Sunday, 25 March 2012

the madone 3.5 test ride ride

i was lucky enough to be loaned a Trek Madone 3.5 by cheltenham cycles to test. My old road bike that was stolen was a 56cm and it was just a bit too small, any ride over 30 miles left me with a sore back and shoulders because it was a little too short in the top tube and too low at the front to get comfortably on the drops. This bike is a 58cm so should resolve those issues.
out of the showroom the bike weighs 19.6LBs with a full carbon frame and carbon forks, not super light but about 12LBs lighter than the hybrid Swift I've been using on the road and you can really tell the difference on climbs, with limited time I took the bike on my usual commute route so I could directly compare it as i know how my usual bike feels. as you'd expect this was a lot easier on the short sharp gradients, but as I'll go over in more detail later the bike somehow urges you out of the saddle to attack the rises. the frame is very stiff side to side. even static you can't get the bottom bracket to flex at all so you know every pedal stroke is sending power straight to the drivetrain and onto the road. vertically it's hard to say how comfy it is over such a short distance. the fit was perfect, i was able to get on the drops without being hunched, so I'd definitely go for this size over a 56cm, gear shifting was as smooth as you'd expect with an Ultegra groupset. i was surprised by the brakes, all the road bikes i've had in the past had pretty awful brake performance, these really were excellent, infact startlingly good and could me out a couple of times and i had to back off the levers, this also of course is to do with set up, which was done expertly before i picked the bike up.
now going back to what i touched on before, this bike could get you into a lot of trouble! it wants to go fast, it somehow encourages you to be on the push yourself, up at least one gear than normal all the time, i'm no pro cyclist but have a reasonable level of fitness and the bike just flies so you feel on the limit all the time. this isn't just confined to climbing and flats, downhill as well it holds corners so well i was sprinting around them going as fast as possible. commuting on this bike would mean i could leave home 20 minutes later than normal but i think it would be very dangerous in the heavy traffic on narrow lanes on my route.
if you are a committed racer or club rider you would love this bike and it's "tour winning geometry" because it's built for speed and just wants to go faster and faster, i'm not sure that is what i'm looking for though, i'd like an efficient bike yes, one that rolls along easily, but i'm a pootler, a scenery viewer and not an all out racer so, although it's an excellent bike it's a tool for a specific job and i'm after more of an all rounder
ride 40
16 miles
total 725
commute 261.5


Marsha said...

Hi, I'm Marsha and I live in Florida. I really like your photography and look forward to future posts.

By the way, I ride a Madone. I'm 5'2" and I like the light bike because I can pick it up and carry it up stairs or the like without it being a big deal...

Rocketdog said...

Hi Marsha, thanks for the kind comments. I bet Florida riding is a bit different to UK riding, no Gators for one!