Trek Madone 5.5 Review

Reviews & Tech

07/20/2009| 0 comments
by Ron Meisel
Review of the 2009 Trek Madone road bike.
Review of the 2009 Trek Madone road bike.

Trek Madone 5.5 Review reviews the 2009 Trek Madone 5.5 road bike. reviews the 2009 Trek Madone 5.5 road bike.

The bright red metal flake paint on the Trek Madone 5.5 I tested reminded me of a hot rod. After riding the Trek, it was like driving a hot rod!

The Trek Madone 5.5 is very traditional when you look at the structure of the frame. Yet it possesses a sleek look with its graceful lines. I received many compliments on its appearance. That’s a big step for a consumer. Although it appears straightforward, hang on! The Madone 5.5 hides its strengths.

Overall, the power transfer was impressive. If the bike doesn’t respond, I don’t want to ride it. I’m happy to report that wasn’t the case with the Trek. There’s no doubt the bottom bracket had the necessary stiffness to effectively and efficiently relay the energy from my pedaling. I didn’t feel as though it was washed away on the road. I’m not just talking about flatland sprinting either. The Madone 5.5 met every challenge I presented to it whether it was putting the power down rolling on the flats or a challenging climb. It was as though it had perpetual motion without requiring excessive effort from the rider. Or, as my co-tester would say, “it never felt like I was riding through wet cement”.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I was riding a route with several medium rollers. I had to shift down when I hit the grade. The transition was fluid and didn’t require getting out of the saddle.  At the crest, I would shift up and the response was immediate.  My speed increase was instantaneous and effortless.  I felt as though I never lost any momentum. Note to readers, this is a good thing!

Even though I wouldn’t change it, I’m going to nitpick a little about the fork. I felt more road shock through it than what I was used to. However, I loved the aerodynamic style. As I said earlier, I wouldn’t change it. Another minor complaint is the seat adjustment on the aerodynamic seatpost.  Although I like the mast and its clamp system, I think the seat adjustment is overly engineered.

As hard as I tried to choose what I liked best about the Madone 5.5, I’m unable to decide. It did everything very well. It was unaffected by headwinds or crosswinds. Stability was never a worry. What made it fun was it would perform for me in all aspects regardless of the terrain. At the end of the day, while riding the Madone 5.5, I always had a smile on my face.  Subjectively, I like how it looks. Trek's Performance Fit feature with a 30mm taller head tube obviously contributed to the comfort of the bike. Although more upright, it is a speedy ride. This is a race bike in sheep’s clothing!

Trek’s development and heritage associated with the Madone shows the highest level of technology and engineering that can be put into developing a frame.  After over 20 years riding bicycles, I can easily see why this bike has been raced by Tour de France winners and yet functions perfectly in the real world for enthusiasts who enjoy an affordable, comfortable, performance bicycle.

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