It was only a short time ago that we still went on road rides on 19mm tires aired to 120psi. Skinny rubbers with no absolutely no give, rattling our brains out on anything but glassy-smooth tarmac. But dammit, it was fast, right? And, just as well, we mated those barely-there tires to the most bone-jarringly stiff frames we could get our nubs on. The Klein Quantum Pro, Cannondale CAAD, De Rosa Merak, the Giant TCR (rest in peace, ONCE), all causing future back problems. The stiffer, the harsher, and the more painful the ride, the faster, right? Wrong. Now, thanks to miracles of modern science, we know differently. We know now that a harsh-riding bike is an inefficient bike, from the tires to the frame. Getting bounced along the road feels fast, but counterintuitively, it isn’t. Energy is wasted by the body trying to keep the bike planted (think of it like doing a thousand tiny bench presses), instead of driving the bike forward. Even a smooth road can cause energy loss when the body absorbs slight impacts instead of the bike.
Of course, this is magnified in the cobbled Classics – legendary hardman races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, where riding a bike over centuries-old cobbled roads is a brutally punishing endeavor. It’s a big part of how road cycling has arrived at the conclusion that smooth equals speed, and it’s also where the Trek Domane was developed, with input from one-day legend Fabian Cancellara. It’s the third in the quiver of Trek’s pure road racing bicycles, the Classics machine, built around Trek’s IsoSpeed technology at the seat tube and fork steerer. IsoSpeed essentially “decouples” the parts of the frame both the rider’s hands and rear end are connected to, allowing those parts of the bike (which are designed along the same concept as a carbon leaf spring) to flex vertically, giving the rider as smooth of a ride as possible without affecting the rigidity of the frame at all. At the rear of the bike, IsoSpeed is adjustable with a slider and 4mm allen key, allowing the rider to tune the ride from rock-solid for glassy tarmac to butter-smooth to attack rough roads. Honestly? We almost never slide it up from the softest setting. It’s that good. The Domane also proffers enormous amounts of tire clearance, with the rim-brake version easily clearing a 28mm Vittoria Corsa, allowing for even greater comfort from big-volume tires. Trek says the disc version will swallow a 32mm, but we’ve heard rumors of larger. Big tires means big versatility, and light “mixed-surface” riding is in the Domane’s DNA. While packed with tech like its aero brother the Madone, the Domane is not a heavy bike, with frames coming in under 1000g. While its specialty is the flatlands, we’ve found it just at home on the steeps of Mount Tamalpais, and going uphill is certainly not something the Domane is averse to. The Domane is also equipped with hidden fender mounts, making it an ideal winter training bike in poor conditions, especially in disc-brake spec.
The Domane’s ride itself is downright dreamy while still offering raw speed from the bottom-end of the bike. It’s available in two geometries, like Trek’s other road racing bikes, an aggressive “Pro Endurance” fit, and an “Endurance” fit. The Pro fit (available only in a rim-brake frameset) is indeed that, and it’s incredibly rewarding, with a low bottom-bracket and long wheelbase that’s well balanced by lightning fast steering – one of our favorite-handling production bikes, if we’re honest. For the technical road riding out our back door in Marin County, California, the quick steering and stable platform brings a smile to the face of nearly any experienced rider. The Endurance fit, while taller and with more tame handling characteristics, still provides more than enough speed and power transfer for nearly any rider, and we’d be pleased as punch to ride either.
Suddenly, it’s cool to ride 28mm tires. Really cool. Above Category specializes in Trek’s custom paint system, Project One, rapid-turnaround bespoke paint completed at Trek in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Like the rest of our Trek Race Shop offerings, every Trek is custom-built from the ground up by AC, and finished with our trademark pursuit of aesthetic perfection.
- 700 Series OCLV Carbon (Pro Endurance Fit, Rim Brake Only) - Made in the USA
- 600 Series OCLV Carbon (Endurance Fit)
- Front/Rear ISOSpeed Decouplers, Rear Adjustable
- Project One Custom Paint Available
- Direct-Mount Brakes
- BB90 Bottom Bracket
- 950g Frame Weight
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