Stage five of the Criterium Dauphine had it's start in the small town of St. Trevier-sur-Moignans which is also home to the Mavic wheel factory. In fact, the race day pits were actually in Mavic's parking lot. And it was there that we spotted a slew of pre-production 2013 Trek Madones at the RadioShack-Nissan pit.
Given that the current Trek Madone 6 was already two years old, many people figured that the Wisconsin-based company would/should be working on something new, especially given the rash of new bikes from key competitors. But Trek had made no previous mention of the bike; in fact, for the last two months, the official company mantra went something like, "Oh, you know Trek, we're always working on something new."
As we have since learned, Trek had in reality been working on a complete re-design of the vaunted Madone race bike. The fact of the matter is that they didn't want spill the beans on the bike until after they first announced its existence to their dealers in mid-June. However, given new UCI rules which state that any bike now raced at the WorldTour has to first be "made public," Trek was forced to put the bike out there in some manner.
UCI Articles 1.3.006 to 1.3.010:
bicycle must be accessible to all participants. It must be marketed
(i.e. available for sale on the market) or marketable (i.e. available
for sale directly from the manufacturer, by subscription or through an
alternative distribution network). Prototypes and the use of equipment
specially designed for a particular athlete, event or performance is
prohibited. 'Special design' means a bicycle with a technical added
value when compared with other equipment."
And so, to meet the rule in the most minimal way possible, they wrote up a vague statement which was buried deep on the Trek website
and then rolled the bike out to be race tested at the Dauphine hoping nobody would really notice. Not.
What we're left with is a dearth of information because instead of working to maximize the bike's publicity - and perhaps even further embolden the dealers to order more - Trek has stayed on a "mum's the word" policy hoping to "officially" roll the bike at for the Tour de France. In other words, here's the bike, but there's not much we can say about it because Trek won't say anything about it. Make sense?
When the RadioShack team cars rolled up, both the Madone 6 and 7 were found mounted on the roofs.
Here's what the Madone 6 chainstay looks like with only the Shimano Di2 battery and Trek DuoTrap computer sensor visible.
The Madone 7 has a relocated battery and most importantly, a new Shimano Dura-Ace brake mounted under the chainstays. This is the first bike we've seen employing Shimano's BR-9010 direct mount brake, which is based off the newest BR-9000 caliper in the Dura-Ace 9000 line. The direct mount brake shares the same aesthetics and lower dual-pivot design of the BR-9000. The DuoTrap sensor remains in the chainstay.
The BR-9010 uses post mounts that are built into the frame, rather than
the traditional center mounting bolt. The design was made primarily for
time trial bikes where a standard center bolt mounting position may not
be applicable. Many old-timer mountain bikers might snicker at the sight of the brakes mounted under the chainstay, since a similar design used on mountain bikes in the late '80s was cause for a massive, industry-wide upheaval that recognized the downsides to such placement (dirt/mud buildup) and weaker braking forces and moved them to the backside of the seatstays. Of course, disc brakes eventually came along and made the brake location question moot which, of course, would never happen with road bikes....oh wait!
All the cables remain internally routed and the rear brake cable routing has obviously been re-directed to work with the new brake placement.
Despite we assume a bit more work involved in maintenance and when changing flats, the under-the-chainstay mounted brakes definitely give the rear end of the bike a much cleaner look.
While not going as far as running inboard brakes (ala Ridley and Storck) or simply running them on the backside of the fork, the new Madone 7 runs the same Shimano dual mount brakes up front old school style.
There's a whole lot more to the Madone 7 than just a repositioned rear brake. The frame too has been re-designed to embrace more of the Kamm Tail aero philosophy that Trek first made popular on their Speed Concept TT bikes.
The Aeolus hub shell in these tubular wheels is carbon with aluminum flanges, while the clincher version uses a full aluminum shell. The drive-side flange is designed to allow the spokes a wider bracing angle for better lateral rigidity. Bontrager uses DT Swiss to provide the hub internals, which are the same found in DT's highest-end 180 hubs.
To find out more about the new Madone 7, either befriend a Trek deal asap or wait until after the opening stage of the Tour de France on June 30.
BUT WHAT CAME BEFORE YOU ASK?
Treks first foray into the Tour de France was with the U.S. Postal Service in 1999 and the 5200 was the bike that Lance and the team used to make history.
By TdF wins 4 and 5, Trek was making special limited "Paris" bikes that were limited edition replicas of what Lance would have ridden during the final stage in Paris. The gold bikes used actual gold leaf graphics laid down by hand.
The famous flame job Madone which could be replicated in Trek's Project One paint program.