Trek Emonda SL6 Pro – Review 2023

Trek Emonda SL6 Pro

Shop if:

You want a well-rounded race bike.

Available size:

50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 62cm


Matte Trek Black/Metallic Gunmetal


56cm – 7.30 kg / 16.1 lbs

Our Rating:




Trek just introduced a totally new re-imagining of the Emonda, the brand’s lightweight climbing/GC model platform, with a substantially aero-ised chassis. The model family is divided between a higher-tier SLR range and a lower-tier SL range, which this SL6 Pro falls under; the key distinction is in the carbon layup and the increased integration of the SLR range. 

Technical Specifications:

Frameset :

Frame : Ultralight 500 Series OCLV Carbon, tapered head tube, BB90Fork : Émonda full carbon, carbon tapered steerer, carbon dropouts, direct mount rim brakes

Wheels :

Wheels : Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3Tires : Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite, 700x25c

Drivetrain :

Shifters : Shimano Ultegra, 11 speed

Front derailleur : Shimano Ultegra, braze-on

Rear derailleur : Shimano Ultegra

Crank : Shimano Ultegra, 50/34 (compact)

Bottom bracket : BB90

Cassette : Shimano Ultegra, 11-28, 11 speed

Pedals : N/A

Components :

Saddle : Bontrager Montrose Comp, chromoly rails

Seatpost : Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon seatmast cap, 20mm offset

Handlebar : Bontrager Elite VR-C, 31.8mm

Stem : Bontrager Pro, 31.8mm, 7 degree, w/computer & light mounts

Headset : Integrated, cartridge bearing, sealed, 1-1/8˝ top, 1.5˝ bottom

Brakeset : Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc

Emonda SL6 Pro frame design and size:

The Émonda has always been Trek’s lightweight road bike, leaving outright speed to the Madone, but with this current edition, Trek has incorporated more aerodynamic profiles into the Émonda’s design.

Unlike other aero bikes, the Émonda’s frame isn’t designed to be fast in a straight line or at high speed; after all, it’s a climbing bike. Instead, the engineers have concentrated on ‘unsteady aerodynamics,’ which correspond to the significantly lower speeds encountered when ascending. 

The front end, including the head tube and down tube, has received the most attention. The top-tier SLR models employ the Bontrager XXX aero handlebar/stem combo, which boosts the benefits even more, but it isn’t available on the SL variants.

The SLR versions also utilize a new OCLV 800 grade carbon fiber, whereas the SLs use the 500 series, which adds some weight, but a reported frame weight of 1,142g and 380g for the fork is far from shabby.

What are the different parts included in Trek Emonda SL6 Pro?

According to Trek, the SL 6 Pro comes equipped with all of the lightweight components needed, thus there is no need to upgrade. You could save a few grams here and there, but it’s a full package.

This is the first carbon bike in the lineup to include carbon fiber wheels. The Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3 wheels are deep and tubeless-ready.

Trek included a full Shimano Ultegra hydraulic/mechanical groupset on the SL 6 Pro, which fits the bike perfectly. You get close to Dura-Ace performance at a far lower cost.

Trek has specified a 50/34-tooth semi-compact chainset and an 11-28 cassette, which is an excellent gear ratio selection for a bike of this design. There are plenty of top-end gears for speed work, and the 30-tooth sprocket provides an extra bailout gear above the more common 28T seen on most race bikes.  

Ultegra’s gear changes are excellent. The levers have a light feel to them, but they also provide a very well-defined click, letting you know that the shift has occurred.

Trek has chosen to put 160mm rotors front and back, which provide more than adequate power for a bike of this size.

Shimano’s hydraulic systems are incredibly powerful, but they’re also very easy to adjust, thanks to a lot of sense through the levers, which allows you to stop quickly without concern of locking up the front tire, even in wet conditions.

How does it feel to ride an Emonda SL6 Pro?

The first thing to note in this new incarnation is that the lower SL version feels a little thick at over 8 kilograms – not what you’d expect from a bike whose primary purpose is all about lightweight and climbing. However, total mass does not necessarily correlate to an anchor of a ride experience, and the Émonda is no exception. 

Trek has managed to offer a level of stiffness around the bottom bracket that allows the Émonda to deliver on its promise of rewarding effort. Granted, it requires less work to sustain speeds on flat and undulating terrain, similar to the Madone aero bike, it’s a ‘faster’ bike than the previous version.

But this new design has repressed part of the prior model’s lively and exhilarating ride style – it feels like using terms such as solid and trustworthy is more suitable, nearly like the Domane endurance bike.

What We Like

  • A race bike with suitable geometry.
  • High-end appearances.
  • Greater tire clearance than claimed.
  • Bottom bracket with threads.
  • Shimano Ultegra is difficult to fault.
  • Excellent saddle.

What We Don’t Like

  • Ride quality is stiff.
  • Heavyweight carbon wheels.
  • Handlebar bend is very tight. 

Is the Emonda SL6 Pro Trek bike value for money? 

The bike is based on a complete Shimano Ultegra R8020 groupset. It’s nearly tough to criticize R8000, which provides nearly all of the performance of Dura-Ace at a far lower price.

The crankset is 50/34, and the cassette is 11-28. This is an excellent choice for a go-fast, climb-friendly all-around bike.

It’s worth mentioning that the bike has a short cage mech, which legally limits the drivetrain to a 30t cassette. If you need lighter gearing, you’ll have to go with a smaller set of chainrings.

Nonetheless, the gearing provides more than enough range to climb comfortably in the saddle on the majority of climbs. 

The SL6 Pro is the ‘lowest priced’ bike in the new Emonda lineup with carbon wheels. 

Read Also – Best fixed gear frames


The Endnote:

Overall, the Émonda is a fantastic bike. The aero changes have transformed it into a really fast and efficient bike that still manages to deliver on the weight front, and this SL 6 Pro model is so perfectly specced that there’s no need to update anything in terms of components except the tires when they wear out. It boasts a high-quality frameset that performs well both on the flat and on the climbs, and it is well-specced for the price. 

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