There are two distinct flavours of e-road bike emerging: the lower-assistance, lighter bikes such as the Fazua-equipped Focus Paralane² and the max-power heavier units such as Giant’s Yamaha-equipped FastRoad. Joining that party is Trek’s new Domane+.
The Domane + is based around the last generation Domane frame design. Built from 500 Series OCLV carbon, encased within is a powerful Bosch Performance Cruise motor with 250w output and an impressive 63Nm of torque.
It’s backed up with a large capacity 500wh battery that’s mounted within the down tube. The battery itself can be charged in situ via a port that sits in front of the motor on the bottom bracket shell. Or you can use the included key to unlock and remove the battery so that it can be charged away from the bike.
At the helm of the power train is Bosch’s Purin controller. Robert Smith
Controlling the power train is Bosch’s minimal Purin controller. This displays current mode and battery level. Adjustments to the mode are made using +/- switches mounted on the face.
On the bottom edge is a Walk+ button. Activate this when you’re wheeling the bike and it’ll even give a little assistance. At 17.5kg in weight, it comes in handy if you’re pushing it up a steep pedestrian ramp.
Trek has included a sturdy Pleischer kickstand and integrated front and rear lights from Supernova. Equipment levels are good with the carbon version of Bontrager’s Domane specific seat mast, topped with an Arvada comp saddle.
Up front, the neat Elite stem holds the excellent Isozone VR-CF bar in place, which keeps the front end in check by all but eliminating any road buzz.
The alloy Paradigm wheels are up to Bontrager’s usual high standards and are shod with excellent Schwalbe G-One Speeds in a generous 35c width. The G-One is a gravel specific tyre but the speed version has the least aggressive tread so its on-road manners are great.
I wasn’t sure at first about the combination of fat tyres and the SRAM 1x drivetrain with the very un-road-like combination of a 20-tooth chainring and 11-36 cassette on the rear, which gives a tallest gear of nigh-on 48 inches and a lowest of just over 15. A more traditional 50/34, 11-32 would give close to 29 at the low end and nearly 124 at the top. It means that this is a bike that you end up spinning higher cadences on than normal; thankfully, it doesn’t feel ‘unusual’ when riding.
The impressive Bosch system gives this bike a kick. Robert Smith
Trek has done a great job in controlling the power band on the Bosch system. It kicks in without jolting and then ramps up quickly, which is great for pulling away from traffic when commuting or punching up a short steep climb.
The Domane+ does ride very well, but unlike some lighter designs you never forget you’re on an e-bike. The power assistance isn’t dominating but you do notice it whenever it’s engaged.
The range numbers have impressed: the furthest I achieved in a single charge being 71 miles with 1,175m of elevation at 16.8mph average. All the more impressive because over 90 per cent of that ride was on gravel, with the lowest being a still impressive 52 miles at 16.9mph on one of the hottest days of the year.
On-road the ride is fun and comfortable, off-road, the Domane+ really comes alive. Robert Smith
On road it’s fun, the handling stable and the IsoSpeed on the rear and clever bar on the front keep things comfortable, but it’s not the most impressive I’ve tried.
Off the beaten track, however, the Domane+ comes alive. The traction afforded by the torque and power in the Bosch system makes climbing super-steep, rutted singletrack sections fun. On most gravel rides we usually expect at least a little bike-hiking, here, however, you get less of that thanks to the power assist.
On evidence like this I’d love to see what Trek could do with a full-on e-gravel bike based around the impressive Checkpoint.
Overall, the Domane+ is a great fun bike to ride. The downside is the price. It’s expensive compared to the equally off-roadable alloy Cannondale Synapse NEO SE at two grand less.
Trek Domane+ geometry
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 72 degrees
Seat tube: 54.8cm
Top tube: 56.7cm
Head tube: 18.1
Fork offset: 5.3cm
Bottom bracket drop: 7.8cm