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2012 Trek Madone 5.2 Review

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2012 Trek Madone 5.2 Review

Old 08-23-11, 01:12 PM
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GreatGreyhounds
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2012 Trek Madone 5.2 Review

I've been riding for more than 40 years, and this has to be the smoothest bike I have ever owned! The carbon frame is tuned very well for shock absorption, and the bumps that used to hurt are a distant memory!

Over the last 4 years, I've been racing a Guru Racelite, full DA, setup as a Tri-Bike. After much consideration, I added the Trek Madone 5.2 to my stable. And a second one for my wife. I went with the Compact Ultegra Groupo for price considerations only.

The LBS sold me the 2012 Madone's at the same price as the 2011 Madone,'s since they wanted to get the first ones in Cincinnati.

Bought the Black Heli color, which is really cool, a mix of raw and shiny carbon. It's kind of cool to see the splotches of raw carbon, and then the glossy carbon on the top tube. Very cool! My wife thinks it's kind of ugly, and keeps trying to buff off the raw carbon splotches.

I've put 100 miles on it in the last week, and it has to be the smoothest bike I've ever ridden. The Ultegra Groupo is very smooth, the shifting is crisp, and the overall setup very good. This is the first compact groupo I've owned, but it performs very well.

The main change from the 2011 Madone 5.2 is the fork is now completely carbon, thru the headset to the top of the headset.

That said, do NOT buy this bike without purchasing the Torque Wrench from Trek ($20.99)! You will need it to adjust any of the bolts that touch carbon, as all of the bolts are the same size, and you don't want to send for frame in for repair! In addition, the headset needs at least one spacer above and below the neck.

The wheel set is OK, and I will probably upgrade in the future. As I am a big guy (6'5" and 225#) the handlebars are a little small in the drops, so a new bar is in my near future. My wife has the 44cm handlebars, which seem to work for her, but she has trouble with the reach to the brakes and shifters. The LBS gets a set of shims for the brakes, so if you have small hands make the LBS give them to you before you leave the shop.

My wife needed to replace the stem right off the bat, as it was a little long for her reach, and after 100 miles, I've had to move the seat a couple of clicks to make it comfortable for her. Otherwise, she is enjoying the Madone.

Have plans to do several 100 milers in the next month or two, and will report back on how the Madones are holding up.


Last edited by GreatGreyhounds; 08-24-11 at 03:58 AM. Reason: Adding a picture...
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Old 08-23-11, 01:25 PM
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A thorough review usually contains pictures. Regardless, I'm glad you and your wife-y are enjoying your new bikes
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Old 08-23-11, 01:29 PM
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definately needs pics
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Old 08-23-11, 01:32 PM
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yes pictures would be nice seeing how I own the 2011 Madone 5.2
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Old 08-23-11, 01:39 PM
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That black finish looks great, enjoy your purchase.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:02 PM
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Pics of your bike and wife, er wife's bike.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by GreatGreyhounds View Post
...the headset needs at least one spacer above and below the neck...
Why do you say this? The "above the stem" part.

BTW, nice review. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
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Old 08-23-11, 02:51 PM
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Funny, I just rented one of these last week. Not sure if it was a 2012 but pretty recent and the colors/specs matched what you said:



I thought it rode really really well. That said, the greatness of this bike is probably wasted on a clyde like me. I don't corner quickly or descend rapidly. Still, it felt great at least for the first 35 miles, then my butt started to hurt.
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Old 08-23-11, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
Funny, I just rented one of these last week. Not sure if it was a 2012 but pretty recent and the colors/specs matched what you said:



I thought it rode really really well. That said, the greatness of this bike is probably wasted on a clyde like me. I don't corner quickly or descend rapidly. Still, it felt great at least for the first 35 miles, then my butt started to hurt.
if my eyes don't deceive me that's a 2011 trek 6.9 SSL with Dura Ace and XXX carbon wheels. Not that the OP's bike is bad but the bike you posted is quite a bit better.

oh and flip it
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Old 08-23-11, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gladiator13 View Post
if my eyes don't deceive me that's a 2011 trek 6.9 SSL with Dura Ace and XXX carbon wheels. Not that the OP's bike is bad but the bike you posted is quite a bit better.

oh and flip it
your eyes deceive you. it's a 5.2 (maybe a year or two old) with full ultegra and bonny race lite wheels. this outfit doesn't rent DA bikes, and if they did, they certainly wouldn't've let me keep one overnight for $55
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Old 08-23-11, 04:39 PM
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^ It's a 2011 5.2
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Old 08-23-11, 04:58 PM
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agreed ^
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Old 08-23-11, 05:06 PM
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I'm as big as you are and have the 2011 Madone 5.2. And, after 3000 miles, i can honestly say that you will continue to be happy with it. I can't wait to get home form work to take it for a ride.

There is one thing I should warn you about. The bearings on the bottom bracket fail way too often. I had to have them replaced, under warranty, at 1500 miles.

And now a second failure at 3000 miles.

It turns out that the BB cup has stretched, or "ovalized" which causes the bearing to fail. The LBS said that this is a common problem on the '11 Madone 5 Series. Your '12 frame is the same as the '11. So, keep and eye on it.
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Old 08-23-11, 06:57 PM
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Post pics. I am looking at the 2012 5.2 as well. What frame did you get H1 2 or 3? Did your wife get the black one as well? My LBS has the red and white and it looks pretty nice as well. My shop has the 5.5 as well with SRAM in blue black and white. Also killer looking.
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Old 08-24-11, 04:03 AM
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As for the frame, we both bought the H2 frame, mine a 62cm, hers a 58cm. And yes, they are exactly alike. Neither one of us liked the 'Hooker Red' frame, but the bottle holders are a different story.
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Old 08-24-11, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by gladiator13 View Post
if my eyes don't deceive me that's a 2011 trek 6.9 SSL with Dura Ace and XXX carbon wheels. Not that the OP's bike is bad but the bike you posted is quite a bit better.

oh and flip it
LOL...a look at the seat tube to the "TCT" logo is all you needed to be able to tell that what you said is incorrect.
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Old 08-24-11, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
Funny, I just rented one of these last week. Not sure if it was a 2012 but pretty recent and the colors/specs matched what you said:



I thought it rode really really well. That said, the greatness of this bike is probably wasted on a clyde like me. I don't corner quickly or descend rapidly. Still, it felt great at least for the first 35 miles, then my butt started to hurt.
Wrong seat size? Lousy bike shorts? Combination of both?
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Old 08-24-11, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GreatGreyhounds View Post
I've been riding for more than 40 years, and this has to be the smoothest bike I have ever owned! The carbon frame is tuned very well for shock absorption, and the bumps that used to hurt are a distant memory!

Over the last 4 years, I've been racing a Guru Racelite, full DA, setup as a Tri-Bike. After much consideration, I added the Trek Madone 5.2 to my stable. And a second one for my wife. I went with the Compact Ultegra Groupo for price considerations only.

The LBS sold me the 2012 Madone's at the same price as the 2011 Madone,'s since they wanted to get the first ones in Cincinnati.

Bought the Black Heli color, which is really cool, a mix of raw and shiny carbon. It's kind of cool to see the splotches of raw carbon, and then the glossy carbon on the top tube. Very cool! My wife thinks it's kind of ugly, and keeps trying to buff off the raw carbon splotches.

I've put 100 miles on it in the last week, and it has to be the smoothest bike I've ever ridden. The Ultegra Groupo is very smooth, the shifting is crisp, and the overall setup very good. This is the first compact groupo I've owned, but it performs very well.

The main change from the 2011 Madone 5.2 is the fork is now completely carbon, thru the headset to the top of the headset.

That said, do NOT buy this bike without purchasing the Torque Wrench from Trek ($20.99)! You will need it to adjust any of the bolts that touch carbon, as all of the bolts are the same size, and you don't want to send for frame in for repair! In addition, the headset needs at least one spacer above and below the neck.

The wheel set is OK, and I will probably upgrade in the future. As I am a big guy (6'5" and 225#) the handlebars are a little small in the drops, so a new bar is in my near future. My wife has the 44cm handlebars, which seem to work for her, but she has trouble with the reach to the brakes and shifters. The LBS gets a set of shims for the brakes, so if you have small hands make the LBS give them to you before you leave the shop.

My wife needed to replace the stem right off the bat, as it was a little long for her reach, and after 100 miles, I've had to move the seat a couple of clicks to make it comfortable for her. Otherwise, she is enjoying the Madone.

Have plans to do several 100 milers in the next month or two, and will report back on how the Madones are holding up.

The seat stay says Madone 5.2. The seat tube says OCLV Carbon. I am scratching my head here. OCLV's are made in Waterloo. But Madone 5's are made in Taiwan (the TCT carbon frames). Anybody find that odd?

Last edited by roadwarrior; 08-24-11 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 08-24-11, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
The seat stay says Madone 5.2. The seat tube says OCLV Carbon. I am scratching my head here. OCLV's are made in Waterloo. But Madone 5's are made in Taiwan (the TCT carbon frames). Anybody find that odd?
The 2011's say TCT on seat tube.

However, the one pictured is a new 2012, things change. Whether that is Trek moving production back from Taiwan, or whether they are going to start calling some Taiwanese production OCLV, who knows *shrug*.
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Old 08-24-11, 06:17 AM
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i bet your greyhound is faster than your madone 5.2
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Old 08-24-11, 06:26 AM
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I don't think it is the BB cup that is the issue or the frame would be subject to warranty. It's just a bad batch of bearings. The BB cup is part of the frame. You might be thinking the bearing race is what is warping. My race team has been using the 2011 5.5 frames and trek finally admitted to us that it's the bearings. We get about 500 miles per set of bearings and finally complained to them. Think replacing bearings less than a month and some of our guys are on their 4th or 5th set. Trek finally admitted the problem and we ordered the old set of bearings. I have the old model bearings in my madone now and have 2500 miles with zero issues.

Originally Posted by Misochew View Post
I'm as big as you are and have the 2011 Madone 5.2. And, after 3000 miles, i can honestly say that you will continue to be happy with it. I can't wait to get home form work to take it for a ride.

There is one thing I should warn you about. The bearings on the bottom bracket fail way too often. I had to have them replaced, under warranty, at 1500 miles.

And now a second failure at 3000 miles.

It turns out that the BB cup has stretched, or "ovalized" which causes the bearing to fail. The LBS said that this is a common problem on the '11 Madone 5 Series. Your '12 frame is the same as the '11. So, keep and eye on it.
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Old 08-24-11, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Menel View Post
The 2011's say TCT on seat tube.

However, the one pictured is a new 2012, things change. Whether that is Trek moving production back from Taiwan, or whether they are going to start calling some Taiwanese production OCLV, who knows *shrug*.

Trek just scratched the TCT name and have different series of OCLV, 300,400,500,600,700. 700 is the SSL from last year.
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Old 08-24-11, 06:47 AM
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Wow this many posts and no Trek hate? This must be some kind of record!

I have 4.7, I couldn't justify moving to the 5 for my first road bike, and they were't waterloo frames either. It will be interesting to see if they move them back. I though I read that 2010 was the last USA made 5 series. I love my bike, I plan to get a 6 series frame and move components eventually. Congrats.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jrstudman81 View Post
ewww ugly looking bike.
Where's yours?

And nice bike OP. Ride the hell out of it.
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Old 08-24-11, 08:12 AM
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I like the 2012 Madones. Really don't like the huge graphics from the 2011's. Nice bike.
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