Trek has finally added disc brakes, simple build/breakdown for travel, and a minimal suspension system to its Speed Concept line—all while trimming weight and improving aerodynamics, handling, and acceleration.
Simple fit adjustments/build/breakdown
Shockingly light weight
More options with disc wheels
Surprisingly rough ride despite suspension system
No truly integrated hydration
Aerobar extensions cannot be swapped
Very wide, very stiff stock saddle
51mm wheels are a little shallow to come stock
19 pounds 12 ounces
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2022 Trek Speed Concept SLR 7: The Basics
We dig much (much) deeper into each of the features on the 2022 Trek Speed Concept SLR 7 in our extended review here, but let’s take a look at the basics you need to know about this bike. For our review, we rode the baseline SLR 7 Ultegra Di2 version, but the framesets are the same from the SLR 7 to the SLR 9 Dura-Ace. First, Trek has finally upgraded their slightly long-in-the-tooth Speed Concept line with disc brakes—which were a long time coming. They’ve also ditched the monopost aerobar riser for a two-post system and much-simplified front end that’s incredibly easy to work on (for travel, fit, or even general maintenance).
The new Speed Concept also has the fascinating IsoSpeed suspension system that’s meant to remove vibrations from the road into the rider—reducing fatigue for the bike and run. Trek has also improved aerodynamics by a claimed 16 minutes over 112 miles (or 16 watts at a Kona-winning 26mph average pace— here your mileage may vary, a lot) and somehow kept the weight below 20 pounds for a size medium with all hydration and storage removed. This is no small feat, by the way.
2022 Trek Speed Concept SLR 7: What We Liked
Trek did a great job with this big Speed Concept update by simplifying where they needed to (the front end, assembly, etc.) and making some pretty interesting improvements elsewhere (the IsoSpeed suspension, the integrated tool kit cleverly housed in the downtube, monstrous, organized storage in the top tube, etc.).
As such, Trek rides the fine line very well between features and real-world usability. But the thing that truly stands out on this bike is the ride itself. It’s rare to find a bike that handles intuitively—even on the first ride—cuts corners tightly, without being twitchy, and actually jumps when you stand up. Sure, killer sprinting isn’t going to win your next Ironman, but it does make riding it much more fun than some wobbly noodle. This is a bike that’s not only a blast to ride, but it’s light weight, and solid feeling—things won’t be rattling off this bike, nor do you need 100 allen wrenches of varying types from microscopic to star-shaped.
2022 Trek Speed Concept SLR 7: What Could Have Been Better
One of the biggest flashy features I was excited to try on this bike was the otherwise omnipresent IsoSpeed that Trek has been using on its various road lines for years. It all makes sense for triathletes—less vibrations mean less fatigue, less fatigue means a better ride and run, especially over long-course distances. Sadly, the unadjutable IsoSpeed only handles high-frequency road chatter as good as most well-tuned double-diamond bikes, but medium- to low-frequency bumps and jolts still hit. Technically beam bikes like the Dimond, Ventum, or Cervelo PX-Series have been using suspension, but the new Speed Concept is singular in the double-diamond world. Make it adjustable (like many other Trek bikes), and maybe it’ll be better, but otherwise the Speed Concept was a little jarring, even when compared to something like the Scott Plasma 6 or the new Quintana Roo V-PR.
There are a few other nitpicky things potential buyers should probably know, but I’ve covered that in more detail in this extended review.
This is a great bike on a long-needed upgrade to a well-loved line. As a gear editor who has to assemble, adjust, ride, readjust, ride again lots and lots of supercomplicated superbikes, it’s a joy to quickly assemble and adjust a new bike that’s actually fast and (mostly) does what it says it will. I can’t oversell how much fun this bike is to ride—as a quick, tight-handling setup that draws similarities to most people’s (and brands’) benchmark favorite tri bike, the Cervelo P5. Both bikes are UCI-legal, still have tri-specific details, are simple in their design, but well thought out, and extremely effective in their execution. I expect most of my big complaints (above) and little complaints (this review) can easily be ironed out in future iterations, so I’d still recommend this upgrade to anyone—particularly those Trek owners who have been toiling with rim brakes, brake-caliper cowlings, and wacky front ends.