Chiltern Hills - Roads and Tracks
Out in The Chilterns and I started to experiment with deliberately loading up through the front-brake on steep descents, as the slight weight-transfer through the front IsoSpeed put more weight onto the front wheel. This is akin to how I was taught to ride a motorbike on the track – surfing the weight transfer onto the front wheel and almost ignoring the back brake in the set up for a corner. This kind of riding nuance is almost certainly not possible or advisable without either disc-brakes, wider tyres and probably IsoSpeed suspension. At one point we are riding over rutted gravel tracks and I felt no need to moderate my speed at all. In fact it is impossible to resist the temptation of deliberately slamming into every puddle, rut and hole in the same of research and devilment. Pop on a set of 35mm cross tyres and the Domane would make a wonderful gravel or cross-bike. It makes you wonder about the future of both Trek Boone and Checkpoint -where do they fit in the range? The 2020 bike is obviously the product of detailed and expensive R&D, which is Trek's default happy space. Smaller bike companies cannot make a Domane or Madone because the innovation is totally out of reach. The new Domane, in that sense, is impressively functional and evolved.
End of Rainbow
But is it perfect? Almost. Perfection, by definition, is end-of-rainbow stuff at Cyclefit. A journey, not a destination. So what would we do different? Our test bike had 28mm Bontrager Classic Lite tyres that punctured twice on admittedly dreadful roads. Would 32mm tyres have been more resilient? Maybe. Is it the tyres fault? Maybe not. But I do know that there is a ubiquity of alternative and wonderful rubber out there that means I don’t feel the need to find out. Fixing flats is dull and to be avoided. I haven’t mentioned the Bontrager XXX4 wheels or SRAM Red AXS groupset. They are both best-in-class for me. Invisibly brilliant everywhere.
Other things I should mention - I have now run up about 1000k in my custom Hexr helmet and appreciate the comfort and security that customisation brings. It is invisible. I am looking forward to my reflective shell - due in two weeks.
Also I don't often wear sunglasses when I am riding. It was my personal decision to start stocking Alba Optics - primarily because the quality of lenses is astonishing, in my opininion. And also because for those of that wear spectacles all the time and don't like contact lenses, Alba Optics also do prescription versions of their eyewear.
2020 Domane SLR Criticisms
Whilst I am wearing my critical varifocals - I would prefer a narrower bar than a 42cm on a size 54 frame – especially when Trek is now trying to project their aero credentials. And on that subject a 170 or even 165mm crank would allow a deeper drop more aero position and still maintain an open hip. Everyone else likes the luggage compartment so I will let my own reservations slide with a muted mutter about solutions to problems that don’t exist. And that is it really. It is all good.
Epilogue - I Feel Fast, Therefore I Am
I feel fast therefore I am - Trek have found the formula:
Aerodynamics & system integration = more speed = more excitement.
Wrap that philosophy up in aerospace tube-shapes and Prismatic filmic paint for a 360-degree physiological paradigm shift as human placebo intertwines with the literal laws of physics. The 2020 Domane is a stupendously good bike that has re-defined the genre it invented for the rider that wants it all, no matter where they find themselves riding or racing. It aims to do everything the outgoing Domane SLR could, just at higher speed and with a more impact. A Madone for the people. The bike we tested is a very high spec Domane SLR 9 eTap and costs £9650. But I would recommend skiing off-piste and opting for Trek Project One - where for a similar budget we can tailor:
- Frame geometry - Endurance or H1.5
- Bar/stem/seatpost layback etc
- Component choice - wheels etc
- Colour and finish
- Individualisation - e.g. name or initials.
It is a big and valuable list of customisation.
Cyclefit Trek Domane SLR Video Review