I'm not going to lie. My life doesn't always suck...
So on with the review.
|The stunning back drop in the bike shop. And no, those wheels (Or the awesome bars on the floor.) don't come with it...|
The Trek Domane 6 Series is the fast performance road bike (IE comfort) replacement for the no defunct Pilot series. The Pilot never did very well in the market place. It did what it was advertised for very well. But I get the feeling that it suffered some PR problems. Especially when it was brought out in the peak Lance years. Making it difficult to explain to a customer why they didn't want to be on the bike Lance Armstrong rode and that they would be far happier on something like the Pilot. Yeah, see what I mean? The poor Pilot was kind of screwed from the start.
Trek has been smarter about how they brought the Domane out to the general public. By showing them what the bike is really capable of under a PRO racer in a gnarly race like Paris-Roubaix. Trek is already giving the Domane model a far better chance of being accepted into the fold.
The price will do a good job as well, starting at $4500 MSRP with full Ultegra and Bontrager Race Lite wheels it is at a good price point for this market. Conversely, if money is no problem and you like doing the full Monty. You can also get it with full Dura-Ace Di2 and Bontrager Aeolus 5 carbon clinchers for an almost astronomical 12K (I just choked a little.)
When I first saw the bike I thought it was quite pretty. The black and white color scheme. While having been done to death lately. Looks very nice on this particular ride. The black lines really help accentuate the curves. Which I like a lot.
As with most Trek products the bike is very well made. Joints are tight and clean. Paint is smooth, glossy and no visible blemishes. And if you are thinking to yourself, "Well yeah, it's new...". Think again. I've seen brand new bikes from other companies straight out of the box that left a lot to be desired in the fit and finish category.
There were several design features that caught my eye when looking at the bike.
First was the non-symmetrical chain stays. Since the cycling world has gone to carbon in a big way asymmetrical chain stays are nothing new. In fact, my last three road bikes all featured them. On the Domane however you really notice the difference in size and shape. The drive side is like a beam set on it's edge. Fairly straight and quite large (Vertically). The non-drive side on the other hand has a shocking amount of curve and far more width than than it does height. I assume that's to give the ride that age old cliche of "More vertical compliance and increased lateral stiffness." If I had a nickle for every time a bike manufacturer used those set of terms I'd have a lot of nickles...
|And no I didn't turn it around for the photo (Smart ass...).|
|You don't want this guy looking down his nose at your bike....|
Here is a short propaganda film from Trek to explain why their bike works so well with the Vertical/Lateral problem.
|You can really see the space between the seat stays and the seat tube where the elastomer bushing is.|
When I review a frame I try my hardest to get the fit as close as possible to my normal set up. As well as using a set of wheels that I'm familiar with. Next to a frame, wheels make the biggest difference in ride Quality. So I used my older Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 for the test ride. I've used that particular set for thousands of miles. That let me know how the frame itself would really behave without focusing on to many things at once.
So lets get to the meat of it.
The Domane does everything that Trek advertises it to do. Almost in a shocking (Get it? Hahaha, I crack me up...) way. Let me explain.
In a lot of comfort or performance bikes the cushiness of the ride is apparent all over. The Cannondale Synapse, the old Trek Pilot and the Specialized Roubaix all have (had) really plush rides. Frankly, to the detriment of power to the ground in some, if not all those cases. In some of those models you only notice it when you're really going hard. With others its all the time.
But the Domane mostly keeps the stiff parts stiff and the squishy parts squishy. I say mostly, and I'll get to that part in a moment. But the ISO Speed dampening system does what it advertises. I was amazed at how different the ride felt through out the three points of contact with the bike (Hands, ass and feet). While riding I would have a lot of road feel through my hands and feet and almost none through my butt. Quite honestly it was a little un-nerving at first. I'm use to getting pretty equal feedback through all my body parts. But regardless of the terrain I barley felt anything through the saddle. Don't get me wrong. You would feel a chuck hole or a seam in the road. But it was severely muted. It's worth a test ride on your own just to feel what I'm talking about. It's that marked of a difference.
The Domane excels at flat rough pavement and descending. With every push of the pedals you would feel the bike move forward. Like wise with descending, the bicycle would remain steady and the steering was accurate and true but not twitchy. It also cornered quite well. Although I don't think it dove into tight corners as well as a purpose built race bike. But then again. It wasn't intended for that either...
Trek set out to build a bike that's designed for a cyclist who wants a light (With Ultegra it weighs in at 16 pounds.) fast, comfortable bike. Something that an average club rider or century killer could use and enjoy. And for those things I think Trek hit it out of the park.
But... (You knew this was coming right? It can't be all farting rainbows.)
It does have a couple weakness in my opinion.
First, climbing in the saddle. I'm not sure how to put this. But it was just harder than it felt like it should be. I'm not sure if it was because of the flex in the ISO system or something else. But if I got out of the saddle that "difficulty" in climbing seemed to go away.
Like wise, I may have been fatigued from previous rides. But I know the route that I took the Domane out on like the back of my hand. And I definitely felt more tired by the end of the ride. Again, part of me wonders if all that awesome flex in the seat post isn't making your legs push that much farther. Maybe even adding a touch more resistance. Or it could be I'm just a big weeny. All of those are true possibilities...
If you are a person who wants to ride all day long with far less fatigue then this is the bike for you. Like wise, if you're the type of person wants 85-90% of the speed and cornering abilities of a race bike but you don't like to get beat up in the process then I can whole heartedly suggest you try the Domane. Its a good bike and worth a consideration.
However if you want to dabble in racing or perhaps you lives at the base of the Dolomite's you may want to look else where. Different horses for different courses...
Thanks for reading!
Rubber side down,