With its Endurance fit geometry and IsoSpeed technology filtered down from the top-end Domane WSD range, the 2014 Trek Lexa SLX is a steal at £1200.
Okay, admittedly it’s not a carbon fibre bike, with the Trek Lexa SLX featuring an aluminium frame. But, this is no bad thing with the 200 Series Alpha Aluminium - Trek’s premium alloy - providing beautifully formed tubing for a lightweight and strong frameset.
Across the frame, the tubing varies in shape and composition, you can really see this around the seat tube, which makes for a compliant ride with added comfort.
The IsoSpeed decoupler, is a "functional decoupler that separates the ride-tuned seat mast from the top tube" and is a fabulous invention, that takes the Trek Lexa SLX up several notches into the realms of super comfort without adding weight or lateral flex.
Essentially, the decoupler keeps the seat tube and top-tube independent from one another, which dramatically reduces road buzz, vibration and shock, and makes for a very comfortable ride without affecting pedal efficiency.
The IsoSpeed system certainly takes the sting out of bad roads and much more too. I hit rough sections of road with added vigour, smiling as other riders swerved to avoid them. I could feel the movement of the seat tube over bumps and lumps and yet there is no disadvantage when pedalling. Out of the saddle climbing felt just as direct and progressive as any other aluminium bike.
Perhaps most noticeably I was able to ride for longer without feeling fatigue, especially in the lower back and upper body where hours in the saddle can take its toll.
It’s a win-win situation, a lightweight frame that is stiff in all the right places and for all the right reasons without any of the uncomfortable or unforgiving drawbacks.
The Endurance Fit geometry of the Trek Lexa SLX is another feature borrowed from the high-end Domane range. A longer wheelbase and low bottom bracket brings the centre of gravity lower and provides a stable and confidence inspiring ride.
It’s not apparent you’re riding a bike with a long wheelbase, other than that the bike feels grounded to the road and very controllable, even at high speeds and on poor road surfaces.
A taller headtube allows for a more upright riding position, putting less strain on the neck and shoulders and allowing a good view of the road ahead. This makes it a good option for commuting, firmly asserting the Trek Lexa SLX as a do-it-all road bike.
Descending is fast and fun. The carbon bladed forks have a longer sweep, which means it rails round corners with ease and precision, and reduces vibration - aiding comfort at the front end.
A SpeedTrap computer sensor is also integrated into the forks, meaning you can use a computer without the hassle of cables and additional sensors.
The chainset is a made up of high quality Shimano 105 shifters and derailleurs, with a Shimano Tiagra compact crankset and 10-speed cassette.
Trek have specified their home-grown Bontrager wheels; not super light or particularly flashy as far as wheel sets go, but they ride well and can stand the battering of winter training and long rides, as well as some green road adventures too.
The 25c Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite tyres are tough and puncture resistant. If you wanted to upgrade at a later date you could save some weight on the wheelset, but we wouldn’t be in a rush to do so.
In line with all Trek’s WSD (Women’s Specific Design) bikes the contact points are suitably female friendly, the crank length is shorter, bars slightly narrower with less reach and adjustable reach levers, and the saddle is the women specific Affinity 1 WSD.
The Lexa range has four bikes, starting at £550 for the entry level Lexa, rising through £750 for the S, and £875 for the SL. Only the top end Trek Lexa SLX, has the IsoSpeed decoupler and Endurance Fit geometry found on the higher priced Domane bikes. It's particularly good value given the Domane 4 Series starts at £1800 and you could, if you wish, spend £4000.
And finally, the frame colour is quite a contrast from the shiny black with gold highlights of 2013 - there’s no missing the bright white brake callipers and cabling set against the intense blue paintjob. There’s nothing girly about that!
It’s easy to be a fan of the Trek Lexa SLX; it’s not the first time I’ve tested the bike and it doesn’t disappoint from year to year. The comfort and endurance bias is obvious from the first ride, and yet there’s enough of a responsive and racy feel to make the SLX feel at home on a competitive ride too.
The well thought out geometry of the Lexa SLX means it’s a great bike for riders looking to step up from their first foray into cycling to road racing or longer form riding such as sportives.
If you haven’t tried the IsoSpeed system then put it on your to-do list for this weekend. Go grab a test ride and feel the difference. Enjoy!
- Comfortable - the IsoSpeed feature is legendary
- Fantastic value for money
- Endurance Fit geometry
- Plenty of size options to choose from
- Mounts for addition of pannier racks
- The price has increased by £50 this year
Sizes: 47, 50, 52, 54, 56cm
More information: Trek
What Trek say about the Lexa SLX 2014
Trek Lexa is a light, fast women's road bike. Forget the gym, this confidence-inspiring ride will get you to your goals in record time. It'll make the ride the best part of your day!
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