Trek Project 1 Madone 7
Riding the P1.
Whilst some smaller companies have become parts of larger corporations and now represent nothing more than a well disguised brand to meet a gap in the market, Trek have revised their corporate strategy. A Trek is a Trek, from the most humble town bike to the Project 1 programme.
The Trek Project 1 Madone is the bike that transported (Sir) Jan Bakelants to the yellow jersey in stage 2 of the 2013 Tour de France. It’s ridden by Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Bob Jungels, Jose Arredondo, Hayden Roulston, Danny Van Poppel - the Trek Factory Racing Team. This is the bike that the pros ride, built in the US, available painted in the team colours and this is where it differs from most of the pro-alike bikes. Paint.
The finish on Trek’s Project 1 bikes is perfect. The colours are deep, shiny, and robustly laid on. This perfection is the key to the Project 1 programme. Unbeatable quality, choice, and, most unlikely, price.
To detail the paint finishes available is well beyond the scope of this blog, but the pictures nicely illustrate that taste is the only limit to how your P1 will look, and is naturally where you start out with the Project 1 website.
So to move on to the choice of groupset, finishing kit, wheels, bar tape, bottle cages, cable housing, saddle, saddle colour - you get the picture. Bontrager provides the build kits with attention to detail, high quality and a finish that complements the immaculate look. But if none of this takes your fancy buy the frame!
Investigating aesthetics is part of the story, ride quality, as we know is more important.
The handling of the bike cannot be in doubt. Frank Schleck, not famed for his downhilling prowess, attacked on a descent in Paris Nice! This takes confidence in your bike, especially when being chased down by a peloton including Vincenzo Nibali.
Where the bike really comes into its own is the direct drive and aero nature. Inheriting aero credentials from the Trek time trial bikes means that this is one of the most slippery road bikes available. Couple this with a lack of flex and you have the ultimate racer’s bike.
There is one other member of the Trek team that bears this out, Jens Voight, the Elvis of the breakaways. Riding off the front of the group is his natural habitat, and this must be in part because the bike just can’t resist it, the rider has to obey, ‘shut up legs’.
But it doesn’t mean that this is only a racing bike. If you love to be out all day on your own the Madone is a road companion that will inspire you to ride further, longer and harder. It won’t make your rides easier, particularly for your riding companions, it will reward your strength and fitness. As a cyclist well used to the addictions of the crank this adds a new dimension, something lighter, stiffer, genuinely faster.
It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that Trek is one of our sponsors, which, obviously means that we ride Treks. But please don’t think that this is some type of corporate whitewash. Having already owned beautiful bikes, this bike is a genuine standout. What the Project 1 programme represents is the refining of all of Trek’s considerable knowledge into a bespoke bike programme. You may prefer your down tube to be written in Italian, or to be engineered in a shed in the British Midlands, but that’s the beauty of choice. You will regret your purchase though if you manage to lever anyone off their Project 1 and get to ride it up your favourite climb, one hill is never enough. Bespoke, handmade and painted, benefiting from the corporate power of a bike giant, coupled with the soul of a private company that invests in ethical teams like MTN Qhubeka. The other benefit of this apparent paradox is that a bike like this, made to your specifications, could only be matched by a bike at double the money elsewhere.