Going well beyond a bit of nip and tuck to tweak an existing concept Trek’s new Domane (pronounced Do-man-i, like Armani) is a more radical approach in search of the Holy Grail – comfort without cost to performance.
The focal point is the top tube and seat tube junction, and a concept Trek calls IsoSpeed – a ‘decoupler’ that essentially acts like a pivot point to isolate the seat tube flex from the rest of the frame.
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In a nutshell, Trek claims the Domane is actually 9% stiffer than its Madone, yet yields 100% more vertical compliance too. The key fact to take away from that is the Domane is every bit a race orientated product, built for the likes of Fabian Cancellara.
Elsewhere a new, more raked fork, also logoed IsoSpeed, and a slacker headtube angle potentially improve front end vibration dampening, whilst an offset drop out and an oversized, tapered headtube aim to maintain precise handling.
Bontrager has made a specific handlebar, called IsoZone, with integrated EVA foam pads as the icing on the cake. Another nice touch is Trek’s 3S integrated chain keeper, further evidence that it has tried to cover all bases and leave no stone unturned.
Flash in the pan or the beginning of a completely new era of road bike frame design? Time will tell. Regardless, it’s great to see Trek’s engineers thinking outside the box and pushing boundaries.
Keep an eye out in Cycling Weekly April 12 issue for the full story.