Trek’s Sizing is a “Say What?”, and is IsoSpeed Suspension?

This post is about the new Trek Domane. Actually, that is a lie. This is really all about how the lack of consensus for technical and marketing terms within cycling makes me want to punch people in the face.

As Byron posted on Medium, Trek launched the new Domane, but I’m still mildly peeved with the name Domane, which as I have been assured is pronounced “DOE-mah-NAY”. Strange that no one seems to pronounce the name of Trek’s other pro road bike model, the Madone, as “MAH-doe-NAY”. But maybe that’s because the Domane is marketed as an “endurance” bike, which as far as the general consumer need concern themselves means a road bike with more upright positioning, more forgiving ride, and more tyre clearance….but not enough tyre clearance to take on deep gravel. Kudos to Trek for providing fender mounts too when many other manufacturers have clearly assumed that potential buyers either like to endure winter road spray in their face and up their crack or perhaps live only in southern CA where rain is only slightly more likely than a quality movie starring Adam Sandler. I’m thinking of a bike with name that rhymes with Blue-Ray.

Pro Tip: Don’t slip up and call the Domane an “enduro road bike”, brah. Enduro is a totally different scene…think baggy shorts and beards rather than power meters and paceline etiquette.

The big update on the new Domane is the IsoSpeed Decoupler on the headtube. Also, the IsoSpeed on the seat tube is now tunable. But what I really want to know is whether IsoSpeed can be classified as suspension…or not. It certainly does not involve coil springs, swing-arms, or telescoping shocks like more conventional suspension designs, but IsoSpeed is definitely more substantial than elastomer inserts bonded onto a frame to act as vibration dampers (ie, Zerts do not equal suspension). Technically I would have to call the Domane a full-suspension bike, though emphasizing the phrase “full-suspension” with the Domane seems misleading. Doing so both trivializes the difficulty of adapting conventional suspension designs to road use and obscures the elegance and cleverness of Trek’s design.

As those of you who know me and my fascination with road bike suspension, might expect, I have more than a passing curiosity with the Domane and its IsoSpeed decouplers. I’ve played around a little bit with the IsoSpeed on Byron’s Trek Boone test bike, but that bike is way too large for me to ride. Byron usually rides a 56 or 58cm frame, I usually take a 48-49cm. I wondered if there was a Domane size to fit me. The Trek geometry chart answered that question but not without first begging another.

Listed in three separate columns on the geometry chart, there is a frame size number 50 cm, an actual frame size 50cm, and a seat tube (45.0cm). What the hell does that even mean? Am I the only one who sees the problem here? That’s like saying a “6-foot tall man” is actually 6 feet tall in so much if you measured him from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head, that measurement would be 5ft 6in. Other bike brands give a “virtual size” and a “seat tube size”; don’t make this more complicated than it has to be, Trek. When you said that bike was literally 50cm in size, you obviously meant figuratively

As for the question “Does Trek make a Domane in Mark V Size?”, the answer is no. Because Mark V Size, as rigidly defined by the international standards commission known as STFU-GTFO, is a reach dimension of 367-386mm and a stack of no more than 515mm for pure road bikes and no more than 530mm for endurance/gravel/touring bikes. The 50cm Domane has a reach of 368mm and a stack of 546mm…and that’s just too damn high for me.

So the new Trek Domane is full-suspension. It is solidly in the category of “endurance road” bike, which has nothing to do with “enduro”. Mark V Size is not within the subset of the Domane sizing range, and Pluto is not to be referred to as a “planet”. All non-standard usage of technical terms henceforth will be punished.

Ed note: awesomely for Byron, Trek makes a Boone AND a Domane SLR in his size. He’s ridden one off them so far and shared stories about both on Medium, in our Mag, and here on the blog. Also, with all the media attention, you maybe wonder what IsoSpeed decoupling is, here’s an explainer.



Domane SLR: Isospeed Decouple What?

Trek Boone

Trek Boone with Jump Off Joe in the Background

Perhaps you have no idea what a decoupler on a bike is, and if so, that’s ok. Because earlier today, I shared a story on Medium Bicycles about the Boone and just-announced Domane SLR. The Boone is decoupled in the rear and the Domane SLR has decouplers on both ends. An IsoSpeed decoupler is Trek’s technology to suspend a road or cross bike by decoupling the seat stay from the top tube—those two tubes are traditionally welded or molded together and that’s where the seat post attaches. Separating the seat/top tube junction allows a pivot with just enough movement to absorb the hits and smooth out the ride. The system does not bob o r sag like a fully-suspended mountain bike pivoting at the bottom bracket. As fun as riding off road on a road bike is, the vibrations and bumps will eventually fatigue the rider—that’s why Trek introduced the Domane with Cancellara in the most brutal races of the season, so he could float across the cobbles to a win. 

sdks

Rear IsoSpeed Decoupler

sdfgds

Front IsoSpeed Decoupler

Anyone that’s spent a few appendage-numbing hours on farm or forest-service roads riding a road bike, has probably wondered when they could get some relief from suspension. The SLR extends Trek’s decoupling tech to the front triangle and I expect it’ll work just as well as the rear does now. There’s nothing else like it in shops or races today. 4 years after Trek first released IsoSpeed, other manufactures have yet to respond. With tech that good, the market won’t wait much longer from them to compete. Read more about the Boone I’ve been riding this spring on Medium too and in Issue 31 of our magazine.



Google’s Self-Driving Bicycle


After a busy week and getting Issue 34 Truth out, a light-hearted new product from Google, on April 1st, and congrats to Vanmoof for being in the video.



Clement goes tubeless with latest X’PLOR series adventure tread, the 36mm MSO

Clement Pneumatici debuts the 700Cx36mm X’PLOR MSO Tubeless tyre. Named after the 3-letter code for the Missoula airport, the MSO is the latest addition to the X’PLOR series of adventure and commuter tyres. Slotting between the existing 32mm and 40mm , the new 36mm MSO is the first tubeless-ready offering from Clement, with the promise of more to come.

The X’PLOR MSO tread was designed from the ground-up for multiple conditions and is a distinct Clement tread pattern of both polygonal and hexagonal shapes, smooth-rolling center knobs and aggressive shoulder lugs for cornering control. The soft rubber compound for extra grip and shock absorption combined with the tightly packed center knobs and aggressive shoulder lugs provides great traction and durability. Though it has been a go-to tire for serious endurance racers it is also the perfect tread over pavement, through urban travails, across dirt trails, and of course, on gravel roads.

The 36mm size (438gr average based on two tyre sample) is a smart marketing choice for the adventure bike theme, voluminous to compliment the newer generation of purpose-built gravel bikes but not so wide as to exclude their use on CX bikes designed for 33mm UCI regulation tyres. And speaking of cyclocross tyres, Clement will continue to expand their selection of tubeless tyres in the coming months with both tubeless versions of the existing PDX and MXP 33mm cyclocross treads, as well as debuting the all-new BOS. Named after Boston’s Logan International Airport, the BOS is deep mud pattern with great honking paddle blocks staggered in the middle and buttressed side blocks aggressively jutting from the shoulders. For traditionalists, the BOS will also be available in a 33mm tubular version.

The MSO 36mm is shipping now; the BOS will be available later this spring.



Groningen: The Worlds Cycling City

Groningen: The World's Cycling City from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.


If watching drone videos from the Oregon outback, wasn’t enough to take you away from the craziness in the world today, how ‘bout a look at Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

It’s no secret that just about anywhere you go in the Netherlands is an incredible place to bicycle. And in Groningen, a northern city with a population of 190,000 and a bike mode share of 50 percent, the cycling is as comfortable as in any city on Earth. The sheer number of people riding at any one time will astound you, as will the absence of automobiles in the city center, where cars seem extinct. It is remarkable just how quiet the city is. People go about their business running errands by bike, going to work by bike, and even holding hands by bike.

Holding hands by bike and a bike mode share of 50 percent—that’s the stuff dreams are made of.



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