Trek Domane and the possible evolution

Much has been made of the new Trek Domane bike designed especially for the parcour of the Northern Classic races that take in the ancient pavé roads that add an extra dimension of drama and handling required to stand at the top step. For a Pro it’s a fine balance between comfort, stiffness, handling and giving the edge over their fellow riders. That’s all great Marketing PR as having a strong athlete like Fabian Cancellara as part of the process is used to give kudos to the project, much in the same way that Lance did to the Madone that evolved from his requirements to be competitve in the races he choose to excel at.

E3_2012_fabian-van_marckeE3_2012_bennati_escapeE3_2012_popo_gramontE3_2012_fabian_chasesE3_2012_irizar_3E3_2012_cancellara_1

The flipside of this story is that because the Madone was a fine tuned Grand Tour weapon it just didn’t cut the mustard at the Northern Classics. I can only imagine that Fabian is pretty vocal about his kit. Unlike many he has a personal involvement with all aspects of it, from Clothing, shoes, bikes, pedals, well the list goes on. But because of his pursuit we’ve now got this new bike.

Trek_domane_features

The list of new features is extensive, taking on both new ones which happen to make the whole concept work, and those transposed over from the Madone. I suggest that you take a look at the features page, as it’ll inform you better than me whittling on and only rehashing it over for you. 

This second clip covers some more of the details that make up the frame, and why they’ve looked to integrate them into this new bike.

What is interesting is that this is the first time that Trek will have produced a bike designed for the rigors of Flanders, Roubaix and let us not forget the Monte Paschi Strade Bianche, which the bike was used by Fabian to win that race on that will be available to the public.

As a consumer there’s loads of colour and component options on the bike thanks to the Project One program. The colour scheme below is called ‘Arenberg‘ after the legendary part of the Roubaix race. I’m not sure I see the inspiration behind it, but each to there own.

Trek_domane_project_one

Although I really like this Custom colour scheme. 

Trek_domane_custom

So for us regular Joe’s what does this mean? Well, when it reaches a price that (we) the masses can all afford it will give us many of the things we all quest for Comfort, Speed and not feeling like total crap after a long day in the saddle. Of course this is just are theory for me, as I am yet to ride one, but reading all the press stuff over the last few weeks makes me want to. But it needs to get down to a cheaper price point if it’s going to challenge Specialized for space on the dealers floors, and for riders of all experiences to warrant a purchase.

Trek have longed messed about with Soft Tail style rear ends, having produced the STP Ocvl Mountain Bike for many years, which some Pro’s loved more than the lighter hardtail. I remember the various verious of Trek road bikes that have turned up over the years at the start line in Compiégne for Paris Roubaix. So this technology in many ways is a refinement of work pioneered by previous (and maybe current) Trek engineers, to improve both comfort and speed, while keeping weight to a minimum – I believe they call it the Holy Grail.

The Evolution

So to a possible evolution, well Alloy? Mmm not sure the material will work and it’d probably end up in a cracked chainstay, although any serious engineer will tell you a planes wing probably flexes more and doesn’t fail (that’s the level of my knowledge used up on this subject), but I’m sure in the history books of design someone tried an alloy soft tail, it might of been Trek themselves, but I can’t remember.

So my punt has to be Cyclocross and I wonder if we will see a Domane model and it’s features adapted to the disclipline where Mountainbike meets Road. The benefits of greater traction over rough ground on slippery surfaces resound like a heavy bass drum being driven by a John Bonham solo to the Cyclocross rider, which is why I think Titanium and Steel sells well in this arena to the enthusiast rider. The possible avenues that are open to the IsoSpeed concept opens up comfort on a whole range of bikes, if they can bring the cost down on technology.

Typically Trek has never been a sexy brand, but their bikes have always rode well, and maybe they will enter a new chapter soon. If this new bike had a ‘Cooler‘ brand on the down tube I believe people would be popping down deposits now to queue up for this bike. In the snobbery that can exist around brands like Specialized and Trek (and many other big marques), lets not forget that without them being prepared to try something it helps prepare the way for many smaller brands to be born in the first place. It’s a funny old circle, but a one that relies on a good healthy mix of frame/bicycle makers at all levels within the industry. So I applaud Trek for entering a competitve Comfort Performance bike sector, while at the same time providing one of the World’s most demanding riders a frame he is enjoying riding, so get well soon Fabian.

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