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Used bike buyers guide: Trek Émonda

By Micah Ling

Published

What Trek Emonda is right for you?
What Trek Émonda is Right for You?

The Trek Émonda has always been a climbing bike — if you love epic hauls up huge hills, this lightweight, stiff road bike was made for you. The Émonda was created with the steepest grades in mind. Over the years, Trek evolved its patented Optimum Compaction Low Void (OCLV) carbon fiber to combine low weight and high strength.

The carbon Émonda is available in the superlight SLR build or SL, which is more affordable. The difference is the quality of the carbon, and thus overall weight. The Émonda also comes in an aluminum version (ALR). Finally, you can choose between two geometry options, H1 — an aggressive race fit — and H2, which is a more upright relaxed fit.

The Émonda is known for its neat and tidy look. Models with Trek’s Blendr Integration components allow riders to mount a cycling computer and bike lights directly to the handlebars. On the SLR version, shifter and brake cables are entirely housed inside the frame.

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History of the Trek Émonda

Émonder, in French, means “to prune,” which is fitting. Introduced in 2014, the Émonda was Trek’s pure climbing bike. Trek trimmed off as much as possible to create an incredibly lightweight racing machine. Newer versions have been designed to better handle mixed terrain, with clearance for wider tires and aero features. When it launched, this road bike was only available with rim brakes. But soon after, disc brakes were added for better control on descents.

As the bike evolved, we saw fewer exposed cables, more integration, and better aerodynamics. Despite the fact that this is a climbing bike, Trek spent a lot of time optimizing the shape of the head tube, down tube and bar/stem.

Émonda timeline:

2015-2017: From the beginning, Trek's focus was on creating a light, stiff road bike that excelled in the mountains. Its engineers spent years developing the Émonda to be the lightest production race frame on the market. In 2016, Trek introduced internal cables and Di2 shifting on the Émonda. It also unveiled the affordable aluminum ALR model using Ultralight 300 Series Alpha Aluminum.

2018-2020: The second generation Émonda was introduced for the 2018 model year. Trek announced a new disc brake version alongside a revamped rim-brake model. Claimed weight for the new disc-specific frame was 25g lighter than the previous-generation rim-brake Émonda. The new rim-brake version was even lighter still, dropping another 25g. Tire clearance increased to 28mm. 

2021+: Instead of making the Émonda even lighter, Trek focused on making the third generation faster on any terrain. Trek integrated several aerodynamic features to help this bike perform as an all-rounder. It also added a T47 bottom bracket, which is threaded instead of press fit, generally a more reliable standard. The new Émonda is disc brake only. 

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Different builds

Trek Émonda SLR 8 road bike - 2016

Trek Emonda SLR8
In its second model year, Émonda featured slick internal cable routing and the same featherweight pedigree of the original. This model comes with a full Dura-Ace drivetrain, Bontrager Speed Stop brakes, and Race X Lite wheels. 

Trek Émonda SLR 9 road bike - 2018

In keeping with tradition, Trek released the SLR 9 just days before the Tour de France. And as always, it was a little lighter than before. This time, the 700 Series OCLV Carbon frame came with Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 tubeless ready carbon wheels, and a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic drivetrain.

Trek Émonda SLR Race Shop Limited road bike - 2018
Trek Emonda RSL

For this model, Trek used its Ultralight 700 Series OCLV Carbon, ride-tuned performance tube optimization, E2 tapered head tube, direct mount brakes, and internal cable routing. This model comes with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting, Bontrager Aeolus 3 TLR carbon clinchers, a Bontrager cockpit and Montrose PRO saddle.

Trek Émonda SLR Disc Project One road bike - 2019
Trek Emonda Project One

Project One allowed riders to customize several details. You picked your paint and parts, making each one of these bikes unique. There were options for Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Ultegra Di2, SRAM Red eTap AXS, Force eTap AXS, and Rival eTap AXS. And about 20 different color schemes.

Trek Émonda ALR 4 H2 road bike - 2021
Trek Emonda ALR

The ALR is Trek’s budget-friendly high-performance model — its lightest aluminum road bike that handles and climbs very much like its carbon counterparts. With the H2 geometry, it’s perfect for a more upright, less aggressive fit. It comes with tubeless compatible wheels, and a lifetime warranty.

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Conclusion

The newest Émonda SLR frame weighs less than 700g, and with all-new aero tube shaping adds even more speed. But with ALR and SL models, H1 and H2 geometry, and a huge variety of specifications to choose from, there’s an Émonda out there for absolutely anyone who loves to climb up hills and then fly back down.

Our Ride Guides love helping people find the right bike and gear. If you have any questions, give us a call at 1-866-401-9636 and we'll help you out!

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