Author Topic: Trek Domane  (Read 47628 times)

Trek Domane
« on: April 22, 2013, 07:47:50 pm »
My new Trek Domane has just had its first proper test:  the Heart of England 300.  So maybe it's time for a review.

It's a Domane 5.2.  To look at, it's a bit, how can I put it, Essex.  You may wish to don shades before looking at the following pic.



The stock bike is, believe it or not, even more Essex than that.  It has white bar tape, a white saddle, and whitewall tyres.

HK took one look at my toned-down version, and referred to me for the rest of the day as the King of Bling.  Harsh but fair, I think you'll agree.

The Domane's USP is that the frame is vertically compliant, but stiff where it counts for power transfer.  The seat tube is attached to the top tube via an elastomer, and can flex slightly, though not so much that you're aware of any bobbing.  There's no creaking.  The down tube, bottom bracket, and chain stays are chunky and seem very stiff.  You can find the full marketing voodoo on the Trek website.

Does it work?  Short answer is yes.  The ride quality is remarkable.  It seems to turn crappy English lanes into smooth French tarmac, but is disconcertingly responsive when you get out of the saddle or put the hammer down (in my case a very small hammer).  I felt significantly less beaten up than usual when I finished the ride.  The bike is also very light.

Some other versions of the Domane have a more tasteful paint job, or you can pay Trek ludicrous sums for a custom version.  The TOWIE paint job is growing on me, mainly because I don't have to look at it while I'm riding.

Here's a list of pluses and minuses, from the viewpoint of an audax rider.

Pluses:

Plush ride combined with sharp handling.
Goes like stink if you're in the mood.  I spent a greater proportion of the day in the big ring than I ever have before.
Light.  Very light.  Frame-filled-with-helium light.  You need a café lock to tether it to a solid object in case it floats away in the breeze while you're eating your beans on toast.
Will take mudguards, via discreet mounts (You remove grub screws, and screw mudguard eyes into the threaded bosses.  There's a threaded eye behind the bottom bracket for the rear mudguard.  I've fitted a narrow Tortec guard at the rear—clearance is fine with 23s.  Bigger tyres might require a bit of mudguard creativity.  I haven't fitted a guard at the front—given the width of the downtube, there seems little point).
Long-distance frame geometry—relatively tall steerer, relatively short top tube, so it suits a less aggressive, more comfortable position.
Triple chainset option available (and you can get a 12-30 cassette, so you can get a 1:1 bottom gear).

Minuses:

Unless you spend silly—well, sillier—money for a custom bike or a frameset, you're stuck with Shimano.  Leaving aesthetics aside (I can't be the only one who thinks that current Shimano chainsets have been given a good seeing-to with the ugly stick), I find the ergonomics of Shimano suboptimal.  It's too easy to end up in the granny ring rather than the middle ring, or to brake unintentionally while shifting.
There's a slight question mark over the brakes, though this is probably just a matter of replacing the pads for something sensible.  Braking was mostly fine, but got juddery when slowing to take a right turn on a long fast descent, almost like brake fade.
You're limited to seat packs, non-SQR saddle bags, or something like the Arkel Randonneur Rack for luggage carrying.  Though it's arguable that this is a plus for audax riding, since it forces you to travel light…

Question marks:

I suspect the longevity of the external bearing BB90 bottom bracket may be less than wonderful.

I also wonder about the durability of the factory-built Bontrager Race Light wheels.  They have quite a deep section rim, but not many spokes (18 front, 24 rear).  They're noticeably light, though, and stood up fine to their hammering on some cratered roads over the weekend.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 07:57:42 pm »
I've got much the same kit on my Madone 4.5. My shop is very positive about the wheels - passing up an opportunity to flog me some hope hoops. They reckon they've never had a dodgy pair, and that they get used for CX with no problems.

I've gone for a large ortlieb saddlebag. Fidgetbuzz has started a thread about them somewhere. I really like it. I've also gone for a framebag. I can't remember the name, but it's the same as the SKS one.

I realise that saddles are an issue of personal taste, but mounting the nose of a Gonzo puppet is a bold statement, particularly at that angle.

Delighted to see one being used - if I hadn't been suckered by the paintjob on the bike I went for, I'd have gone for one too.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 08:31:11 pm »
I had a good look at a Domane a few weeks ago - just out of curiosity; financially carbony goodness isn't on the horizon just now.

It is indeed light. The main thing that struck me was how massive the BB shell area was. It dwarfs the BB itself really, looks so solid going back along the chainstays.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 08:42:50 pm »
My Dad bought a 4.0 yesterday and collects it on Saturday, I'm looking forward to having a look. I nearly bought a 4.5 before buying my Giant TCR.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 08:45:43 pm »
Regarding Shimano..... you'll be glad of it when you come to remove the chain set. Its easy, unlike the utter farce that is Campag. I have Shimano and Campag levers and I like them both really. What I find with the shimano is that you have to position them dead flat on the bars, with the bars set flat across the tops.

The issue with the low spoke count wheels is that if you do ping a spoke it might put the wheel unrideably out of true. Its your call, I suppose. I once had to pack on your Rural south because I broke a spoke in the front wheel.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 10:36:32 pm »
I realise that saddles are an issue of personal taste, but mounting the nose of a Gonzo puppet is a bold statement, particularly at that angle.

It's a Selle SMP Avant, and not quite as nose-down as it appears from the photo.  Selle SMP recommend mounting the saddle between -3 and -10 degrees from horizontal.  It's a pretty comfy saddle, well made, and reasonably light.  Spendy, though.  I got fed up of Brooks Imperials going saggy after a year or so.

StuAff

  • Folding not boring
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2013, 10:45:03 pm »
Nice (I actually like the 5.2 paint job).  If I was in the market for another bike the Domane would definitely be on the list. My Viner is a great ride, but I don't doubt that all that clever stuff would improve on it.

GrahamG

  • Babies bugger bicycling
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 09:11:42 am »
This is surely the first proper 'audaxers wet dream' carbon bling bike - I mean a proper classics winner, lightweight, comfortable, etc. etc... but with mudguards eyelets! I do a little sex wee every time I see one.
Brummie in exile (may it forever be so)

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - a Pacific bike ride
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 01:09:56 pm »
I do a little sex wee every time I see one.

TMI!  :o

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2013, 01:18:05 pm »
Shame it won't fit 25s + guards.

You could use a bagman on the saddle, couldn't you?
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2013, 04:05:17 pm »
Shame it won't fit 25s + guards.

You could use a bagman on the saddle, couldn't you?

On the 4-series you have a post, so I suspect so. On the seat mast ones, I don't see why not either.

I've gone for a Ortlieb 2.7l saddlebag on the madone I got instead of a domane.

velosam

  • '.....you used to be an apple on a stick.'
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2013, 07:41:45 pm »
Shame it won't fit 25s + guards.

You could use a bagman on the saddle, couldn't you?

Actually I think it does take 25 and maybe 28 with their own brand specific mudguards.

Apparently the 5 series and higher are better due to the seat mast rather than a seat post.

shyumu

  • Paying my TV license by cheque since 1993
    • Balancing on Two Wheels
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2013, 07:48:55 pm »
Those Bonty wheels are actually really reliable.  I'm a heavy rider and found these wheels have stood the test of time.  The only downside has been the version with the bladed spokes; any nipple tweaking leaves them all akimbo.
a journal of bicycle rides I have enjoyed:

http://balancingontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2013, 10:37:56 am »
Are any of you with these wheels tempted by the tubeless system? I *might* be getting to demo a set. However, having just put some of those green stripe Vittoria Paves on, it'll have to be epic to make me switch.

They've demoed the pin through the tyre stuff trick, and that you can swap in a tube relatively easily should it all go wrong is tempting. I just want to see what the tyres are like at 90psi.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2013, 03:52:37 pm »
Are any of you with these wheels tempted by the tubeless system? I *might* be getting to demo a set. However, having just put some of those green stripe Vittoria Paves on, it'll have to be epic to make me switch.

They've demoed the pin through the tyre stuff trick, and that you can swap in a tube relatively easily should it all go wrong is tempting. I just want to see what the tyres are like at 90psi.
Bikeymikey's your man for tubeless tyres. All those miles and no problemos.
ETA: he only weighs 25kg tho'
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2013, 04:11:01 pm »
pin through a tyre means nothing. I've ridden 20-30miles on a tyre that had a pin through it.

It's the bloody great gashes from chunks of glass or hawthorns that are the problem.

Can't see an advantage to tubeless unless you are a weight weenie myself. Might be good if you do lots of climbing.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2013, 08:51:23 pm »
Must stop looking at bike websites.  The domane 5.9 looks very handsome in grey/black.

Cass would forgive me eventually I think.......

I must not go to sigmasport anytime soon.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2013, 09:26:16 pm »


Still think they need to do an H2 or even H1 geo version. Even with the stem slammed, those bars would be too high for me.

I believe they have 5.2 in all sizes for a test day at my LBS at the weekend. You could pop up, do some riding.

 :demon:

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2013, 10:08:18 pm »
Shame it won't fit 25s + guards.

You could use a bagman on the saddle, couldn't you?

Think you could fit 25s with guards if you cut the guards either side of the brake bridge and mounted the guards via a bracket each side of the brake bolt.  There's decent clearance for 25s under the brake bridge (frustratingly, the brake blocks are nowhere near the bottom of their mounting slots on the calipers, so there's unexploited potential clearance in the frame design).

An old-style Bagman would be no problem—not sure about the new design with that horrible strut to the seat post.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2013, 10:19:16 pm »
Must stop looking at bike websites.  The domane 5.9 looks very handsome in grey/black.

That's much more like the colour scheme I'd have gone for, given a choice.  The 5.9 has electric gears, though.  I'd wonder how those would survive the biblical deluges on LEL.  And the compact chainset is a device for maximising time in the wrong chainring and ensuring that you never have gears that are quite low enough.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2013, 10:31:39 pm »
It's annoying the fork positions the caliper as far away from the wheel as possible but the frame doesn't do the same. With 25s there is ~4mm clearance between the tyre and the rear brake caliper. That limits you to crud raceguards and the like.
 The rear caliper is at a bit of a strange angle which is why the cable sticks out so far from the frame. Perhaps they had to position it like that due to problems with vibration or something? Still for a bike I imagine most people would use with 25s it's a little annoying.

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 10:39:36 pm »
The seat tube is attached to the top tube
The top tube's connected to the head tube,
The head tube's connected to the neck tube,

erm... Don't call a taxi, I'll take the tube.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2013, 09:32:56 pm »
I've got the Domane  (pronounced Dough-Mar-Knee apparently ::-)) 2.0 with triple chainset and 10-speed Tiagra. I've upgraded the stock brakes to Tiagra's, which improved the braking. I'm quite impressed by it. I won't be putting mudguards on mine, but I could. It's a tasteful black and white colour scheme. Not especially light but sturdy and quick.
Sherwood CC - Squadra Giallo Verde


Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2013, 10:58:31 pm »
Have just taken delivery of a Domaine 2.3 that's the alloy version with isoflex + 105 groupset. However SWMBO has decreed that I can't ride it till the outstanding jobs list is shorter so a full review will follow soon ( I hope)

LEE

Re: Trek Domane
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2013, 11:52:33 am »
I've looked with interest at many reviews of the Domane range and I think it will tempt me next year.

The "decoupler" frame seems to get rave reviews for comfort.

The budget next year dictates the model...and it's still dependent on me seeing 12stone something on the scales (Carbon is a reward for  successful weight loss you see.  I'm not going to be a fat bloke on a skinny bike).