I have been wanting to get out on a Trek Domane (pronounced Do-MAH-nee) since it debuted last year. I’ve ridden a Madone 5.2 for the past three seasons and love so many things about it, but there was still a draw to the romance of a bike that was created for the cobbles of Arenberg Forest. I am not nearly as fast or as ruggedly good looking as Fabian Cancellara (if only I could pull off the hair…), but watching him hammer through the roughest sections of Paris Roubaix, while others sought shelter on the shoulder, only added to the Domane’s mystique.
Okay, enough of the mushy stuff. For me, the real draw of the Domane is that it’s tailor made for riders like myself – recreational endurance riders who love to tackle the club ride, a race or two and an occasional century endeavor here ore there, while remaining as comfortable and capable as possible. There are many bikes that fit into the Plush or Endurance category, and I believe that list is only going to grow.
Getting the Bike
My local bike shop, the Trek Bicycle Store of Omaha, just so happened to select the Trek Domane 5.2 as it’s rental bike of the season, so I was able to call in a few favors to take one out to knock around (thanks guys). I also procured a Bontrager Race X Lite TLR wheelset for the outing. I’ll be reviewing a different Bontrager TLR set in the coming weeks, so I’ll hold on complete details until then.
My 2011 Madone is setup very similarly to the 2013 Domane, so switching bikes was not overly difficult. I moved my computer and integrated speed/cadence sensor without issue, and also swapped my entire seat mast and saddle together to avoid breaking in a new stock saddle. The Ultegra drive train and shifters were the same, so no issues there either. The Race X Lite TLR wheels were an upgrade over my Ultegra tubeless set, so in hindsight I should have ridden my own to keep things equal.
Truly, the only visible differences between the Madone and Domane are the Domane’s IsoSpeed Decoupler (seat tube separate from the rest of the frame), a bit taller head tube, and the swept-forward fork position. Other than that and a more squared top tube, the bikes appear very similar.
|Trek Domane 5.2||Trek Madone 5.2|
I have poured over the tech specs of the bike, but rather than bore and most likely confuse most with an inaccurate rendition of what really makes the Domane different, just watch this quick explanation from Trek, and read on for what the bike actually felt like on the road. If you want the Cliff Notes version, the frame is designed to lessen road vibrations that cause fatigue and lost power.
As advertised, the Domane works like magic when it comes to rough surfaces and unexpected road blemishes – things that really send stress straight through my Madone frame and into my back. Bumps were dampened nearly to the point where I was able to focus less on the road and more on staying with the group.
Overall, I just felt less stress at the end of the ride. The shorter top tube and taller head tube put me in a bit more upright position than my Madone, which I will credit to saving some pain in my neck, shoulder and back. All good things on longer rides.
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