Trek Domane SLR 2020

Trek's Domane has long been a top choice for endurance riding. But exactly what that means has changed over the years, and the bike has evolved to accomodate those changes in rider expectations.

This latest model comes with 32mm wide tyres as standard (and takes up to 38mm) - an indication that endurance road bikes are now expected to be even more versatile.

Trek have made a conscious decision to prioritise comfort over shaving off every last gram of weight. After all, they've got the Emonda in their range for ultralight climbing. The Domane has a different focus...

There's IsoSpeed shock-absorbing tech at front and rear, now with adjustable top-tube IsoSpeed on the SLR models. The redesigned rear IsoSpeed, carried over from the latest Madone, is now tuned to each frame size to provide just the right amount of compliance for different sized riders.

IsoSpeed really is something special. We've done some long hauls on our test bike and it has proved exceptional at soaking up the typical British road surface.

Of course it's also a little more aero than the previous Domane - no surprises there - at least partly thanks to the neatly integrated cable routing, with the cables disappearing behind the stem and into the steerer tube. Thankfully the bars/stem are a standard, non-proprietary design, so there's plenty of option to swap them out as required for the perfect fit (or when doing a full custom build).

Geometry is the same as the previous generation Domane, using Trek's endurance-focused H3 fit, and that's no bad thing. It's a great blend between long-ride comfort and efficiency. Project One customers still have the option of the more aggressive endurance race H1.5 fit if they prefer.

above: our test bike is in the latest Project One ICON Cosmos paint scheme

Project One is a great way to customise your new Trek, and opens up not just paint but also a wide range of component and wheelset options. The Domane is also available as a frameset only, either in stock or Project One colours, should you prefer to do a full custom build.

A very welcome change is the move back to a threaded bottom bracket, rather than the previous Pressfit options. Trek have gone for a T47 Threaded BB, which still allows for larger bearings (and compatibility with modern crank designs) but avoids the potential for creaking that has plagued many pressfit bikes.

There's also no more WSD - the concept of a separate "women's" range has been ditched, and the whole range of sizes from 47cm to 62cm (and down to 44cm on some models) is now available in all their standard colour options (and as always Project One provides a host of other build and paint options). This is great news, as it opens up far more choices for all riders - and as bike fit specialists we have always fitted the right contact points for the individual rider anyway, so apart from colour options there's never really been a difference for us!

Barry's Thoughts

This latest Domane has huge tyre clearance, and that's a statement of intent from Trek, they're recognising that the boundary between endurance road bikes and gravel/adventure bikes is becoming blurred. They already have a plush endurance road machine, why not make it more capable?

Of course this raises the question of what this means for the Checkpoint, their gravel-specific model. That has an abundance of mounting points for racks, bags and bottles, can take tyres up to 45mm wide (to the Domane's 38mm) but only has IsoSpeed at the rear, and still takes a pressfit bottom bracket. It poses an interesting choice - dedicated off-road adventurers are still likely to favour the Checkpoint, but this new Domane is going to appeal to a lot of roadies who encounter the occasional trail.

My main take-away from my time on the new bike is that it's amazingly comfy - even more so than the Specialized Roubaix (which had leapfrogged the previous generation in terms of shock absorbing capability). It seems that Trek and Specialized are engaged in a battle to see who can make the comfiest performance bike - something that's of great benefit to us riders!

Trek's latest generation IsoSpeed, with the adjustable rear damping on SLR models, is a tech tour de force, and this might well be the smoothest riding performance bike I've ridden.

The storage compartment underneath the downtube bottle mounts is a welcome addition, and is genuinely useful. Interestingly it also enables Trek to bring in more of their integration, not just the well-established DuoTap sensor in the chainstays but things like a dedicated mounting point for their daylight running lights on the rear of the seatpost (since you're less likely to need a seatpack with the internal space available - although the choice is there if you want it).

But it's a big boy; 8.5kg! I found myself thinking 'Cadillac' plushness. This is not a bike that is focused on speed, but that extra comfort is the key factor. If you're comfortable you're going to be able to ride harder and longer, so for non-race situations (or in races where the road surface may be poor quality - or cobbled) a few extra grams is no hardship.

I have to mention, too, our test bike in ICON series paint is absolutely stunning. The Cosmos paint scheme attracts a lot of positive comment, and is just one of the gorgeous finishes available via Trek's Project One programme.


Trek aren't the first brand to make use of space inside the frame tubes for storage, and I'm sure they won't be the last. It's a handy way to keep your bike neat and relatively free from visible "add-ons" whilst maintaining a low centre of gravity to keep handling sharp.

With the dominance of large-section carbon fibre downtubes there's certainly plenty of space to play with. Trek make an optional multitool that's designed to clip to the underside of the lid, preventing it from rattling around, and even with that in place there's still room for a CO2 inflator/cartridge and a spare tube (or even a lightweight rainjacket/gilet).

Opening and closing is tool-free and easy, with a locking lever to prevent accidental opening, and the lid lifts off completely for easy access.

Rob's Thoughts

Overall I was pretty impressed with the latest Domane. Most endurance bikes I've ridden feel a little dull in terms of handling but this was surprisingly quite lively, although obviously not like a full on race bike. On Saturday I rode it on a 40 mile course that I do quite regularly and the average speed was only around 0.5mph off my Venge, so all in all I'd say it's pretty fast in the real world.

I was curious so I weighed the bike and it came in around 8.5kg which seemed a little heavy to me for a top of the range model, however it honestly didn't feel that heavy. It felt decent climbing and of course super stable descending. I'd say Trek must have prioritised aerodynamics and comfort over weight though.

Where this bike does really deliver is comfort! The IsoSpeed (which I'd never used before) and the bigger tyres really did an incredible job absorbing all those bumps. You know what UK country lanes are like... road surfaces are generally awful but this handled them with ease. There is a very nice descent near me - not long, but fast - and the road surface is crap. Normally on the Venge I'm weaving around trying to avoid the bumps but with the Domane I felt confident just gliding over them.

It also turned a few heads which is nice! Literally at the end of my road I bumped into a guy who was riding the older Domane. Straight away he was asking me questions about it. Turns out he is actually a Bespoke customer and bought his bike from us - small world!

All in all its a great bike and if I was in the market for an Endurance bike I'd definitely be considering it. With a bigger cassette on the back I think it will make a superb long distance bike for tackling epic rides. You'll be glad of the added comfort on longer days in the saddle, it really does make a difference.

  • At Bespoke we're Trek Project One specialists - the combination of their customisation options and our bike fit expertise is hard to beat. Contact us to discuss your own Trek build.

And there's more...

Check out another recent Domane SLR from Bespoke in our Build Gallery - this one is also in ICON paint; resplendent in Molten Marble.