Trek Boone this Spring

My spring whip set up for forest service and farm roads

By now, I think I’ve exhausted the IsoSpeed tech totally works story lines on Medium Bicycles, our mag, and time to share with you how the endurance bike I’ve been riding this spring is built out. Doing double duty as a rain/gravel whip, the PDW fenders have remarkably not vibrated loose on the rough roads so far, and the VeloOrange, custom fit front rack has transported beer and later on, supplies for an all-day ride.

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Those hubs were previously in a set of tubulars for CX and repurposed for tubeless and set up for gravel

The Rest of the Spec

  • ATM custom camera bag—Andrew the Maker made me a bag for the RX1RII, which I used to take the shot above, and the shots in the stories about the Boone.
  • Panaracer Gravel Kings—The Kings perform well across varied terrain, as expected and running at 40 PSI front and 45 rear. I imagine a Japanese tire-compound engineer manufactured a gravel-emulation rig in a tire lab, and tested various profiles to find the one that rolled over crushed shale with some hardpack dirt the best. The tall crown on them rolls over gravel and pack dirt as designed, but you’ll want to keep the bike upright in bumps or washouts, as they’ll drop to the right or left when the sides catch. On the pavement, the sidewalls are stiff as rocks, but on crushed surfaces, these tires are awesome. For more lateral grip, in looser or deeper conditions the larger 35 is recommended.
  • Stan’s Rims—The hoops on the Boone say as much about the change in what I’m riding as anything I’ve written lately. The Grail was designed for cross, gravel, and traditional road riding in that it can be used for both high and low pressure applications. Grail rims are of the BST (tubeless for low pressure) variety with a max pressure of 45psi, and accommodate the Panaracer’s tubeless-ready bead with no leaks or burps. The reason to run tubeless for adventure, is they’re less likely to pinch or snake bite. And, tires have matured in ride and quality. Rim tech too, in just a few short seasons.
  • Look Pedals—After my PT banned me from ever riding on ATACS again, because of my knee injury, and I refuse to ride SPD, there wasn’t much choice left in MTB pedals. For my fit, I need the widest stance to keep my knee properly aligned. The S-Tracks offers a wider contact area and shims to adjust the height depending on sole lug thickness. After a few hundred miles on them, knee is good, and the pedals perform as designed.
  • Bontrager lights— On occasion, I’m out after dark and these light the way just fine. Not for commuting, but just getting home.
  • Lezyne—As I’ve shared, I prefer a minimalist approach to bike computing.

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Rack in use, while the can leaked, still worked.

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Look Pedals

Related IsoSpeed Stories

Back out there this weekend too, with more stories to follow, and a summer of finding adventure with our bikes.



A Triple X Roadside Find

A photo posted by James Stout (@jestout) on

We’ve brought home our share of roadside finds, including most recently a factory-sealed My Little Pony, but James Stout’s find is next level. To see what else James finds on his road trip, follow Appetie4Adventure on Facebook.



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. 

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Rear IsoSpeed Decoupler

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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.



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