Trek's ever-expanding Madone family covers both race and sportive use. The smooth comfort and ultra relaxed steering of the 4.7 means it's slow to respond in sprinting terms, but the payback in plush comfort is massive and it's a pamperingly relaxed long-haul machine.
Ride & handling: Outstandingly smooth ride but steering may be too slow for some
It’s obvious that relaxed, long- haul comfort is the primary mission of the Madone as soon as you get on board. For a start, while the angles suggest a very responsive ride, the fork sweep and cockpit dimensions make the steering super-steady. It’s so stable we actually wandered off the road a couple of times when we weren’t concentrating.
Once you get the hang of the laconically lazy feel and put more weight behind it, the Madone is an outstandingly surefooted and conﬁdent descender. It swung round normally nerve-racking switchbacks without any hint of the hives, and dropped like a hawk on straightline plummets, however grim and gusty the weather.
Its smoothness and calm, unﬂustered ride quality is equally outstanding. It comes as close to you’ll get to making smooth roads feel like carpet and rough roads a lot less taxing than normal. You still get clouted through the brake hoods by the biggest potholes, but over the usual frost-damaged asphalt acne it spins along as though there’s 10psi less in the tyres than there actually is.
The ride position of the Trek is roomy enough to relax and breathe easily on too. Add the comfy saddle, steady hands-free steering, plus the smooth gliding ride and this is a very natural and happy place to be on a long ride.
Where its relaxed demeanour has a downside is when the tempo goes up and you’re chasing wheels. The low bike weight means it’s quick enough on a steady, sustained spin and you’ll come over the top of climbs in good shape. The power is like the handling – it'll get the job done, but you’ll need to wait a while for it to happen.
Frame & equipment: Reasonable weight and decent price for an Ultegra-equipped bike
Trek use several different levels of carbon ﬁbre frame in the Madone family, with this 4- series frame being the most affordable. It’s still an average weight for the price though. Apart from mass, the main differences between it and the 5 series Madones (£2,800 +) are a conventional bottom bracket and external cable routing.
That actually makes sourcing new bottom bracket bearings and maintaining the cables slightly easier though, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s an extensively shaped frame too, with inverted-D section top tube and relatively slim down tube that widen to wrap around the small diameter seat tube. Big multi-section chainstays reach back towards cowled dropouts with a shaped receiver for a Trek Duo Trap computer sensor moulded into the offside stay.
Multi-shaped seat stays curve gently up to a recessed wishbone section below a bolted seat collar. Most importantly, you still get the E2 tapered fork steerer system with its stiffness-increasing hourglass proﬁle. The fork itself is an alloy steerer and crown unit with carbon blades. Theoretically this isn’t great for the price, but it rides really well.
The Madone 4.7 comes with a full suite of Shimano Ultegra stop/go kit, which has more composite and alloy bits than 105, plus PTFE lined cables and Dura-Ace-style hollow-armed chainrings on the compact chainset. This means a 160g weight saving across the whole group, and slicker, longer-lasting shifting performance.
You can get the same frame with a 105 grouptest and heavier wheels for £1,850. Apart from that, it’s a full suite of Trek’s own brand Bontrager kit, including white-rimmed wheels and two-colour, single-compound tyres. Compact drop bars and a slim carbon seatpost add comfort to the ride.