The ALR designation indicates that the Emonda frame is made from Aluminum, instead of the carbon frames of the Emonda S, SL, & SLR.
While this has helped to bring the price down, the ALR has also filled a niche in Trek's performance bike line. The truth is that there are riders out there who prefer a laterally stiff aluminum frame, and will sacrifice a bit of frame weight for a higher component spec. It makes sense. These days a lot of consumers are essentially forced into a carbon frame if they want an Ultegra level bike. The Emonda ALR gives crit racers and enthusiasts another option.
With the extensively hydro-formed tube shapes of Trek's 300 series aluminum, the bike rides with a comfort that lesser aluminum bikes can't even come close to. The paint choices are superb and the complete bike package came together nicely.
We've just received a big shipment of this new bike and they'll be on our floor as you read this. If you've written off aluminum, these bikes just may change your mind.
Also, check out the great video that Trek shot right here in the ATX, featuring the new Emonda ALR. We were only able to find the video on Trek's international site, hence the subtitles. But that's a good thing for Austin. If everyone in America was to see how rad our city was, we'd be overrun.