Fred and his 5.2 Madone


Last fall, I wrote a post about being an aspiring Fred, where a "Fred" is someone with more bike than rider. Apologies to anybody named "Fred" - I'm not the one who coined the term .

I had gotten tired of my LeMond Tourmalet, whose decidedly midrange components have seen better days, and whose main claim to fame is "heavy".

I rode bikes made of steel and titanium, but it was the carbon fiber Trek that I fell in love with. It's certainly not as live of a feel as the metallic bikes that I rode, but it doesn't feel mushy either. Just sort of muted, a marked opposite to the Litespeed TI bike I rode (their entry-level bike, to be fair), which was a bit springy. I was either going to buy the 5000 or the 5200, the chief difference being that the 5200 comes with full Ultegra (Shimano's second-best line of bicycle components), and that 5000 comes with some Ultegra, some 105.

My first Fred post got a comment from SeanB, where he pointed me to Trek's ProjectOne website. On this site, you can choose a model, a paint job, and then customize parts of the bike. You can choose color, saddle, wheels, component group (to varying degrees based on the bike), seatpost, bars, etc. When you order, you can specify a stem and crank length as well.

I first test rode the 5200 in 58cm (the frame size), doing some hills outside of Greggs. I found two things - that I loved the feel, and the 58 was too small for me. They ordered in a 60, and I rode that, and it was pretty much perfect. I decided to go the project one route, did my customizing, and had them order the bike. As part of their model year switch, Trek is changing their line, and the 5200 is being replaced by the 5.2 Madone, which is just like the 5200, except it has the fin behind the seat post (for improved aero above 23 MPH, I have heard). Oh, and it's about $150 more expensive, though that also corresponds to the change from a 9-speed cassette in the rear to the new Ultegra 10 speed cassette, so it's not just the frame change. Coupled with the triple up front, that gives me 30 different gear combinations (brief aside - you can't really use all 30. First of all, there's lots of overlap, and second, if you ran the large ring on the front and the large on the back, the angle could lead to noise, wear, or even chain breakage. But more speeds gives you more chance to find the exact one you want).


The paint job is the project one "Deep South" motif - bright red with some yellow accents on. I'd considered getting "Pave Flambe", but it was a little too muted for my taste. Notice the flowing curves of the carbon fiber frame.

The bike arrived in good condition, except that it came with a carbon seatpost (I wanted aluminum because I sometimes run a seatpost rack, and carbon seatposts don't hold up to that), and Gregg's had put a 2" x 3" silver sticker right on the bottom of the downtube. The seatpost will get re-ordered, and the sticker came off fairly easily.

Unfortunately, it's been cold and wet here, so I haven't been able to go on a real ride yet, but I did go out on Saturday for 5 or 6 miles. I'm not sure how fast it is, since I don't have a computer yet, but it's definitely faster on the flats, and felt really nice on the one hill that I threw at it.

On, and here's a picture of "Fred" next to his bike. The shorts are normally black/silver, but the retro-reflective fabric really shows up in the flash. Oh, and what were they thinking with the blue bar tape? I can handle the saddle being blue, but blue bars on a red bike?

Comments (9)
  1. Eric,

    Love the bike, but the pants need an upgrade as well =)

    – Nick

  2. WOW!!! I just saw the price for those bikes and I’m just recovering from the shock. A Madone 5.9 is about $5000. The cheapest one I saw was about $1200 before added features. 1 feature I really though was cool was putting the "personalized" touch. You can get them to write whatever you want up to 18 characters. These are certainly GREAT bikes. So sleak. Wish I could afford one. I just have to settle for the $70 target bikes. LOL.

  3. Jim Argeropoulos says:

    Awesome! You will not be disappointed! One of my good riding friends says he is usually disappointed by most of his "big purchases", but after a few months of riding his Madrone, he is still pumped on every ride.

    Now you just need to get ready for the Triple Bypass;)

  4. Frank Pantangilli says:

    Very nice bike. Might want to think about upgrading the components to Dura-Ace or Campanagnolo…. May also want to leave out the picture of you in tights! 🙂

  5. Jim says:

    Nice wheels. Have you taken it on longer spin (nice weather this week) – jim

  6. Yesterday, I participated in my first Century of the year, a hilly 100-miler (hence the term "century")…

  7. RiderX says:

    Cycling is an exercise in progressive insanity. No matter where you're at, there's always somebody

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