February 7, 2018

By Jonathan Fey

Less than a year ago, Trek teased images of their updated Emonda in the lead-up to a little bike race in France you might have heard of. What wasn’t expected was the concomitant release of a disc-brake flavor of this relatively recent mainstay in Trek’s fleet of race bikes. Bemoan the gradual departure of the elegant rim brake if you must (cue the retrogrouches). This disc iteration of Emonda doesn’t replace its rim brake counterpart per sé, but for the right rider it is a welcome addition to an already diverse road bike lineup from Wisconsin’s preeminent bike maker.

WEIGHT

Since we’re on the subject, let’s get the big question out of the way. The weight penalty to make the move over to those weird shiny discs next to the hub is markedly less than it was a few years ago. Whereas the weight differential for most like-for-like road bikes tends to be about 2 or more pounds, Emonda Disc is only 1.5 pounds heavier than its rim brake counterpart. This bike in the SL 6 trim level with Shimano’s new Ultegra R8000 mechanical drivetrain weighs in at a respectable 17.75 pounds.

DISC BRAKES

Some riders will wonder if the power of disc brakes is necessary, given the fairly limited braking traction of a narrow tire on pavement. I find that most riders will benefit in both efficiency and comfort by using tires up to 30mm in width for most real-world applications. This being the case, I also find that the improved traction of a larger tire allows riders to access the increased braking power the disc brake affords. If you're stuck on using those 23mm tires, the disc brake may not offer a significant advantage over the rim brake. If you're looking to ride in the real world though, with its chip-seal roads and expansion gaps, riding those larger tires and disc brakes may offer a more seamless experience between rider and road.

RIDE IMPRESSIONS

So how does this bike feel on the road? In a word, light. Emonda is so light feeling underfoot that you’ll think there are helium balloons tied to your saddle rails. Emonda rewards both long seated efforts and higher intensity efforts in steep terrain. For a rider with lots of experience on traditional road geometry, this bike feels fairly neutral. That is to say, it is not overly nervous-feeling nor is it slow to maneuver through a set of tight hairpin turns. If, on the other hand, you have more experience on the established crop of endurance bikes, this bike will feel on the active side of neutral with regard to steering.

Emonda rides smoother than most road bikes in its class, without feeling quite as floaty over the rough stuff as Domane and other endurance-oriented road bikes. Few riders would regret upgrading to a pair of 28mm Vittoria Corsa G+ tires for a little added cushion.

Trek leaves the stack and reach of their well regarded H2 geometry untouched for this bike, and makes updates to the chainstay length to accommodate bigger tires. The fit is performance-oriented, without being overly aggressive.

I have a couple bones to pick with this bike, though. The handlebar ergonomics don't work well with my medium-size hands. While Shimano’s update to their robust Ultegra groupset is widely better in function, there’s a lumpy little section in the palm of the brake hood my hands don't get along with. More on the ergonomic end: Trek tends to specify extra long-ramped handlebars on road bikes in this category, where some other companies spec a more modern short-reach bar. You may find that investing in a bike fit up front will help tie up these potential loose ends.

Emonda excels on long days in Colorado’s high country. It's for those who seek out mountain passes and steep country roads. The update to disc brakes will allow riders to descend steep mountains more confidently when that sudden midsummer rain shower hits. The disc brake version will tackle hardpack gravel roads on occasion, but it's better suited to pavement.

CONCLUSION

Here's what I find appealing about this bike: Emonda is just a road bike, but a very good one, especially given its price point. I mean this in the sense that Trek didn't get too sophisticated with design elements. We’re told in the marketing that Trek spent hours using complicated modeling to analyze stresses and materials in order to remove unnecessary structures, but most of that lies below the surface. It's simple, it’s light, and it’s clean. It has nice lines. It asks to be clipped into and ridden far all day, as hard you want to go.

The 2018 Trek Emonda SL6 Disc is available for demo and available for sale in-stock now.

EMONDA SL 6 DISC

$2,999.99
EMONDA SL 6 DISC

February 6, 2018

By Brandon A

Are you the type of rider that scrutinizes every component of your bike down to the last millimeter? Maybe you should consider ditching the boxed approach to bike buying and opt for a fully custom build. Custom bicycle builds are nothing new, in fact, this is the way road bikes were sold and fitted for many years before the “a few sizes fit most” approach that was adopted in the dawn of mass produced and factory outsourced carbon frames. One of the companies still holding true to this traditional model of bicycle fabrication is Watertown, Massachusetts based framebuilder Seven Cycles.

THE DETAILS

 

Seven Argen double-butted 3-2.5 titanium tubes (HT – 71.5 degree, ST – 74 degree, TT – 10 degree slope)
Seven Max 45 carbon fork
Zipp alloy bars, stem, seatpost
Shimano Ultegra 6800 11 speed drivetrain / 11-32 cassette
Front Hub: DT Swiss Spline, 12mm thru axle
Rear Hub: DT Swiss Spline, 142mm x 12mm thru axle
DT Swiss Spline disc wheelset w/ 700/32 Maxxis Re-Fuse Kevlar
Lizard Skins bartape
Sizes (cm): 54 (Tested)
Frame Weight: 3.4 lbs (54cm size)
Additional options available: Pump peg, chain hanger, rack mounts, fender mounts, third bottle mount, multiple cable routing options, 650b wheels, custom graphics/colors

THE BIKE

Here at Wheat Ridge Cyclery we have a long history of amazing custom builds in collaboration with Seven and for our test we opted to take the bike that is helping redefine traditional road riding, the all new Seven Evergreen gravel bike. This particular bike is one of WRC’s factory demos and features Seven’s in-house double-butted Argen 3-2.5 titanium tubes paired with Seven’s Max 45 carbon fork to ensure Cadillac-esque ride quality while keeping things race responsive with regards to handling and acceleration. Our demos have also been graciously outfitted with a full run of components from Zipp mated to Shimano’s workhorse Ultegra 6800 drivetrain featuring hydraulic disc brakes. Off road ready DT Swiss Spline wheels and hubs outfitted with Maxxis Re-fuse tires round out our build but don’t feel constricted by our ideas, the beauty of Seven is the freedom in knowing the sky is the limit. Want disc brakes? done, looking to fit 2.5” tires and 650b wheels? Done, Campagnolo? DONE!  All of this allows Seven and WRC to dial in a fully customized fit that is 100% tailored to your abilities and riding style.

THE RIDE

For our test we threw in an even mix of road, gravel, and punchy climbs to really highlight how capable of a bike the Evergreen is especially when riding in inconsistent or varying terrain. We opted to start things off with some light packed dirt and loose gravel riding which the Evergreen handled without any hesitation whatsoever. To maximize handling and ride comfort the Evergreen features a longer wheelbase and wider tires than that of the average road bike, providing the ideal platform for keeping things under control even when road conditions are less than perfect. This approach to frame geometry also keeps the Evergreen extremely agile when cornering, even when traction diminishes or is limited due to loose dirt and gravel the Evergreen stays upright and firmly planted. When taken out on the open road the ride quality is remarkably smooth with the Evergreen almost begging to be taken back off road and into its natural environment of dirt and gravel. The Evergreen handles flat and rolling terrain with little to no trouble but also is no slouch when the gradient increases. To be honest, the Evergreen is no Tour de France climbers special but when the road goes uphill it makes up for weight and geometric penalties with its compact 50/34 chainrings and ample 11-32 cassette (I think the technical term these days is “Froome gearing”)

CONCLUSION

The Seven Evergreen has definitely won us over, it borrows from the performance and passion behind their storied 622SLX titanium lugged carbon bikes and firmly plants itself at the top of the burgeoning gravel bike segment while looking ahead towards the future. Going after a fully custom build is a big commitment and investment in both time and money but the results are a bike that is built for you and will age gracefully over time as opposed to the more disposable nature of the pre-boxed bike purchase. If you are someone who is looking for a bike that will turn heads, spark conversations and inspire the spirit of adventure you may want to dive a little bit deeper and look at a custom build from Seven Cycles

Shop for your future custom Seven at WRC

EVERGREEN S ULTEGRA DISC

$6,199.99
EVERGREEN S ULTEGRA DISC

$0.00

January 22, 2018

By Brandon A

There are endless options these days when it comes to cycling computers. Everything from simple entry-level computers providing traditional capture of data like speed and ride time to the more complex varieties that allow for in depth data analysis and act as a coaching tool.  All are readily available for those serious about training and looking to have every possible piece of data stored and analyzed.

 

Many of these gadgets include some type of accompanying software that puts things into an understandable and easily accessible format for future reference. Long gone are the days of analog mileage trackers that look like a carnie’s handheld tally counter has been attached to your front axle. Today’s cycling computers are high tech devices that track your rides using GPS software and can measure just about anything you wish to capture.

 

For our test, we chose Garmin’s Edge 520 GPS cycling computer, which has recently become their most popular unit, providing the premium features of their higher end computers at an affordable price point. (Edge 520 retails at an MSRP of $399.99 when bundled with a heart rate monitor and speed and cadence sensors or $299.99 for just the computer). We put the 520 through a rigorous series of tests allowing us to really see how it performs and to see how it stacks up to the other models in Garmin’s line and those of their competitors.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 

When you first pull the 520 out of the box it is unmistakably a Garmin. It features the sleek, lightweight design Garmin has become known for with its previous GPS computers.  But with the 520 Garmin has utilized most of the available real estate to accommodate a larger screen than the previous model Edge 500 while keeping the compact size consistent with the former model, albeit slightly thinner, which is a welcomed change. The function buttons are conveniently placed on the sides of the unit as Garmin has opted to ditch the touchscreen operations found on the higher end models in their line-up, increasing ease of use while also helping to accommodate the larger screen. The 520 also features the traditional turn-lock mount typical of all Garmin computers which quickly connects to the included out-front mount and standard rubber band mounts, making switching between bikes a breeze.

FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES

 

The new Edge 520 comes packed with features unavailable on previous generation Garmin devices, though there is a slight learning curve to accompany the new tech. Many users have described the new software format as “counterintuitive” and even “bad” but after multiple rides with the device and giving ourselves some ample time for exploration we think that most of the confusion lies in either A) user error or B) the fact that the new interface is just simply different than that of the previous generation Garmin ride computers.

 

The new Edge 520 is also far more customizable than previous models and relies heavily on phone connectivity and live tracking features such as Strava live segments, which can be confusing and hard to set up initially. But once you wrap your head around things and get integration options between software and hardware configured, it is a far superior unit when compared to anything previously available in the Garmin line up at this level. Other features include a water-resistant case and integration with multiple sensors including lights, proximity sensors, Shimano Di2, SRAM eTAP and Campagnolo EPS.

CONCLUSION

 

After spending over a month getting up close and personal with the new Garmin Edge 520 we are pleasantly surprised with the results and would even go so far as to say that this is the best available product from Garmin at the moment. It is reliable and Garmin seems to have worked out some of the bugs present on previous Edge models such as the dreaded save/data loss and GPS errors that seemed to plague the 500 and 800. Overall, the new 520 proved to be extremely reliable and the only performance issues we found were probably due to a poor WiFi signal rather than anything hardware or software related. The new 520 gets the WRC seal of approval and is available for purchase now in store and online

 

Learn more about setup, functions, and features of the 520 here: