10 Apr 2012

The Trek Domane Review

No Comments Blend Riding, Bontrager, Made in USA, New Stuff, News, Trek

The Trek Domane was recently introduced as a rough roads endurance bike designed around the brutal Spring Classics.

Our ears perked up. Rough roads? We’ve got those. Long, hard rides? We love ‘em.

We had heard rumors. Over the winter, tours at Trek’s Waterloo factory were suspended. Something was in the works. They were secretly producing a small batch of Domanes to be ready by the introduction. It was magical to see the release online and then see that some bikes were immediately available. We were able to snag one, due to the diligence of Trek’s local representative, another shop’s generosity, and a promise of a cameo in the upcoming Gravel Metric Video.

The bike arrived in the dawn hours last Friday and we went to work.

We swapped out the stock tires at first to see how 700×28′s would fit. It seems logical that a bike built for the roughest roads would have clearance for wider tires. We were delighted to see ample clearance. One could potentially fit a low-profile 700×30 tire in there, if one desired.

The frame has a slightly evolved shape from the Madone and touts some new technologies: IsoSpeed Technology, Power Transfer Construction, and a new fork design that blends classic lines with modern handling. The fork has a greater rake but placing the dropouts behind the fork help maintain quick handling.

But how does it ride?

We took it out for some test spins on a brick road nearby once we got it built. At first, I wasn’t impressed. I was excited to open it up and see what the bike felt like and, standing up, I though to myself “this feels just like my Madone”. But then I sat down. That’s when the Domane becomes something totally “other”. For kicks, I got my speed up and took my feet off the pedals. (As an aside, I looked awesome doing this. Imagine a 30+year old man, sun on his face, beard flapping in the spring breeze, riding a $4500 road bike down the road with his feet in the air – and try not smiling). Once I let my weight rest on the saddle alone, I felt it – well, what I mean is that I didn’t feel it. The road went smooth. My hands were on the top of the bars, cushioned with the new fork, new Isozone h-bar padding, and cush Bontrager Gel Grip tape. It was like, in that moment, someone had taken 20lbs of pressure from my tires. Then, coming to my senses, I put my feet back, grabbed the hoods, and I was back on a stiff and fast road bike. The tires were back up to 110, and I was moving.

And this was in the first mile.

Taking it out the next morning, other riders commented on the sproingyness™ of the seat tube.  They wondered if it felt like it was costing me energy. The ride went well and I didn’t feel the bike took any extra effort. On a second ride a few days later, I felt like I had settled into the bike better and found it to be much more comfortable and just as quick as my Madone.

I think this is a great century bike for the midwest. The Domane was designed for the hardest one-day races in Europe, but has every right to be under butts in DeKalb. They have Pavé, we have Peace Road.

The first batch has already been gobbled up, but if you want one, make it custom. The Domane is live on Trek’s Project One website to be customized according to your dreams.

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