A Whole Cast of Characters
I think the Domane LT+ is a bit of a Rory Bremner impressionist - you have a whole cast of characters at your fingertips, and it will ultimately depend on your mood and riding style as to which one you dial up. Even at nearly 58 years old, I can comfortably ride above 25kmh in most conditions, even on the 38c GK tyres, without electric assistance - at that metric the Fazua has become power-neutral but also mechanically invisible. So that’s no use to me, but its also no cost either. In fact riding Domane+ as a regular bike, even with the battery, is surprisingly low-effort and free-flowing, and I spend much of the time well above the 25kmh, long after the Fazua has shut up shop for the day. To be fair the low and central positioning of the Fazua into frame, keeps the dynamic demeanour of the Domane very close to the feel a regular road bike.
Strava-busting punchy hills is not as addictive as one would expect and I for one quickly tired of that kind of tomfoolery. An afternoon’s fun at best. No, I found my personal gold buried under the River (setting), whereby up to 210 watts is delivered intuitively in accordance with my own pedal inputs. Off road on tracks and trails I could now select single-track climbs that were previously off-limits, because they were previously unrideable with my fitness level. That meant I could go for a couple of hours ride and add in routes that I would normally avoid. Or even loop round and do a section a few times just for fun and frolics. The point here is that you are probably working physically just as hard as you would on an analogue bike – you are just travelling further and being more adventurous. And what’s more you can hang out in the big hills for a lot longer, and then use the Fazua to help limp home exhausted. And Trek’s brilliance here is expressing the Fazua in the Domane chassis that can handle all of this – it is both a superb road-bike and an epic gravel bike. And that’s how it fits into my n+1 - as a pathfinding bike for those days when I want to explore more difficult off-road terrain than I can currently handle under my own steam – but at the same time still get exactly the same training effect.
In an Ideal World
In an ideal world the Domane + would my super-commuter at a time when I don’t want to take the train into Covent Garden anymore. I live 35 miles away from Central London – if it topped out at, say, 30mph or even 25mph, then riding in and out a couple of days a week, or more becomes entirely feasible, but at 15.5mph it really is not much of a help. There are not enough hills between me and central London to make it worthwhile. None of this is Trek’s or Fazua’s fault by the way, that’s just the law. There needs to be a simple test and licence scheme that would allow people to legally de-restrict their bikes to higher power and speed. The Fazua for example can easily be re-programmed to produce a very useful 400 watts. Add in a couple of hundred from the rider and long commutes are very realistic. And the rider would also be getting as much of a workout as they like. This is a national infrastructure and governance oversight, especially in this moment.