Cancellara’s new ride

Typically, road bike efficiency and bicycle suspension don’t go hand in hand. But in 2012 when Trek introduced the Domane, it could be argued that it represented a revolution in road bike design. Rather than incorporating “suspension” in a traditional sense, the Domane saw the launch of Trek’s IsoSpeed Decoupler which allowed certain parts of the frame to flex while others remained stiff. Shortly after, Cancellara put his stamp of approval on the concept by racing it to victory in both Flanders and Roubaix.

As good as the Domane was, Trek thought it could be better. Many felt that the front of the bike’s ride didn’t quite match up with the rear on account of the ride taming nature of the IsoSpeed decoupler. There was also the issue of different riders wanting different levels of vibration damping based on their weight or riding styles. All valid claims, all which seem to be addressed on the all new Domane…

Flanders-Tech_RVV_Trek-Domane-SLR_version-2-preproduction-prototype_IsoSpeed-decoupler-endurance-road-race-bike_Fabian-Cancellara_special-edition_Trek-Segafredo_rear-end Flanders-Tech_RVV_Trek-Domane-SLR_version-2-preproduction-prototype_IsoSpeed-decoupler-endurance-road-race-bike_Fabian-Cancellara_special-edition_Trek-Segafredo_adjustable-IsoSpeed

Somewhere back in 2014, Trek started down the path of creating a new version of the Domane to address the concerns with the current frame. In addition to spending time prototyping and testing on the actual cobbles in Belgium, Trek even built a 100m segment of cobbles of their own at home in Waterloo. Throughout testing Trek claims to have gone through 33 unique ideas, including 3 frame, 2 fork, and 2 handlebar concepts to get to the final product.

Adjustable Rear IsoSpeed detail

While the new Domane continues with their IsoSpeed Decoupler on the back of the bike, it has evolved to include adjustability. This should allow different riders to find their ideal setting by moving the slider which is built into the seat tube. The system functions by combining two “seat tubes” that are connected at the top tube junction with the IsoSpeed decoupler and also towards the lower water bottle mounting bolt on the seat tube via a bolted joint. The main frame seat tube in front is split from the lower seat mast portion of the frame by a vacant space or a gap between the two. Between those two pieces of carbon on the frame is a slider that can be positioned up or down. At the lowest position the frame will have the most compliance, or around 14% more than the original Domane. At the highest position, the slider limits the movement between the two frame pieces and provides the least compliance. At the high position, the new frame will be less compliant than the original with just over 1mm less average deflection.

Flanders-Tech_RVV_Trek-Domane-SLR_version-2-preproduction-prototype_IsoSpeed-decoupler-endurance-road-race-bike_Fabian-Cancellara_special-edition_Trek-Segafredo_flexible-upper-headset-cup Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 2.41.33 PM

Perhaps more important than adjustability on the rear was the need to balance out the ride feel of the front of the bike. That meant an all new version of the IsoSpeed Decoupler in the front. It isn’t exactly clear how the system works, but it appears that the upper section of the steerer tube rides in a headset that is captured its own decoupler. This should allow the upper section of the steerer tube (along with the bars and stem) to flex a tiny amount and reduce the input to the rider. Seeing how there is no IsoSpeed shroud on the lower portion of the head tube it stands to reason that the lower headset cup/steerer does not flex, which means the only portion of the bike affected would be at the upper headset cup and above. Trek has long touted the benefits of their E2 asymmetric steerer which claims to allow the steerer to flex fore and aft while remaining laterally rigid, so perhaps this is taking that concept to the extreme. Trek Claims this provides around a 10% improvement over the current Domane.


In order to lessen the impact to the rider even more, Bontrager has stepped up with their new IsoCore handlebar. Along with the use of IsoZone padding, the bar utilizes a vibration deadening rubber that is layered in between carbon plies in key spots to cut down on road buzz – somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%.

Together, the IsoCore bar and front IsoSpeed Decoupler should provide a more balanced ride, especially when compared to the new adjustable IsoSpeed rear.

Tire Clearance Direct Brakes Control Center

Other frame improvements include the Domane Control Center which will hide a Di2 battery, as well as increased tire clearance, and the choice of direct mount rim or flat mount disc brakes. Rim brake frames will allow up to 28mm tires with QR wheels, while disc brake frames will allow for 32mm tires on wheels held in place with 12mm thru axles. Both bikes offer hidden fender mounts.


Domane_SLR_7 Domane_SLR_7_Disc

Domane_SLR_6 Domane_SLR_6_Disc

Offered in the Domane SLR 6 and SLR 7, both of which have disc and rim brake options with pricing ranging from $4,999 to $6,499. The top level SLR 9 will only be offered in a rim brake SRAM eTap build for $10,999, and both rim and disc OCLV carbon framesets will sell for $2,999.

Claimed weights are listed as (lb/kg):

  • Domane SLR 9 eTap 14.14/6.76
  • Domane SLR 7 16.08/7.49
  • Domane SLR 7 Disc 18.05/8.3
  • Domane SLR 6 16.07/7.46
  • Domane SLR 6 Disc 18.05/8.3



  1. We got these in our shop recently, and this thing is so comfy it makes you re-think how a road bike should ride. So fricken cool. Once again, Trek is leading the way but I still can’t wait what the BR haters/commentators will say about it [sits back with popcorn]

    • I think its actually quite an innovative bike. Kudos for them trying some new stuff. I wonder though over the long haul if there’s durability or reliability/maintenance issues. What I do find a bit suspicious is the claims of 10% improvement. The human body cannot normally perceive differences (sound, weight, light, etc) until it reaches 20%. I think the differences will likely be more noticeable compared to a ‘conventional’ bike, not to its predecessor.

      • Do you have a reference for that “20% claim”? I’d like to see data confirming that, especially since 97.8% of all statistics are made on the spot.

      • It seems a well designed, serviceable system (the isospeed decouplers are easily replaceable if they degrade). Carbon fiber doesn’t really have a fatigue limit, so I worry little about that

        As for 10% improvement. I’m sure it’s real and people will be able to feel it. Probably not after a test ride unless excessively long and over known bad roads (then there is the “new bike” effect which can mask things)

    • Considering that this is brand new and only on the SLR line, it will probably be a year or two before we see the upgraded Isospeed moved into the mid-level bikes.

        • I am well aware of the differences since I sell both of them.
          I never made the claim that they were the Diverge/Domane were the same/similar.

          I pointed out that there was already a “road” bike with a dropper available, nothing more.

      • Sorry for the dupes folks, my post are all going into moderation-land, then disappearing entirely, only to reappear sometime later…

        (Probably including this one.)

  2. I think we just need to give Trek a big Kudos in keeping fenders mounts on this thing. Why or why do manufacturers think carbon frame buyers don’t want integrated mounts, especially for fenders on “endurance” bikes.
    Heck, I’d even like if they put rack bosses in (and would be fine with a very low weight limit – 10-15 lbs would be more than enough).

    • Agreed. Full-length fenders don’t really add that much weight either, so no real reason why allowance for them shouldn’t be baked into the design IMHO.

      So far, though, I’ve noticed it’s very rare to see rack fittings on carbon-frame bikes. There are forks that appear once in a blue moon that are advertised to accept low-rider front racks and panniers, but not frames. Seems like racks are more the domain of metal frame bikes.

  3. This looks great, but it’s only going to delay my Boone purchase. I don’t need another road bike, but would love to have it on a cx/gravel rig. I was only waiting for a rear thru, but I guess I’ll have wait longer. My canti Cronus will buy some time.

    • I, too, was waiting for a Boone with a rear thruaxle. Primarily because it simplifies rotor/caliper alignment. Strange that disc Domanes get rear thruaxle but the Boones (still!) don’t.

      Interesting that these have “official” CPSC-sanctioned 32mm clearance on the disc models, it makes me curious how far that will be able to be pushed IRL.

      • It will fit 32s with fenders. There is plenty of clearance for a larger tire. I don’t see 35s being an issue at all. Larger than that would depend on tire/rim/tread combos.

      • The reason the Boone is still open-dropout is because they invested lots of money in the original tooling. They went to T-A for the fork in the Boone’s 2nd season because that is cheaper since it is only one mold.

        It will likely be the Fall 2016 season at least before we see a T-A Boone and maybe the new Isospeed F/R.

  4. Can you get the H1 geo for that frame or just the H2 with the giant head tube? Fabian’s looks long and low, the others not so much.

    • I think trek has always offered a domane H1 frameset, top oclv only. Current one is rim brake only this one will probably be different with UCI approvals in 2017

  5. The extremely relaxed Stack-Reach Ratio actually makes much sense to most of us non-racers (on a bike-fitting basis).

    However, the long wheelbase, big trail, big bb drop push this bike to the endurance category to the extreme. Unresponsive steering (or very stable direction change, choose your words). Think before you buy. There’s no best bike in the world, only the best bike in your world. And your world probably changes daily, so… N+1 still applies…

    • Minus the saddle bounce. I wouldn’t hesitate to take this bike into a 1/2 crit race. The BB isn’t that low and that bit of lowness helps your bike handing enough to make up for the wheelbase difference. I just don’t like how the Domane feels on long, smooth roads.

        • There is no damping control in the traditional sense. There is only spring rate control via the slider. For those wanting a firmer feel, just slide it up to the max and it should tame most bounce within reason depending on rider weight and pedaling smoothness.

  6. I do like the concept and execution, but I also think it’s funny that an expensive, stiff carbon race frame made comfortable is now the new “you should just buy a steel frame because you wouldn’t actually race on this and it’s all you need”.

  7. Wondering about that 28mm tire clearance. I really wanted the original bike but I never got one because my 28s were actually 31s on HED rims and didn’t fit in the bike. You’d think an endurance frame in 2016 would be optimized for 28s with space for a 30 or 32(sidewall width) that would likely be wider

  8. This looks pretty sweet, definitely one to test-ride but i’m a bit worried about the seat tube gap filling up with dirt from the road – UK back roads get pretty grim in the winter.

  9. The steerer tube runs through a barrel with two bearings at the side, the steerer tube itself runs in the barrel on 2 bearings in the barrel for normal motion of the steerer. The steerer tube itself does bent like the seat tube.

    The separated seattube is clean-cut so debris wont build up in between the twoo “tubes”

    and yes, its very very plush


    • The steerer does flex/bend, and the pivoting barrel allows this to happen. Traditionally, steerer flex was basically limited to the portion sticking up from the top HT bearing plus stem/bar flex. with this, the steerer is more free to flex from the bottom HT bearing. The steerer isn’t cantilevered like the ST, but this design allows more flex.

  10. The rear of the new Isospeed seatpost is really easy to adjust and rotate to get into the space between the post and the frame. 5mm toque key is all you need. Cleaning should be easy in that regard, as some other commentators have pointed out – dust will be able to work its way in there.

    It’s a ridiculous ride. One of our shop guys was out @ Trek in Waterloo for the release party/day, and in addition to a full mechanical breakdown of everything they went for a 25+ mile ride to test them out over rough and smooth roads.

    The fella won’t stop talking about how great the ride was. 3 customers have test ridden already and are amazed at the feel.

    I want one.

  11. MTB bar & seatpost w/this technology, please – I don’t even need the whole frame to be like this ’cause I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Very cool.

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