ride.

However where the more expensive Emonda jumps with joy at every thought of an attack, the extra mass of the SL sees it hesistate somewhat. That difference may not be reflected on the clock, but it sure can be felt and it’s a constant reminder of the price tag attached to this ride. 

The new Emonda SL will be a good fit for the rider wanting a well-rounded race bike that handles and behaves like a WorldTour machine. However it’s best to avoid this one if you’re seeking an opulent ride quality or the lightest bike for the given sticker price. 


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trek emonda sl 5 pro

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Trek Emonda SL6 Pro review

Trek's latest GC/climbing bike has undergone an aero transformation, but has it helped?

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trek emonda sl6 pro

The radical changes brought about in this new Emonda frame are somewhat hampered within the SL range owing to the heavier nature of the frame and subsequent ride quality of the 500 Series OCLV carbon. It is a solid all-round performer and there's no getting away from the fact the ride quality provides a good balance of efficiency and ride comfort. It's just if you were looking for an improvement on the ride of the previous model you'll need to hold off and get one of the higher level SLR models to truly see improvements.

Efficient power transfer

Excellent handling prowess

Compliant ride

New SL frame has lost some of the excitement of the existing Émonda

Heavy for a 'climbing' bike

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Trek recently released a brand new re-imagining of the Emonda, the brand's lightweight climbing/GC model platform, featuring a drastically aero-ised chasis. The model family is split into a higher tier SLR and the lower SL range that this SL6 Pro sits in, the critical difference is in the carbon layup and the enhanced integration sported by the SLR range.

The frame on the Emonda SL6 Pro is constructed of Trek's own 500 Series OCLV carbon fibre. This carbon layup might be heavier than the newly showcased ultra light 800 Series OCLV of the top level SLR Émonda's but is considerably more economical to produce, helping keep the SL range prices in a much more affordable tier.

>>> The Trek Madone gets an update, but you won't spot it

The new Emonda features a completely new set of tube shapes, most of which have gone down the aero route. But Trek is at pains to keep the comparisons to the Madone aero race bike to a minimum; this isn’t simple a ‘Madone Lite’. Rather than being the same elongated shapes as found on a proper aero race bike, the aero shaping of the Emonda’s tubes is much more subtle and is based around the principle of unsteady aerodynamics.

>>> Best road bikes reviewed

trek emonda sl 5 pro

In this case it’s more about how drag is affected through wind gusts and other factors at slower speeds than the usual 45km/h, after all, not even pros climb at these speeds. There are still the characteristic truncated airfoil shapes that we associate with aero frames but the effect is far less dramatic and produces a frame that still has a traditional look.

Trek Madone SLR9 Disc review

Trek hasn’t jumped on the dropped seatstay bandwagon with the new frame either, preferring to stick to a set of widely spaced yet aero shaped, thin seat stays.

trek emonda sl 5 pro

The new frame also enjoys a little more integration, bringing it more in-line with the Madone. All models now see the cable routing brought neatly into the frame at the front of the headtube keeping the front end profile as slippery as possible.

The other notable feature of the new frame is a wholesale move to the T47 bottom bracket standard . This style marries the reliability of a threaded shell with the capability of running larger diameter internal bearings and enables Trek to maintain its characteristic wide and efficient bottom bracket stance.

The new Emonda range has also been designed with Trek’s middle-ground H1.5 geometry ensuring a set of numbers that sits it half way between the ultra-aggressive pro H1 and its laid back and relaxed, endurance specific H2 geometry. A tall stack of split spacers under the stem provides plenty of height adjustment for a wide range of rider requirements.

trek emonda sl 5 pro

And finally, keeping the Emonda in a pretty rigid user set Trek has bucked another trend and limited tyre clearance to just 28c putting the focus of the bike purely on road going high performance.

The SL6 Pro sits near the top of the SL range and as such has a a pretty decent spec sheet. A mechanical Shimano Ultegra is the least we would expect at the +£3,000 price point and we don't need to point out how reliable and consistent it is in providing smooth shifting and braking.

As with the entire Emonda range the SL6 Pro runs on Bontrager wheels; Aeolus Elite 35 to be precise. These feature a carbon 35mm depth and complement the new 'aero' frame without compromising too much on weight and climbing ability. They feel stiff under power and spin up to speed relatively quickly. There are lighter and faster wheels that would suit the new frame but at this price point the Aeolus Elite is spot on. The tyres are Bontrager as well, in this instance 25mm R2 Hardcase Lite tyres. These are not Bontrager's fastest tyres, more classed as an everyday tyre with plenty of puncture protection.

trek emonda sl 5 pro

In a complete whitewash the entirety of the finishing kit is also provided by Bontrager. Unlike the integrated carbon bar/stem of the higher end SLR models, the SL6 Pro is fitted with a standard aluminium handlebar and separate stem, allowing for much simpler cockpit customisation. Despite the more ordinary setup the cable routing is still really neat underneath the stem without needing any additional housing.

The Émonda maintains the 'reversed' seat post, with a larger diameter seatpost mast fitted over the seat tube. This allows for plenty of adjustment plus further lengths are available if needed. The Bontrager Aeolus saddle also stands out for being incredibly comfortable even when sat right on the nose.

trek emonda sl 5 pro

I was curious to see if the new Emonda was able to improve on the ride quality of the highly rated existing version and the short answer is yes, well kind of....

The first thing to note is that in this new guise, the lower SL version I have on test feels a little chunky at over 8 kilograms - not something you expect when the bike's raison d'etre is all about low weight and climbing. However a total mass doesn't always equate to an anchor of a ride experience and this is true of the Émonda.

Trek has managed to provide a level of stiffness around the bottom bracket that enables the Émonda to deliver in its promise of rewarding effort. Granted it takes less effort to maintain speeds on flat and rolling terrain, much like the Madone aero bike, and I'm certain it is a 'faster' bike than the last version. But I can't help but feel that this new design has stifled some of the existing model's lively and exciting ride nature - it feels like using adjectives such as solid and dependable is more appropriate, almost like the Domane endurance bike.

trek emonda sl 5 pro

Trek's relaxing of the geometry on the Emonda has increased its ability to keep you comfortable and riding hard on a long ride and I had no issue taking on some challenging and long routes around Dorset and South Wales. The tall stack of shaped and split spacers sit the cockpit a little too high for my personal preference but luckily I was able to drop the stem height by using some standard spacers on top of the stem, without needing to cut the steerer. This put a little more weight on the front wheel which enabled me to descend the Émonda with aplomb and happily stuff it into downhill corners at high speed without any of the vague feeling that can come with a front end that is a touch too high.

Climbing is where the Emonda should thrive and it certainly is no slouch on your typical British climb, however it doesn't set the tarmac alight and the near eight kilo weight does neuter the Émonda's ability to counter attack when your riding mates try to accelerate away from you on a climb.

It feels like I'm being a little harsh and critical of the Emonda SL6 Pro, after all in most respects it is a solid all-rounder and I have enjoyed my time riding the bike over the last few months. It's a great looking bike and I expect most riders will be satisfied with the performance, it's just I feel it has a lost a little of the magic the old version had. If you are looking for the sort of engaging ride the Emonda is known for I suspect you would need to save your pennies and opt for one of the lighter SLR options and certainly if it was my money that would be what I would need to do.

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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.

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trek emonda sl 5 pro

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trek emonda slr 9 etap

The New Trek Émonda Is Faster Than Ever

Already one of the fiercest climbing bikes available, the new Émonda is even faster thanks to a dose of aero.

The Takeaway: The Émonda SLR is a benchmark pro race bike—and it’s surprisingly rider friendly.

  • It has 183 grams less drag than the previous generation, but the frame is only 33 grams heavier
  • There are 10 models starting at $2,699
  • SL models ($2,699 to $5,999) have the aerodynamic shaping and features but in a frame that’s about 400 grams heavier than the SLR
  • SLR models ($6,699 and up) use a new carbon fiber composite that’s 30 percent stronger than Trek’s previous top-of-the-line carbon.

For Émonda SLR bicycles, Trek will provide an individual handlebar and stem until an updated handlebar/stem combo is available.

Additionally, all customers who bring in their handlebars for replacement will also receive a $100 in-store credit that can be used toward any Trek or Bontrager merchandise through December 31, 2022.

Remember professional road racing ? It’s that thing where super skinny people go unbelievably fast up and down hills and fly over flat roads for hours at a time. It’s been a while since the pros have beat up on each other for our entertainment, but there might, hopefully, be some races on the horizon. When the races do resume, Trek’s pro riders will be aboard its new third-generation Émonda climbing bike. The new Émonda isn’t lighter, but it is faster thanks to a dose of aerodynamic tuning.

.css-1hhr1pq{text-align:center;font-size:1.1875rem;line-height:1.6;font-family:Charter,Charter-roboto,Charter-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;}.css-1hhr1pq em{font-style:italic;font-family:Charter,Charter-styleitalic-roboto,Charter-styleitalic-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;}.css-1hhr1pq strong{font-family:Charter,Charter-weightbold-roboto,Charter-weightbold-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-weight:bold;} —Five Cool Details—

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Now With Aero

The new Émonda gets a major drag reduction with a tiny weight gain.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Simple Seat Mast

The seat mast has lots of adjustment range, and an easy-to-use saddle clamp.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Light and Slippery

The new Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37 wheels are light, sleek, and stable.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Wide and Threaded

The T47 bottom bracket has a wide stance, and user-friendly threads.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

A built-in chain watcher prevents unwanted derailments.

Making the new Émonda frame more aerodynamic wasn’t exactly a tough hurdle as the previous Émonda had virtually zero aerodynamic optimization. But adding meaningful aerodynamic benefit while achieving the frame stiffness expected of a pro-caliber race bike, maintaining the well-regarded handling properties of the previous Émonda, and adding rider-friendly features like a threaded bottom bracket—all with adding only 33 grams (SLR frame, claimed)—is quite a feat.

Below you’ll find my review of the Émonda SLR—I’ve been on it since early March—followed by a dive into the technology and features of the new bike, and a brief model breakdown.

Ride Impressions: Émonda SLR 9 eTap

trek emonda slr 9 etap

The Émonda SLR is a tool made to fulfill the needs of some of the world’s best road racers. This bike will never be as comfortable or versatile as a gravel bike. Going fast on pavement and climbing performance are its only goals. These are obvious facts, but that’s the lens through which it must be viewed. And through this lens, it is one of the very best.

The new Émonda was born out of a request from Trek’s pro racers and pitched as the company’s “fastest climbing bike ever.” So little surprise they set me up with the lightest model (the SLR 9 with SRAM Red eTap ), which also has a build kit almost identical to the team’s bikes. It’s also, excepting customized Project One builds, the most expensive model at a buck under 12 grand.

That massive pile of clams gets you an aerodynamic frame with disc brakes, power meter, and wireless electronic shifting that weighs less than 15 pounds (54cm). And that’s with a hefty T47 threaded bottom bracket unit, lustrous paint , clincher wheelset, a chain-watcher, standard butyl tubes, 37mm deep rims, 160mm disc rotors front and rear, and SRAM’s largest Red cassette (10-33). That’s “Holy shit!” impressive.

By cutting drag a ton without adding much weight, it’s hard to argue with Trek’s claim that the new Émonda is faster than the outgoing generation. But if you have any doubts, they’ll be erased when you ride it. This is an explosive bike: it feels as light as a feather and as solid as a steel girder at the same time.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Trek’s Émonda has always been a raw and rowdy bike that feels a little wild and a bit dangerous in precisely the ways you want a race bike to feel: That’s not lost with the added aerodynamics. If anything, the new Émonda is even crisper and punchier than before, which is saying something.

preview for Tested

A small downside to all this fury is the Émonda’s smoothness. Light and stiff race bikes aren’t a smooth-riding lot to begin with, but even measured against a stiffer riding genre, the new Émonda is on the firmer end of the scale. Still, it escapes harsh or punishing labels—I did a six-hour ride on the Émonda on the stock 25 tires and didn’t feel worn down by its ride. Swapping to 28s helped a lot (no surprise) and were on the Émonda for the bulk of my testing. I’d suggest reserving the lighter and more aerodynamic stock 25s for racing or PR attempts—assuming good roads—and use 28s as daily drivers.

The Émonda’s handling is excellent. Well, let me caveat that: Road racing geometry is pretty uniform, so whether I’m on a current race bike from Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Cervélo, Canyon, Colnago, Wilier, Pinarello, BMC, Giant (etc., etc.), I find the broad strokes of their handling feel and performance quite similar. There wasn’t anything about the Émonda’s handling or cornering performance that set any new benchmarks for me, but there wasn’t anything to dislike either.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

It was quick and accurate, diving into corners with a light touch. It offered great feedback, so I always knew where I was relative to its and my limits, and I could count on it to be consistent and predictable. It was maybe a touch less settled in bumpy corners than the Specialized Tarmac, but the Émonda never broke traction or skipped. Overall, for such a light bike, the Émonda is remarkably solid and drama free. I’d have no qualms barreling down a technical alpine descent on the Émonda.

I received this test bike in early March, giving me plenty of time to ride it back to back with its primary competition—a Specialized S-Works Tarmac , what I consider the benchmark for aero-ized lightweight bikes. The Tarmac is smoother over the bumps and has a silkier feel overall, but the new Émonda feels more efficient, like it can go faster more easily.

I’ve also ridden a good slice of the Émonda’s competition, including the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX , Colnago V3Rs, Cannondale SuperSix Evo , Cervélo R5, Wilier Zero SLR , Pinarello Dogma F12 . These are all superb bikes, but I feel the Émonda is the class leader. It feels sharper and more explosive than all of them. It feels faster, and that’s what matters most in a race bike. But I also like that the Émonda is pretty straightforward and rider-friendly.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

For example, I swapped the stock one-piece bar/stem for a standard stem and round bar. One, I could run a standard bar and stem on this bike, which you can’t say about every modern race bike. And two, I didn’t have to pull any cables, wires, or hoses to make the swap: Again, something you can’t say about all race bikes. For the record, the shape of the one-piece Aeolus bar/stem is great, and the tops are the most comfortable to grab of all the aero-topped bars I've used. The only reason I swapped is my preferred length and width combination (110x40) wasn't available yet.

The BB is threaded, which makes it easier to service and replace than a press-fit (however, I was getting some noise out of the BB area, which I never resolved). The wheels employ standard offset, and it uses regular thru-axles. It’s compatible with pod-style power meters and mechanical shifting. Its signature seat mast is pretty much the only non-standard thing about this frame, and even then, it’s pretty user-friendly. There’s no cutting necessary, height adjustment is ample, the saddle clamp is easy to use, and it’s travel-case friendly.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

I expect so much from a modern high-end pro-level road racing bike that it’s hard to exceed those expectations. It’s rare when a bike does: The Émonda SLR is one of those rare bikes.

Team Request

The new Émonda is partially a result of a request from the Trek-Segafredo race team. “They are one of our primary customers,” said Jordan Roessingh, Trek’s director of road product. “And they started to realize that it’s not just weight, it’s not just stiffness and responsiveness, there’s this other thing—aerodynamics and speed—that’s also really important to be competitive and be faster on the bike. They had been one of the loudest voices saying, ‘We need the lightest-weight, stiffest bike possible.’ And now they started coming back saying ‘We need those things, but we also need the bike to be faster in order for us to be really competitive.’ ”

It is (comparatively) easy to make a light frame, it is easy to make a stiff frame, it is easy to make an aerodynamic frame. Making a frame that’s two of those three things is more challenging: Making a bike more aerodynamic usually makes it heavier, making a bike lighter typically makes it less stiff, etc. Making a frame that is light AND stiff AND aerodynamic enough to satisfy the demands of a top-level professional race team is extremely difficult.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

But not impossible. Many brands already make a light, stiff, and aero bike. The Specialized Tarmac is one, as are the Canyon Ultimate, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo, the Cervélo R5, the Wilier Zero SLR, the Pinarello F12, the Scott Addict, and the new Giant TCR . All of them seek to balance the three qualities—light, stiff, and aero—in the pursuit of the ideal race bike, and they all manage the balance differently. The common thread between these bikes: They’re all used by teams that compete against Trek-Segafredo.

Still Light, Now With Aero

The previous generation Émonda SLR Disc , launched in 2017, was an extremely light frame at 665 grams (claimed). But when a frame is already that light, it is much harder to make it even lighter. At least lighter enough to make a meaningful difference.

emonda drag chart

So, Trek took a different approach to making its climbing bike faster—instead of lighter, it made it more aerodynamic. The new Émonda frame is a touch heavier—yet still extremely light at 698 grams—but the bike has 183 grams less drag than the previous generation.

The important thing to note here is that, though the frame is more aerodynamic, the 183 gram drag reduction is not from the frame only. New wheels and a new aero bar (more info on both below) play a role. The specific setups Trek used to get that 183 gram number are: 2018 Émonda with 28mm-deep Bontrager XXX 2 wheels, and Bontrager XXX Bar/Stem Combo compared to the 2021 Émonda with 37mm deep Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37 Wheels and Bontrager Aeolus RSL Bar/Stem Combo.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Another drag saving upgrade: the housing, hoses and wires for the controls are almost fully inside the frame. They dive into the frame at the head tube passing through the upper headset bearing. The front brake hose runs into the fork steerer and down the left leg before popping out just above the brake caliper. The fork steerer’s flattened sides provide room for the rear brake hose and derailleur control lines to travel down and into the frame. Though it has flattened sides, the fork steerer is still compatible with standard 1 1/8” stems.

The overall drag reduction results in a bike that is 18 seconds per hour faster when climbing an 8.1 percent grade (the average grade of Alpe d’Huez ), and 60 seconds per hour faster on flat roads than the previous Émonda. Trek also claims the new Émonda is 13 seconds per hour faster than a Specialized Tarmac when climbing an 8.1 percent grade (all assuming the rider maintains a constant 350 watts).

Eight Point One Percent

With three qualities—aero, stiffness, weight—that work in opposition to each other, how do you decide how much to optimize one quality when you know it will negatively affect the other two? How aero is aero enough? At what point is improved aerodynamics offset by the weight added to get there?

The team behind the Émonda used a legendary climb to help them decide: Alpe d’Huez. “It represents an extreme example of what most people see on a regular basis when they’re doing a big climbing ride,” said Roessingh, “It’s around an 8 percent grade, and it’s about an hour-long climb for the pros—amateurs might go a little slower. It gives us a good understanding of what the benefit of a drag savings is relative to a weight savings.”

trek emonda slr 9 etap

By optimizing the weight and aerodynamic balance around this climb, Roessingh claims the Émonda is faster on Alpe d’Huez and also faster on everything shallower than the famous climb, “which is the vast majority of the environments that most riders are going to ride in, including the team,” said Roessingh. “So if we can say it’s faster up Alpe d’Huez, it’s going to be significantly faster everywhere because the flatter it is, the more aerodynamics benefit you.”

Computer-Aided Optimization

Achieving the weight to the aerodynamic balance of the new Émonda required careful design of each tube shape. Aiding the Émonda’s team was supercomputing horsepower. The abridged and simplified version of the process goes like this: into the computer was fed a rough draft of the shape based on Trek’s aerodynamic experience and other information like UCI regulations. The program then varies the tube’s parameters within a predefined range and spit back several iterations of the shape, each with a different weight to aerodynamic balance. The Émonda’s team evaluated the alternatives and picked the one most suited to its location in the frame and best able to help the frame achieve its overarching goal.

Roessingh says that Trek cannot afford to buy the computing hardware necessary to run the CFD and FEA optimizations (in a timely manner) that helped shape the new Émonda’s tubes. The processing happens in the cloud where Trek rents time on Google, Microsoft, or Amazon’s supercomputers. It’s more affordable than buying a supercomputer. Even so, it is not cheap, “Cloud computing is becoming a relatively significant budget line item for us because we’re doing so many of these optimizations in CFD and FEA and all that processing happens in the cloud.”

tube shape comparison of the generation two and three emonda

The new Émonda’s fork legs, head tube, down tube, seat tube, and seat stays all use a variation of a truncated airfoil. The top tube and chainstays, which have virtually no effect on drag, are optimized almost entirely for stiffness to weight.

In Trek’s line, the new Émonda’s aerodynamic performance is equal to the third generation Domane ; the Madone is still significantly more aero. But while the more aerodynamic Madone is faster in flatter terrain, once the climb hits about 5.5 percent, the lighter Émonda becomes the faster bike. And for many of the Trek-Segafredo team riders—and many amateurs—that means the Émonda is fastest when it matters most: the hardest part of a race or ride, which is almost always on a steep climb.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

OCLV 800 Carbon

Getting the new Émonda SLR to be as light as it is while adding aerodynamic shaping would not be possible without employing a new carbon-fiber composite, said Roessingh. The new OCLV 800 composite is 30 percent stronger than Trek’s previous top-of-the-line composite (OCLV 700). Because it is stronger, they can use less: By using OCLV 800, Trek’s team was able to make the Émonda SLR frame 60 grams lighter than if they used OCLV 700.

trek emonda sl 5

The Émonda SLR is very cool, but it’s also very expensive (bike prices start at $6,699). For the 99 percenters, there’s the Émonda SL (models start at $2,699).

The SL uses OCLV 500 composite, and the frame is quite a bit heavier than the SLR’s. The SL’s frame comes in at 1,142 grams, with a 380-gram fork (SLR fork weight: 365 grams).

But material (and weight) are the only difference between the SL and SLR.

Aeolus Bar Stem

While a ton of work made the Émonda’s frame tubes faster, a big chunk of the new bike’s drag savings comes from the one-piece Aeolus bar stem. It alone is responsible for 70 grams of the Émonda’s 183-gram drag reduction. This means that if a traditional stem and round bar are installed on the new Émonda, its drag advantage over the previous-generation bike drops to 113 grams. And it means that you can make any bike with a round bar and traditional stem significantly more aerodynamic by merely installing the Aeolus. Retail price is $650.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

The integrated Aeolus is made of carbon-fiber composite, of course, with a claimed weight of 297 grams (42x120). It’s offered in 14 length and width combinations, from 44x120 to 38x80. Hoses, housing, and wires run externally for easier service and repairs, but in a groove that keeps them out of the wind. A bolt-on plate keeps the control lines tucked and organized where they turn off the bar tops to run in line with the stem.

The Aeolus employs a mount that works with Bontrager’s line of Blendr accessories for mounting computers and lights.

Aeolus 37 Wheels

Another new Bontrager product rolling out with the Émonda is the Aeolus 37 wheelset. It comes in two models: the Aeolus RSL 37 (1,325 grams/pair, $2,400) and the Aeolus Pro 37 (1,505 grams/pair, $1,300).

trek emonda slr 9 etap

The RSL 37 is claimed to be lighter than Zipp’s 32mm-deep 202, yet more aerodynamic and more stable than Zipp’s 45mm-deep 303. Both wheels are disc brake only (only Center Lock interface), tubeless compatible, use DT-Swiss internals, have no rider weight limit, and come with a lifetime warranty.

Surprisingly Rider Friendly

Though the new Émonda is clean and integrated looking and uses high-performance standards, it is also remarkably rider-friendly. Cables, hoses, and housing run externally on the one-piece Aeolus bar/stem for easier repair and service (with one exception: wiring for a Shimano Di2 or Campagnolo EPS bar-end junction box runs partially inside the bar). If you prefer a more traditional cockpit, it can be run with a standard bar and stem with 1⅛-inch steerer clamp.

The bottom bracket uses the threaded T47 standard , which is compatible with almost all common crank-axle standards.

trek emonda slr 9 etap

Front and rear thru-axles are standard 12x100 and 12x142mm, and the wheels employ a standard dish. The standard flat mounts for the brake calipers are compatible with 140, 160, or 180mm rotors.

Tire clearance is officially 28mm, but that’s with a ton of extra space. I fit 32mm tires in the Émonda with ease.

And though all models do use a seat mast, it’s a no-cut variety with lots of adjustment range.

H1.5 Geometry

Trek did offer its top-of-the-line race bikes in the aggressive H1 geometry for riders seeking an ultra-long and low geometry, or H2 which was an endurance fit. The new Émonda is offered only in H1.5, which splits the difference between H1 and H2. The result is pretty typical dimensions for a modern race bike—a 54cm Émonda H1’s geometry is remarkably similar to a 54cm Specialized Tarmac.

There are eight sizes starting at 47cm and topping out at 62cm.

emonda sl 7 etap

There are 10 models of the new Émonda. SL models start at $2,699 and are priced up to $5,999. SLR models start at $6,699 and go up to $11,999.

Only SLR models come with the Aeolus integrated bar/stem stock; and only the Émonda SL 7 ($5,499) and up come with the Aeolus 37 wheelset.

The new Émonda is a disc brake-only platform.

Project One

The new Émonda is in Trek’s Project One paint and parts personalization program. If that’s not luxe enough for you, Trek’s Project One Ultimate program allows you to work with a designer to come up with a one-of-a-kind finish, and Trek will source any parts you want for your new bike.

emonda project one gold flake

Trek Émonda SLR 9 eTap

Émonda SLR 9 eTap

A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling , Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race. 

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2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro review

Trek's climbing specialist has been re-imagined as a do-it-all race bike.

Felix Smith / Immediate Media

Amazingly stiff ride; race-ready long and low fit; exceptionally fun to ride.

25mm tyres exaggerate harsh ride and harm performance on imperfect road surfaces; weight isn't competitive for price.

The new 2021 Trek Emonda sees a shift away from a purely climber-focussed bike to a more all-round package with the de-rigueur aero shaping to match.

We have two bikes in for review. My colleague, Warren, has the top-end 6.9kg Emonda SLR 9 model with all of the bells and whistles, and an outrageous £9,700 price tag .

I have been testing the Ultegra R8000-equipped 2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro.

The SL-level Emonda is based on Trek’s OCLV 500 carbon layup, which adds roughly 445g to an unpainted frameset in an unspecified size compared to the top-end model.

You do, however, get the exact same geometry and frame shape as the SLR-level Emonda, so the differences should largely boil down to weight alone.

More on the new Trek Emonda

  • New 2021 Trek Emonda | An uncompromising disc-only race bike
  • Trek Emonda SLR 9 eTap first ride review

At £3,350 ($3,799 / €3,799 / AU$5,499), the SL6 Pro is by no means cheap, but represents fairly good value for money in the context of the wider market

For that cash, you get a full Ultegra R8020 groupset , a Bontrager Aelous Elite 35 carbon wheelset, a perfectly inoffensive alloy cockpit and a very plush Bontrager saddle. The bike weighs 8.13kg on the nose with no pedals.

Picking two comparable bikes, the Giant TCR Advanced Pro 2 Disc costs roughly the same (£3,499) for a broadly similar build, as does the Rose X-Lite 6 (~£3,450).

Trek has significantly altered the geometry of the Emonda for 2021, and it is now only available in the brand’s middle-of-the-road H1.5 fit.

H1.5 sits pretty much in the middle of Trek’s super aggressive H1 geometry and its endurance-focussed H2 fit.

The resulting shape strikes a nice balance between real-world usability while allowing the sportier riders among us to get a low and fast setup should they so wish.

The stack for the new Emonda is on the lower end of the spectrum for a 56cm bike at 563mm. The reach is fairly average, at 391mm for a 56cm bike. The 56cm bike ships with a 100mm stem.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro handlebars

While the reach of the frameset is fairly average, when matched with the 42cm-wide Bontrager Elite VR-C bars, which have a hefty 100mm reach, the fit of the bike feels suitably long and low.

I really like the overall profile of these bars – there’s loads of room in the drops so you can actually spend some time down there comfortably without your hands getting smooshed up, and the extra reach offers additional useful hand positions.

Adding reach to the bars (rather than increasing the length of the stem) also means the tops stay a touch closer to you, giving a really comfortable position for seated climbing.


The ride of the bike is exceptionally stiff and incredibly fun in the way that a proper race bike can be.

It’s got that addictive ultra-efficient feel with a totally unyielding pedal response that is amazing on the climbs – you are giving up nothing to the frame when mashing yourself into a lactic oblivion.

I dare say the overall feel is almost a little old school, with a super stiff ride that’s reminiscent of early carbon bikes.

This will be polarising for some riders, but I personally really like it. It feels properly rapid and responsive, and going fast is never not fun.

Related reading

  • Trek Domane SL7 review
  • Trek Madone SL6 Disc review
  • Best road bikes: how to choose the right one for you

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro pack and detail shots against silver g

While perhaps divisive, this super stiff ride also goes some way to differentiate the bike from the others in Trek’s lineup.

The line between the Emonda and Madone – and to a certain degree, the Domane – is now fairly blurred with this new bike.

But by keeping it simple, with no ISOSpeed squashiness, a racy ride and a lighter overall package, the Emonda stands out in the range.

Trek Emonda descending chesty shot

That stiffness also translates into a really engaging and fun ride on the descents. The bike shrugs at irresponsibly heavy braking into corners, remaining accurate and giving – yes, I really am going to say it – a really feedback-rich ride. It’s a total hoot.

It’s no surprise that this stiffness results in a firm ride.

It’s not a rough ride, per se – the bike still provides that pleasingly damped feel that any quality carbon bike gives on imperfect surfaces, and the integrated seat mast brings a degree of rear end comfort.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro tyre clearance

However, on larger bumps, the front end can feel quite jarring. The alloy bars will contribute to this, but the stock 25mm tyres are the main culprit.

25mm wide tyres were considered progressive a few short years ago, but the majority of new road bikes these days ship with 28mm tyres (or even larger) and not without good reason.

Wider tyres have consistently been shown in testing to have lower rolling resistance than narrower tyres and, as they can be run at lower pressures, they also improve comfort. Being more comfortable means less fatigue, which means increased speed.

This is well-trodden ground, so to see 25mm tyres here is a little bit disappointing – other bikes in the Emonda range feature 28s, and I’ve always admired Trek for boldly speccing 32mm tyres on the Domane, so to see narrower rubber here feel like a bit of a cop-out.

Trek is clearly trying to pander to the hill climb kids with the tiny reduction in weight 25s will offer, but 28s would be better for the majority of riders in nearly all situations.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro with tanwall tyres

Keen to see how much of a difference wider tyres would actually make, I swapped the stock Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite tyres in favour of a pair of Panaracer Race D Evo tyres. These measure bang on 28mm when inflated to 70psi on the Bontrager Aeolus Elite 35 wheels.

Unsurprisingly, the wider tyres smoothed out the ride of the bike significantly without making the ride feel mushy – you can focus on getting the most out of the bike’s stiff frameset without having to worry so much about potholes or broken road surfaces. The larger tyres also improve grip on descents.

They also make very light gravel detours a more appealing possibility.

Gravel riding is absolutely one bazillion per cent not within the intended remit of this bike, but the larger volume tyres make short stretches along smooth unsealed rail trails or rough access roads a much less hateful experience.

On a similar theme, I was also a little disappointed to see the bike come set up with tubes.

The likes of Giant are now shipping complete bikes tubeless out of the box and, regardless of which side of the tubeless vs. tubed debate you sit on, including tubeless tech as stock adds value to a bike.

Given the new Aeolus 35 Elite wheels are tubeless-compatible, it’s disappointing that the included tyres aren’t at least tubeless-ready.

As mentioned, the bike has been doused in a liberal helping of aero sauce, and the new bike is claimed to sit between the outgoing Emonda and the Madone in terms of aero performance.

There’s no way I can quantify these claims, but the bike does feel fast on the flats. I suspect that has more to do with the fact the bike’s geometry means it’s possible to get into a properly long and low position, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you believe Trek’s claims – or whether you care.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro downtube logo

Not that it has any bearing on performance, but the aero shaping has resulted in a bike that looks fast. I’m fond of the overall shape of the bike and I’m glad to not see dropped seat stays here. The lines are classic and the traditional cockpit doesn’t look out of place either.

Trek clearly doesn’t want you to forget you’re riding one of its bikes judging by the sheer size of the logo on the down tube. It is so over the top and a bit daft, but I kind of dig it – it’s like a postmodern statement, the David Byrne big suit of bicycle logos .

I also think the paint job looks really nice for what is, in the context of this model range, a ‘budget’ bike.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro Aeolus saddle

A surprising standout from the bike is the Bontrager Aeolus Comp saddle.

Every man and his dog has thrown his hat into the short nose and stubby saddle game, and I’ve tried a fair few now, but I think it’s a toss-up between this and the Pro Stealth Superlight for my all-time favourite .

Trust me when I say this is very high praise because I love the Pro Stealth. The Aeolus is squashy, comfortable and perfect for my peach. I can’t believe it has taken this long for saddles to get this good.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro groupset

The bike is built around a full Shimano Ultegra R8020 groupset . It’s nigh-on impossible to level criticism at R8000, offering nearly all of the performance of Dura-Ace at a considerably lower price point.

The 52/36 crankset is paired with an 11-30 cassette. For a go-fast all-round climb-friendly bike, this is perfect.

However, it’s worth noting that the bike is equipped with a short cage mech, which officially limits the drivetrain to a 30t cassette. This means you would have to go for a smaller set of chainrings if you require lighter gearing.

Even so, the gearing has more than enough range to climb comfortably in the saddle on most climbs.

The SL6 Pro is the ‘cheapest’ bike in the new Emonda range to feature carbon wheels.

At 35mm deep, the Aeolus Elite 35 should, in theory, give a bit of aero advantage without sacrificing too much on the climbs in terms of weight.

A 35mm wheel is unlikely to present serious problems in crosswinds, and they feel perfectly well-mannered and stiff. The wheels are based on DT Swiss’ Ratchet EXP freehub, which are easy-enough to service with widely-available spares.

Again, I’m a bit miffed these aren’t set up tubeless out of the box. It would allow you to run lower pressures, improving comfort and grip, which is never a bad thing.

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro conclusion

2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro pack and detail shots against silver g

Make no mistake – the Emonda is an uncompromising race bike, and it’s all the better for it.

In a world of squashy do-it-all bikes, the Emonda’s wonderfully moreish super stiff ride stands out and I’ve really enjoyed my time testing it.

Speccing standard 25mm clincher tyres in 2020 is an odd move, and the weight for this particular build isn’t that competitive.

You also lose out on some (claimed) aero benefit with the standard cockpit versus the fancy new integrated Bontrager Aeolus RSL VR-C bar-stem combo. But, if you’re anything like me and enjoy endlessly tweaking your position and cockpit setup, this might not be such a bad thing.

Jumping up to the Emonda SL 7 (£4,850) would get you an Ultegra Di2 groupset, Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37 wheels and the integrated cockpit, but I’m not convinced the extra expense would be worth it.

A few small spec niggles aside, if you’re after a delightfully fun go-fast race bike, the 2021 Trek Emonda SL 6 Pro is very unlikely to leave you wanting.

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trek emonda sl 5 pro

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Trek Émonda SL5 vs SL6 (Comparison)

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Bikes , Other , Riders , Road bikes , Road cyclists

Updated: April 25, 2023

Disclosure: I may receive referral fees from purchases made through links on BicycleVolt. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’re looking for a comparison of the Trek Émonda SL5 and the SL6, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve been researching these two awesome machines from Trek and have pulled together a number of resources which I hope will make choosing between them a little easier. First up, we have the full specification list for each bike – a head-to-head comparison so that you can easily cross-reference every component on the SL5 with its peer on the SL6. Next, I’ll highlight the major pros and cons of them and, finally, I’ve written up an in-depth review of the Émonda range, with a deep-dive on the SL5 and SL6.

If you think the choice comes down to a straight shoot-out between Shimano’s 105 and Ultegra systems, you wouldn’t be totally wrong. But that misses a number of critical differences which will undoubtedly have a bearing on your decision.

My conclusion though is that (1) I’d choose the Émonda SL6 over the SL5 and also that (2) both the bikes are fantastic, and you’ll be riding with a grin plastered on your face whichever one you go for.

Let’s take a look at the details, kicking off with the spec list rundown.

Trek Émonda range overview

Launched in 2014, the Émonda was (and still is) the top-flight mountain climber in Trek’s road bike arsenal, thanks to their obsession with weight reduction and the super-stiff and responsive frame. But the new Émonda is no “one-trick pony” and will excel whatever the terrain. The move to H1.5 geometry and aero style tubing, combined with the internally-routed cabling, make this a fast bike whether you’re going up, down or flat out on the flats.

There are 7 models in the current Émonda line-up, plus a frame-only option if you’d prefer to build your own. The SL5 is the entry-level model in the range – though this is said with a grin and a glint in the eye as there’s not much that’s “entry-level” about this work of art. Top of the tree is the SL7 Disc eTap – carbon throughout (including the wheels) and with a full wireless electronic drivetrain. It’s expensive (over double what you’d pay for the SL5) but, if you’ve got the budget available, then you won’t regret spending it on the SL7 eTap. Although the rest of your riding buddies might.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the SL5 and SL6. We’ll see how they compare against each other. Highlight the pros and cons of each bike. See which has the best spec for the money and finally come to a conclusion about which is the bike to go for.

Trek Émonda SL5 Disc Review

Pros Race-ready Carbon frame and forks Full Shimano 105 drivetrain Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes Very light (20.18 lbs) More wallet-friendly than the SL6

Cons No Ultegra components like the SL6 has Heavier wire bead tires than the SL6’s aramid bead 2 lbs heavier than the SL6

There can’t be many “entry level” road bikes that are as droolworthy as the SL5 Disc. If you like to ride fast then the Émonda SL5 is an excellent starting point and, if you’ve got racing in mind, then this could be the bike that sees you to the podium.

Both the SL5 and SL6 have identical carbon frames, with the new aero styling that Trek has bestowed on the Émonda range. This, combined with the carbon forks, give a bike that is light, stiff and highly responsive. Trek says that the aero tube shapes, along with the internal cable routing, will play a measurable role when you’re traveling at speed. This was essentially ‘free speed’ that was just being left on the start line beforehand, so it’s fantastic to see these changes by the team at Trek.

Looking at the buyer reviews, we see a lot of happy and smiling faces. That’s testament to how enjoyable a bike SL5 is to ride. Lots of comments describe the speed and agility of this bike. I’ll mention the negative comments, but there are only a few. There’s concern over the stock saddle and stock wheels – both of which are easy to upgrade – and also the apparent ‘middle of the road components’.

Let’s take a look at those ‘middle of the road components’ because they’re the 800-pound bike tech in the corner of the bike shop. Shimano 105 vs Shimano Ultegra drivetrain – what’s the deal?

Look around on the bike forums and you’ll see plenty of opinions on these two systems. Well, here’s my take on them. First up, both are excellent. They perform great, when and where you need them to. That goes for both the drivetrain and the brakes. If you’re a mid-level club cyclist you’re unlikely to notice a difference in the performance between the two.

Where you will notice a difference between the 105 and the Ultegra is in the weight and the cost. The SL5 is around 2 lbs heavier and $800 cheaper than the SL6 and much of that is due to the upgrade from 105 to Ultegra.

Which brings us to the SL6.

Trek Émonda SL6 Disc Review

Pros Race-ready Carbon frame and forks Full Shimano Ultegra drivetrain Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes Super light (18.18 lbs!) – that’s only a few ounces less than the SL7 eTap

Cons Around $800 more expensive than the SL5

I’ll start by saying that, of the two bikes, this is the one that I would choose every time.

Yes, it’s substantially more expensive than the SL5 Disc. No, I can’t feel a significant difference in performance between the Shimano 105 and Ultegra components (both feel fantastic). But, where I can feel a big difference is in the 2 lb weight reduction on the SL6 over the SL5.

Pick the bikes up, one in each hand, and you’ll be able to feel the 32-ounce difference. Get them out on the road and you’ll really start to notice the weight decrease. Those 2 lbs will convert to extra speed, seconds knocked off, and more PBs. On climbs, you’ll feel you’ve got a spring in your step. On the flat, you’ll feel like you’ve got your own personal tailwind following you.

Will you feel like a superhero on the SL6? It’s possible, but don’t start wearing your bright red underpants on the outside of your bib tights.

Because of that weight difference, the SL6 will feel like a big step up from the SL5.

And it’s not just me who thinks that. Customer reviews talk about the silky smooth feel of the SL6, the benefits of the aero styling, and the beautiful design. One even said that it, “forces you to ride fast”. No bad thing.

In fact, the only downsides were that the handlebars weren’t felt to be aero enough, and “haven’t found any so far”. Which all sounds perfectly fine to me.

There is much debate amongst road bikers as to the benefits or otherwise of disc brakes over rim brakes. The entire Émonda range now has disc brakes, with the SL6’s Ultegra brakes being, in a word, sweet. My view is this. There may be a slight overall weight increase for the disc brakes vs rim brakes / reinforced wheel rims setup. But, the benefit you get from those disc brakes when you hit a patch of slippery stuff and pull your brakes whilst taking a hairpin bend on a steep and fast descent…is best measurable in terms of the number of packs of band aids you’ll need to apply in sticking yourself back together again.

I know that disc brakes are “on-trend” right now. In five years time we might be told that we need to switch back to rim brakes. But, frankly, I’m keeping the discs so I can slow down and stop when and where I need to.

Conclusion – which one to go for?

I really like the Émonda range and I really, really like the SL5 and SL6. The SL5 is substantially cheaper than the SL6 and, with the Shimano 105 drivetrain and brakes, it’s a fantastic and great value bike that will climb fast and barrel along the flat.

2 lbs is a lot of weight and that’s a deal-clincher for me. I can’t feel a performance difference between 105 and Ultegra, but I can really feel a difference of 2 lbs. The SL6 will get you up hills faster than the SL5 and will beat the SL5 on the flat. That, for me, is worth the price difference and it makes the SL6 my bike of choice from these two excellent machines.

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We keep you rolling, trek emonda sl 5 pro.

Since we have not been able to get our hands on road bikes, we were able to scoop up this Trek Emonda SL frameset and finally got a full Shimano 105 kit on it. We are calling this the Emonda SL 5 Pro with its 50mm deep carbon wheels. This is a 54, but also have a 58 frame that we could put things on. Pick it before its gone for $3999.99

trek emonda sl 5 pro

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Results have arrived, trek emonda sl 5 road bike - 2017, 54cm, item #brd29758, condition: certified pre-owned what's this, fit range: 5'7" - 5'10" sizing guide, every certified pre-owned bike passes our multi-point inspection.

  • Frame integrity verified
  • All components inspected
  • Drivetrain cleaned and tuned
  • Suspension adjusted
  • Wheels trued

Our RideFast shipping means this bike gets to you quickly and securely. Free Shipping on Bikes for a limited time! Ends 6/30/24.

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  • Bikes arrive tuned and mostly pre-assembled
  • Torque tool & video guide included
  • Get riding in 15 minutes

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Please note that any duties, taxes, or surcharges as required by Canadian customs and provincial authorities will be the buyer's responsibility. Shipping to Canadian addresses may take longer than expected due to customs.

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If this bike isn't perfect for you, our Ride Guides will help you find the right one.

A Snappy Aero Climber

The Émonda is the lightest bike in Trek's lineup and the SL carbon frame falls right in the middle, packing incredible performance for an incredible price. This feather-light and responsive road bike is ideal for grabbing the local KOM or controlling the breakaway. Its geometry puts you in a more aggressive position than the Domane, but not as aggressive as the Madone.

  • Curious about one of the biggest perks of buying with TPC? Read about our Guaranteed Buyback Program . It comes standard with every bike we sell.
  • New Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Graphene 2.0 tires
  • New rear inner tube
  • New handlebar tape
  • New FSA chain
  • Light scratches on the fork & head tube
  • Moderate paint chips on the top tube, down tube, seat tube, & drive side seatstay
  • Moderate scratches on the drive side bottom bracket area
  • Drive side seatstay was professionally repaired by Broken Carbon in Boulder, CO, and that repair comes with their 5-year limited warranty

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trek emonda sl 5 pro

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CPO bikes are gently ridden bikes that have been meticulously inspected, restored and serviced. Every CPO bike is cleaned, tuned and tested in our top-of-the-line Colorado headquarters. Road, mountain, ebike or gravel, TPC services each bike over 8 phases and multiple points of inspection.

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The chart below provides a general suggested range of heights and is not exact. Sizing may vary across brands. Fit questions about this specific bike ? Contact us!

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