Emonda 2021 vs S-Works SL6

I’m considering revamping my stable as I’m likely going to retire from racing IRL. I currently have a S-Works Tarmac SL6 which although I really like, lately I’ve been struggling to love. I’ve had issues with creaking that I’ve never fully got to the bottom of, despite changing the BB to a external threaded wheelsmfg BB. The frame was replaced a year ago under warranty but the problem wasn’t 100% sorted. I waited 6 months delivery for the original frame as I desperately wanted the Marcel Kittel paint job, which wasn’t available on the replacement, hence not loving it!

It’s rim brake and want to update to discs. I’ll be selling my SL6 to finance the replacement, along with my Trek Speedconcept Di2.

The dilemma is, do I keep the SL6 and just accept the rim brakes as it’s a really great bike? I’ve got my eye on a Trek Emonda SLR7 Force eTap Project One. The reviews aren’t as great as the SL6, but reviews don’t always tell the full picture. It would be good to see if anyone has any real world experience with the 2021 Emonda?

I like riding hard, and don’t do 4+ hrs rides generally. I like climbing and I’m not the greatest descender, as in I’m nervous rather than being a poor bike handler. I enjoy changing rides at race speed, and despite not racing I’ll still want to do this. Would the Trek fit the bill?

I’m not interested in other bikes, and the S-Works Tarmac SL7 is priced too high in my view.


This kinda says it all.

Buy the Émonda. Pretty sure you’ll continue to really enjoy bike riding.


The Emonda SLR is my favorite all around bike right now and the SLR7 would be the one I’d get if I was spending my own money tomorrow, although I’d go for the Ultegra version personally

I would not give up on trying to sort out your BB/creaking issue if you enjoy the frame. Can this bike be upgraded to discs? FWIW: One of my bikes (now on my trainer) is a 2015 Roubaix that had BB/creak issues. It took a lot of negotiating with Specialized, but ultimately they replaced [for free] the crank with one from a 2017 S-Works Tarmac and it has been riding great ever since.

Regarding the Edmonda: I have not ridden the 2021. However, before buying my current 2019 S-Works Tarmac I test rode the 2019 Edmonda (I had the previous Trek 5900 for 14 years so I was excited to try the Edmonda). What a disappointment! I am a pretty aggressive rider (not as fast as you at 3.7wpkg), but a very good bike handler (even on technical descents at speed :smile: ). My son (former collegiate Cat B racer) and I rented the Edmonda for a day to compare to the S-Works. Edmonda frame responsiveness (and aero) was awful. It didn’t seem much better than my 5900 and was poor in comparison to both the Tarmac and Specialized Pro that I test rode as well. My son wasn’t in the market for a bike (he has since gone to gravel) but he wasn’t impressed either.

It’s Emonda, not Edmonda, and which one did you ride? You’re probably the first person I’ve heard call the Emonda unresponsive

I’ll stand corrected re: spelling. Re Emonda model: I don’t recall, but we rented it from Mellow Johnny’s and it looks like it was an SL5. [Note: Before buying the S-Works, I also tested Specialized’s Tarmac Pro (Fact 10r frame). I realize this is all personal assessment, but I still noticed a significant difference and would have purchased the Pro over the Emonda.

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Don’t get me wrong, opinions are opinions and not saying you’re wrong, because everyone likes what they like. However I do remember when I worked at TREK the store manager was very much a specialized guy and owned two (Allez and Crux), and when he had the SLR Emonda from the shop as a demo he said “it’s the best bike I’ve ever ridden”, and while the SL isn’t as stiff, I’ve not heard complaints about actual frame responsiveness. I’ve owned my 2016 SL for quite some time and find it to be great for me, but perhaps I’m used to it. It definitely does not make any attempts to be aero either.

One complaint I’ve heard more than a few times is people not liking the geometry of it compared to the specialized, there’s a thread about it here now as a matter of fact.

Trek and Specialized obviously both make great bike lines, so it does come down to opinions (with attempts at using data, including myself). For perspective, I loved my 5900 and was predisposed to Trek. In 2015 (pre-racing), I wanted an endurance bike as I was doing centuries and did an exhaustive comparison between the Domane and Roubaix before buying the Roubaix. Once I joined a race team in 2016 I changed my riding style and training. It wasn’t until 2019 that it was clear that I needed :slight_smile: a real race bike. I similarly went through an exhaustive analysis including full day of testing, recording numbers and ride feel during different aspects of road racing (rolling starts, holding speed, max watts, cornering, tech descents, etc). That’s when the choice became clear for me. And yes, geometry definitely played a role in ability to go aero and hang in that position.

BTW: The Tarmac is known for its stiffness. I actually tested one in 2015 before buying the Roubaix and did not like it at all (stiff and not responsive). But that was all changed with the introduction of the 12r frame on the S-Works.

Thanks for the helpful response!! I just didn’t want a thread of folk suggesting a heap of different bikes that I can’t get locally :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks for the input folks! The older model Emonda’s seem a very different beast to the 2021 bike. I wonder if trying to compare the older model is like the Tarmac SL5 to Tarmac SL6.

FWIW the college racer at LBS has worked at a couple of shops and ridden a lot of different brands, his current bike is Madone SLR and he absolutely loves it. He also likes Specialized and aero bikes in general (his other bikes: Felt AR5, Cervelo P3). Downside of Madone is the retail price.