Introduction to the Trek Emonda 2021

Crazy Light, Crazy Fast. A phrase that explains brilliantly what the new Trek Emonda is all about. The previous Emonda launched in 2014 was a brilliant bike; fast, agile, light and lovely to look at as well as ride. The new Emonda resets an already high bar in every sense and in this video, Paul explains the features of the Emonda and why we think this could be the bike of the decade.

Video Transcript

Introduction to the Trek Emonda 2021

Hello and welcome to this Criterium Cycles review and launch.


Today we are super excited because today we are going to be launching with you the brand new Trek Emonda. Across these videos, we’re going to be talking through the differences between the old model and the brand new model. And we’re also going to be talking you through all the different models that are available in the range.


So stay tuned and let’s get to it.


Okay, so first things first, let’s talk about the predecessor to the new Emonda and the bike that you see here is actually my bike. So I bought this bike just over 18 months ago and built it with the intent of completing the Marmotte which is a cycle sportif that’s in the Alps and I wanted a bike that I could sit on for the hours that the Marmotte dictated (for me it was just over 10 hours. completion time). Absolutely wonderful event if you want to go and do something really challenging and really difficult.

But ultimately I wanted a bike that I could sit on all day. That was going to be – I don’t want to use the word comfortable because I think it’s been overused in the bike industry at the moment is the word comfortable. But I wanted a bike that was as least fatiguing as possible. That was light, responsive, and fast. And whilst Trek do the Domane which is their ultimate endurance bike, and also does the Madone, which is their full aero race bike, they whislt trying to again, be as light as possible, are still a wee bit heavier than the Emonda because they have decoupling systems within the frame, because of what those bikes are intended to be used for.


With Emonda the bike is simply and purely designed to be really light and really fast. And that is what I decided to go for. And frankly, I just loved it. There were a lot of things for me to moan about that day. In terms of the heat, the altitude, the sheer effort. But the bike was one thing that was utterly flawless. The response on the climbs the ability to be able to just keep turning those pedals and every single pedal stroke that was going in was delivering me more miles. There was no lateral and torsional flex which means that every time I stomped on the pedals, the bike responded yet when going over relatively rougher style roads and I know in France that are a little bit better than they are in the UK but there are by no means perfect, the quality of the carbon fibre and the quality of the frame. Particularly with this what we call ride tuned seat mast meant that the fatigue on me the squishy organic thing that was sat on the top of the bike was was feeling great.


So all in all after I’d done the Marmotte I realised very quickly why the Trek Factory racing team do love riding the Emonda because it is a great all round bike for doing climbs. Fast on the flat handling is amazing when it comes to the descent and the tricky parts. So as an all round bike, it ticks a lot of boxes. So, that is why I bought an Emonda.


So let me just tell you what the ethos is about this bike. Okay, so it’s 2014 and I went down to Harrogate, with Trek track to see the launch of this bike. And we were all very excited back then, just as we are today with the launch of the new bike. But 2014 Trek engineers had worked for a good number of years, with Trek Factory Racing riders to create basically, the world’s lightest frame. And whilst any manufacturer can build light frames, to be able to strike the balance between lightweight, torsional rigidity, that we spoke about a second ago which is lack of flex in the bottom end of the bike so when you’re turning the pedals you’re not losing forward movement through lateral flex – yet have a bike that you can sit on for 6, 7, 8 9, 10 hours and not get overly fatigued on it. That’s a trick that requires pretty special engineering and pretty special engineers. And where we always say with Trek you put the money in the frame, you absolutely do.


The only thing is now move forward to 2020. And Emonda gets lost in the showroom. And the reason being is it in my eyes it beautiful. I love a round tube, traditional shaped bike. But in today’s world, a lot of people are looking for things, whether it be Decouplers, and aero tube shapes and all of these sorts of things. You know, people go Yeah, Emonda is really light to pick it up. It’s amazing. But what does it do? Well, it does being a brilliant road bike brilliantly, it doesn’t do anything else. But in today’s world, where people are looking for those sort of extra bits and pieces that a bike has to do, it does tend to get lost in the showroom, which for me is a real shame.


So the existing Emonda before the launch of the new bike was traditional round tubes. Okay, they are formed beautifully and what have you, but it’s a traditional round tube shape, no integration of the cables in the handlebars of the bike, and even though they launched a disc brake version – this is a rim brake, but they launched the disc brake version, that integration that people are now looking for where it’s almost a completely cableless design just needed to be updated yet for the new bike, whilst they wanted to introduce those Aero forms, the focus was that lightweight, the focus was still that ride quality. And that can’t be emphasised enough. Because when we see the new bike, you’ll be blown away by how it looks but when you ride it, that’s when everything will start to make sense.


Because how these engineers have carried on this lineage of beautiful ride quality, lack of lateral flex but with aerodynamics now into the mix, is a real wonder of Trek’s engineering ability. So without further ado, hopefully you enjoyed that just sort of a brief overview of the old bike. Let’s now have a look at the brand new bike and just see what Trek’s engineers have done with it.


Okay, so welcome to the new bike, and I hope you agree, it looks staggeringly good. Let’s go through the first bits and pieces.


It is disc only. Ah, I hear you cry. Don’t please – please – move on. Disc brakes – forget about braking and stopping power. What disc brakes offer is the following. Number one. It allows engineers to completely disregard the clearance issues, the even the latest and direct mount calliper brakes give. So that means that new Emonda runs a 28 millimetre tyre as standard.


Secondly, removal of the calliper increases aerodynamic efficiency, because the calliper is completely out of the way. Therefore, the cable that drops down to the calliper is completely out of the way. And that then allows engineers to focus on the front end of the bike. And although you’ll say but there’s a calliper down at the wheel, overall, the aerodynamics are better by removal of the front brake calliper.


But for me, all those little bits and pieces to average riders and I put myself firmly in that camp, whilst I work in the cycle industry, and I love and I’m passionate about bikes, working in a bike shop means that actually you don’t get that much time to ride bikes. So I’m very much an average rider. What it does by going disc brake, and I know this every time I pull the brakes on my Emonda that you saw earlier, is that when you’ve got a pair of carbon fibre wheels, and you pull those brakes on, you might as well have 10 pound notes in your back pocket and just start throwing them into the wind.

My biggest advantage when it comes to disc brakes is the fact that the moment that you pull those brakes on, you’re starting to wear down what could be a 40 to 70 pound replaceable and consumable item and brake pads that are only 15 to 25 pounds. That, for me is the biggest thing about disc brakes is the fact that you are not wearing your rims down. That means that you can invest more money into higher quality carbon fibre wheels without worrying about the fact that you’re just going to get a couple of seasons before they’re ready for the skip and you’re having to buy another pair again. So we’re a disc brake only lineup.


What they’ve also done with new Emonda, is they’ve pretty much brought the architecture from the front end of the latest generation of Madone. So they’ve brought the headset arrangement. That means that the brake cables and gear cables if it is a mechanical system, as opposed to an electronic system, all running underneath the stem, it’s really clean. It’s really well done. And most importantly from a technician’s point of view, the access is really good. So when it comes to cable replacements and servicing, it’s not going to break the bank to replace these cables. But the big thing for me is that it’s also relatively easy to adjust the stem height on this bike as well. So on all the SL series of bikes, and we’ll go through that in just a second. You have this traditional two piece bar and stem system. And then when you move up to the top of the range frame, which is the SLR version, that then comes with the new one piece integrated bar and stem.


So disc brake only more aerodynamics into the tube shape, a very, very clean design in terms of cable entry points and exit points. So the whole bike just looks clean. It looks crisp, But we’re not losing any of those design influences that we loved about the previous generation of Emonda. We retain that ride tune seat mast for lovely compliance on the saddle. We’ve got this large bottom bracket area that’s incredibly stiff for that power transfer yet, and the frame is also incredibly light for each model series. However, we’ve now introduced into the mix an aerodynamic advantage into this frame as well.


So, all in all, we’ve kept all the bits of the old bike that we know and love, and now introduced new modern aerodynamics into the situation as well.


So what other things have they done to this bike? One techie thing which is a little bit nerdy, but some people will be pleased to hear this. The previous bottom bracket standard – so that’s the bearings that your cranks went around was Trek’s BB 90 press fit system. And that bottom bracket system which I love, by the way, presses directly into carbon fibre shells. Now, the reason why you’ll hear on forums and all these sorts of things, oh, we hate that system – without being funny, guys, a lot of the time it was down to a lack of maintenance. It was running bikes with damaged bearings that should have been replaced earlier. I have never in the seven and a half years of running that BB 90 system on a lot of bikes that I’ve owned, ever had an issue with that BB 90 system.


However, the brand new T 47 threaded bottom bracket now exists, and that is what Trek have put into this new bike. So it means that with very little weight penalty, you have a system that if you did run the bearings to a point that they were damaged, rather than damaging the frame, we can then just extract and unthread that old bottom bracket, put it in the bin, put a new one in, put your cranks back on, carry on.


So from a maintenance standpoint for folks that just want to buy a bike, ride the bike and bring it in when it’s broken, as opposed to doing proactive servicing, it’s a lot more secure. So new T 47. bottom bracket now exists on this bike.

And then over and above that, we’ve got two frames. We’ve got The SL frames and we’ve got the SLR frames. SL is the mid range carbon fibre from Trek and it is as light, stiff and compliant as it can get for that price point. And the bike that we see here means that you’ve got, this is the SL5 – we’ll go through the models in more detail in another video, but it means that you’ve got a range of bikes that start from just under £2,300 to just over £5,000 pounds without compromising the frame and fork.


From there we move into the SLR frames. The SLR frames use a higher grade 800 series which is a brand new carbon fibre they have launched for this new bike. It didn’t exist before this new Emonda but the new SLR rooms the new 800 series carbon fibre, which effectively is lighter, stiffer and more comfortable, so with Trek they improve all those three design elements as you move from SL to SLR, and then the prices just start ramping up from there.


So, really, whether you’re an SL or an SLR customer purely depends on how much you overall want to spend on your bike as with all Trek SLR’s it will be available on the project one circuit, which means that that’s their customization programme. So at Criterium Cycles, we specialise in custom fit, which means that when you go Project One, everything from gear ratios, Seat Cap length, Seat Cap offset, saddle type, bar width, stem length, crank arm length, tyres, wheels, everything is customizable to your individual fit and needs. And you can choose a colour, that’s the cherry on top when it comes to Project One. So, with the SLR range, you will have the full Project One custom programme starting as well.


So again, hopefully that gives you a good sense of this new bike. We’ll go through the different models now in another video, and hopefully that just gives you a good sense of what the new bike is all about.


And also, I hope you stand with me when you say this thing just looks incredible. We’re just really, really delighted with what the Trek engineers have done. So let’s move on to another video now and let’s check out the different models.