We all love carbonfibre but that does come at a cost. Frame builders can manipulate steel in many ways. But, this adds to the overall weight. And when it comes to cycling, you have to be fit enough to be able to produce kinetic energy. And that makes aluminium the obvious choice. Trek has done wonders with aluminium on the recently introduced Emonda ALR 4 and ALR 5.
Trek has priced the new Emonda ALR 4 quite reasonably when compared to its carbonfibre counterparts. And it is stiff enough despite not weighing much. Add Trek’s attention to details and what you get is a gorgeous cycle. And we are going to tell you if it’s worth spending your money on.
Frame game on the Trek Emonda ALR 4
It is not easy to beat the Emonda ALR 4 at least on paper and the weighing scale. The Emonda ALR 4 is just 40g heavier than its fancier and costlier cousin, the SL, made from carbonfibre. Trek also say that the Emonda ALR 4 chassis is almost as stiff as the SL’s. This is thanks to the 300-series Alpha Aluminium hydroformed tubes that use nearly the same shapes as the high-end Emondas. The frame features an internal cable routing through the front triangle, provisioning for the Bontrager DuoTrap S speed and cadence sensor in the non-drive chainstay, press-fit BB86.5 bottom bracket, 27.2mm seat post, and tapered headtube.
Does it ride well?
The Emonda ALR 4 handles similar to the carbon Emonda models. That is because all these bikes are derived from the Madone range. It’s stable at high speeds, reasonably agile at low speeds, and loves to go around corners. It seems that Trek hasn’t changed its old but bold road geometry in ages. And it’s gold. The geometry of the ALR 4 is the same as most of the Émonda carbon line. Trek uses its H2 fit, which is meant for the everyday rider. This geometry falls between the race geometry you’d find on a bike like the Specialized Tarmac, and the shorter, more upright geometry of an endurance bike. The riding position worked out well for me (5ft 8in), although someone looking for a more aggressive ride might have to get the head tube replaced with a shorter one.
“The frame needs to be lauded, as it offers the ability to lean as hard as possible. The feedback is tremendous.”
If this is your first road bike then its stiffness and lightness will surprise you . If you’re not a first-timer then then the ride and build quality that comes at this price point will amaze you. The USP is the ride, especially with the Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite tyres on the Bontrager Affinity Tubeless ready rims that offer enough grip on the road. Apart from being stiff and alive, the out-of-saddle riding is perfectly aggressive, yet so smooth, that too without incorporating hardcore technology. The frame needs to be lauded, as it offers the ability to lean as hard as possible. The feedback is tremendous. And while going up the hill, the Shimano Tiagra 10-speed gear, the Bontrager Montrose Comp saddle on the Bontrager alloy, 2-bolt head seatpost, the Bontrager Comp VR-C, 31.8mm handlebar and a pair of Bontrager taped grips come in handy for a comfortable ride. Although, the directly mounted Tektro T731 rim brakes could have had a better bite.
To buy or not to buy?
It’s made for blacktop lovers who love riding at high speeds, regardless of the distance. Of course, Trek has designed the Emonda ALR 4 keeping the track in mind, and that makes it delightfully light and agile. However, that does not mean that you cannot take it out on Sundays when your buddies take a trip to the closest hilltop. It’s equally comfortable cutting through traffic which is where riders are going to take it, most of the times. Add to it is the brilliant ride and handling setup. Even the price-to-performance ratio is high. Combine that with drop dead sexy looks and the Emonda ALR 4 will also add value to your drawing room!