Cycles Galleria has provided us with Trek's mid-range Domane 5.2 road bike for testing. It's one of Trek's 'endurance fit' designs and is loaded with features. Will it help you get through a long day in the saddle? Find out more in our review.
If you are starting to get serious about riding and want to put some long days in the saddle the Domane could be worth a look.
The Domane range starts at just under $2,000 and stretches all the way to $9,500 for a top spec model. We are riding a 2015 Domane 5.2. At $3,700, it's at a price point where people are starting to get pretty serious about riding.
The Domane 5.2 is marketed by Trek as being 'designed to get you through the pavé sections of Flanders and Roubaix...' What this actually means is, that it is a comfortable and stable bike to ride. The design and geometry are all about absorbing road noise and balancing the pressure points on your body so that you can last all day on the bike.
Trek have done a few things to make this bike 'endurance' specific. They have increased the hight of the head tube, creating a more upright riding position (good for anyone with back issues). Increased fork offset over more aggressive bikes and an asymmetric steerer are designed to achieve a stable ride, with less vibration making its way to you hands and arms. The top tube length is also shorter relative to the bike sizing, also creating a more upright position taking pressure of the shoulders and neck.
The Domane 5.2 uses Trek's own 500 Series OCLV, it's there mid-range carbon offering that we think provides good stiffness at a reasonable weight, while keeping the price of the bike at a good level.
Another feature on this bike that we are yet to see elsewhere is the 'IsoSpeed decoupler'. This is at the point where the seat tube meets the top tube and seat stays and basically separates the two tubes allowing them to move independently. Trek claims this has no performance drawbacks, and actually increase vertical compliance.
Overall there has been a tonne of research thrown at this bike. Keep reading to see what it all feels like in the real world.
The Domane 5.2 is well finished. The paint is good and the internal cable routing gives the bike a nice clean look. It's nice to see that on a bike at this price point.
Small extras are included, like a chain guard to keep the chain in place on rough roads and protect your frame if the chain does jump of the chain set. An integrated sensor in the chain stays for your computer and gel pads under the bar tape to reduce vibration show that the Domane is a well thought out bike. It's set up out of the box to handle very rough roads.
The Domane 5.2 is well spec'd with a 500 Series OCLV Carbon frame and forks, full Ultegra mechanical 11 speed group set with a compact 50/34 and 11/28 cassette. Trek's own Bontrager race wheels and finishing kit finish the package. the bike comes in black on black or orange and black.
Everything so far means nothing if the bike does not deliver. In the real world most riders are not going to be taking on cobble stone lined rough roads on 200km plus epics. Australia generally has good roads so do you need a bike that is designed to withstand the worst surfaces in the sport?
We rode the Domane 5.2 over a ten day period. The bike came out on our standard Dandenong Ranges test loop, out with our morning hammer dropping Wednesday bunch ride and for a session on Melbourne's famous beach road.
In short, the Domane handled all three rides without missing a beat. After the Dendenong loop my first thought was that I almost felt like I had not been on a ride. The comfort features in the bike really do a good job of keeping you comfortable in the saddle. Some of the poor road sections were significantly smoother than on other bikes. On descents the bike was really stable, as speeds increased and lines on corners became more critical we did feel the longer head tube reduced our willingness to turn in at speed.
Climbing on the Domane 5.2 was pretty good. On a bike at this level you can still hit solid speed on the climbs. We did found ourselves standing up far earlier on some fast hill assaults, where we would still be seated on more aggressive set ups.
While the standard wheel set is a good mid-range, daily rider option, and plenty strong enough for the harsh conditions this bike is designed for, the Domane 5.2 could easily handle some lighter wheels and would still go really well on Aussie roads.
We found that the Domane 5.2 felt pretty small for a 58cm frame. The geometry results in an effective top tube of only 56.7cm on the 58cm bike, creating a small looking and feeling bike and a pretty upright riding position. We found this meant that while we still could get the power down riding position was not quite as efficient. This also meant that the standard length seat mast was just long enough for our 188cm rider.
In cross wind the bike was planted and stable, headwinds were a little tricky with the upright position. Going to the very shallow drops did not improve things much.
We almost fell into the trap of thinking we should go up a size, but an aggressive position is not what this bike is about. It's an all day bike. It's meant to get you through without pain and suffering in your arms and neck (legs is fine). It's designed to save your back and soak up bumps. And when it comes to doing this it does a great job.
Available in 7 stock sizes including 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm
The 2015 Domane 5.2 is available for a RRP of A$3,699
While Trek market the Domane 5.2 having 'blistering speed' we tend to think that 'blistering speed' would come from the more aggressive bikes in their range. Saying that, the Domane 5.2 does proved big comfort in a quality package and overall makes riding a great experience, not much to complain about there.
Who should buy this bike? If you fall into the less flexible category this bike should keep you pain free. If you want to ride lots of longer road rides or Audax style events where covering the distance in relative comfort is more critical than your time. If you are getting into cycling and want a good all round bike that can handle the commute, road rides, long rides, group rides etc. it's also worth a look.
If you are a racer maybe bypass this bike... maybe unless you have aspirations to head to the Roubaix course!