Trek Madone 5.2 review

An aero-friendly incarnation of the third-tier Madone

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,800.00 RRP | AUD $3,799.00 | USD $3,549.99

Our review

The Madone’s butch looks conceal a very fast and accessible machine
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With its bold, contrasting hues and white wall tyres, the Madone 5.2’s aesthetics are like a throwback to the 1950s, but the dynamics are most definitely 2014. The third-tier Madone shares the design and features of the top flight 7-Series but with lower-spec carbon and less expensive parts.

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  • Highs: Incredible frame rigidity, stability and comfort
  • Lows: The top tube is quite wide for muscly legs, and the colour combination won’t appeal to everyone
  • Buy if: You want cutting edge frame technology with upgrade potential

At first glance, the 5.2 doesn’t look like a typical aero bike, with its enormous, angular down tube, but closer inspection reveals the subtly curved leading edge that forms a Kamm Virtual Foil (KVF) – a truncated aerofoil – profile. The head tube, seatstays and fork are also KVF shapes, with the front brake integrated into the fork crown and rear brake placed beneath the chainstays, leaving two independent, bridgeless seatstays for clean, drag-reducing lines.

Trek offers its bikes in three different geometries: H1 with the lowest position, H2 featuring a slightly higher head tube and H3 for women. The Madone 5.2’s H2 fit offers a long but not too low position, and should be ideal for the majority of riders looking to race. On the road our first impression is of the sort of stability found on a relaxed-geometry tourer – it just feels planted.

And then we stood on the pedals. In line with several top race bikes, the Madone has the sort of rigidity usually reserved for buildings or oil tankers, its immense BB90 bottom bracket shell ably braced by that vast down tube and muscular asymmetric chainstays, which instantly translate the merest pressure into forward motion.

The Madone 5.2's handling is predictably superb; it also offers a surprisingly comfortable ride
The madone 5.2’s handling is predictably superb; it also offers a surprisingly comfortable ride: the madone 5.2’s handling is predictably superb; it also offers a surprisingly comfortable ride
Russell Burton

The Madone 5.2’s handling is predictably superb; it also offers a surprisingly comfortable ride

Despite the frame’s rigidity, the ride is firm but never jarring, giving surprising levels of comfort. Handling is excellent, seemingly creating extra time through the corners to amend your line, resulting in no unwanted drama. We did find the front half of the top tube a bit too wide, as your quads can rub against its edges when riding hard on the nose of the saddle or standing up climbing.

Bontrager’s tubeless-ready Race wheelset features 23mm-high, 24mm-wide rims, which definitely play a part in the bike’s stability, cornering ability and overall grip and comfort. They’re not especially light, but are quite accelerative and efficient, and are willing to hold speed well over distance. The Ultegra drivetrain performs faultlessly and the Bontrager integrated brakes do a decent job, though they don’t have the instant bite of Shimano’s direct-mount offerings.

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The Bontrager bar is stiff and quite ergonomic, and the Affinity 3 saddle well padded and offering superb comfort. The complete package could benefit from an upgrade diet, but it’s competent and quick straight out of the box.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Madone 5.2 (14)
Brand Trek

Available Sizes 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm 62cm
Saddle Bontrager Affinity 3
Wheelbase (cm) 99.5
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 75
Seat Tube (cm) 46
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 26.5
Weight (lb) 17.04
Year 2014
Wheelset Bontrager Race : Front: 18 spokes : Rear: 24 spokes
Weight (kg) 7.73
Stem Bontrager Race X Lite, 10cm, 7 degree
Shifters Shimano Ultegra 6800
Seatpost Bontrager Ride Tuned Carbon seatmast cap, 20mm offset
Rear Wheel Weight 1680
Bottom Bracket PF BB90
Rear Tyre Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite 700x23
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed
Headset Type FSA Integrated 11/8-1½in
Handlebar Bontrager Race Lite Aero VR-CF 42cm
Front Wheel Weight 1090
Front Tyre Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite 700x23
Front Derailleur braze-on
Frame Material 500 Series OCLV carbon, KV F (Kammtail Virtual Foil)
Fork Offset 4.5
Fork Madone KV F carbon, E2, 11/8-1½in steerer
Cranks Shimano Ultegra 6800, 50/34, 172.5mm
Chain Shimano Ultegra 6800
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed 11-28
Brakes Bontrager Speed Limit integrated
Frame size tested 56cm