2017 Trek Domane SLR-feature
  • H.E. Pennypacker

    Improved ride quality and your bike doesn’t look like it’s suddenly sprouted tumors? (I’m looking at you, Zertz.) Sounds promising.

    • .: Son1ze :.

      This man speaketh the truth. Zertz is spelled with capital UGLY. I’ll stick with my Bianchi’s and Countervail tech. Specialized’s best looking/performing product at the moment are their S-Works 6 shoes.

      • James Huang

        Funny you should mention those. I’ll have a review of the S-Works Sub6 lace-up version posted shortly. Great shoes for sure – and to be honest, I think I like them more than the standard S-Works 6 shoes.

        • .: Son1ze :.

          Oh yeah man! The Sub6 an awesome shoe. I’m surprised they don’t have anyone on the pro tour (at from what I’ve seen in race photos) rocking the lace-up version like Giro does with Taylor Phinney and the Empire SLX. I’m definitely eyeing up some Neon Yellow ones for summer. Hopefully these new 25c Vittoria Corsas with Graphene I’m running, which by the way I’m absolutely loving at the moment, have some modicum of tread and puncture durability, unlike the previous gen, so that I don’t have to spend $200 tires every 800km. Lol. G+ might be a marketing mumbo jumbo but I can’t deny that the rolling resistance and feel is amazing for a clincher tire. Hopefully you’ll be reviewing those as well!

  • Legstrong

    Paragraph 5. Maddens… Should be Madones I think. Otherwise, great insight!

    • James Huang

      Doh! Thanks for that. Fixed.

  • winkybiker

    I rate the engineering behind this bike. Not sure if it is the bike for me, but well thought out. Nice to see no idiotic flappy doors on brakes or totally pointless gimmicks like those stupid and ugly “Zertz”.

    • James Huang

      Agreed. For me, it’s quite impressive that Trek is able to incorporate so much into the frame while still maintaining a fairly traditional aesthetic.

      • winkybiker

        Yep. Overall it’s a bit “slopey” for my taste, but that’s just preference. Otherwise it just looks like a bike. No DA mechanical nor Di2 options? It will be a bit pricey to build from scratch, but no more than for other high-end framesets, I guess.

        • James Huang

          The top tube slope seems to me to be more a function of the long head tube than anything else. Combine that with the low bottom bracket and you’ve got quite a lot of stack height for a given size. But yeah, no Dura-Ace options at all, at least for now. Trek has a tendency to grow a new bike family after the first season so we’ll see how it pans out.

          • winkybiker

            Fabian’s bike isn’t nearly as slopey. It’s custom geometry?

            • James Huang

              As has always been the case for him (and other team riders), he’s on the Race Shop Limited version with the more aggressive Pro Endurance geometry. Longer reach, shorter stack, steeper front end.

        • Velt

          They could just be waiting for new dura ace announcment

        • Arfy

          I’m thinking the slope is there to bring the IsoSpeed pivot point down lower, so you get more cushioning effect at the seat which would benefit those looking at the Endurance setup. As you point out Fab’s bike has a different frame, probably the Pro version to come, you can see the geometry is quite different (although he still has his bars sloped forward and down to get a lower position on the hoods). If you want more cushioning at the seat I think you’d want to go for a smaller frame size so you can put your seat up higher.

      • .: Son1ze :.

        Speaking of aesthetics hopefully the Domane frame looks as good in the smaller frame sizes as it does in Cancellara’s custom frame size. Found that with the new Madone while the M/L frames looked decent with the oversized cam tail tubing spaced out nice the bike looked absolutely horrendous in the smaller frames size especially with two water bottles/cages added.

        • James Huang

          Just as an FYI, the white bike pictured above is a 52cm. Given Trek’s usual practices, the ones in the stock images are most likely 56cm.

          • .: Son1ze :.

            Not bad then! Thanks for the heads up James. Now if only Trek were a little more adventurous with their “non-project one” paint jobs… Hehe.

  • jh

    awesome job James!

  • Alexander Stephens

    There are three caliper brake versions being offered and two disc brake versions – not the other way around. Currently the Domane SLR 9 (eTap) is only being offered in a caliper version at the moment. In the “Prices and key component specs” sections it says the SLR 9 comes with Aeolus Disc wheels. It doesn’t. Just hoping to help! Thank you.

    • James Huang

      Gah! Curse these late-night edits. You are correct, sir. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Durian Rider

    Considering these were made out of the Giant factory I wonder what Giant have planned for this years Defy?

    Hopefully something with a proper tire clearance like this new Domane has.

    • James Huang

      My guess would be something that is nothing like this. Giant’s contract manufacturing and own bicycle brand are supposedly run as entirely separate entities and the former stealing technology from a big client to benefit the latter certainly wouldn’t be good for business.

      • Durian Rider

        for sure I agree. Giant don’t seem to do the gadgets either like zertz etc. Ive 3 defy advanced sl 0 and they are incredible bikes. My only issue is tire clearance. The defy is stiff enough for crit racing or all day epics. Ive ran 30mm tires but it is a very tight clearance on the back. 28mm work better.

        Domane 2016 is pushing the trend though. First endurance road frame from a big producer that is overtly showing it has decent clearance.

        • .: Son1ze :.

          DR…I know you love yourself some of that TCR stiffness but I would love to see yah spring for a Project One Etap Equipped Domane SLR in DR colours paired with those Lightweights shod with some 28 Vittoria Corsa rubber for “the fans” and for the Thai Bike Fest … Hehe.

          Problem with Giant is they do a better job marketing their women’s-specific Liv brand then they do the main Giant brand it seems. Trek has got the emotive marketing down pat. Nice pics and videos that suck you in. Also since Giant lost Kittel to Etixx and Degenkolb got taken out by some granny they really don’t have the win on Sat/Sun sell on Mon angle any more…

    • srcrozier

      Patents that’s why!

      • Kevin George

        patents are public so they might go in the same direction just in a slightly different way

  • Steel

    Would be interesting to compare how this bike fares against some of the gravel grinders being marketed at the moment. With some 32s on here, you could tackle a fair bit of terrain, yet still have a competent road machine.

    • winkybiker

      You don’t need 32s to ride on dirt or gravel roads.

      • Peter

        Agreed. I regularly ride sections of gravel on 25mm tyres. You just have to pick your line and try to avoid the corrugations, plus just as in Paris-Roubaix, going faster seems to make the ride smoother in most sections, except where there are ridiculous corrugations.
        But having one of these Domanes on the gravel would be like riding on a mattress I’d guess.

        • Nathan

          Depending on the state of the road, you don’t even need 25mm. I often ride gravel roads with 23mm Vredesteins at 120psi with no issues. Bikes and tyres are a lot tougher than we think. Now that I have said that out loud, I will have multiple punctures the next time I touch a dirt road!

          • jules

            it’s a bit meaningless to say “you can ride gravel roads with… x tyre” if you go slow enough, you can pretty much ride anything. wider section tyres run lower pressures and have a bigger contact patch, which is more comfortable on uneven terrain and will improve grip.

            • winkybiker

              Yep. Agree. Better………but not essential, in spite of what the industry seems to be selling us!

              • jules

                90% of what they’re selling us isn’t essential. does anyone really need carbon rims?

            • Nathan

              Not sure I was trying to be meaningful. This is, after all, the internet. I was merely stating my experience which supported the assertion by Winky. It is true the ride may be less comfortable, but you do not need 32s to ride gravel, no matter what speed you choose to ride.

              • jules

                true. I rode the Giro Della Donna last year and Strava says I’m in top 50% on the Acheron Way gravel descent, I was on 23s. (or 25s, I forgot)

          • winkybiker

            Yes that’s all I was really saying. Just because you’re on skinny hard tyres doesn’t mean you have to turn around if the road turns rough. The gear we ride is tougher than we think. I’ve ridden plenty of gravel on 120psi 23mm tyres and had zero problems. Sure softer, wider tyres might be better on the rough stuff, but they aren’t essential, and if the ride has a big chunk of sealed road as well, I’d rather be on harder tyres.

          • Samuel Clemens

            Agreed. I routinely smash big gravel rides on my S-Works Tarmac with 23 continental GP4000s at 110psi. So it’s a bit bumpy, doesn’t matter.

      • Steel

        Yeah. I’m just starting to explore these possibilities. I’ve invested in some 25 mm bags for the first time and will give them a crack on some of the dirt roads around the mornington peninsula. Obviously though, the lower the pressure in the tyre, the more grippy it’s going to feel around some loose corners, so that’s my interest in the bigger clearance.

  • srcrozier

    Do you have any insight into the future availability (i.e. this summer) of a race shop limited version with disc? That is the bike I want. P.S. now I better understand your midnight oil tweet.

    • James Huang

      That will wholly depend on whether the team wants to use disc brakes in competition. If yes, you’ll be able to buy it. If not, then no. That same reasoning explains the limited sizes on offer for RSL models, too. Currently, the smallest classics rider on the team uses a 54cm frame so unless they sign someone of smaller stature to tackle the cobbles, don’t count on a 52cm.

      I’m holding out hope for a 52cm disc RSL version myself. If Trek were to make that, I’d buy one.

  • claude cat

    drool.

  • Albert

    Some very cool “innovations” on this bike – direct mount brakes, clearance for 28c (32c with discs) and fender mounts. Not so keen on the Isospeed.

  • Andy B

    Very curious to ride one of these, a bit heavier than I expected
    Whats it like as a climber?

    • James Huang

      You think it’s heavy? I find it pretty reasonable for a bike with dual discs and Ultegra Di2 (which isn’t particularly light). The stock wheels don’t help, though, at around 1,900g.

      In any event, I find it as capable a climber as anything else of this weight. At least to me, there’s no efficiency cost associated with the IsoSpeed.

      • Andy B

        I guess I’m comparing it to a race bike at similar price
        I guess with a lighter groupset and wheels it would be quite a bit less though as mentioned
        Hoping I can test ride one of these soon :)

  • Hamish Moffatt

    No SLR 7 Disc for Australia or just no pricing?

    • James Huang

      Based on the information I was provided, Trek is only bringing a subset of models to Australia. So as far as I’m aware, there will be no Domane SLR 7 Disc in Oz.

      • Simon Wile

        No di2 disc option? That’s a pretty big oversight and the reason I bought a Roubaix, why should you have to choose between di2 and disc?

        • James Huang

          Not in Australia, no – at least not for now, and there’s no bare frameset option, either. But I’d imagine that might change with sufficient demand?

          • Hamish Moffatt

            Damn, it’s frustrating when we get limited models here. Other manufacturers do it too. The 7 Disc would have been my pick, although US$1000 premium over the 6 Disc for just an upgrade from 6800 to Di2 seems quite a lot anyway.

            • Eat More Lard

              It’s often the distributor who apparently knows the market better than us mere consumers. It’s the reason that the GT Grade didn’t appear initially (despite Australia being used in the original marketing by the GT product manager) or the Marin Pine Mountain 1, to name just 2 examples.

            • slowK

              +1 to a wider range of models in Oz.

              Trek Australia – please, please, please bring in the frameset!

  • Connor

    Agree with general sentiments…great that Trek included a lot of new tech that’s actually useful and did it without losing the traditional bike look/aesthetic (slopey TT notwithstanding). This and the new Madone make a handsome pair….and with even more distinct propositions than before. Nice job.

  • Avuncular

    “The thought of a steerer tube repeatedly bending over time may give some riders pause…”
    I’m thinking of one rider in particular, 2006 PR.

    • James Huang

      It was just a matter of time until someone brought that up. To be perfectly frank, I’d feel much more confident riding this than what Hincapie rode that day.

      • Avuncular

        Yes a bit obvious that one, I concede you that. However this might need reworking.. “In its softest position, the Domane SLR decimates washboarded dirt country paths and poorly maintained pavement;” So if it “decimates” ( I think you really mean overcomes or even negates rough ground) then it’s only 10% effective which is miniscule. I’m fighting a rear guard action I know as we are constantly told language meaning changes but I like precision in language.

        • Sean parker

          decimate ‘to kill 1 in 10’ is the historical definition of the word. In modern english the definition is wider to include concepts such as ‘generally destroying a large segment of something’.

          I suppose if you were speaking in latin you might have to restrict the word to its literal archaic form. But then there would be no word for bicycle in latin…..

    • jules

      they all bend. that’s inescapable. but you can tune the amount of deflection – as they’ve done here. flex isn’t the issue – it’s the stress that goes with it that breaks things. but you can engineer in flex without unnecessarily increasing stress – a key technique is the inclusion of a pivot joint (a very simple concept, cheekily named IsoSpeed) to replace what is normally a fixed joint.

  • Jamie Fletcher

    Have they fixed the clearance of the front disc and the fork? I had a 2015 6.2 Domane which the disc rubbed thru the paint on the fork in the first few rides. Clearance was less than a credit card thickness which is .77mm! I had the fork replaced and some sort of spacer added at the dropout to give some extra clearance, but it was still less than 1mm between the spinning hot metal disc and carbon fibre. A very poor design. I ended up selling the bike, even though i loved the ride, i was not happy with the closeness of fork and disc.

    • James Huang

      I reviewed the Domane 6.9 Disc when I was at BikeRadar and definitely don’t remember things being anywhere near that tight in terms of clearance! Either way, there’s plenty of room here. I measure about 5mm between the rotor and fork surface on the sample I have here.

      • Jamie Fletcher

        I was surprised by the lack of clearance and Trek knew about the issue but not many other people had noticed. I posted on weight weenies to see if others had the same issue and a shop in the UK had bikes on the floor with disc marks on the fork without being ridden. The shop i bought mine from have a brand new 2015 4.2 on the floor with the same clearance as mine, and a new model beside it that has a larger clearance, in part due to a notch/indent in the fork at the height of the disc. The 2015 already has paint missing on the fork. Trek replaced my fork, but it took 3 months, and i sold the bike mainly due to this. I would buy another, but with the direct mount calipers.

  • Jonathan Wilkinson

    Can you provide more info about the hidden fender mounts? What sort of fenders would fit? Since on the disc version at least there’s no brake bridge to attach things to…

    IF this bike could fit proper/full fenders on then it may make me rethink my imminent purchase of a Synapse.

    • James Huang

      There are eyelets that thread into the holes at the dropouts and fork tips, plus a bridge that threads into another pair of holes at the seatstays. There are also threaded holes on the back of the seat tube near the bottom bracket and behind the fork crown.

      In other words, proper full fenders would be no problem at all here. I plan on installing a set myself on this test sample, in fact.

  • dypeterc

    So only the contact points are “suspended”? If so, it’s not a novel idea though it is a more refine engineering solution. Softride did it with their beam bike and Pro-flex with their suspension stem. I’d like to see more innovation in true road bike suspension similar to Canyon’s Projekt MRSC.

    Also, 18.3 lbs seems a bit heavy for a road bike. My 29er hardtail mountain bike weighs in at 19.5 lbs with suspension fork and 2.2″ tires. Speaking of, I assume we will see this version of the IsoSpeed decouple on their next-gen Procaliber frame. And this tech will be great for cyclocross as well!

    • James Huang

      You’re correct that suspending the contact points isn’t a new idea. That Softride beam was horribly probe to bouncing, though, and the Softride (or Pro-Flex, for that matter) stem had either too much motion or too little damping depending on how you want to look at it (bolt-on damper notwithstanding). That Trek was able to incorporate this stuff while still maintaining a pretty conventional profile is quite admirable.

      As for the weight, keep in mind that this is far from a super high-end build. At 950g for the frame and 330g for the fork, my guess is that this could easily be a sub-17lb bike with a nicer (but not exotic) build kit.

      • dypeterc

        Agreed on all points. A better wheelset could easily drop a pound of weight (even better, it’s rotational).

        Have you had a chance to ride the IsoSpeed on Trek’s mtb?

        • James Huang

          Unfortunately, no, although that said, I rarely spend much time on XC-style mountain bikes these days. I have an Ibis Ripley that I absolutely adore but haven’t ridden in nearly two years, and an Ibis Mojo HD3 that gets used weekly.

    • Superpilot

      I think it isn’t really suspension. Both your examples are suspension, where the contact points can move vertically independent of the frame. In this example, the handlebar, through steerer, to the fork and eventually the front axle are still connected as rigidly as ever. The decoupler then isolates this unit within the frame, therefore allowing a degree of flex front to back and side to side. Likewise the saddle, through seatpost, to the seat tube is still the same long lever vertically, however it is allowed to flex front to back and side to side by the decoupler. The connections are still direct vertically between the contact points and their respective axles, but there is horizontal flex allowed along the way to provide a degree of flexion as suspension, rather than putting in suspension between the contact point and axles respectively. Could still feel quite noodly (I am intrigued how the front end will feel under hard downhill braking in a high grip situation!), but I have no doubts you will feel like harsh surfaces are dampened somewhat. Will be interesting to see how much road feel is removed for the sake of comfort, although you should still feel quite a bit in the hands given the fork/stem/handlebar combo is essentially standard kit.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    Anyone else remember when the first plastic bikes came out, we were told by the marketing-mavens that carbon-fiber was a miracle material? Its wonderful properties would allow the frame wizards to design-in just the right amounts of flex and this wonder material’s amazing vibration damping ability would make everything else obsolete. Finally our “vertically compliant/laterally stiff” dreams could be realized.
    But ever since we’ve seen rubber bumpers (Zertz?) various shock absorbers (Pinarello’s “game changer” from last season – already replaced) special fibers laid up in the carbon mix (flax, something called Countervail?) and now hinges with bearings (Isospeed)
    The question is: Were they bulls__ting us then or are they bulls__ting us now?

    • James Huang

      I would say neither. The simple fact is that carbon fiber affords much more design flexibility in terms of what can be done with the material. On the one hand, its elastic modulus is much higher than any of the other conventional frame materials and yet it can also be more flexible depending on how the fibers are oriented.

      Nevertheless, any material has its limits. What you’re seeing now with all of these mechanical ‘solutions’ is a tacit admission by frame designers and engineers that they’ve pretty much done all they can do with the material itself.

      Could something like the Pinarello Dogma F8 or Trek Domane be done in metal? Sure, but it’d be substantially heavier and wouldn’t last as long since composite materials have much better fatigue properties than most metals.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        Thanks for that – your response was refreshingly less “marketing-maven”, “these advertiser’s pay my salary” bull__it than I expected, though maybe you weren’t around when the original “miracle material” claims were made? This was the late 1980’s. I’ve sampled a high-end plastic bike about once a decade since Trek brought out that awful first one and while they certainly get ever lighter, “ride quality” is always lacking. But since the vast majority of current consumers have never ridden anything else, the advertising claims don’t get challenged as the frame-of-reference (no pun intended) is….well….plastic.

        • James Huang

          I actually used to own one of those first-generation OCLV frames so I’m quite familiar with them (I’m older than you might think!). I remember it well, in fact: gloss black paint with white and green graphics, first-generation Shimano Ultegra STI, one of the first production road bikes to use a threadless headset, super light for the time… and it rode like wood.

          If you’ve only ridden a carbon bike “about once a decade” since then, that only equates to three or four bikes so I think it’s safe to say that you’re not giving the material enough credit. Keep in mind that despite carbon’s promise, it’s a very complex thing to work with and as with any new material, things have gotten enormously better since those early days. Modern aluminum is really good, for example, but those early Cannondales? Not so much. Even modern steel is nothing like those old frames that we all like to remember so nostalgically. Likewise, modern titanium is awfully good stuff but early examples weren’t exactly magical, either.

          That said, it’s true that carbon is never going to feel like aluminum, which is never going to feel exactly like titanium, which is never going to feel exactly like steel.

          But there’s still an enormous range of variation in ride quality regardless of frame material so it’s not fair to lump together every bike made out of the same category of material. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks a modern-day Time feels the same as a Specialized Tarmac.

  • Zest

    Any idea if the Race Shop geometry is high trail/low bb/long wheelbase, more akin to the Domane Classics? Or is it a quicker-handling H1 fit like the Koppenberg?

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