When heading out for a test ride, we usually pick a route with a good variety of terrain that’s suitable for the type of machine being ridden. For a bike that was designed to conquer the Paris-Roubaix cobbles, and was ridden to victory in March’s infamous Strade Bianche by Fabian Cancellara, we devised the least road bike friendly route we could think of, taking in the roughest roads in the area.
Highs: Performance, ride quality, stability
Lows: It’ll make your other bikes jealous
Buy if: You want performance and comfort in one package
Available from £1,000 in an all-aluminium version, and in carbon from £1,500 right up to the custom Project One 6 series, the Domane incorporates Trek’s innovative IsoSpeed decoupler, a pivot point at the seat tube and top tube junction that allows the seat tube to flex independently from the rest of the frame. Any concerns that this might dilute the frame’s ultimate performance were quickly dispelled by truly electric acceleration.
Trek claims a nine percent increase in stiffness over the Madone, and 100 percent more vertical compliance. Maximising power transfer are the massive head and down tubes, huge BB90 bottom bracket and beefy asymmetric chainstays, the width of which roughly doubles on the non-driveside, accommodating the built-in wireless DuoTrap cadence and speed sensors.
The hardworking IsoSpeed fork has slim, curved blades with 20 percent greater offset than the Madone, and a kink above the dropout to further increase comfort. The improved stiffness, more relaxed head angle and tapered steerer tube add up to an incredibly stable bike.
Trek’s isospeed decoupler allows the seat tube to ﬂex independently: www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk
The seat tube can flex independently thanks to the IsoSpeed decoupler
We tore through potholed country lanes in astonishing comfort. The feeling of being isolated from shocks with no adverse effect on pedalling action or steering deflection was uncanny, and the Domane was as fast uphill or on the flat as any superbike we’ve ridden. Even the handlebar has integrated IsoZone pads for further vibration reduction.
On repeated runs across a long stretch of violently rough cobblestones, although there was obviously vibration it was easy to choose a line, change direction mid-corner and brake without any drama; even riding one-handed wasn’t impossible because the Domane tracked straight regardless.
The combination of 27mm wide Bontrager carbon rims and 25mm tyres is ultra accelerative, grippy, stable, extremely strong and also comfortable. The bike’s plush feel gives the speed and handling of a true superbike, with the glide of a cyclocross machine over rough stuff.
With neat cable routing, a clever seatmast with 100mm of adjustment, integrated chain keeper and hidden mudguard mounts, Trek seem to have thought of everything, and with such imperious terrain crushing performance, the Domane could be your road bike for all reasons.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.