Trek Domane '21/'22 feedback

So having saved up, I’m thinking to upgrade my current bike to a Domane SL6 for training, solo and club runs. I have an issue with my neck/shoulder muscles caused by the Road position which means I need to seek a more upright Geo, and I settled on a Domane SL6 for those reasons and its practicality plus a move to discs.

However, I’ve been told twice now that the Domane/Isospeed is dull and boring. Yet I need to look after myself and I’m a nervous descender so maybe this is acceptable, but I’d appreciate some more opinion on the bike?

I’ll have an AL 5 Disc, it’s really all I need. Fit is the most important thing so I wouldn’t bother about the Isospeed. I rode a Domane with Isospeed and it does work well on harch terrain. I wouldn’t call that boring.

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I’m less than 30 days into my 2022 Domane SL6 (eTap) coming from a 2016 Domane AL2. I’m loving it. I don’t know if the ISO speed is doing anything (because I’ve never had it before, so I have nothing to compare it to), but the bike feels more comfortable than the older model. I’m running 32 tires compared to 25 on the older one. I’m infatuated with the electronic shifting. I love the disc brakes instead of the rim brakes on the older model - definitely makes taking the front wheel off to transport the bike in the back of my car easier. I don’t know if the stock seat is decent or not, but after work today I’m going to move my upgraded seat from the older Domane to the new Domane.

Echoing what @StevenGentieldOdo said, it’s the fit that matters most. Make sure you buy the right size bike. And get a proper fit after you buy. Also, if your Trek store is like mine, there’s a 30 day return policy. So that’s nice.

The 22 SL6 may turn out to be great for you! Or not. Give it a shot and see what works best for you.

I have a carbon Domane from last year. Before that rode a steel Gunnar for 20 years. The Domane has a confidence inspiring geometry, turns great, and is plenty stiff. It’s not light. the shock thingy in the back works great and takes the edge off; front I can’t tell. Plenty of tire clearance. The thing that holds a tube and tool in downtube works decent, but makes the bottle cage dance a bit—nice to not have a seat bag. Internal cable routing is mediocre and a pain to fish everything through; my Mtb has carbon tubes that you can just push the housing through. All in all, very happy with it and don’t think it is dull.

I had a 2015 Domane 6.2 Disc in 58cm, it has the same geometry and rear (but not front) Isospeed as the SL6. The 2015 was last of the gen1 and one of the first disc brake models.

Likes:

  • relaxed upright position was great for long days doing centuries and one double century
  • the large BB90 bottom bracket seemed to effectively transfer power, it accelerated quickly when I stood up and sprinted
  • super stable on high-speed descents in the mountains, very confidence inspiring at 40+ mph / 64+ kph

Downsides:

  • on the taller 58cm frame, sometimes hitting a pothole or going over bad pavement would cause the seat to sway back and forth, at least at my weight (200+lbs / 90+kg). According to bike magazine reviews the SLR has a top-tube Isospeed and it corrected this issue for heavier riders on the bigger 58cm and 60cm frames. Pretty sure the SL6 has the same Isospeed as what I had, and this was only a minor annoyance, and not something I noticed on every ride.
  • climbing steeper >10% grades it felt like I needed to shift position to keep the front-end of the bike on the pavement
  • the gen1 did not have front Isospeed, and the front end was harsh on bad roads. Again from reviews this is not an issue with the gen2 and gen3 Domane that have the front Isospeed.

There are a lot of favorable reviews of the Domane. However the SL series does have the relaxed H2 endurance geometry, and anyone calling it dull and boring is almost certainly someone that wants a racing geometry. Last year I bought a Tarmac SL7, and it turns with laser precision but is not as comfortable and has taken me about 9 months to adjust to the more aggressive position (which does give me free speed).

For more aggressive geometry, Trek does offer the Domane SLR in H1.5 geometry (same as Madone) as part of Project 1 special order.

Good luck and enjoy!

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Great bike for road riding, very comfortable. Very confident with descending due to the wide tyres and geometry.
No good for racing. It just doesnt have that “snap” that you need for sprinting and tight crit cornering.
If all you are doing is what you stated then you’ll love this bike.
For crits i use my old Giant Defy as it just feels snappier and tighter than the Trek but the Trek is way better for cruising out on the road.

I ride a Trek Domane SL6 2017 model, 50cm.

No idea why the bike would be dull and boring. It is comfortable. This was the first bike I ever had that just felt right to me. I previously had a lower end Madone which was harder for me to ride just due to positioning. I find the ride very smooth on 28c tires.

Downhills I do tend to be more agressive as a descender and dont have any issues. No need to go crazy on downhills so I dont know how this bike would cause you any issues.

The only negative I can say about the current models is they got heavier. I believe they are 1kg more then my model. I know there is the talk of the new models coming out next year…which are a change with the seat and the isospeed.

I would consider buying another Domane.

@kryton57 would be interested to know what the issue is? I recently went into a bike shop to see about a new bike due to neck issues and the Trek Domane was recommended to me as well

N-1: I lost my sternocleidomastoideus on one side and was basically done with cycling. Until my bike fitter recommended me a Domane, after spending like way too much money on stems, saddles…and other bikes. For the first time I feel (almost) as good as before.
The strange part though is I still feel “racy” on it. I don’t believe it’s frame material (I ride the alu), the Isospeed or the whatever, I think as I said earlier in this post: it’s all about (bike)fit.
So my advice is always: first get a bike fit (yes go crazy $$ if it’s a good one), after that the bike.

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

My neck issue is a tighten of my neck and Lat muscles caused by shoulder misalignment and a slight scoliosis. Essentially when in the road position, my body is trying to pull my neck up and left which results in inflammation and pain.

At its worst on a long 4-5hr rides I end with I can’t turn my head to the left. I have regular physio, and actually it was doing well until I took out my “good” bike last weekend over two days and it flared up.

I’ve had bike fits, and do stretches but if feels like I need to call time on anything other than a relaxed geo. I’m about to go out for 3hrs now and yesterday rotated my bars a little to bring the hoods closer as a last resort.

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The other thing about the Domane is that it fits seriously wide tires - up to 38mm.

With those neck issues, I’d recommend running 32mm tires - this will at least minimize the amount of road buzz transmitted to the body.

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@kryton57 sounds pretty much like my situation. I’ve shortened stems, used a 17 degree stem, moved the saddle and rotated the bars to bring the hood up.

I can say rolling on a lacrosse ball after a ride has helped a lot and I reckon I could carry a lacrosse ball on rides to use midway through.

But I am also seriously considering just getting a smaller, slacker frame, hence the trip to the bike shop.

What are you currently riding?

This:

20210424_142505

It and Eastway Emitter R2, 56 frame, geo here. Its fairly aggressive and that pic is before I rolled the bars upward. I’ve just come back after 3:20hr and same stiff painful neck. It has 25’s whichI run ay 90R/85F and I can squeeze 28’s into it, which is a consideration. I really like the bike hence its very difficult to Justify a £3900 Domane Ultegra with Alu wheels!

Re the Lacross ball - I have a massage gun which helps.

Sorry to say but…maybe 4-5 hrs is just too long for you. Everybody is different and I don’t know you or your training history but my cycling got better when I realized I’m not 3x7 anymore and that sometimes, learn to appreciate things as they are. I too fought a battle I couldn’t win. 4-5 hr rides, stretch in a, let’s be honest, not natural pose isn’t always a healthy thing. Your body is telling you something, you better listen to it. It’s way smarter than you. Now I do more frequent rides but less long. Not everybody can just do 5 hr rides. As there are people who can’t do 2 hr.

Wide tires make a huge difference in comfort. I put my gravel wheels on the Tarmac with 32c tires that measure out to 36mm. We have really poor road surfaces and I was floating across 6 miles at 25-30mph on group ride.

I’d buy the Domane again, great endurance geo bike. The Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V are really sweet carbon wide wheels, but only come standard on the SL7 or SLR6.