Trek accomplished exactly what we’ve been asking for in the endurance category: a comfortable race bike that actually feels like a race bike, not a cruiser’s cousin. With the recent addition of Trek’s Pro Endurance geometry for some high-end models, the Domane disc sheds the dubious distinction of endurance bikes as laid back slow-wagons. This thing is all race.
The Domane crushes cobbles, sure. But on smooth blacktop it’s just as capable.
The flex in the front decoupler detracts nothing from the handling and adds confidence over even extreme chatter. The front decoupler allows the steerer to flex fore and aft but limits movement laterally, which is why you can torque on the handlebars without any steering vagueness.
The Domane’s rear decoupler is adjustable so you can add more compliance for super rough roads. If you want squish, you can get it, but if you’re after a middle ground between race-oriented ride and chatter absorption, you can get that too. Just loosen a bolt and adjust the slider to tailor how much road feel you want to maintain.
Our lab testing reinforces the notion that the Domane is race-ready. The bottom bracket proved laterally stiffer than Trek’s Madone RSL (0.41mm bottom bracket deflection). It marks a new trend toward isolating compliance from the main frame, which in turn gets to maintain lateral stiffness. Specialized has a similar approach with its newest Roubaix, which borrows heavily from the high-end race bike, the Tarmac. All of the compliance is isolated in its Future Shock; similarly, all of the Domane’s compliance is isolated in its decouplers, front and rear.
Our test bike did not feature the Pro Endurance geometry, yet it still felt plenty aggressive for our daily KOM pursuits. It’s probably not the right choice for races that snake up mountain passes, but it’s an easy bike to reach for when we’re heading out for our daily rides, especially if our route takes us on punishing roads or even gravel.
Adding discs to the mix is a wise move and it adds control over the roughest terrain you’ll tackle on a bike like this. Take it on dirt roads. Splash through that puddle without worrying what’s going to happen when you pull those brake levers. The brakes complement an otherwise sturdy build that includes a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and Bontrager Affinity Comp tubeless-ready wheels.
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and 11-32 cassette; Shimano RS805 disc brakes; Bontrager Affininty Comp tubeless-ready wheelset.