On the road: Trek Madone 2.1

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was only really one reason anyone bought a Trek Madone. Lance Armstrong had won the Tour de France multiple times astride one of these Yankee beauties and there was a certain kind of man who was rich and delusional enough to pay £5,000-plus for a hoped-for shortcut to cycling greatness.

How things change. Not only is Armstrong no longer a Tour de France winner, but Madones have suddenly become rather more affordable. Not everyone will approve. When I bought the 2.1 home, my boyfriend, a terrible bicycle snob, tapped the frame and sniffed disapprovingly. "It's not even carbon fibre," he tutted. This aluminium imposter had no place calling itself a Madone, he said, as if Louis Vuitton had started making bags from hemp.

Then he noticed the pedals. Like most high-end bikes, the Madone came without any: manufacturers generally assume that anyone willing to spend a grand on a bike will want to fit their own clipless pedals to work in harmony with their own special bike shoes. I am not beyond such frippery, but when I went to make the switch, I found that my SPDs were stuck solid to my road bike, almost certainly because I'd failed to grease the threads when I fitted them four years ago. Unwilling to spend much on a review bike I knew I couldn't keep, I put on the cheapest pair I could find in Cycle Surgery, some £9.99 clodhoppers. My boyfriend was ashamed, as if he'd spotted me smothering tuna tartare with salad cream.

Shunned but undeterred, I set off on a dizzying solo whizz around the lanes of Epping Forest in a pair of trainers. Each turn of my inglorious pedals seemed to propel me twice as far and fast as my own bike. Going back to my old steed was like returning to a dial-up modem after high-speed broadband. My old triple chainset seemed unnecessary, an embarrassment; my shifters sluggish. It was as if I'd had a glamorous affair and returned home to view my old love through new, critical eyes. I'm not sure our relationship will ever be the same.

It's not perfect. Women may find the brakes a touch too far away, and they'll likely want to switch for a female-specific saddle. You don't have to spend £1,000 to get an aluminium-framed, carbon-forked bike either – my boyfriend has a full-carbon Planet X for the same price (never rated it myself).

And are you comfortable lining Armstrong's pockets? Trek may have binned him from its marketing literature in the wake of the US Anti-Doping Agency's report, but he still owns a small share in the company.

Trek Madone 2.1

Price £1,000
Forks Carbon
Frame Aluminium
Gears 10 (Shimano, double chainset)
Chance of turning you into a Tour de France winner who will be stripped of your titles in a gargantuan doping scandal? Nil

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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