Trek Domane SLR 7 review

Radical front- and rear-cushioned race machine

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £4,400.00 RRP | AUD $6,799.00 | USD $6,000.00

Our review

Clever and very effective technology wrapped up in an exceptional riding machine
Buy if, You want a bike that goes quickly and takes care of you in equal measure
Pros: Compliance, comfort, handling and speed
Cons: Very little – though you’ll find it hard to resist fiddling with and big tyres may put off purists
Skip to view product specifications

Okay, this isn’t the full WorldTour-spec model, which is in short supply. But the new Domane promises to be one of the year’s most radical and compelling frames – and it’s not like a 7.58kg Ultegra Di2-equipped model is exactly slumming it.

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Trek’s original Domane was groundbreaking, with its IsoSpeed decoupler effectively creating a pivot in front of the junction of the seat tube and top tube. It worked too, offering a soft-tail-feel that smoothed bumps and damped vibrations.

Up-front damping

The new incarnation takes things a step further. IsoSpeed remains, but the pivot is now in line with the seat tube with the tube itself split, allowing the two halves to work independently. Even more radically, you can adjust the amount of flex the system offers using a slider that runs the whole length of the seat tube.

The top tube flares towards the seat-tube before parting like the Red Sea
The top tube flares towards the seat tube before parting like the Red Sea
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Trek claims that the new design delivers a 14% increase in vertical compliance over the previous model.

There are changes elsewhere too, with this Domane also featuring ‘Front IsoSpeed’. It’s a system that builds in float in the top section of the headset, which sounds, er, interesting, but Trek assures us that this has no effect on steering, handling or strength.

What it does deliver is a claimed 10% increase in vertical compliance. The final touch is the new ‘IsoCore’ bar, which retains the earlier bar’s elastomer pads but with the addition of thermoplastic elastomer layers to damp high-frequency vibrations.

Silky yet reponsive ride

We were expecting a soft and bouncy feel as a result of all these features, but what you actually get is a positive, rapid and responsive ride. At its shallowest setting the ride feels like the Madone’s, with just enough damping to keep road buzz at bay.

At the other end of the scale we expected the difference to be more marked, and the ride to be super-plush. When we hit cobbled roads and rutted, gravelly byways the system really does come into its own. Ramp up the speed and absolutely go for it over the worst surfaces and the SLR comes alive, easily matching speeds over the rough stuff that we’d only previously experienced on dedicated gravel machines.

The new Domane combines clever technology with an exciting ride
The new Domane combines clever technology with an exciting ride
Robert Smith

The Domane’s ability to cope with the worst surfaces you can throw at it, and at speed, is truly stunning. And any doubts we had about the Front IsoSpeed were unfounded, with the steering feeling as direct as on its Emonda stablemate.

Bontrager’s tubeless-ready wheels have wide rims, and Trek has made the most of that by fitting fat 28mm tyres. They roll smoothly, are as fast as slimmer tyres and they grip superbly through corners. These contribute to limpet-like traction on descents, allowing you to confidently attack even the roughest corners, the twin-IsoSpeed setup never getting unsettled like super-stiff carbon frames can.

The direct-fit Bontrager Speed Stop brakes are very effective in combination with the alloy rims. We think Dura-Ace and SRAM Red have a slight edge in terms of feel, but these look great and we can’t fault the performance.

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The new Domane sets another benchmark in comfort, combining clever technology with an exciting ride. And for added practicality it even comes with hidden mudguard/fender mounts. Neat. Now we just need to get hold of that elusive pro version…

Product Specifications

Product

Name Domane SLR 7
Brand Trek

Available Sizes 50cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm 60cm 62cm
Saddle Bontrager Affinity Elite Ti
Wheelbase (cm) 102.5
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 76.5
Seat Tube (cm) 50
Chainstays (cm) 42.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Wheelset Bontrager Paradigm Comp TLR (tubeless ready) rims, 18 spokes front, 24 spokes rear
Weight (kg) 7.58
Trail 6
Stem Bontrager Pro 110mm
Shifters Shimano Ultegra Di2
Seatpost Bontrager Ride Tuned carbon mast cap
Seat Angle 73
Rear Wheel Weight 1620
Bottom Bracket BB90
Rear Tyre Bontrager R3 700x28mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra Di2
Headset Type Cane Creek
Head Angle 72
Handlebar Bontrager Pro Isocore VR CF 44cm
Front Wheel Weight 1140
Front Tyre Bontrager R3 700x28mm
Frame Material 600 Series OCLV Carbon
Fork Offset 4.8
Fork Domane full carbon, E2 tapered steerer
Cranks Shimano Ultegra 175mm 5o/34
Chain Shimano
Cassette Shimano CS-6800 11-28
Brakes Bontrager Speed Stop direct mount
Frame size tested 58cm