2013 Trek Madone 7 Build Review

I’ve dropped a few posts about the Madone.  Here’s the build, and the initial glory shots.

First, the bike’s name.  This bike is named Max, for two reasons: First, Mad(one) Max.  Seriously.  It writes itself.  Second, and more importantly, the name came to me on my first ride.  Max was the name of an amazing dog I had…a jet black East German Shepherd.  He was huge, and all black.  At night, all you could see of him was the shine of his eyes, and the white of his teeth.  He was a wonderful dog, a wonderful friend, and is dearly missed.  Very few weeks go by without thinking of him.  Sigh.  So Max it is.

Second…this is a handmade in the US frame, assembled at North Central Cyclery.  Because it’s a Project One, there was a lot of hand-wringing, analyzing and decision making.  Tobie at NCC brought his considerable road bike expertise to the field, and we put together a mix of components that I had ridden previously and loved, and new components to compliment the build.  I talk about the importance of local bike shops on here a lot.  There is no doubt–absolutely no doubt–that this bike wouldn’t have happened but for Tobie and NCC.  Partially because they’re a Project One dealer (and you need a Project One dealer for a custom build)…but more importantly, because they had the expertise to help me make informed decisions.

Even the shop sticker matches!

Third, the specs.

  • 2013 Trek Madone 7.
  • Project One, 56cm, H2 fit.
  • My ENVE Smart SES 3.4 Carbon Clinchers.
  • Bontrager R4 aero tires.
  • My Quarq SRAM Red 53/39 powermeter crank, 172.5mm crank arms.  Ceramic bearings in the BB.
  • 2013 SRAM Red drivetrain (brifters, dérailleurs (including Yaw front derailleur) and Red 11-28 cassette (with the new rubberbands to dampen sound).
  • Bontrager’s proprietary brakes (including the under-BB rear brake).
  • My Fizik Antares VS saddle.
  • My Ergonova 3T LTD bars.
  • Bontrager Race Lite XXX carbon stem.
  • Bontrager Race Lite XXX seatpost cap.
  • Internally routed cabling (see details below).
  • Bontrager RXL bottle cages.
  • Bontrager duo-trap integrated cadence/speed sensor.
  • K-Edge alloy mount for my Garmin Edge 800.
  • My iClic Carbon pedals.
  • Lizard Skins bar tape.
  • KMC DLC chain.

Total build weight is 14.9 pounds, with everything on it (including pedals, Garmin mount, bottle cages, etc.).  It features one of Trek’s normal paint jobs…predominantly because I really liked it.  After having a white bike, I wanted something darker, that wouldn’t show as much dirt and grime.  I fell in love with this paint job.  Trek now has a paint job known as the Vapor Coat, which weighs about 5 grams (instead of the ~50 grams of this paint job.)  Going to Vapor Coat costs an extra $900.  $900 for 40-45 grams of weight savings.  That just didn’t seem worth it to me…and I was worried about how the (non) paintjob of the Vapor Coat would hold up.  Seeing the Madone in person, I’m glad I went with this setup.  It is just plain gorgeous.  Part of riding a bike, for me, is the aesthetic appeal of the bike.  Max has aesthetics in spades.  It is just a beautiful bike.

Quarq + KMC DLC chain.

750 gram frame, RXL bottle cages.

Sinewy fork and front ENVE.

Spindly seatstays and rear drivetrain.

SRAM Red Yaw derailleur.

SRAM Red Rear Derailleur.

SRAM Red…ceramic bearings.

SRAM Red cassette. Note the black rubberbands…they’re there to dampen sounds from the cassette–which was a big criticism of previous SRAM cassettes.

Spindly, brakeless seatstays.

Seatstay/top-tube/seattube junction.


XXX Carbon Stem.

SRAM Red Brifters, 3T Ergonova LTD bars.

New hood shape.

Nice and flat.



E2 headtube, aero Bontrager front brake.

Kammtail downtube (Kammtail shapes are prominently featured all over the bike).

Fizik Antares VS Saddle.

I really like the very secure saddle mounting points in Bontrager’s design.

BB Mounted brake. Also, note access to internally routed cables, and nice cable routing details.

Cable details.

Built-in trimming for rear derailleur, internally routed.

Rear derailleur cable outlet.

Integrated Bontrager chain-catcher.

Beautiful duotrap integration.

Shimmery Paint.

The finish looks liquid, in sunlight.

OCLV 700

I’ll get ride details and reviews on the components (including the 2013 SRAM Red) on here in the coming weeks.  For now, I’ll just say…it rides as good as it looks.  Maybe even better.  Thanks to Tobie, Chad, Dan, Jeff, Ross, Eric, Marcus, and all the guys at North Central Cyclery.

Thanks, North Central Cyclery.



20 thoughts on “2013 Trek Madone 7 Build Review

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  15. I have a similar Madone 7 ( Team Bontrager )with Sram red as well. Having difficulty with the front derailleur deflecting and times therefore not allowing the shift from small ring to large? Any experience with this. In part I feel that the tab on the frame is not stiff enough? Tempted to replace the derailleur to see if that is the problem. If I am careful with my shifting generally okay, but if the shift is overly aggressive, the front derailleur tends to deflect then not allowing the shift up from smaller chain ring to larger one……?

    • No, I never had that problem, at all. I can’t say as I had any shifting problems…although I have now switched over to Di2, and shifting is even better!

  16. In the middle of doing a Trek 5 bare frame build and was trying to decide whether to cross the gear cable outers in front of the headtube. Is that what you did with this build? (Looks like it might be)

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