Trek Emonda SLR 8 - just in

Ultralight sub-700g frame with Dura-Ace and tubeless wheels

Trek recently stunned the cycling market with its 4.65kg (10.2lb) Emonda SLR 10 road bike. Only a lucky handful can afford this incredible US$15,749 / £11,000 bike, but thankfully, there are other models that use the same ultralight sub-700g carbon frame and are somewhat more attainable thanks to more sensible build kits.

We just took delivery of the Shimano Dura-Ace equipped Emonda SLR 8, which is still expensive at US$7,449.99 / £5,800 but nevertheless nearly 50 percent cheaper.

Check out more of our Trek 2015 coverage.

Our trek emonda slr 8 test sample comes in at 6.19kg (13.65lb, without pedals), built with a shimano dura-ace mechanical group and bontrager tubeless aluminum clincher wheels: our trek emonda slr 8 test sample comes in at 6.19kg (13.65lb, without pedals), built with a shimano dura-ace mechanical group and bontrager tubeless aluminum clincher wheels
Our trek emonda slr 8 test sample comes in at 6.19kg (13.65lb, without pedals), built with a shimano dura-ace mechanical group and bontrager tubeless aluminum clincher wheels: our trek emonda slr 8 test sample comes in at 6.19kg (13.65lb, without pedals), built with a shimano dura-ace mechanical group and bontrager tubeless aluminum clincher wheels

For the price of one Trek Emonda SLR 10, you can buy nearly two of these

As with the flagship Emonda SLR 10, the SLR 8's frame casts aside any notions of aerodynamic gains in favour of structural efficiency. Save for the rather slim seat stays, all of the tubes are hugely oversized for stiffness with roundish profiles used throughout along with smooth, organic-looking transitions that make the most of every bit of material.

Nearly everything is carbon fibre including the rear dropouts and fork tips, of course, plus there are virtually no redundant structures at the interfaces: headset bearings drop directly into moulded-in seats, for example, and the bottom bracket bearings press directly into the carbon fibre shell. The internal cable routing is convertible for mechanical or electronic systems and even the lower cable guide is shockingly minimal.

Just how big is that down tube, you ask? for reference, the bottom bracket is 90mm wide and those are large-sized hands: just how big is that down tube, you ask? for reference, the bottom bracket is 90mm wide and those are large-sized hands
Just how big is that down tube, you ask? for reference, the bottom bracket is 90mm wide and those are large-sized hands: just how big is that down tube, you ask? for reference, the bottom bracket is 90mm wide and those are large-sized hands

How big are the tubes? This big

Despite costing roughly half that of the Emonda SLR 10, the Emonda SLR 8 still comes with a fantastic spec that includes Shimano's outstanding Dura-Ace mechanical group, excellent Bontrager RXL TL shallow-profile tubeless aluminium clincher wheels, and a Bontrager finishing kit that comprises a carbon RXXXL handlebar, RXL forged aluminium stem, and a carbon railed Paradigm RXL saddle that's lightweight yet comfortable and supportive.

Actual weight for our 52cm sample is 6.19kg (13.65lb) without pedals – an ultralight figure by nearly anyone's standards.

Shimano's dura-ace mechanical group is used all around: shimano's dura-ace mechanical group is used all around
Shimano's dura-ace mechanical group is used all around: shimano's dura-ace mechanical group is used all around

Few will complain about finding a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace group here

One might rightfully assume that such a low weight would make the Emonda SLR 8 little more than a dedicated climbing machine and while our initial impressions suggest that it will certainly excel in that department, we detect a hint of surprising versatility too.

Thanks to fairly generous frame clearances – not to mention the extra room provided by the Shimano direct-mount front and rear brake callipers – there's easily room for 27mm-wide tyres in here.

Another benefit of the direct-mount brake calipers is very impressive tire clearance at both ends. there's plenty of space around these proper 25mm bontrager tires to go up in size: another benefit of the direct-mount brake calipers is very impressive tire clearance at both ends. there's plenty of space around these proper 25mm bontrager tires to go up in size
Another benefit of the direct-mount brake calipers is very impressive tire clearance at both ends. there's plenty of space around these proper 25mm bontrager tires to go up in size: another benefit of the direct-mount brake calipers is very impressive tire clearance at both ends. there's plenty of space around these proper 25mm bontrager tires to go up in size

The bike comes stock with 25mm-wide tyres but there's clearly room for more

We've got some big rides planned for this one so stay tuned for an in-depth, long-term review in the coming months.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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