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First Ride: The New Trek Domane

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Trek’s Domane has had quite a successful run since its introduction in 2012 as a comfort minded race bike. Ridden to victories at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, it is proven at the sport’s highest level. Now, for its third iteration of this bike, Trek is adding more versatility through wider tire clearance and making it faster with aero shaped tubes and better cable management. It could well be a quiver killer for many riders—one bike to do it all (or most, at least).

  • 38c tire clearance
  • One minute faster per hour compared to previous version
  • 27 percent more compliant
  • Downtube storage

The Details 

The new Domane is the smoothest version yet. With toptube and adjustable front end IsoSpeed, this Domane is a claimed 27 percent more compliant than the previous version. And that compliance is tuned specifically to each frame size—of which there a lot. Trek is doing away with women’s sizing and focusing instead on a broader unisex size range, with better component spec for each size. There’s also an option for race tuned H1.5 geometry, although only online through Project One.

 Wider tire clearance is a significant update to the Domane. Supporting room for 38c tires, leaving Trek’s recommended 4mm of clearance, the Domane can easily take on gravel roads. Those who like to break rules might play around with that recommended frame clearance and try wider tires (just don’t tell Trek). Trek says 32c Bontrager R-Series tires, setup tubeless, are an easy choice because they roll faster in most conditions. A wider tire, like a 32c, at a lower pressure has less rolling resistance than a high pressure 25c tire, and absorbs more road chatter, too. Though, there will be a slight weight and aerodynamic penalty for choosing the wider tire. But whatever you decide is most important for your riding style, the Domane will be able to handle it. For many riders, this bike could do everything.

With fenders installed, the Domane can accommodate up to 35c tires for wet winter riding or muddy days offroad. But when they are not needed, the fender mounts stay hidden for clean lines.

The Domane is now more aero, too. But it does so without looking like every other bike redesigned for aerodynamics (no dropped seatstays or truncated airfoils here). It’s a significant one minute per hour faster than the previous version.

New cable management under the stem improves aerodynamics as well. And again, it does so in a way that bucks industry trends; there’s no fully integrated stem here. Instead, all the cables are fed through a guide underneath the stem that keeps the lines clean. This system can be used with any stem so serviceability remains high.

Speaking of serviceability, a threaded T47 bottom bracket, first introduced in the Trek line earlier this year on the Crockett, has found its way into the Domane as well.

Downtube Storage (and we’re not talking about water bottles)

Downtube storage, hidden neatly beneath the bottle cage, is one of the more innovative bike designs we’ve seen recently. And it’s super simple to use. A small lever next to the bottle cage guards access to the downtube. Simply flip it and pull off the cage to reveal a port large enough to hold a tool roll or lots of extra nutrition.

There is an available BITS tool roll ($20) designed to stow perfectly in the new downtube compartment that is big enough to hold a basic flat repair kit. A slim CNC-machined aluminum multi-tool, available separately for $35, integrates into the storage area as well, fitting even with the tool roll installed. It includes a 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex key as well as a T25 and flat-head screwdriver.

First Ride Impressions 

Smooth, smooth, smooth! IsoSpeed is already a proven technology on the cobbles and rough roads, so it was no surprise to find this version so compliant. But it is not compliant in a distracting way; IsoSpeed manages to disappear into the background. Our first ride had us wanting to see what capabilities it has on really rough terrain and gravel where the ability to adjust the toptube IsoSpeed would be very useful.

Descending was very planted. We could carve corners confidently and had a blast on the negative grades. And going uphill to be able to get to those descents was no struggle. The Domane is no pure climber, but despite the compliance, it still transfers power well enough uphill.


The highest end SLR9 version costs $11,300, with the SL7 dropping down to $7,800. An Ultegra SL6 version will cost $3,800. And at the budget end, a Tiagra equipped SL 4 costs $2,500.