Bauke Mollema of Trek Factory Racing has been spotted at the Critérium de Dauphiné riding a new version of the Trek Madone. The new bike – to be named the Madone 9, based on the UCI's list of approved models – sports substantially beefed up tube profiles compared to the current Madone 7.
The current version uses kammtail aerodynamic tube profiles, where the leading edge of the tube is rounded, but there’s a sharp trailing edge, with airflow adopting an aerodynamic profile despite the tube not coming to a point.
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Trek has previously promoted the advantages of the shorter kammtail design in crosswinds, but this new design suggests that they have now favoured aerodynamic benefit over crosswind stability. The seattube is also considerably wider than in the outgoing Madone and there’s a new aero seatmast and wider seatstays.
Whereas the current Madone has the rear brake mounted under the chainstays, on the new version these have reverted to a more conventional seatstay placement.
Potential advantages of chainstay placement include better aerodynamics and increased seatstay compliance due to the absence of a bridge, but there’s more chance of collecting road debris and mixed reports on braking efficiency. Direct mount brakes are carried over front and rear.
Mollema’s bike also features an integrated aerodynamic bar and stem similar to that used on top end aero bikes from Canyon.
The new frame looks as if it will be considerably stiffer than the current design, but also features Trek’s IsoSpeed decoupler between the seattube and the toptube-seatstay junction.
The decoupler greatly increases rider comfort by adding a mechanical link which increases the seattube’s vertical compliance over uneven surfaces. This is already a feature of Trek’s Domane endurance bike, which is used by Trek Factory Racing in the cobbled Classic races and has been spreading throughout the Trek range with the top-end Boone cyclocross bike also using the technology.
Here's Trek's video of the decoupler applied to the Domane.
It looks as if Trek’s inclusion of the decoupler in the new Madone is likely to be a key design element allowing it to build more rigidity into the other frame tubes without this resulting in an uncomfortably stiff ride.
Manufacturers usually announce new bike models near to the start of the Tour de France, so we would expect more details about the new Madone to be released later this month.
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