When Trek released the Trek Domane this spring, it upped the ante for any bike company that claimed to make a comfortable racing platform. Through clever design Trek has made a bike that can smooth out even the harshest roads while still accelerating like only a pure-bred racing machine can. Designed to take aim at the mythical cobbled classics; Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, and Paris-Roubaix, the Domane is the first bike that can truly claim to deliver a vertically complaint/laterally stiff frame.
On first inspection the Domane appears to be no different from any other high performance carbon frame that is being produced these days. Swoopy lines, futuristic shapes, and over sized tubes have come to define carbon bikes in the modern era. Over two years ago Trek went to the drawing board to create the "best in class" endurance road bike. Trek was looking for the magical blend of comfort that would lend itself to the type of ride that went a couple of hours longer than intended, and the race performance that would allow the best athletes in the world to tear the legs off their competitors. To achieve this, Trek designed the Domane around the all new IsoZone dampening platform. IsoZone effectively separates the top tube/seatstay assembly from the seat tube, while not permitting any excess play or lateral flex. This allows the seat tube to flex up to 30mm vertically, smoothing out any road imperfections to the rider while enabling the lateral stiffness to deliver a world-class sprint on demand.
After spending a bit of time on the Domane 6 series on the road Trek has produced a bike that delivers every one of its performance claims. A ride that would have normally left me beat up, instead left me fresh and ready for more. The Domane is so supple and smooth in the saddle but when I stood up to climb or throw in a hard acceleration it leapt forward without any hesitation or mushiness that comes from other endurance road bikes. Without seeing actual numbers to back up my claim, the Domane even seems to rival if not completely out perform the Madone in lateral stiffness.
Bottom line is that if you are looking for a versatile road bike that loves to go longer and farther than look no further. This bike was even raced to great success for the win at the Unofficial Gravel World Championships this season. The only rider who will be a little put off by this bike is the "slam that stem" crowd who can't get over a more upright headtube. The Domane will surely be the star of the year and with models ranging from $1400- 10000+ there will be a price point for every rider as well. Look to see this bike on the top step of the podium for a while.