Trek Speed Concept

Triathlon Uberbike – Trek Speed Concept

As a competitive age group triathlete who races Ironman 70.3 events 3-4 times a year, finding the right bike is crucial. After years of racing on a 2015 Cervelo P5-Three, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Enter the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9, a machine designed for speed and performance.

First Impressions on Trek Speed Concept

The Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 immediately caught my attention with its sleek design and reputation for speed. While the Cervelo P5-Three served me well, the advancements in technology and aerodynamics in the Speed Concept made it a compelling upgrade.

Investing in the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9, priced around $13,000, gives you access to top-tier components and cutting-edge technology:

800 Series OCLV Carbon Frame: Known for its lightweight and strength.

Bontrager Aeolus RSL Wheels: 51mm tubeless-ready wheels for superior aerodynamics.

Dura-Ace 12 Speed Groupset: Shimano’s latest innovation in gear shifting.

For those looking at more affordable options, the Ultegra-equipped SLR 7 is available for just under $9,000, and the frame alone can be purchased for $6,000.

Speed Concept Design and Aerodynamics

The design and aerodynamics of the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 are pivotal for triathletes aiming to maximize their performance in Ironman triathlons. The frame boasts a Kammtail Virtual Foil (KVF) tube design, which provides an optimal balance between aerodynamic efficiency and structural integrity. The dropped seat stays and chunky top tube contribute to the bike’s streamlined appearance and performance.

Aerodynamics play a crucial role in triathlons, where maintaining high speeds over long distances can significantly impact overall race time. The Trek Speed Concept’s wind tunnel testing shows that this model saves an average of 16 watts at 42kph compared to its predecessor. This wattage savings translates to less energy expenditure, allowing triathletes to conserve their strength for the run segment.

Integrated Features of Trek Speed Concept

The integrated features of the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 are designed to reduce drag and enhance performance. Fully integrated components mean that there are no exposed cables to create air resistance. This clean design is essential for maintaining aerodynamic efficiency.

The kammtail tube profiles are widely accepted as the best way to balance the needs for aerodynamic flow and tube structural strength. The back end of the top tube increases noticeably in depth to help airflow stay laminar as it transitions from the top tube to the seat tube. This design reduces turbulence and drag, ensuring a smoother and faster ride.

Additionally, the bike includes a top tube feed storage area and in-frame spares/tool storage built into the downtube. These features allow triathletes to carry nutrition and repair tools without compromising the bike’s aerodynamic profile, which is vital during long races like the Ironman.

Comfort and Customization

Comfort and customization are paramount for triathletes who spend extended periods in the saddle. The Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 incorporates the Isospeed system, which decouples the top tube from the downtube, allowing for better shock and vibration absorption. This system enhances rider comfort by reducing fatigue, which is crucial for maintaining performance during the bike leg and transitioning to the run.

The highly adjustable cockpit is another standout feature. Triathletes can customize the fit with adjustments for stack, reach, pad width, and extension length. This level of customization ensures that each rider can find their optimal position, which enhances both comfort and aerodynamic efficiency. A well-fitted bike reduces the risk of injury and improves overall performance, making these features invaluable for serious competitors.

Comparison to Other Popular TT Bikes

When comparing the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 to other popular time trial bikes, several key differences and similarities emerge:

Cervelo P5X: Known for its cutting-edge aerodynamics and integrated storage solutions, the P5X is a direct competitor. However, the Speed Concept offers superior customization options and a more refined Isospeed comfort system.

Specialized Shiv: The Shiv is renowned for its fuel storage integration and adjustable geometry. While it matches the Speed Concept in some areas, the Trek bike’s aerodynamic frame design and integrated features give it an edge in terms of overall speed and efficiency.

Canyon Speedmax: The Speedmax is praised for its lightweight frame and aerodynamic design. However, the Trek Speed Concept’s extensive cockpit customization and superior shock absorption provide a more comfortable ride, which can be a deciding factor for triathletes competing in long-distance events.

Who Is This Bike For?

The Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 is designed for serious triathletes and time trialists looking for a competitive edge. Its advanced aerodynamic design, integrated features, and customizable fit make it ideal for those aiming to shave minutes off their race times. If you’re an age group triathlete competing in Ironman 70.3 events or longer distances, this bike offers the performance and comfort needed to excel.

Additional Features

The bike includes a top tube feed storage area and in-frame spares/tool storage, adding to its practicality. However, I found the aero drink bottle’s valve ineffective, which was a minor drawback.

Disc Brakes and Overall Handling

Although disc brakes on a TT bike might seem unnecessary, Trek’s design minimizes the weight penalty, adding only 170g. The secure braking offered by the Dura-Ace brakes added to the bike’s confidence-inspiring ride.


The Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 is an exceptional bike for those seeking speed and performance. Its high price reflects the quality and technology invested in its design. For serious time trialists and triathletes, this bike is a worthy companion on the journey to speed.

Value: While expensive, the bike offers top-tier components and performance.

Performance: Fast, stable, and comfortable, it lives up to its marketing promises.

Quality: High-quality build with impressive attention to detail and adjustability.

Overall, the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 is a no-compromise time trial bike, ideal for both triathletes and road cyclists aiming for high performance and speed.

Trek Speed Concept FAQ

1. Is the Trek Speed Concept SLR 9 worth the investment?

Yes, if you are a serious triathlete or time trialist looking for top-tier performance, the Speed Concept SLR 9 offers advanced technology and features that can give you a competitive edge.

2. How does the Speed Concept SLR 9 compare to my old Cervelo P5-Three?

The Speed Concept SLR 9 offers significant advancements in aerodynamics, integrated features, and customization options compared to older models like the Cervelo P5-Three.

3. Can I customize the fit of the Speed Concept SLR 9?

Yes, the bike offers extensive customization options for the cockpit, including adjustments for stack, reach, pad width, and extension length, ensuring a personalized fit.

4. Are the disc brakes on the Speed Concept SLR 9 necessary?

While some might consider disc brakes unnecessary for a TT bike, the Speed Concept’s design minimizes the weight penalty, and the disc brakes offer secure, reliable braking.

5. What are the key benefits of the Isospeed system?

The Isospeed system enhances comfort by decoupling the top tube from the downtube, allowing for better shock and vibration absorption without compromising power delivery, crucial for long-distance triathletes.