Trek Madone 4.5 Road Bike

DESCRIPTION

From cruising back roads to enjoying all-day epics to getting your feet wet in the racing circuit, Trek's Madone 4.5 does it all. This full-carbon beauty boasts a stiff, light frame that floats up the climbs, along with Bontrager's Race Lite oversize carbon fork that provides maximum steering precision. Plus, Bontrager's Race wheelset cheats the wind, while the Shimano components include a slick-shifting drivetrain with the perfect gears to spin up the climbs and powerful dual-pivot brakes for complete control on the way back down. This able roadster sports a sweet spread of Bontrager's carbon and aluminum components, and a plush Bontrager seat, too.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 35  
[Apr 17, 2020]
jeffbozo


OVERALL
RATING
4
Strength:

Fast ride, handles road irregularities and bumps well, effortless to ride, climbs well, handles curves expertly, absolute beauty to look at.

Purchased:
Used  
[Feb 29, 2016]
liamrf

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Awesome frame - brilliant handling, climbs well, comfortable and fast and Radioshack graphics on mine look awesome - this is a keeper :-)

Weakness:

Saddle a bit uncomfortable - replaced with Fizik Aliante.
Did replace wheels, chainset and brake calipers - Ultegra 6800 bought off a mate - did make a difference.
Wheels were eventually replaced with Mavic Ksyrium Elites but only after I wore out the original Bontrager's.

OK. So this review is about 3 years out of date - but hell these things are now appearing on EBay at bargain prices! - thinking about buying one as a winter bike!

Bought my Madone 4.5 in 2013 - 1st carbon bike - and 3 years on, and despite the additions to my bike collection it is still my fave. OK, so I have upgraded the brake calipers and chainset - Ultegra 6800 - and it does make a difference (although the original 105's are great) and the wheels are are bit stiffer, BUT if you want a bike that does everything well then it is brilliant - I cannot praise this bike (well mine at least) enough the Madone 4.5 is brilliant - no matter what I won't be selling mine.

[Dec 03, 2013]
mindanalyzer
Road Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Very good value, responsive bike, Excellent in sprints, nice color scheme, duotrap is very neat

Weakness:

extremely logo happy, terrible bontrager saddle, heavy stock wheels, stock crankset is shimano but not even 105, no-name weak brakes

I bought this bike in August 2011. I can say that I am quite satisfied with it. It is very responsive under sudden power, climbs well (the little climbs that I have done) and handles well in turns, which is really important when riding fast and aggressive in close circuits, similar to crits. I find it very comfortable and fast for long rides; I ride with a very fast group in Miami with speeds that oscillates around 28-30 mph and I have hit 38 mph in sprints on a couple of occasions with this bike, smoking in the process many riders in way more expensive machines.

About upgrades, the first component to go was the saddle. That thing is awful, I am still thankful to this day that some good soul gave me $25 bucks for it in eBay; It was replaced by a Selle SMP stratos. Then I upgraded the wheels to Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL (I also have a Mavic Ksyrium elite set) and brake calipers to Shimano ultegra 2010.

I rode with this setup for a year and then I decided to upgrade further:
- I installed a new cool looking cockpit (Ritchey Evo carbon HB and ritchey carbon stem) thus getting rid of the alum bontrager HB, stem and rusted bolts;
- I wrapped the HB with a beautiful and comfortable Lizard Skin black tape
- 2 new bottle cages (Blackburn carbon)
- New group set (2013 SRAM force with standard GXP crankset and 11/23 cassette)
- Fizik saddle bag in small size
- Upgraded GPS computer from Garmin FR305 to the Garmin Edge 500 with SRAM mount
- Replaced the look keo classic pedals by Look keo blades carbon

My bike now looks mean, is fast as the fastest (the engine is not so bad if you know what I mean), and all in all I am very happy with its performance.

I have been considering upgrading the frameset but it is not really due to low performance but to the fact that the frame size might be a tad too big for me and my back is bothering me in long/hard rides

[Sep 22, 2013]
Zekes
Road Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Well balanced, power transfer, descending, and comfort.

Weakness:

None

I just feel the need to comment on the last reviewer, and his/her bad experience with Trek brakes. As a bit of background, I have owned three carbon road bikes and a Cannondale Caad10 in the last six yeaes, so I have a bit of experience to compare brands and their corresponding brakes.

When I test rode the Madone at the shop, I immediatly noticed that the brakes were weak. Everything else was superb, but I knew the brakes needed a fix. So... after purchasing my Madone, I immediatly replaced the brake pads for 'KoolStop' brand Brake Pads. Problem solved, with strong stopping power, even on long and steep descents. Price = $12.00 per pair. Installation takes about two minutes, and about five for those that find changing a light bulb to be a challange.

To be fair, my other bikes had kinda weak brake pads as well, but the Madone version was even a step below. So, the moral of the story here is that yes, the brake pads are inferior (and yes, Trek should not be shipping finished bikes with these pads), but you should not dismiss this amazing bike, especially for such a quick and easy fix.

Similar Products Used:

Giant TCR Composite, Cannondale Synapse 4 (Carbon), Cannondale CAAD10

[Sep 19, 2013]
Robert

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
Strength:

Generally rides well - but this is offset by the fact that this bike nearly killed me (see below). Until buying this bike new and crashing it three months later, I was a Trek loyalist.

Weakness:

The Trek Madone 4.5 may be the last road bike that you own -- because it can kill you. My 2011 Trek Madone 4.5 nearly killed me. The main problem with this bicycle is the braking system. To make this an "entry-level" carbon fiber bicycle at a low "price point," Trek used cheap no-name brand components on the 2011 Madone 4.5. If you think that's just a minor "performance" issue, you haven't carefully read the complaints from users about the poor braking system. Trek and your bike shop will do what they did to me, claiming that I didn't properly maintain my then three-month old bike and that I didn't apply the brakes properly. When I complained to my bike shop about the brakes before the accident, I was informed that I should expect longer braking distances on this bike because the thin tire tread has little friction with the road and that I just needed to get used to the superior performance of a carbon fiber bike. The shop and Trek really told me after the accident that I should've been cleaning dust off of the brake pads and that I was braking too hard. (The only way that my bike would even begin to stop was when I squeezed hard on the brakes. Otherwise I just heard a hissing sound.) Then they claimed that I should be more mindful of the weather (yet the road surface where the accident happened was completely dry on a dry, sunny day). When I complained to Trek's warranty guy about the brakes, he said that if Trek made stronger brakes, the pads would wear down the tires too much. Before the accident, I began asking other bike shops about the cost of upgrading the brakes out of my own pocket. The bike shop guy heard me describe a "2011 Trek Madone 4.5" and assumed that I had already brought my bike in. I was amazed when he led me to an identical twin of my bike - right down to the same paint pattern - that had been brought in for a brake upgrade at the owners' expense. Don't ignore the warnings about bad brakes. Trek doesn't care about your life and limb.

Bike rides well -- until you need brakes to stop it. Beware of the no-name Tektro brake system. Do not ride this bike on hills until you have thoroughly tested the braking system. Even on slight downgrades, realize that the bike can pick up speed very quickly and that the poor brakes cannot slow you down safely. Don't trust the Trek warranty because they likely will deny your claim and blame you 100% for their product's manufacturing and design defects.

Similar Products Used:

Trek 7.3 FX, Trek 7300 (both are hybrids)

[Jul 22, 2013]
Kevin Siner
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Excellent ride/handling. Very comfortable seat. Precise shifting w/ Ultegra components. Every bit of the pedal stroke goes to moving the bike forward. Very clean look with the DuoTrap and direct attach derailleur.

Weakness:

Only 1 color scheme available in the US. Would prefer a better crank, at least go with the 105 crank.

I've been mountain biking for 20+ years, after moving to South Florida I decided to get a road bike. I first looked at the Madone 2.0; Specialized Allez and Specialized Secteur aluminum bikes. Next I looked and almost bought a 2012 Madone 3 series on closeout, but I didn't. Just when I was about ready to buy the Madone 4.5 went on sale and it didn't make sense to buy a high-end aluminum or entry level carbon fiber when I could get a bike with better carbon fiber, better components (Ultegra) and a decent wheelset. I was amazed at how much better the Madone 4.5 rode as compared to the 3 series. This bike has a great feel, ride all day comfort with the Affinity 2 seat and carbon seatpost. Every bit of the pedal stroke is utilized to push the bike forward, no wasted effort at all. The direct attached derailleur and DuoTrap sensor really give the bike a clean aero look. I can't speak to how it climbs unless you want to call a 60' drawbridge a climb but I can speak to how well it handles headwinds and crosswinds as we do have a bit of that along the south Florida coast. The Madone 4.5 is a great value especially when you compare it to a comparable Specialized Tarmac which for the same money doesn't offer Ultegra components (105 instead).

I also love the fact that Trek offers a service package that covers all parts and labor for 3 or 5 years for very little. Covers everything except for tires, tubes and brake pads, so for the cost of one chain & cassette replacement you're covered for that and more for 3 or 5 years.

My only real complaint is the color scheme, only one available in the US. I have a white/blue mountain bike so I know how hard white is to keep clean. I would have also preferred to have internal cable routing but that's just me. Overall great bike, incredible value and I'm looking forward to many miles on this bike.

[May 15, 2013]
Bob
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Solid frame, comfortable ride, good gearing

Weakness:

Too many Trek name on bike graphics, not full 105 group, rims heavy

Bought on year end close out for $1,700 at LBS and great deal compared to 2013 model pricing abet different component group. Tested Specialized Roubaix, Jamis Comp, Cannondale Synapse and the Trek felt the most comfortable to ride - I think even better than my steel Jamis Aurora Elite with 631 tubing. The wider BB certainly seems to help with the power transfer and light weight (@18-19lbs) helps to propel this easily. Love the color scheme (Metallic black and silver) but hate all the Trek name everywhere you look. May swap out the rims later but otherwise plan to keep everything stock for now (except tires) and see how the Tiagra gearing works out.

Similar Products Used:

Roubaix, Jamis Comp, Cannondale Synapse

[Aug 24, 2012]
Jason rides
Road Racer

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Trek's OCLV frame is just amazing, and the heart of this bike. Stiff, it absorbs shock well and the H2 fit is great for racing and enthusiasts like myself. Crank is just as stiff as a Shimano 105

Weakness:

R1 tires are very poor as they are too heavy and have a very low thread count.

I purchased a 2012 Trek 4.5 after comparing it to Cannondale, and Specialized bikes. I preferred the geometry of the H2 that Trek offers. I have to say that the frame on the 4.5 is just wonderful. It is very stiff, and it absorbs bumps very well. The crank is also stiff, and when climbing up hills, and there was no flex felt when pushing on my Shimano 105 pedals. The derailleur’s shift very smoothly and quickly. I see no reason to upgrade the crank or derailleurs on this bike. The brakes feel responsive and well controlled. Though the pads are ok, I found the Shimano pads to improve stopping distance overall. No need to upgrade the brake set to 105 as the Tektro breaks with Shimano pads are just as good. Everyone is talking about the seat on the Trek bikes. The Affinity saddle on Trek road bikes are usually 128mm size. If you’re a young slim person who races it’s a good fit. The 146mm was a better fit for me, and when A/B the Bontrager RL saddle to the Affinity, I agree it’s a lot more comfortable than the stock saddle. It’s not soft, but firm with some give. I have ridden for hours on this saddle with no complaints at all. Though I was very happy with the rims, I upgraded the tires from the Bontrager R1 to the R3’s. As another reviewer pointed out, the R1’s are heavy tires and the thread count too low. I am disappointed that Trek even considers putting the R1’s on any road bike they sell. The R3’s are a huge improvement with higher thread count, being much lighter, and they appear to help the bike be more responsive when climbing or sprinting. The R3 upgrade made a huge difference on the bike. I highly recommend this upgrade as you will notice more of a difference than changing any other component on the bike. I was told the R4 tires are lighter but wear faster. The R3’s are great for regular riding and racing. The saddle is a personal preference and you need a saddle that fits your frame. I would try the RL saddle and see if it works better for you. I am giving the bike 5 starts after changing the tires to the R3’s. There is really nothing I don’t love about this bike. No need to really upgrade anything besides the tires and brake pads. The only reason to buy a more expensive Trek is for an even lighter bike than the 4.5. I love this bike and have no desire to ride any other road bike. It is very comfortable holding on to the hoods when cruising and it looks great.

[Jul 22, 2012]
Glenn
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

The OCLV carbon frame is light, and stiff. It absorbs road vibrations just wonderfully. The crank is very stiff and the paint job looks great.

Weakness:

The saddle comes with a 128 mm size which was too small for me. I also found the seat to be very hard. I changed to a Bontrager RL seat and went with a 146 mm size saddle. I found it to be a lot more comfortable.

Being in my 40's, I wanted to upgrade from my Puch bike that has a Reynolds 531 frame, fork, and Shimano 600 parts as well.. I decided to buy a 2012 Trek 4.5 bike. I found the Shimano 105 derail's to shift just fine, but not as quick and instant as I thought it should. With the 2013 version having some Ultegra, I decided to upgrade the front and back derail's to Ultegra. I found they shifted a little bit snappier than 105. The brakes stopped just find though they are a generic brand. I went down a hill over 35 mph and it stopped confidently. Once I upgraded the Bontrager Affinity 1 saddle to a larger size and to their RL model I was quite happy. The bike climbs really well and the handle bars are light and steady. The tape feels like likes styrofoam. I will upgrade the tape with white cork later on. I am very happy with the bike and found the rims to be good as well. I don't race so perhaps they are not the lightest but they are still good rims. The tires stick to the road nicely. The bike is great for someone who is a racer as well as a serious rider.

[May 02, 2012]
Gavin

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Good frame - absorbs road buzz, and all day comfort (if you have the right saddle). Frame is still in all the right places, but not so stiff that it leaves you sore. Handles well, and a good bike for climbing & long rides

Weakness:

A little heavy with the stock wheels, equipped with quite possibly the worst saddle in the world, and terrible brakes

(Based on the 2011 Madone, 54cm)
I've now covered over 2,000 miles on this since I bought it. Overall, it's a great bike to ride. Good on the climbs, relatively fast on the flats, and handles well. Not the fastest into a turn, but not the kind of bike where you're constantly wondering where the edge is - it tells you quite gradually that you're getting close to the limit.

First thing to note - the Tektro brakes are awful. Descending with the Tektro's was a bit of a lottery - on one downhill, I was in a full-on squeeze, and couldn't get the bike completely stopped. And that was from 20mph, in the dry. So, the Tektro's got swapped out for a pair of Ultegra's in the first 500 miles - stopping power infinitely better!

Frame: Not the lightest frame out there, but it gets the job done. Stiff at the BB, but the thinned seat stays offer decent compliance over rougher roads. The H2 fit is very comfortable, and easy to set up. Matt black colour looks great, although as others have said, Trek went a bit sticker happy.

Wheels: the stock wheels are heavy, and generally terrible. Whilst they roll reasonably well, they flex a fair bit, especially the front wheel on the climbs. The bearings are reasonable, but needed to be serviced after 1,200 miles in mostly dry weather. Also, front & back wheels both got out of true 800 miles in, and I'm fairly light (155lbs) and spend a lot of time avoiding potholes where I can. I'm now running some very light clinchers (Stan's 340 rims laced to Chris King R45 Hubs) - and the difference is enormous. The only downside is that the high weight down low makes the bike very stable - when you switch to the lighter wheels, the bike becomes much twitchier as your Centre of Gravity heads up

Saddle: It's worth switching this out early on too. The stock saddle is well padded, but incredibly uncomfortable. Mine went in favour of a Specialized Romin, which is way more comfortable, and 100g lighter to boot.

Groupset: the 105 set does a fine job otherwise. Mine came well set-up, so I've not had a dropped chain or missed shift so far, and it's very easy to service. Integrated barrel adjusters on the shifter cables make it easy to tune on the road if you need to.

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