Trek Domane Op/Ed

This joint flexes 25mm

On G+, Richard Masoner on Cyclelicious eloquently disagreed with my take on the Domane. As he figured out, what I’m reacting to is the marketing and not the design. Trek and their dealers need this bike to compete with other Fondo bikes on the market. Richard summarized it this way


and I replied

I don’t want a Soft Spartacus. No thanks. Want him instead to bleed through his bones on the cobbles, and feel it for weeks afterwards. That’s the essence of this sport, in its DNA. The bike undeniably has a market. It’s a Fondo comfort bike with 25MM of travel. This is the bike Spartacus rides when he’s retired. Not at the classics.

or Soft Cobbles for Spartacus!

A Madone with bounce

Upon hearing of this bike, Mark V dropped his wrenches, didn’t bother to wipe off his hands, and texted this…

Where is Trek getting 25mm of vertical compliance on a Madone? Where are they measuring that? Does that include fork deflection, tire compression, seatpost and saddle deformation too? How much force are they calculating to yield that compliance? And Trek media commandos really need to make an animated gif to explain a good reason why sticking a bearing into the middle of a hingeless truss is a technological breakthrough.

Note: Trek is saying 25MM and their site says 36MM, but not where.

Here’s Richard’s post in full. What’s your take?


My second disagreement with +DL Byron this week about bike design. I’m getting old and crotchety.

Trek’s “Domane” has lots of vertical give and is designed specifically for racing over the cobbles of northern Europe. Byron believes this isn’t relevant to the typical US enthusiast, who rides on smooth suburban roads. He also notes this is a lot of engineering with carbon to approach what’s always been available with steel.

I think Trek Domane is appealing to the aging MAMIL like me who appreciates a little more flexibility in the bike frame as our own biological frames begin to lose their flex.

This might also be a nod to the crumbling transportation infrastructure in the United States. Residents of Santa Clara County, CA pay 3X the national average on front end repairs because the roads are so bad. Where I live in California, the county public works department is so short on funding that they have been unable to repair roads that washed out in rain storms two years ago. They can barely afford the orange “SINGLE LANE AHEAD PREPARE TO STOP” signs they’ve erected to warn road users of the hazards. My bike commute route over the Santa Cruz Mountains is a cratered mess that is downright hazardous at speed.

I think the market reaction will be interesting. Specialized’s best selling road bike, the Roubaix, was designed for the cobbles as well and reaches the same aging demographic that the Domane seems targeted for. (Though Trek probably won’t like to hear “Domane: The Old Man’s Bike. Diaper Optional.”)


Finally, I’ll note we’re having fun here snarking a bike launch and chatting about it across various channels. It goes without saying that any launch takes a huge effort and this is a bike Trek’s dealers have been demanding. Trek is a very deliberate company, they’re about numbers, and I don’t doubt they’ve got pre-orders and these are en route to dealers now.

They live by the old saying, Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday. They also just softened a long-time suffering hero and to that I say, “What?” That’s like telling us the Bambino got served soft pitches for those home runs he slammed out of the park.