Pro bike: Bauke Mollema's Trek Émonda

Trek's climbing bike is one of the lightest in the WorldTour peloton

Clock11:42, Tuesday 31st October 2023
Bauke Mollema's Trek Émonda


Bauke Mollema's Trek Émonda

Pure climbing bikes are becoming a rare breed in the professional peloton, with an increasing number of teams using just one bike for all terrain.

Despite this trend, some teams and brands are remaining loyal to the traditional two-bike set-up. Trek is one of those, with its aero-focussed Madone, which is purely built for speed on the flat, and its lightweight Émonda, a dedicated climbing machine, both used by the Lidl-Trek teams.

While at the 2023 Vuelta a España, we got our hands on Bauke Mollema’s version of both bikes. We’ve already taken a look at his Madone, so it’s time for a run-down of the Lidl-Trek rider's dedicated climbing bike, which we got up close with ahead of the first summit finish on stage 3.

Lightweight climbing bike

Despite modern aerodynamic trends, weight still rules on climbs, and the Trek Émonda is one of the best climbing bikes in the business. It’s a recognisable name amongst bike aficionados, having been around since 2014. From its origins it was always a pure climbing bike, except it has also received a dose of aero.

The latest model ridden by Mollema and his Lidl-Trek teammates was released in 2021, so by modern release cycles, which is usually every two to three years, a new version is surely in the works.

For previous models Trek had always focussed on shedding weight, but there’s only so far that can go, especially for pro-level bikes where the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weight limit looms large.

So, instead of shedding weight, Trek tried to make the 2021 model more aerodynamic, not for the flat, but for the descents. That’s logical as descending is a big part of modern cycling, and what goes up invariably has to come back down.

The results were a bike that’s still capable of dipping inside the UCI limit for the top-tier SLR 9 model, using “the lightest carbon ever”, but with more aerodynamic benefits.

Choice between SRAM 2x or 1x

Jumbo-Visma have made headlines on numerous occasions this season for using 1x drivetrains, but they’re not the only team who have tested them out.

For stage 4 of the Vuelta when he used the Madone, Mollema opted for a 1x SRAM Red set-up, but he used a more traditional 2x system the day before when we caught a glimpse of this Émonda. That day included the stage’s first summit finish at Arinsal in Andorra and Mollema had suitably generous gearing for the challenge.

While we didn’t get official confirmation, the largest cog on the back appears to be 33t, providing an easy spinning gear for the toughest gradients. Up front Mollema opted for a 54/41t chainset.

Bontrager components finish the build

Many bike brands have component brands within their umbrellas and Trek is one of those. Using Bontrager components, which was acquired by Trek in 1995, keeps most of the componentry in-house.

This includes the Aeolus RSL 51 wheels which have rim depths to match their names. Bontrager has shallower options but stage 3 featured long stretches of flat tarmac before the climbs kicked in, which is probably why Mollema went for the more mid-depth option.

Joining the wheels was Pirelli’s P Zero Race TLR, the unanimous tyre of choice among Pirelli-sponsored teams at this point. The ‘race’ part of the name gives an indication of what this tyre is all about, combining low rolling resistance with grip and a light weight.

Beyond the wheels, Bontrager also supplies the Arvada saddle and the Aeolus RSL cockpit.

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