The Domane is the endurance model in the Trek fleet, built for the famed cobles of Northern France. The intent of this highly customised machine was to deliver the all-conquering Cancellara across over 200km of the roughest roads any cyclist is likely to find with speed and comfort. The staggering technology that was developed for the world’s finest has filtered down to the 6.2 version… with a potentially revolutionary addition.
This bike is absolutely chock-a-block with features – from top to toe – so let’s just go through the important ones.
The defining feature of the Domane range is the Iso Speed equipped frame. The 600 series frame is very stiff, which would normally lead to an equally rigid, non-compliant ride… The true genius of the Iso Speed technology shines through here, isolating the seat tube from the frame, allowing the frame to be as stiff as the material will allow whilst enabling subtle movement and additional compliance not afforded to traditional frames.
The first time I really noticed this was in an attempt to bridge across to another group on a local training ride across ‘Granite Rd’. This paints a fair description of the condition of this road, and in my best Cancellara impersonation I gritted my teeth and mashed the pedals and could have sworn I was rolling across hot mix. The bike didn’t miss a beat and felt very secure and responsive. The 25mm bullet proof Bontrager R3 hard-case tyres had a lot to do with that, as did the wider wheelbase.
It’s worth noting I have ridden Trek’s 4, 5 and 6 series frames, and can confidently say the 6 series is well worth paying a little extra for. Up until the introduction of the 7 series, the 6 was used for ProTour teams and it is very clear to see why. The quality frame along with the BB90 bottom bracket makes this one seriously well performing bike. The BB90 is the widest available on a road bike. A very noticeable feature when seriously putting the power down and/or standing up out of the saddle. Every time I stood up I was able to take another gear (at least), and really felt this thing jump. The rigidity of that massive BB90 became really evident the steeper the climb got, or the faster I tried to go.
With all this endurance technology it’s important to note that Trek hasn’t missed out on the performance aspect of this bike. The group set is the 22 speed mechanical Ultegra which is so flawless in it’s shifting, I question why you would need to go any higher spec – a very personal decision would be to go with electrical or mechanical – call me romantic but my heart belongs to mechanical. A potential issue is the 50/34 compact which stronger riders might find a touch too small, but the design of the Domane is to meet the needs of the Average Joe so it’s easy to justify going that way.
Now onto the (potential) revolution – disc brakes. For many the use of disc brakes is not a new thing, but for any road only riders that have not been exposed to them, it will change the game. They are so much stronger you will find yourself riding much more aggressively and pushing your limits. I found this especially prevalent with cornering and descending. With the excess breaking force I was leaving it later and later into corners, and driving descents as hard as possible with the knowledge that if took it too far the disc brakes would bring me right back. Along with the E2 steerer, which increases lateral stiffness and improves handling, this combination made driving the Domane a pleasure. I literally threw everything I had at it and it took it all without a wobble.
As with everything that seems too good to be true, the disc brakes can cause headaches. Obviously they are far stronger then calliper brakes so when riding in a bunch it’s important to be mindful of that and take appropriate action. And to fit in the hydraulic brakes the hoods are extremely large which I found very uncomfortable. And there is the small matter of the increased weight associated with them, but at 78kg that wasn’t a deal breaker for me.
This is an amazing bike, and aside from a very small portion of the cycling population, I would say very much worth consideration. It certainly exceeded my expectations from a performance point of view and the much hyped endurance aspects came up trumps!
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