Trek Domane SL6 Disc Women’s review

The best women's road bike in our annual Bike of the Year awards is smooth, comfortable and deceptively fast

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0
£3,100.00 RRP

Our review

The Domane delivers an exceptionally smooth ride that's comfortable over distance
Pros: Exceptionally smooth ride, comfortable over distance
Cons: Heavier than competitors; nimble but not the most agile
Skip to view product specifications

The award-winning Domane is built for long-distance, multi-day racing, and comfort and efficiency is woven into its DNA. Its siblings at Trek — the aero Madone and flyweight climbing fiend the Emonda — are champions in their categories and, in that respect, the Domane is no different.

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The Trek Domane SL6 Disc Women’s is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019 and has been crowned best women’s road bike. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub page.

In 2018, in a close-fought battle, the Domane SL6 Disc Women’s took the title of Women’s Road Bike of the Year. This year, with the competition just as close, it’s done it again.

Although labelled as the women’s Domane, it has the same unisex frame as others within the range, but with sex- and size-specific finishing kit, such as the Bontrager Ajna saddle and adapted stem lengths and handlebar widths to suit female riders.

An alloy Bontrager Pro stem and Elite IsoZone VR-SF handlebars form the basis of the cockpit
An alloy Bontrager Pro stem and Elite IsoZone VR-SF handlebars form the basis of the cockpit
David Caudery / Immediate Media

The frame is constructed from 500 series OCLV carbon, coupled with a carbon fork with a tapered steerer.

IsoSpeed is one of the most impressive features on the Domane: a decoupling system achieved through frame design and shock-absorbing elastomer pads, it allows both the seat tube and the headset area of the fork to have some free movement.

They can flex to absorb road chatter, and are isolated from many of the same forces coming through the frame, which means those forces aren’t transmitted through the saddle and handlebars.

IsoSpeed is one of the most impressive features on the Domane: it decouples the seat tube from the top tube, allowing the seat tube to flex with the forces of the road
IsoSpeed is one of the most impressive features on the Domane: it decouples the seat tube from the top tube, allowing the seat tube to flex with the forces of the road
David Caudery / Immediate Media

And it most definitely works. Take the Domane for a ride and it feels like you’re riding on freshly laid tarmac; that fatiguing road rumble just isn’t there.

The endurance-focused geometry places the rider in a moderate position: not too aggressive, not too upright. It’s a more relaxed position for longer rides, but it still puts you in a good place to put some power down when on the drops and pushing through.

Hidden mudguard mounts make this a winter-ready ride, plus some impressive tyre clearance means you can fit full coverage mudguards.

As you’d expect for a bike at this price-point, the Domane SL6 boasts a full Ultegra 11-speed groupset including hydraulic disc brakes.

The Bontrager Paradigm is an alloy performance wheelset with interchangeable axles for a variety of frames and forks. They’re tubeless ready and the wide 23mm outer rim width forms a good base for the impressively wide 32mm Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite tyres.

The clincher for the Domane is its composure and balance: it’s plush, but stiff and efficient

For an endurance bike, 32mm may seem wide, but there’s no obvious penalty in rolling resistance and the additional comfort and grip outweighs any negatives.

Finishing kit is a combination of alloy and carbon. The carbon Bontrager Ride Tuned seatmast helps increase vertical compliance and adds to the comfort of the ride.

An alloy Bontrager Pro stem and Elite IsoZone VR-SF handlebars form the basis of the cockpit. Even more comfort-enhancing features are packed in here: the handlebars have integrated road-chatter-absorbing foam pads, plus a short reach and shallow drop. They’re also compatible with clip-on aero bars.

Foam pads built into the handlebars help to absorb road chatter
Foam pads built into the handlebars help to absorb road chatter
David Caudery / Immediate Media

The stem comes ready to fit a range of products, such as lights and computers, as part of Bontrager’s Blendr system of mounts and brackets, which helps to keep the cockpit neat and clutter-free.

Those shock-absorbing elements, combined with the longest wheelbase on test, mean the Domane is wonderfully confident on descents. It holds its line and carves downhill even when the going gets rough. The trade-off is that while steering is fast and responsive, it’s not quite as agile as, say, the Specialized Tarmac or the Canyon Ultimate.

The clincher for the Domane, though, is its composure and balance: it’s plush, but stiff and efficient. That smoothness might mean it doesn’t feel as fast but, rest assured, racing is in the Domane’s DNA.

You can ride this bike for hours at a time in comfort, leaving you with legs fresh enough for a powerful dose of sprint-speed. The Domane does exactly what it was designed to do, and it does it very well indeed. It’s a clear winner in terms of all-round versatility.

Trek Domane SL6 Disc Women’s specifications

The unisex frame is the same as others within the Trek Domane range, but the women's bike has sex- and size-specific finishing kit
Trek’s Domane SL6 Disc Women’s road bike
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Sizes (*tested): 47, 50, 52*, 54, 56
  • Weight: 8.62kg (S)
  • Frame: 500 Series OCLV Carbon, front and rear IsoSpeed
  • Fork: Domane carbon disc, carbon tapered steerer
  • Chainset: Shimano Ultegra 34/50
  • Bottom bracket: BB90
  • Cassette: Shimano Ultegra, 11-34, 11-speed
  • Chain: Shimano Ultegra
  • Mech: Shimano Ultegra
  • Shifters: Shimano Ultegra
  • Wheelset: Bontrager Paradigm Disc Tubeless Ready, 12 mm thru-axle
  • Tyres: Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite, aramid bead, 700x32c
  • Stem: Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, 7-degree, with computer and light mounts
  • Bar: Bontrager Elite IsoZone VR-SF, 31.8 mm
  • Headset: Integrated, cartridge bearing, sealed, 1-1/8in top, 1.5in bottom
  • Saddle: Bontrager Ajna Comp, chromoly rails
  • Seatpost: Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon seatmast cap, 20 mm offset
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra flat mount hydraulic disc

Trek Domane SL6 Disc Women’s geometry

  • Seat angle: 74.2 degrees
  • Head angle: 71.3 degrees
  • Chainstay: 42cm
  • Seat tube: 47.5cm
  • Top tube: 53cm
  • Head tube: 14.5cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 8cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,003mm
  • Stack: 56.1cm
  • Reach: 37.1cm
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BikeRadar would like to thank Stolen Goat, Lazer, Northwave and Effetto Mariposa for their help and support during our Bike of the Year test.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Domane SL6 Disc Women's
Brand Trek

Available Sizes 47cm 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm
Seatpost Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon seatmast cap, 20 mm offset
All measurements for frame size tested 52cm
Reach (cm) 37.1
Stack (cm) 56.1
Head Tube (cm) 14.5
Frame size tested 52cm
Wheelbase (cm) 100.3
Top Tube (cm) 53
Seat Tube (cm) 53
Chainstays (cm) 42
Wheelset Bontrager Paradigm Disc Tubeless Ready, 12 mm thru-axle
Weight (kg) 8.62
Stem Bontrager Pro, 31.8 mm, 7-degree, w/computer and light mounts
Shifters Shimano Ultegra
Seat Angle 74.1
Bottom Bracket BB90
Saddle Bontrager Ajna Comp, chromoly rails
Rear Tyre Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite, aramid bead, 700x32c
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra
Headset Type Integrated, cartridge bearing, sealed, 1-1/8˝ top, 1.5˝ bottom
Head Angle 71.3
Handlebar Bontrager Elite IsoZone VR-SF, 31.8 mm
Front Tyre Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite, aramid bead, 700x32c
Frame Material 500 Series OCLV Carbon, Front & Rear IsoSpeed
Fork Domane carbon disc, carbon tapered steerer
Cranks Shimano Ultegra 34/50
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-34, 11-speed
Brakes Shimano Ultegra flat mount hydraulic disc
Bottom-bracket drop (cm) 8