Trek Emonda SL6 &

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Trek Emonda SL6 &

Postby Bopomofo » 07 Apr 2015 19:18

As you are all no doubt bored of hearing, I've bought a new bike - an Emonda SL6 - from our friends at Bridgtown Cycles.

I thought I'd try to write a 'living review' of the bike, including initial impressions, living with it, gripes and foibles etc. I'm aware I can't say much comparative stuff as I'm not a journo who rides 10 different bikes a day, but I can tell you what it is like compared to my other bikes. And what it is like to do home spanner-work on.

Main bikes:
Trek Emonda SL6 - roadie, see below
Argon18 E116 - TT bike - 18 months old, lots of turbo/training miles but few races
Dolan Mythos - roadie, owned 7-8 years, 10k+ miles
Dolan Mythos TT - I used to convert the roadie to a TT for the summer & racing, FF forwards seat post (carbon), base-bars, extensions with bar-end shifters, fitted by Mike.

Shed fillers:
Halfords 'Carrera Valour' roadie - alloy frame, Sora/Tiagra/Tektro/FSA kit, Shimano cheapy wheels... has done 1000s of miles, took me round my first OD bike split in 1:06 :shock: , has now been nicked by my son.
GT XC4 mtb - front suspension, two wheels, some gears, goes along if you operate the cranks. 'Shared' with my son.

Anyway... what's the new one all about?

Trek Emonda SL6

Frame: Carbon frame, fork, seat-post
Chainset: Ultegra 6800 11-speed, not sure brand of chain - if it is Shimano I'll change it or put a split link in.
Brakes: Ultegra 6800
Wheels: Bontrager Race tbc
Tyres: Bontrager tbc

Fitting - at Bridgtown Cycles

Ordered the bike from Mike the Bike at Bridgtown. Generally speaking, the SL6 in black was out of stock everywhere but Trek seem to keep stuff hidden in a corner for Mike, I guess because he shifts so many 8-)

The SL6 is a stealth vision in matt black with gloss black decals and highlights. I had a brief chat with Lynne - who I'm always a bit star-struck by - who reported that it has been getting a lot of attention while parked in the shop for a week. It had been fully built with cables installed and stretching a bit while sat there, ready for fitting.

We went straight to Mike's torture chamber, having used some baseline settings from my fitting 18-months ago onto the Argon18. This meant we could do a lot of the pre-work (looking at standing stance, how your feet hang when sitting on a table, walking, leg lengths etc) very quickly and just crack on with the dynamic fitting. First impressions were that Mike had called it almost perfectly: frame size was smaller than I may have chosen for myself at 56cm (I'm 5'11") but it felt right, so that saved me an expensive mistake. Tbh I think I was on the boundary between sizes but with long body / short legs Mike went with the smaller frame but longer stem for handling reasons.

First thing was that Mike noted I'd self corrected my hip-twist that caused me to need a spacer under my left shoe - I had not been too far out of physio/re-hab for leg strength imbalance after breaking my left foot when Mike last saw me so there was still a weakness causing me to fall onto my left side. I'm now balanced again, so out comes the spacer. Next up is a correction to my foot angle: I was pedalling on the outsides of my feet, despite having arch supports in my shoes. Some spacers went in and, despite my initial protestations that it felt weird, when Mike took them out again it felt VERY wrong. Another point to Mike and onto seat height... three tweaks later and he was finally happy that my knees were tracking straight and the power was going into the pedals efficiently.

Mike had also showed me his super-special leg/hip balancing exercise, passed down from another guru. 3 minutes of that, then back on the bike and even I could see the difference. 3 times a week for me, and a few minutes before every ride.

And so to the front end: It felt OK to me, in fact as soon as the saddle went about 4mm too high I suddenly felt 'over' the bike rather than 'in' it. Now, I love a TT position as much as anyone and like to get low, but for the use this bike will be getting - training, leisure, sportives, high mileages - I want to be comfortable. With the seat in the right position the bars feel good. But Mike isn't happy yet: he checks my shoulder width as he thinks the bars look wide: nope, it is my shoulders looking narrow due to my swimmer's hunch. If I relax my neck/shoulders we're all good at 42cm. Finally, he thinks I look like I'm over-reaching on the hoods by a fraction, and so low on the drops that I'll be starting to get inefficient. A quick change of handlebars (!) to something with a bit less reach and less drop means we keep the stem length for handling but everything comes that bit closer.

Now, I protested a bit about the bar change, same as I did for the second insert on my right shoe... after all, I felt OK. Mike insisted we try it and go back if I'm unhappy.

Suddenly, I feel totally locked in. 8-) I mean, I'm in a great pedalling position, the hoods are comfy, I'm happy on the drops, we reduce the span on the (now span-adjustable) levers so I can change gear & brake happily on the drops. It is comfortable and pretty aero when I need it to be.

The bike gets taken downstairs for the final dressing - gears fine-tuned, bar-tape etc and while we're waiting Mike brings my Argon18 upstairs. She'd been downstairs getting a free pre-season check while I was being fitted, but she's so low mileage and I do a lot of tweaking myself that the only thing required was a quick twiddle of the head-bearings which had bedded in a bit. Mike wanted to give me a quick check, particularly because we'd removed the spacer from my left shoe and put some (very thin) shims in both shoes. The diagnosis was that I can stand the seat about 5mm higher than previously now my hips are under control. Mike makes the change, I jump back on and once again it all makes sense.

Brilliant experience, great service, great to just talk bike stuff for 4 hours with Mike, Steve & Lynne. Also, tripped over the MTB that Chrissie Wellington STILL hasn't collected... there's an interesting story there. ;)

I've no idea how this compares to alternative fits, but I've always been suspicious of bike fit 'systems' where this angle has to be X and this distance has to be Y and screw the fact that there's actually a human on board this bit of machinery. Mike takes a really holistic approach, from your shape & size to what sort of cyclist are you.

Highly recommended. :D

The Bike

More to follow...
I had fun once. It was awful.
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Re: Trek Emonda SL6 &

Postby CCS » 07 Apr 2015 20:49

Excellent! All sounds very exciting - and like you say, a day out at Bridgtown is always enlightening - most definitely worth the trip, even though everyone I know thinks I am mad to have such a non-local local bike shop!
Will be interesting to read how the new bike gets along.
So, what's happening to the Dolan now? Upgrade to your turbo steed?
...and when are you taking the Argon out to TT? Loads of evening 10s at Farnham on a fast course on the A31... (just saying... can't be too bad to get to from Basingrad... or for a small fee, I might let you in on my secret course...)
Talking to myself and feeling old
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Re: Trek Emonda SL6 &

Postby IanM » 07 Apr 2015 22:20

Excellent stuff :) And I know what you mean about the bars - had them changed on my new road bike when having the initial fit and although it was just 20mm narrower, it made a huge difference to how I felt plugged into the bike.
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Re: Trek Emonda SL6 &

Postby Bendy Ben » 07 Apr 2015 22:47

You've got more bikes than me ! Lol
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Re: Trek Emonda SL6 &

Postby andyb99 » 09 Apr 2015 09:15

a good read...i love when people have a bike fit with mike and suddenly it all comes honestly changed my who mindset and approach to my bike...which i honestly will never need to change a single thing on.
tell us about the bike then
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