One of the very best bikes I rode over the last two years was the original Domane RSL, so when the newest version came out I was keen to try it. From memory the Domane does not blow you away on an initial ride, rather it takes a while to get under your skin but the more you ride it the more you appreciate its qualities.
RSL stands for Race Shop Limited and is a model developed for
Trek's World Tour team. UCI rules mean that the bikes Pros ride
have to be available to us mortals - as such it's low, stiff,
aggressive and fast !
This is a limited run bike - and a very special one at that.
You can see why the Domane has been so successful in the UK. What was designed as a bike for the classics is really code for a bike designed for rubbish roads, and we fit that bill in the UK. The ability to easily take 28mm tyres (32mm as stock on the disc version) is a massive advantage; bigger tyres mean a smoother ride, give more traction and will puncture less.
In 2016 the Domane was updated and the rear IsoSpeed technology
(in effect a de-coupler) now has a slider so you can adjust the
settings - apparently you can make it as stiff as an Emonda or 30%
more compliant than the previous Domane.
I must admit - I am not a tinkerer, and hate the choice as I am always convinced my spec will be the wrong one!
So I have left it pretty stiff so far: it's meant to be a race bike right?
The biggest change to Domane Mk 2 has been the fact that the
IsoSpeed has now been brought to the front end of the bike as
I think it works, but its hard to tell, especially as this bike has massive 28mm tubulars on and these really cushion the ride feel already.
This is a £10,500 super bike, and as such it has all the best toys.
The aim is to run this bike for 4 months and do some proper testing on it. This is also a great chance to play with the new Di2 9150. I used to be a massive Di2 fan, but have increasingly [re] fallen in love with the purity of Dura Ace mechanical. So this will be a great test of how electronic groupsets have moved on…
The wheels are Aelous D5 tubulars; light, stiff and aero. What more do you need?
Saddle - normally I ride the Fizik Antares; but this shape seems quite similar.
On the limited riding I have done so far, this is another cracker from the RSL family. It feels very stiff when needed, but also much more compliant than most bikes on the Kent roads I train on.
New Di2 is a joy. The ability to drop down multiple gears is a welcome addition. The whole thing just seems crisp.
I love the geometry as well. The RSL has what's called 'Pro Endurance' geometry which is very aggressive. The bike also has a much more level top tube than the standard geometry Domane. I think it looks cool. And its red - there are not enough red bikes out there. If you ride this bike, people will stop and look at you, so you need to get used to that !
I have a triathlon next week, so have done most of my riding on my TT bike recently. Once that's out of the way it's back to a road riding focus and the Domane SLR will be my weapon of choice. Looking forward to it immensely!