Strengths: Price (on sale for $2400)
Internal cable routing
Weaknesses: UGLY paint job (white and orange)
Sluggish in turns
Rival components (personal preference)
First let me say that I test rode this bike, but didn't buy it. I also didn't particularly have a great experience with the shop, which is part of the reason why I didn't buy the bike. Also, they set it up for me far less aggressively than my own bike it set up, so that made the ride feel sluggish, and the bike wasn't properly tuned. I'm sure that had these factors been different, I would have had a different experience and been more willing to purchase the bike.
Anyway, the paint job was a big turnoff, and I'm a Shimano guy, so that was two strikes against it.
However, at $2400, this bike was a great deal, and I'm sure I could have been very happy with it. It's stiff and light. The internal cable routing is classy. If you like Rival, that's a selling point. Trek makes so many components in-house through Bontrager, that you get a lot of bike for the buck.
Overall, this bike feels stiff, solid, and fast. I rode other bikes that were smoother, and other bikes that were more responsive, but this one is pretty good all around.
That being said, I also rode a Cannondale SuperSix 3. It was the same price, but it blew this one out of the water.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2012
Strengths: Light weight for this price range, SRAM Rival, stiff and yet comfortable (H-2 fit), wheels are just above entry level, good for this price. Handles exceptionally well, tracks true with no wobble on descents, does not accelerate like the Cervelo S-2, but more comfortable.
Weaknesses: Not a fan of Bontrager saddles, replaced it with a Selle Italia.
Bought this bike, a 2011, after the 2012's were out, and paid $1999.00. Could not be happier with my purchase. When i drop the wheel weight down to 1500 grams and replace the handlebar with a carbon one, this bike should be just under 17lbs. Burnt Orange color take's getting used to, but it grows on you. This is a lot of bike for the price i paid. This Bike is outstanding for sponsored recreational rides (do about 15 or so a year) and commuting. My wife and i both ride about 3,000. miles a year.
I must say that trek madone 4.5 is totally awesome. I started biking 1.5 years back with trek 7.1fx and wanted more speed. I ride it on the road for commute as well as trails and hilly roads. I enjoy the speed as well as control it gives me. I am amazed to see how far the bike goes without peddling. I replaced the seat with a cushion seat from bontranger, and that's it. It is a superlight and a fast bike, definitely great for a newbie. I can't wait to ride it every weekend.
Strengths: Great frame OCLV (Built in WI!!!!), Ultegra group, Good price, Light weight compared to its competitors, super smooth ride
Weaknesses: Every part that says "Bontrager" on it.
After a a few years of mt. biking I felt I needed a road bike to train on. The 08 Madone 5.1 was the ticket. Very smooth ride, great groupo, and just looks fast! As stated, its not a full blown race machine, but if one adjusts the ergonomics, it can be greatly changed. I put about 100 miles on it a week with no problems. You can ride this in a race or century with no problmes. I personly call it the "leatherman" of the trek road bikes, does everything well. Plus, with a lifetime frame warranty, 5 yr. wheel warranty, and two year shimano warranty, its a solid buy. If you don't plan on racing all the time, save a few dollars and buy the 5.1 instead of the 5.2
Similar Products Used: Cervelo S1, look 566, Madone 5.2, a few steel frames,
Bike Setup: 3T steam, SPD pedals, conti 4000 grand prix tires
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: December 10, 2009
Strengths: Trek's great build quality, lifetime warranty on frame & 5 year warranty on wheels.
Weaknesses: Wheels (Bontrager Race) - too heavy, out of true, prone to cracking.
Seat Post - slips when adjusted to max torque.
I purchased the 2008 Madone 5.1 back in July this year. I bought the bike for training & criteriums and have just started racing with it. I'm 5'10 and weigh 72kg. Overall i'm very impressed with the build quality and finish of the US built frame. The bike is so compliant when ridden on rough surfaces, I have often thought my tyre pressures were too low. Given that this is my first bike used for racing, there are a few things which need some attention.
FIT: The "performance" fit version (the one I have) is not quite aggressive enough for racing, I have adjusted the stem to the lowest position but am still a little too high, although it makes the ride super comfortable when training.
WHEELS: The Bontrager Race wheels are very heavy, my front wheel has started to go out of true, the spoke tensions are in-consistent. These wheels are prone to cracking, I have done 2500km so far but am concerned that these wheels will crack at some point. At least they are covered by a 5 year warranty. The OEM tyres are very average also, but I guess you can expect that to keep the price of the bike at a reasonable level.
SEAT-POST: The carbon clamped seatpost looks great, but i've had problems with the post slipping down even when the set screws are at maximum permitted torque (8Nm).