These days, endurance riding takes a variety of forms. The sport attracts adventurous athletes who seek thrill in the long, arduous rides over hundreds—or even thousands—of miles. Whether you’re going solo in the DIY-style TransAm Bike Race, gearing up for the traditional Paris-Brest-Paris 1200 km audax, or tackling weekend endurance rides in the desert simply for the love of cycling, there are common threads that define the sport: a spirit of adventure, a love of dirty, dusty, rough roads, and the desire to persevere against all odds.
To excel in endurance riding, you’re going to need an endurance bike. At their core, endurance road bikes are more comfortable versions of race-oriented road bikes. They typically feature a less aggressive geometry (mainly meaning a higher handle bar position), the ability to accommodate wider tires, and uniquely designed frames to smooth out your ride. Over the years, endurance bikes have become a category of their own, every bit as respectable as their road racing counterparts. However, there’s no one way to build an endurance bike, and dedicated cycling companies have taken up the challenge with gusto. Enter the Trek Domane.
Trek is a major bicycle manufacturer and distributor with headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The company is perhaps best known for its Trek Modane (2003) and subsequent models introduced and utilized by Lance Armstrong in his many Tour de France wins. Similarly, the Trek Domane (pronounced doh-MAH-ne) was introduced in 2012 as a response to Fabian Cancellara’s request for a bike that would smooth out the rough roads of the Cobblestone Classics. Trek rose to the challenge, producing the first bike in their series designed to provide comfort for endurance riders and to embrace the rough riding surfaces prominent in Classics races.
If you’re thinking of trying out the Trek Domane, here are some things to know about its performance and build.
The Trek Domane Offers Endless Options
Not even three years from the introduction of the Domane, Trek now offers the Domane in a variety of five families and numerous models within each family. The Domane ranges in price and performance to accommodate all kinds of riders, from the average weekend cyclist to the professional riders. On the higher end models, you can even customize your own bike from the saddle and headset to cool colors and artistic designs—for a hefty price, of course.
Currently, the minimum you’ll spend on a new Domane is $1,429.99 for the 2.0. The maximum priced model is the Domane Classics Edition—the very bike that Cancellara uses in team races—available to public for a whopping $11,949.99. For comparison, the Domane 6.2, the lowest in the 6 family, is available for $4599.99
There are a few remarkable characteristics of the Domane’s frame that make it stand out. Mainly, you’ll find the IsoSpeed decoupler—separating the seat tube from the top tube—a shorter tube top than its racy counterparts, a taller head tube, and a longer wheelbase.
With the exception of the Aluminum Trek Domane 2 series, all Trek Domane bikes feature a frame made of OCLV Carbon, which is known for its weight-saving and performance enhancing technology to find the best weight/stiffness ratio in any price range.
The IsoSpeed decoupler is the Domane’s crowning jewel, and a real clever feat by the engineers over at Trek. The idea of this design is to allow the seat tube to rotate independently from the top tube by connecting the two with a pair of bearings at the seat junction. Trek claims their decoupler allows for twice the vertical compliance of their competitors, which means you’ll have vertical flexibility without sacrificing lateral stiffness or pedaling efficiency. On the road, you’ll find the bike has an incredibly comfortable rear end and absorbs bumps with ease.
Stiffness is a priority of the Trek Domane—another place where it has nosed ahead of many of its competitors. The use of 600 OCLV carbon for the frame certainly contributes to the bike’s overall stiffness. Engineers work with aerospace materials to balance stiffness and areal weight. The result? A bike that has proven itself to be 6% more stiff overall than Trek’s own Madone, with a 9% stiffer head tube.
The new IsoSpeed fork also adds an element of lateral stiffness to the bike. With results similar to the decoupler, the fork actually increases fore/aft compliance so that your ride is smooth and you are in control at all times.
Ride Tuned Seatmast
Another of our favorite components of the Trek Domane is the Ride Tuned seatmast. Once again, the seamast is engineered for comfort over the long haul, featuring a light no-cut design that uses less material at the seat tube junction. Unlike most other bikes in its on the market, the Domane also allows 10 cm for adjustability in seatmast height, making it the most adjustable in its class.
Overall: A Comfortable, Competitive Ride
With the possible exception of price, there’s very little not to like about the Trek Domane. That being said, the Domane is actually priced quite competitively in comparison to its contemporaries on the market. Riders tend to unanimously agree on the bike’s ability to provide comfort on long journeys over rough terrain. While you won’t have as much control in handling as you would on a straight road race bike, you’ll be able to go harder for longer.