Rumours of a new Trek Domane have been circulating through the cycling world ever since WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo unveiled brand new bikes with a striking “Project One” paint job ahead of Paris-Roubaix this spring. Customised with numbers and colours depending on each rider, the bikes turned heads and, although Trek themselves remained tight-lipped on the details, they were a clear indication that something new was coming from the American brand.
The Domane raced by the men’s and women’s WorldTour teams at Paris-Roubaix carried Elisa Longo Borghini to a stunning solo victory in Paris-Roubaix Femmes –Trek couldn’t have asked for a better affirmation that the new Domane is fit for the most testing of terrains. What wasn’t clear at the time, though, was that Longo Borghini and her teammates were racing on the Trek Domane RSL (standing for Race Shop Limited) frameset – a specific version of the Domane with race-orientated H1.5 geometry which is smaller and more aggressive, prioritising performance and speed over comfort. The Domane RSL Frameset also has no downtube storage and less tyre clearance – 35mm – in a bid to reduce the weight of the bike.
For the everyday rider, or someone who isn’t likely to be using the Domane solely to race hard over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix or the roads of Grand Tours, Trek has also released new versions of the Domane SL and SLR, and these are likely going to be a the most popular choice among consumers.
The Domane SLR shares Trek’s new, higher-graded 800Series OCLV carbon with the RSL and all three new framesets see the removal of the Front IsoSpeed in favour of making the bike lighter. Most of the criticism of the previous version of the Domane surrounds its heavier weight compared to its competitors.
The removal of the front IsoSpeed is a slightly surprising move from the American brand since it's a technology which many people have enjoyed thanks to the added comfort and compliance it gives on difficult surfaces. However, it has regularly been criticised for the complications it has when servicing the bike and for the weight it adds to the frame.
Trek has kept the rear IsoSpeed decoupler on the new versions of the Domane, but this has been refined so that it is lighter and no longer adjustable, but Trek still claims it “soaks up fatiguing bumps in the road”. Trek says that the removal of the IsoSpeed combined with the Domane’s new carbon and simplified frame has saved up to 700g on SLR builds and 300g on SL builds, a significant amount of weight which no doubt be noticeable when going uphill on the bike.
Trek’s entry level bike, the Domane SL 5 (with aluminium wheels and Shimano 105 mechanical) has a weight of 8.93 kg in size 56, while the Domane SLR 9 (with carbon wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2) comes in at 7.25kg. The Domane SL 5 retails for £3,300 while the Domane SLR 9 P1 is priced at £12,000. The only difference between the Domane SL and SLR frames is the carbon grade, they are identical from a feature and geometry perspective.
The Domane stays true to its original identity of being a bike based on comfort and compliance with the Endurance Geometry used on the SL and SLR bikes. Compared to the H1.5 geometry found on Madone, Émonda and the Domane RSL, Trek’s Endurance Geometry features a higher top tube and longer wheelbase to maximise stability.
Trek’s proprietary Kammtail Virtual Foil (KVF) tube shaping improves aerodynamics on the bike – seen most clearly on the Domane’s D-shaped seatpost which now inserts directly into the seat tube. The all-new integrated cockpit also is said to help the bike be more efficient as it cuts through the air.
The integrated cockpit gives the new Domane a much neater look at the front end and is made possibly largely due to Trek’s all-new RCS Pro integrated stem that shares compatibility across several different of the brand’s different road bikes (but not the Madone). It keeps the cables tucked out of sight while also allowing riders to swap stem sizes without having to remove any brake hoses or shift housings. The RCS Pro stem is available in both-7 and +7 degree rise.
Despite Trek’s clear focus on aerodynamics and reducing the weight of the Domane, the bike still features the same internal downtube storage on the RS and RSL and hidden mudguard mounts which makes the bike more suitable for all terrain and weather. Trek has also added new top tube bag mounts on the RS and RSL which “give riders the option to keep their Domane lean and clean or fully accessorised for all-day rides.” The RS and RSL versions of the Domane also have clearance for up to 38c tyres and come with a T46 bottom bracket which Trek says allows it to maintain its efficient frame design technology.
Overall, the new Domane keeps the same versatility that has made it one of the most popular bikes on the market but Trek has added a performance tilt to make it lighter and faster while maintaining most of the benefits of the previous version. The American brand markets the Domane as “one bike to do it all” whether that’s racing Paris-Roubaix, dabbling in some light gravel, going on a fast group ride, competing in a Grand Fondo or just rolling at a social pace with friends. The bike aims to hit the sweet spot between being fast and lightweight but also staying comfortable and accessible.
Pictured: Trek Domane SLR