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.
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.
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.
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.
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.