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Madone 2.1 vs Emonda S4

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Madone 2.1 vs Emonda S4

Old 07-12-15, 07:42 PM
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bman52
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Madone 2.1 vs Emonda S4

Hey everyone, I'm new to road cycling and am looking to get my first road bike of any kind. I'm trying to decide between the Trek Madone 2.1, which has an aluminum frame and 105 drivetrain, and the Emonda S4, which is full carbon with Tiagra. (I can get either of these bikes at a pretty deep discount, otherwise I'd probably be looking at some of the more entry level models). I'm not really interested in racing and am basically looking to do longer rides and get something that will last me a while. I can test ride a Madone 2.1 but don't have access to an Emonda S4, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-12-15, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bman52 View Post
Hey everyone, I'm new to road cycling and am looking to get my first road bike of any kind. I'm trying to decide between the Trek Madone 2.1, which has an aluminum frame and 105 drivetrain, and the Emonda S4, which is full carbon with Tiagra. (I can get either of these bikes at a pretty deep discount, otherwise I'd probably be looking at some of the more entry level models). I'm not really interested in racing and am basically looking to do longer rides and get something that will last me a while. I can test ride a Madone 2.1 but don't have access to an Emonda S4, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Last year I had the same decision. In my case, the S4 was $300 more. Only a pound lighter, and as you state, lower (one notch) components. I bought the Madone because I used the $300 to get pedals, shoes, gloves, etc. and I didn't notice much difference in ride quality. But I don't think you could go wrong either way.
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Old 07-12-15, 10:41 PM
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I rode both just a couple of months ago, the Emonda sh*ts on that particular Madone. If you can drive some distance to test ride it, do it as this is all very subjective. If the S4 had 105 like the 2.1 did, I probably would've pulled the trigger as my lbs price difference was minimal but since you're not racing and only interested in longer rides, etc. the Tiagra set up will suit your needs just fine. The S4 felt way more comfortable and the braking was much better as well, I guess that the groupset is only as good as the bike.
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Old 07-13-15, 12:30 AM
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Old 07-13-15, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBlast82 View Post
I rode both just a couple of months ago, the Emonda sh*ts on that particular Madone. If you can drive some distance to test ride it, do it as this is all very subjective. If the S4 had 105 like the 2.1 did, I probably would've pulled the trigger as my lbs price difference was minimal but since you're not racing and only interested in longer rides, etc. the Tiagra set up will suit your needs just fine. The S4 felt way more comfortable and the braking was much better as well, I guess that the groupset is only as good as the bike.
Just back in April you (TheBlast82) started posting here, and said you were completely new to the sport, had never rode with clipless pedals, etc. But a couple months ago (i.e. one month later) you rode both and had enough road cycling knowledge to be sure that the Emonda "sh*ts" on the Madone 2.1? I don't think so. You also said around that time, that when you went to test ride, the LBS didn't have the Madone 2.1 in your size...so you are comparing a Madone that didn't properly fit to a properly sized S4? Please don't bias a comparison like that, this person is asking for real help.

Yes - the Emonda is a brand new frame/carbon design which I trek took a while to think out. But they started with the high levels, and then worked backwards. The S4 is a great entry level carbon bike - but it is simply just that - entry level carbon. For some the Emonda will feel better, for some a nice aluminum may feel better. I personally don't feel there is a night and day difference between those two bikes. For longer rides, the original poster will have to choose, or may want to look at something like a Domane which is more built for high miles.

I have no idea what he means by "longer rides" though. For sure, he/she will have to ride both of them and choose. I just don't see any need to exaggerate the difference between the two bikes, unless someone is coming with a deep well of cycling experience.

They are both very nice - whatever you get - enjoy it!
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Old 07-13-15, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jrossbeck View Post

I have no idea what he means by "longer rides" though. For sure, he/she will have to ride both of them and choose. I just don't see any need to exaggerate the difference between the two bikes, unless someone is coming with a deep well of cycling experience.
Sorry, I should have been more specific--I was thinking in the neighborhood of 50-100 miles, and probably even longer than that eventually. Currently I'm doing 30-40 miles rides on a 29er.

Oh, and I also do a bunch of riding in NYC, which has some pretty rough roads, if that helps.
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Old 07-13-15, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bman52 View Post
Sorry, I should have been more specific--I was thinking in the neighborhood of 50-100 miles, and probably even longer than that eventually. Currently I'm doing 30-40 miles rides on a 29er.

Oh, and I also do a bunch of riding in NYC, which has some pretty rough roads, if that helps.
Gotcha - that's a pretty long ride. I would definitely check out the two you reference, as well as the entry level Domane, which has multiple design elements geared towards longer rides.

Thanks for the extra info, considering all of that - the aluminum Madone would be the least effective on the rough roads due to no frame flex (only carbon is in the fork). It is a great bike for smooth pavement. The Domane and the Emonda would both help on rough roads, the Domane likely moreso for long distances. if you can spare the extra $ you could get the S6, which has the same frame as the S4, but upgrade to 105 components. Happy shopping!
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Old 07-13-15, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jrossbeck View Post
Just back in April you (TheBlast82) started posting here, and said you were completely new to the sport, had never rode with clipless pedals, etc. But a couple months ago (i.e. one month later) you rode both and had enough road cycling knowledge to be sure that the Emonda "sh*ts" on the Madone 2.1? I don't think so. You also said around that time, that when you went to test ride, the LBS didn't have the Madone 2.1 in your size...so you are comparing a Madone that didn't properly fit to a properly sized S4? Please don't bias a comparison like that, this person is asking for real help.

Yes - the Emonda is a brand new frame/carbon design which I trek took a while to think out. But they started with the high levels, and then worked backwards. The S4 is a great entry level carbon bike - but it is simply just that - entry level carbon. For some the Emonda will feel better, for some a nice aluminum may feel better. I personally don't feel there is a night and day difference between those two bikes. For longer rides, the original poster will have to choose, or may want to look at something like a Domane which is more built for high miles.

I have no idea what he means by "longer rides" though. For sure, he/she will have to ride both of them and choose. I just don't see any need to exaggerate the difference between the two bikes, unless someone is coming with a deep well of cycling experience.

They are both very nice - whatever you get - enjoy it!
lmao... Don't need to be a rocket scientist to know which of the two bikes felt better to me, you get into -and drive- a civic and then a BMW and you will know which is a better car right away, perhaps there would be other nuances that a more experience rider would pick up on better than me or other noobs but in the bigger picture, yes, the Emonda, again IMO, sh*ts on the 2.1 ...and I actually rode them both, the proper size too. The Madone 2.1 they didn't have the COLOR I wanted (black) so I had to ride a white one.
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Old 07-13-15, 12:58 PM
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Oh I just noticed your post, you own the Madone 2.1 my bad man. Didn't mean any disrespect towards your bike I just happen to have ridden both and felt the Emonda was better.
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Old 07-13-15, 01:41 PM
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I agree - the Emonda ride is "better". It is a more expensive bike by the same manufacturer - it better be. My point remains, the Emonda is not night and day difference, i.e. It doesn't "sh*t" on the Madone. The Madone 2.1 aluminum is a very nice bike for under $1500. The Emonda is slightly better. Both would be quite suitable, along with the entry level Domane.
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Old 07-13-15, 04:38 PM
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Just off of the difference between carbon and aluminum in feel, I'd always go carbon. A big hole or destroyed road is going to suck on a road bike no matter what it's made of, but chip seal pavement and things that would normally drive you insane with vibration on an aluminum bike are much better on a carbon bike.

Try them both though, my last aluminum bike was a hell of a ride. Carbon bars and seatpost would have probably killed the buzzing but I never did it.
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Old 07-13-15, 05:58 PM
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Easy answer is the bike that gets you out riding. With that said I would personally go with the Madone 2.1. A pretty good ride could be had with the right tires/tire pressure and I would much prefer the 105 group.
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Old 07-14-15, 09:03 AM
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Thanks for all the replies!!! I think I'm leaning towards the Emonda because of the potential to alleviate all the crazy road buzz. It also appears to be a slightly more versatile bike and is more adept at distance rides, whereas the madone is geared a little more towards racing. Unfortunately, I can't test ride the emonda because its an EP deal and the shop doesnt have it, but I'm going to test ride the madone to get a feel for how it rides.
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Old 07-14-15, 02:41 PM
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Why not consider an Emonda ALR5? Supposedly lighter and more comfortable than the Madone 2.1, only $110 more than the S4 and has 105 level components (and still less than the S5)?

I've got a decent amount of miles on an Emonda S4, and it's a great entry-level bike. The Tiagra stuff works without error, and if you don't care about having 11-speed, there's no real reason to dismiss Tiagra. I haven't ridden an ALR yet, so can't offer anything there.
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Old 07-14-15, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bman52 View Post
Thanks for all the replies!!! I think I'm leaning towards the Emonda because of the potential to alleviate all the crazy road buzz. It also appears to be a slightly more versatile bike and is more adept at distance rides, whereas the madone is geared a little more towards racing. Unfortunately, I can't test ride the emonda because its an EP deal and the shop doesnt have it, but I'm going to test ride the madone to get a feel for how it rides.
Please not that the Madone 2.1 has very little in common with the Carbon Madone. Trek uses the name as a marketing strategy to imply that it's the same thing but it's not the same geometry and the tube shapes are very different.
That being said I just bought my son a 2014 Madone 2.1 ad it is a formidable entry level bike.

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Old 07-21-15, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RNAV View Post
Why not consider an Emonda ALR5? Supposedly lighter and more comfortable than the Madone 2.1, only $110 more than the S4 and has 105 level components (and still less than the S5)?
Yeah I wish. Unfortunately that bike is outside of my budget, otherwise I'd probably get it. The S4 is the most expensive that im willing to go.
I have since test rode an older madone 2.1 (from 2012 or 2013) and I liked it, but did notice some vibration over rough pavement. I'm not really sure how much of a difference it will make over long distances, but then again the lower price and 105 drivetrain are nice. It's a tough choice to make.
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Old 07-22-15, 12:01 AM
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I went through the same thing a couple months ago and went with the S4. I have been very happy with it. While the Madone has some 105 parts, it isn't a complete 105 group set.
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Old 07-22-15, 12:28 AM
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Madone has slightly more aggressive geometry compared to the Emonda. For longer rides, I would pick the carbon frame and "more" endurance geometry. So the answer is easy, Emonda.
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Old 07-22-15, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBlast82 View Post
I rode both just a couple of months ago, the Emonda sh*ts on that particular Madone. If you can drive some distance to test ride it, do it as this is all very subjective. If the S4 had 105 like the 2.1 did, I probably would've pulled the trigger as my lbs price difference was minimal but since you're not racing and only interested in longer rides, etc. the Tiagra set up will suit your needs just fine. The S4 felt way more comfortable and the braking was much better as well, I guess that the groupset is only as good as the bike.
5800 group sh*ts on 4600. Bikes are also the same weight since the Emonda is relatively heavy entry level Canton
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Old 07-22-15, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by dgunay View Post
Madone has slightly more aggressive geometry compared to the Emonda. For longer rides, I would pick the carbon frame and "more" endurance geometry. So the answer is easy, Emonda.
Not true, they are both H2 fit. Again, the aluminum Madone is not the same bike as the carbon, it has more relaxed geo
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Old 07-22-15, 07:21 AM
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Old 07-22-15, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
5800 group sh*ts on 4600. Bikes are also the same weight since the Emonda is relatively heavy entry level Canton
...and your point is??? Because I said:

Originally Posted by TheBlast82 View Post
I rode both just a couple of months ago, the Emonda sh*ts on that particular Madone. If you can drive some distance to test ride it, do it as this is all very subjective. If the S4 had 105 like the 2.1 did, I probably would've pulled the trigger as my lbs price difference was minimal but since you're not racing and only interested in longer rides, etc. the Tiagra set up will suit your needs just fine. The S4 felt way more comfortable and the braking was much better as well, I guess that the groupset is only as good as the bike.
I don't own neither one of these bikes yet someone who actually owns one (the one I dislike) "stalks" my posts and calls me "biased" (insert facepalm emoji here) and now you quoted me to "disagree" with a statement that you apparently feel the same way about. Then you talk about weight, who's talking about weight here? These are entry level road bikes and anyways iirc, the Emonda weighed less than the Madone anyways.
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Old 07-22-15, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bman52 View Post
Thanks for all the replies!!! I think I'm leaning towards the Emonda because of the potential to alleviate all the crazy road buzz.
If you really want to eliminate road buzz, go up to the 500-level carbon on the Emonda. I think the cheapest is the SL5 at $2,600. Expensive? Yes. But it's the smoothest riding bike I've ever ridden, to the point where it's drawback is that it's so smooth and reliable that you might not feel like you're riding as much as on a bike with a different ride. And I say that after test riding around 15 bikes last summer.

I mean I wouldn't buy anything just based on an internet recommendation, but I slammed it over a basketball sized pothole, rode over old parking lot, it was amazing in it's vibration removal in my opinion.
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Old 12-27-16, 09:57 AM
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I had the 2.1 and now have the S4...as far as weight goes they are about the same [I have the 56 cm]...both very good bikes..I think the ride is a little better on the S4 and I like the riding position better....Where I really like the S4 better is when climbing....maybe it is my riding position but with out a doubt it takes less effort to climb...nothing wrong with the 2.1 though especially if you can find one cheap..I paid 550.00 US for mine in perfect condition.
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Old 12-28-16, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bman52 View Post
Hey everyone, I'm new to road cycling and am looking to get my first road bike of any kind. I'm trying to decide between the Trek Madone 2.1, which has an aluminum frame and 105 drivetrain, and the Emonda S4, which is full carbon with Tiagra. (I can get either of these bikes at a pretty deep discount, otherwise I'd probably be looking at some of the more entry level models). I'm not really interested in racing and am basically looking to do longer rides and get something that will last me a while. I can test ride a Madone 2.1 but don't have access to an Emonda S4, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
I have a Madone 2.1 and love it to date - well I should say I still have the frame of a Madone 2.1 since I swapped everything out but the frame and built a whole new bike with the intention of on day carrying over those modifications to a carbon frame when the mood strikes me so my praise of the 2.1 may be slightly off compared to a stock one.

That being said it a great entry level bike and I've had no complaints about it. I haven't ridden the Emonda S4 but what I do prefer with the Madone 2.1 over the Emonda S4 is the internal cable routing for the derailleurs.
Purely an aesthetic thing but it's just much more appealing to me and makes the bike look cleaner overall.
The Emonda is a carbon frame though and that has its advantages but being that you're new to road cycling the difference between carbon and aluminium frames will probably mean nothing to you. For now you focus should really be on a good geometry fit, proper road cycling techniques and etiquette, and finally developing strength, endurance & power to be a stronger rider.

I say think deeply about how seriously you will take road cycling.
If you're sure you'll take it seriously then get a bike that you'll grow into (i.e. higher initial sticker, better gruppo etc) rather one you'll grow out of and need a new bike.
I grew out of my original Madone 2.1 but I like building things so rather than replace it by buying a higher tiered bike I built a higher tiered bike to match my level of development as a cyclist.

See the difference:


Stock: What it looked like when I walked out of my LBS with it.



After Modifications: What it looked like once I found myself in cycling.
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