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Trek Émonda SL 6 eTap review

A climb-friendly bike with aero styling

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £4,300.00 RRP | USD $5,100.00 | EUR €4,699.00 | AUD $7,000.00
Pack shot of the Trek Émonda SL 6 eTap road bike

Our review

A rapid all-round race bike with power meter included
Pros: Snappy handling; fast to respond through the pedals; power meter included in a fine package
Cons: Faster tyres would enhance its ride further
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The Trek Émonda SL 6 eTap combines the fast handling of a race bike with subtle aero styling and a components package that includes a power meter. It adds up to impressive all-round performance.

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Trek’s triumvirate of road bikes used to be easy to distinguish from each other, with each having a distinct purpose.

The Madone was the aerodynamic racing weapon; the Domane, with its IsoSpeed suspension, all about smoothing the road surface; and the Émonda was the choice of the climbers, ultra-light in an attempt to thwart gravity.

However, in recent years, the lines have become a little blurred, with the Émonda gaining some aero styling, though the very latest 2023 Trek Madone takes this a marked step forward with its striking IsoFlow seat tube cut-out.

Aero styling

The racy geometry and aero-styled frame are well suited to fast road riding.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The Émonda’s aero flavour means tubes with a kammtail profile (though not as extreme as the Madone), plus internal cable routing at the front end.

The addition of aero hasn’t had a detrimental effect on weight, however. In fact, the top-end SLR frameset weighs in at a super-light 698g (56cm, unpainted).

This more modest OCLV 500 carbon version, used on the Émonda frame, adds around 400g to that figure, but that’s still a fairly lightweight frameset.

Then there’s the aero-optimised carbon wheels in the form of Bontrager’s Aeolus Elite 35s.

These wheels are shod with Bontrager’s own R2 tyres, which roll well and come with a toughened hard case to help keep punctures at bay.

Even though they’re fairly narrow, at 25c, they’re compliant and provide a great counterbalance to the stiff, responsive feel you get from the Émonda’s frame and fork.

The wheels, at 1,625g a pair, are competitively light and add plenty to the Émonda’s ride.

The Émonda feels punchy when you pile on the power and, impressively, responds like an even lighter bike to out-of-the-saddle climbing efforts.

Trek Émonda SL 6 eTap geometry

The bike’s geometry is very well balanced.

It occupies the sweet spot between Trek’s slammed H1 fit, aimed at pros, and the H2 fit, found on the Domane endurance bike.

It’s positioned with a 73-degree seat angle and a steep 73.8-degree head angle, while the wheelbase is short for a disc bike, at 992mm. The reach of 396mm isn’t long, but the 581mm stack is low and racy (figures are for a 58cm bike).

4750525456586062
Seat angle (degrees)74.674.674.273.773.37372.872.5
Head angle (degrees)72.172.172.87373.573.873.973.9
Chainstay (mm)410410410410410411411412
Seat tube (mm)424453483496525553573593
Top tube (mm)512521534543559574586598
Head tube (mm)100111121131151171191211
Fork offset (mm)4545454540404040
Trail (mm)6862585658575656
Bottom bracket drop (mm)7272727070686868
Wheelbase (mm)9729749779819839921,0001,010
Standover (mm)692711732744768793811829
Stack (mm)507521533541563581601620
Reach (mm)373378383386391396399403
Stem length (mm)70809090100110110110
Crank length (mm)165170170172.5172.5172.5175175

Rapid rolling

All this adds up to a bike that is superbly fun to ride.

The handling has a rapid snap and it’s the perfect bike for riding at speed or around tight corners on fast descents.

Yes, it’s a firmer ride than some, but it’s not uncomfortable, helped by a superbly comfortable saddle – under my rear, at least – and top-grade bar tape.

You can add a sensor to measure cadence and speed.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The Émonda looks after you as a rider and gets down the road with impressive pace.

To get even more out of the bike, a faster, lighter, tubeless tyre, perhaps in a 28mm width, such as the Continental GP5000 S, would save a little weight, improve comfort and add even more spark.

The two-piece handlebar and stem keeps things simple, but there’s scope for a future upgrade.
Russell Burton / Our Media

I’d also look to upgrade the decent alloy bar to a lighter carbon one (Bontrager’s one-piece Aeolus RSL, as on the SLR version of the Émonda, would look neat).

However, while there are upgrade options for the future, as it stands, I’d be more than happy to run the Émonda SL6 in standard spec for many, many miles to come.

Power up

The bike comes with the Rival Quarq Dub power meter.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The SRAM Rival eTap AXS drivetrain works brilliantly, as we’ve come to expect, and the gear range of the 48/35t crankset with a 10-36t cassette matches the bike’s intentions sweetly.

The Rival brakes are up to the usual powerful and controlled standards, but the icing on the cake is that Trek has added the optional Rival Quarq Dub power meter.

The meter is single-sided, so you don’t get the right/left balance readings or deeper torque readings, pedalling smoothness and more offered by the very best power meters.

However, if you want to take the leap into power measurement as a training tool or to help you gauge long-day efforts, the Rival power meter does everything many everyday riders will need.

Trek should be applauded for including this £230 upgrade as standard, and this bike isn’t overpriced.

Trek Émonda SL 6 eTap bottom line

The Trek Émonda SL 6 comes together as a well-equipped, brilliant all-round bike out on the road.

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There’s scope for future improvements but, with carbon wheels, a power meter and the excellent Émonda SL frameset at its heart, this is an impressive race bike.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $7000.00EUR €4699.00GBP £4300.00USD $5100.00
Weight 8.67kg (58cm)
Brand Trek

Features

Available sizes 47, 50, 52, 54, 56 ,58, 60, 62cm
Bottom bracket SRAM DUB T47
Brakes SRAM Rival hydraulic disc, 160mm Paceline rotors
Cassette SRAM XG-1250 10-36t 12-speed
Cranks SRAM Rival AXS with power meter and 48/35t chainrings
Fork Full carbon
Frame 500 Series OCLV carbon
Front derailleur SRAM Rival eTap
Handlebar Bontrager Elite VR-C alloy
Rear derailleur SRAM Rival eTap
Saddle Bontrager Aeolus Comp, steel rails
Seatpost Bontrager Carbon seatmast
Shifter SRAM Rival eTap
Stem Bontrager Pro 7-Degree 110mm
Tyres Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite 25c
Wheels Bontrager Aeolus Elite 35 OCLV carbon