No Compromises

My Domane 6.9 – The best-riding bike I’ve owned.

I never envisioned myself buying a Trek bike.  It’s the brand that Lance Armstrong rode throughout his career, making Trek the most widely recognized bike brand in America.   I used to scoff at Trek as a “corporate brand”, favoring small, boutique brands like Parlee.  But sometimes bigger is better.  Trek has a larger R&D budget than any boutique brand.  Theoretically this should translate into better technology and ultimately a more advanced bike.

This year Trek released a new bike called the Domane (latin for “the King’s Crown) that caught my attention.  The Domane is a full-on race bike but is designed for “classics” — long, grueling races in Europe that typically involve very rough road surfaces.  It’s got a unique new feature called IsoSpeed that isolates the seat tube from the rest of the frame.  The seat tube and top tube are seperated by elastomer inserts that give the seat tube the ability to flex. The idea is maintain the stiffness and performance characteristics of a high end race bike but with more comfort.  (Here’s a video with more details.)  Trek claims that the bike has twice the vertical compliance of other race bikes with no sacrifice in performance.  The bike also has less aggressive geometry than a pure race bike, which adds to the comfort level on long rides.
The Domane’s unique feature is IsoSpeed, which decouples the seat tube
from the top tube, 
resulting in a smooth ride with no compromise in performance.
My previous bike, a Scott Addict R1, is one of the stiffest and lightest bikes you can buy.  It’s a top-notch race bike but after long rides I often felt like I had been beaten with a bag of oranges.  I can’t say that it’s directly related to riding, but this year — for the first time ever — I’ve had lower back problems.  It also doesn’t help that the Texas Department of Transportation loves to lay down chipseal on the rural roads we ride. So as soon as I heard about the Domane, I scheduled a test ride at a local bike shop.  The difference in ride quality was so stunning that I ordered a Domane immediately.
I’ve only ridden the bike a couple of times so far, but it’s clearly the best-riding bike I’ve owned.  It is responsive and stable like the Trek Madone, but much smoother on rough road surfaces.  I’m looking forward to putting it to the test at Levi’s GranFondo later this month…
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