Trek Madone 3.1 Review
The Trek Madone 3.1 is part of a new range of bikes that bears the name of some tour beating road cycles. It also manages to focus the best elements of these expensive models into something that is going to be a little easier on your wallet. You can enjoy great all day performance and ride responsiveness whilst still watching the pennies.
Whilst the Trek Madone 3.1 is definitely an affordable road bike, you actually get a 300 Series OCLV carbon frame, which rubs shoulders with some of the best on the market at the moment in terms of lightness and stiffness. It has a tapered E2 head tube in order to preserve rigidity and tighten up the handling, whilst using less material than you might normally expect to find, therefore translating into a lower weight.
The Bontrager Race fork features carbon legs but a value conscious alloy steerer. It is also SpeedTrap compatible for those who want to add a trip computer to their setup so that they can see their performance in real time whilst they ride and race.
The geometry of the frame is based on the same arrangement that has helped professional riders head to victory during the Tour de France, which should indicate that the affordability of the Trek Madone 3.1 has not come at the expense of its pedigree.
You get alloy hubs and rims with Bontrager R1 tyres to complete the wheelset of this model. Whilst it is clear that Trek has chosen some more generic components in this area to keep down costs, you will not feel overly hindered. However, we think Trek have made the wrong choice here. You have the option to step up to more capable pieces of kit a little further down the line when you have the cash for an upgrade or simply buy a Trek Madone 4.5 instead.
Shimano 105 and Tiagra components are used to comprise the drivetrain of the Trek Madone 3.1. Adequate lightness and appropriate performance will define this transmission setup, whilst the SRAM S350 crank gives you durability and efficiency over long distances. However, it’s this component mix that lost the 3.1 a half point in our scoring, hence the 3.5 instead of 4.0.
Alloy dual pivot brakes are present, with Shimano 105 STI levers for lower weight. This is further evidence that the majority of the Trek Madone 3.1’s price is based on the frame, but as with the wheelset, there is no real reason to complain and upgrades beckon for those who want to take this route.
You get a Bontrager Race Lite Alloy seatpost with infinite tilt adjustment. There is the Bontrager Affinity 1 saddle with steel rails to give you an acceptably comfortable and compliant position for your road racing antics.
A Bontrager Race VR-C handlebar lets you get feedback from the road and precisely direct the bike, with the overriding feeling being one of stability and consistency. This is the kind of bike that you can hop on at the beginning of the day and still be sat astride as the sun goes down without feeling overly fatigued due to extraneous elements or concerns in the interim.
Rack and fender mounts at the front and rear give the Trek Madone 3.1 a good all rounder approach, which allows it to be used every day whilst still having race friendly credentials up its sleeve for those who require them. You might wonder if too many corners have been cut on this model in order to get its price down, but those who actually experience it will be happy to see it retain the Madone name. People who have a budget to stick to or are not serious enough about their cycling to justify the high asking price of its siblings will also be content.
Trek Madone 3.1 Specifications
- Front Fork: Trek carbon road E2 SpeedTrap compatible
- Rear Shock: N/A
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105
- Gears: 20
- Chainring: 50/34T
- Cassette: Shimano Tiagra 12-30T
- Shifters: Shimano 105 STI
- Brakes: Aluminium dual-pivot
- Wheels: Bontrager Approved
- Tyres: Bontrager R1, 700x23c