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The Madone has a one-piece top tube/head tube, which increases the torsional rigidity of the front triangle. It also has an "A-frame" seatstay junction up by the seat tube, which is a bit stiffer than the monostay on the 5000-series frames.

Overall, the Madone feels a bit quicker but gives up a bit of comfort over the 5000-series frames. The comfort difference is very small, in my opinion.
 

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the sky above said:
Is there any detectable difference at all in ride quality between the Madone series and the SL series?
Not by humans. :)

The round-tube SLs are SLIGHTLY stiffer laterally and torsionally, but again, the difference is so slight, it's non-detectable.
 
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