Trek Emonda SLR 8 user review.

Welcome to my first user review. And I thought it would be nice to start of with my own bike. 


The Trek Emonda is Trek's full on climbers bike. One of the lightest production bikes in the world. Just 690gr for the frame.

The standard SLR 8 configuration with alloy clincher wheels puts the bike at 6.18kg. Whichever way you put it, that's lightweight.

Off course, when you add bottle cages, pedals, and Garmin mount, the number goes up to 6.72kg. But that's still well under the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg.


My bike, with the Scope R5c full carbon clincher wheels, Stages power crank, pedals, bottle cages, Garmin mount and a saddlebag with 2 inner tubes, weighs in at just 6.93kg. 


Let's start of with the boring stuff. Technical specifications, we all love those. This is a Trek Emonda SLR 8 size 54 H1. I'll explain. Size 54 basically means medium, or as my friends say, kids size. H1 stands for the geometry. Trek uses 2 different set up geometries. H1 and H2. H1 being the more sporty/professional geometry, and H2 being the more relaxed, recreational geometry. The main difference between the two is the slightly taller head tube. Which gives an more upright position and therefor also more comfortable. I've actually tested both geometries and liked both of them, only I couldn't get the drop like I wanted to. So I use the H1 version.


This bike comes fully equipped with mechanical Shimano Dura ace 9000, 53/39 chainring in the front and 11-28 cassette at the back. The only thing original not Shimano part of the group set were the brakes. Originally there were Bontrager ultra light direct mount brakes on this bike. I've changed them under warranty after just 3 months. The reason was simply that the back brake was just not working properly. The brake itself was fine, it was just the small size frame in combo with the short cable at the back, that made the brake impossible to set right. So I changed them for Shimano Dura ace direct mount brakes. I must say, a little heavier, but they look a lot more neat. But that's a personal opinion of course. 


The standard wheels coming with this bike are Bontrager Race X lite series. Tubeless ready. Very lightweight and super strong. They are a perfect climbing wheels. Or maybe I should say allround wheel. Because they just keep going. 


June last year i've bought a set of Scope R5c. A recommendation by a good friend, and loved them ever since. Most of the rides I use the Scope's, but sometimes, especially when it's a more hilly ride, I'll use the Bontrager wheels. 


There will soon be a review of the Scope R5c wheels.


Bontrager XXX VR-c full carbon handlebar. 42cm wide and a compact curve. 188 grams.


Bontrager XXX full carbon stem. 120mm. -7 degrees. 128 grams.


Originally the bike comes with a Bontrager Race x lite stem size 100mm. 


The bike comes without pedals. I use the Shimano R550 series. Mainly because they don't have the relates group set written on them. And Dura ace pedals are ridiculously overpriced. 


I use the BBB compcage. Matt black finish. Lightweight and very strong. Did many cobbled sections this year and last year and never had a bottle slipping out.


Standard the bike comes with a Bontrager Paradigm RXL saddle. 138mm. 168 grams. 


But, as you can probably see, i'm currently using a Fizik Arione CX carbon braided saddle. 132mm. 141 grams. 

Stages power

On the non drive side of the bike I use a Stages power meter. 


This is actually my second one. The first one just stopped working and Stages replaced it within a week. That's great costumer service.

The ride

What's the ride like? Surprisingly comfortable. I've read some review where they stated that the ride was very firm and that the Emonda was best suited for smooth roads. This is not the case on my set up. This might also have something to do with the fact that i've got a fairly high saddle height. Therefor the seat tube is able to flex more, which stands to make it more comfortable. Also, the carbon handlebar & stem are beneficial to this as well. Although I must say, that the original alloy stem was more comfortable. I've used this bike for the cobbled classics, with the deep section rims, and it was extremely comfortable over the cobbled sections. Another factor in comfort are the choice of tires. I use 25mm tires instead of the standard 23mm that came with the bike. The 25mm tires are also more suited for the wide rims. Running lower pressures whilst keeping the same rolling resistance makes them more comfortable. 


Handling wise, this bike performs among the best. The bike feels very light and nimble and therefor it increases confidence. Especially ascending and descending an alpine climb.


The Shimano drivetrain performs flawlessly. No shifting problems what so ever, apart from it's driver trying to backstroke whilst shifting. But luckily the bike comes with a chain catcher as standard. If you do happen to get the chain below the chain catcher, It's not easy to get it back on. 

Wear & tear

After riding this bike for 15 months now, and having done over 15000 kilometers, the bike still feels very fresh. Off course, i've ran through a chain and a set of bottom bracket bearings, but that's expected after these kilometers. All in all, this bike, is very reliable. On the frame itself there's not a lot of wear and tear, apart from scratches in the paint. The Emonda has a high quality paint job and that shows after a while of hard usage. Apart from the user scratches, there are no cracks or anything worth mentioning on the frame & fork. 


So what did I replace in 15 months to maintain the bike in good shape? 

  • Bottom bracket BB90 bearings (11.000 kilometers)
  • Chain (10.000 kilometers)
  • Inner & outer cables (Every 6 months)
  • Handlebar tape

Off course, handlebar tape is amongst the normal usage wear. As are tires. Although I did replace my standard tires after a couple of rides. Because on one of my first rides I had two punctures. Front & rear. This might have had something to do with bad luck. But I think it's also about the tyre choice. To keep the bike as light as possible they fitted ultra light inner tubes and 23mm Bontrager R3 tires. Extra light or ultra light inner tubes are great for rolling resistance and work great with a tyre that has great puncture protection. My R3 tires hadn't. The tires and rims are ready for a tubeless set up. So maybe start using that.


It's also good to mention that I do take good care of my bike. But also, I don't take it easy on it. I ride in various extreme conditions. And I like to goof around on the bike. Wheelies, jumps, dirt roads, you name it. And this bike can take it.


  • Lightweight
  • Stiff
  • Handling
  • Comfort
  • Powerful direct mount brakes
  • Looks?


  • Price. € 6999,-
  • Thin & light standard tires
  • Cable routing (rear brake)

Conclusion. Should I buy this bike?

That's very much a personal question or opinion.


In deciding whether or not buy this bike, I really asked myself what kind of rider I am and what bike would suit that riding style.

So if you're a climber or an adventurous rider this bike could very much suit you. If you're a full on sprinter, maybe not. The bike is definitely not slow in a sprint, but it's not an aero bike. For a sprinter, the Madone would maybe be the more obvious choice.


Whichever bike you choose, the most important thing is how you feel on the bike. If the bike suits you, and makes you feel good when driving it, then you're eventually gonna be faster on the bike. 


I hope you liked this review, and please check out the rest of my website for more content about bikes. If you have any follow up questions related to this review, please leave a comment below. 

Reactie schrijven

Commentaren: 4
  • #1

    Robin (maandag, 20 juni 2016 14:23)

    Well, if I want to know something about my bike, I should come directly to you. Your explanation is clear and well written. Thank you for your insight in your Trek my love.

  • #2

    Winand Dominique (zaterdag, 03 november 2018 11:58)

    Hi, thanks Daniel for this Nice article.
    I would be intéressée to buy IT but I wonder if for this price the choice for a titanium bike is note an option. Certainly because it is based on your own quotation and can take more your ride style into account ! ?

  • #3

    Daniël Lodeweges (dinsdag, 06 november 2018 10:32)

    Hello Winand Dominique,

    Titanium bike versus Carbon bikes is definitely a topic for discussion. I've written a few Titanium bikes but never one which whas specifically build for my measurements. But the ride comfort on a titanium bike is incredible. Handling is also on point, but not as sharp as a full on carbon race bike. That said, it's not a slouch either.

    Then there is aestethics, I love the look of a handbuilt titanium bike.

    Al I can say is that the Emonda is by far the best handling bike I've owned. Even better than the Madone. Let me know what you decide to buy, I would love to see a picture!

    With kind regards, Daniël Lodeweges

  • #4

    Patrick (zaterdag, 28 december 2019 06:39)

    Late for that ti question but fyi, I have a 2000 Litespeed ti and recently got a 2015 Emonda SLR 8 (low miles, great ebay price)
    I definitely feel rough roads a lot more on the Emonda (but I have stock 23mm tires.) On a recent mountain descent, rough pavement, the Litespeed would have been faster and more comfortable. Both corner very well
    But I was glad to ascend with the Emonda. It's very stiff, I think one could sprint with it (but that felt more squirrely than the ti,) and it's easier to close gaps on the Emonda.
    Ti is more comfortable and fine if you're young and strong, I'm neither, got the Emonda to keep up with youth.
    It weighs 6.7kg with Speedplay pedals.