Review: Trek Domane+

The Domane+ is the electric, pedal-assist adaptation of Trek’s endurance Domane road bike. It was designed for riders who appreciate the reliable comfort of the Domane’s endurance geometry and IsoSpeed decoupler but want the additional function of powered assistance.

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The Bike


Although the battery and motor add visual bulk to the look of the bike, Trek has done well to incorporate it into the frame's lines. To such an extent that if it weren't for the bulbous motor sticking out of the bottom bracket, you would probably miss that there is a battery squeezed into the downtube. With modern-day aero bikes having wider profile downtubes, it's not that foreign to see large tubing on a road bike. Additionally, there is the clean looking 1x drivetrain to further offset the bulky ebike look. A dead giveaway, however, are the wires for the display and lights. But here too Trek has done a commendable job of tidying up the wires, guiding them under the stem where they disappear into the frame. Outback, the rear light wire runs into the seatpost just under the saddle clamp, keeping it out of sight. The mudguard mounts are well-hidden and add to the bike's versatility.

 

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The Domane+ is built on the same endurance road geometry as the regular Domane which means a taller head tube for a more upright riding position and a longer wheelbase for greater stability. The bike also utilises Trek’s proven IsoSpeed decoupler technology in the seat tube and a Ride Tuned seatpost, which smooths rough terrain for a little less fatigue over long miles. The frame is made with 500 Series OCLV (Optimum Compaction, Low Void) carbon.

 

The company modified the carbon layup to accommodate the battery and motor. Each size frame in the range has a unique carbon fibre layup to optimise the structure, ride quality, and weight. With a claimed weight of just over 17 kg for a 56 cm, the bike is nearly double that of a similar non-assisted Domane, but at least they have managed to keep the mass well below that of mountain e-bikes.

 

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Power Assist


Power assist comes from a 500Wh battery and a Bosch Performance Speed motor. The combination is good for 350 watts of added power and will give you just over 100 km range on one charge, in the most efficient Eco Mode. The electronic assist is limited to 45 km/h - a great bonus over its dirt counterparts, and helping to better share the road with cars. The battery is locked to the frame using a key. Once unlocked it can be removed without tools and can be charged on or off the bike. The battery can be fully charged in about three to four hours from empty. The front and rear lights are also powered by the main battery and are "always on" daytime running lights, but they do add much-needed safety on our roads.

 

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Bosch's Purion controller is used to control the electric assist system. The display is the perfect size; big enough to be able to see vital information clearly at a quick glance, but not so big as to take up unnecessary space out front. The physical buttons are well sized to switch between modes whether you have gloves on or not. There are four modes (Eco, Sport, Tour, and Turbo) that go from minor assistance to maximum, with an expected drop in battery range as you crank up the power. In Eco mode, the controller said that I would be good for 69 miles (or 111 km) with the range dropping down to 31 miles (50 km) in Turbo mode.

 

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Domane+ Specifications:


  • Frame500 Series OCLV Carbon. Rear IsoSpeed, Tapered head tube, internal battery, flat-mount disc brakes, 12 mm thru-axle, internal cable routing, Ride Tuned seatmast, hidden mudguard mounts
  • ForkDomane+ carbon steer and crown, flat mount disc brakes, 12 mm thru-axles
  • WheelsBontrager Paradigm Disc Tubeless Ready, 12 mm thru-axle
  • TyresSchwalbe G-One Speed, aramid bead, TL Easy, 700c35c
  • ShiftersSRAM Force 1, 11-speed
  • Rear deraileurSRAM Force 1, medium cage
  • CrankPraxis, Carbon E-Bike
  • ChainringSteel chainring, 20T, with guard
  • CassetteSRAM PG-1170, 11-36, 11-speed
  • ChainSRAM PC-1170
  • SaddleBontrager Arvada Comp, steel rails
  • SeatpostBontrager Ride Tuned alloy seatmast Cap, 10 mm offset
  • HandlebarBontrager Elite IsoZone VR-CF, 31.8 mm
  • Bar tapeBontrager tape
  • StemBontrager Elite, 31.8 mm, 7-degree, w/computer and light mounts
  • HeadsetIntegrated, stainless cartridge bearings, sealed, 1-3/8˝ top, 1.5˝ bottom
  • BrakesetSRAM Force flat-mount hydraulic disc
  • BatteryBosch PowerTube 500 Wh
  • ControllerBosch Purion Performance
  • MotorBosch Performance Speed, 350 watt, 63 Nm, 45 kph
  • Front lightBontrager Lync
  • Rear lightBontrager Lync
  • Claimed weight (56cm)17.19 kg
  • Measured weight (56cm)16.95 kg
  • Retail PriceR 109,999.00

 

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SRAM's Force 1 groupset has been selected for this single model line-up. The drivetrain comes standard with a 20T chainring and 11-36 cassette and hydraulic disc brakes. At faster speeds, the 20 tooth chainring and 11 tooth small sprocket combo is not high enough to allow you to really put your foot down, leaving you to coast it out until the time comes to pedal again. The shifting is solid, as one would expect from a 1x SRAM drivetrain. I have been running 1x on my mountain bikes for as long as I can remember now and found it quite refreshing to only have to 'worry' about rear shifting on the road as well. It does not sound like much, and would probably have scoffed at someone saying this to me, but there you go. The brakes are flat mount and offer ample stopping power considering the added heft of the bike. It never felt like I was under-braked with great modulation and feel through the levers.

 

There are hidden fender mounts adding to the versatility of the Domane+ and clearance for 35 mm tyres. The bike comes stock with 35c Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres, which make it ready for gravel adventures should you wish to take the road less traveled. With the range, you will have to stay close to city lights though.

 

The Ride


The riding position is comfortable with IsoSpeed, Ride Tuned Mast and wide tyres all playing their part to offset any roughness on the roads. Once on the go, there is not much in terms of feel that gives away that you are not on a run-of-the-mill road bike. For that, you will have to attempt a Sunday morning coffee ride around the Peninsula on human power only. Stick on some e-power and you'll soon forget that things are not quite the same old. Around the Chapman's Peak Drive twist and turns the Domane+ handles beautifully allowing you to just get on with riding your bike and enjoying the view. Going down Suikerbossie, the SRAM Force 1 hydraulic brakes manage to keep the speed in check without any noticeable fade.

 

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You can certainly power your way up a climb and around many, if not most, riders going up Cape Town's steepest climbs. This, however, will be short-lived due to the available range. Keep the power assist low and not only will you be able to ride much further, but you will also get an excellent workout. If you are thinking that you or someone else will buy this bike to go blast Strava segments on centennial rides, then you are mistaken. And that is a good thing. This is not a cop-out bicycle. If this was an uber build Madone one would expect to be able to go full blast on almost every ride. This is not that bike and was never intended to be. Working back from the Domane platform and you will realise that this bike is aimed at the more casual rider looking for comfort with a dash of speed on longer rides. The Domane is by no means a slow bike, its focus is just not outright speed at all cost. If you don't mind toggling through modes, then it is also easy enough to ramp up the power when really needed and the rest of the time stick to a mode that will give you a decent range.

 

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Off the beaten track the combination of the wider tyres and IsoSpeed technology can really be felt as it delivers a surprisingly comfortable ride. Maybe not that surprising as the Domane+'s gravel sibling, the Checkpoint, we reviewed was super comfortable off-road thanks to Trek's built-in technology. It's not just the tyres and IsoSpeed that plays a part here as I've found the saddles and bar tape specced on Trek's bikes to be very comfortable with just the right amount of squish without feeling spongy.

 

Riding the Domane+ on gravel drew attention to the mode control's placement. With it centrally mounted you have to move your hand towards the stem to change modes which means finding the right time to remove your hand from the handlebars can be tricky. Some planning ahead is required which takes time getting used to. On open roads, this is not that much of an issue as generally speaking you can see far ahead.

 

Verdict


For the purists: Yes, the Domane+ comes with a battery and a motor, but that doesn't mean you can simply head out and blast sacred road routes - there simply isn't enough juice to run it in Turbo mode for kilometre after kilometre. I really like that Trek released their first road e-bike as a do-it-all all-rounder that will happily take you on tar or dirt rides. It is not a full-blown gravel bike, yet at the same time does not feel like a compromised road bike. Due to the added weight, you will have to use some assistance on most rides, unless you stay somewhere where it is relatively flat.

 

As a first attempt, the Domane+ is a well-rounded, great riding bicycle with some versatility thrown in.

 

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10 Comments

Breezer, May 09 2019 04:55

Baie netjiese golf kar.

Edge_Design, May 09 2019 06:59

Makes complete sense...

 

If you're a commuter looking at a motorbike, but feel you might prefer something slightly more expensive and much slower.

Mamil, May 09 2019 08:52

I reckon you'd need pretty thick skin to absorb the stares and mutters as you smoked everyone up suikerbossie on this thing.

 

Hard to know which market this machine is aimed at

daniemare, May 09 2019 10:24

Hard to know which market this machine is aimed at

Do not know so much about a R109k machine (but then again I also do not know who normal bikes at that price are aimed at, yet they sell), but globally e-bike growth are outstripping normal bike growth.

In some countries even outstripping sales in absolute numbers
https://www.forbes.c...w/#602d51d42e4a

It is really only internet forums for bicycle enthusiasts that seems to have an ideological problem with them. Actual people with actual money seems to buy them in the real world.

Edge_Design, May 09 2019 10:34

Do not know so much about a R109k machine (but then again I also do not know who normal bikes at that price are aimed at, yet they sell), but globally e-bike growth are outstripping normal bike growth.

In some countries even outstripping sales in absolute numbers
https://www.forbes.c...w/#602d51d42e4a

It is really only internet forums for bicycle enthusiasts that seems to have an ideological problem with them. Actual people with actual money seems to buy them in the real world.

 

My opinion - it's all an image thing... they're the latest fad - it will pass.

 

Trail/enduro e-bikes make sense to me for those who are more interested in the downhills. Maybe even normal XC e-bikes for the frail people unable to cycle with their friends/partners otherwise. Top-end carbon racing e-bike??? No idea at all... It's designed as a road commuter so it is a direct competitor for any half decent motorbike - surely the latter must be the logical option?

daniemare, May 09 2019 10:53

My opinion - it's all an image thing... they're the latest fad - it will pass.
 
Trail/enduro e-bikes make sense to me for those who are more interested in the downhills. Maybe even normal XC e-bikes for the frail people unable to cycle with their friends/partners otherwise. Top-end carbon racing e-bike??? No idea at all... It's designed as a road commuter so it is a direct competitor for any half decent motorbike - surely the latter must be the logical option?


Top end racing e-bike = fad, probably, but you need a poster child for marketing and there is always someone that will buy it whilst the production cost is not that much more than the bread and butter model.

But I think the e-bike as a commuter has a future. Compared to a motorbike, I do not need a license or same level of insurance. I can use the sidewalk, bike lanes. No congestion tax. Easier Parking. Then there is the green and fitness factor for those that believe it so. Yes, these are not SA reality, but then we do not dictate biking trends so much do we. So Trek will have such models, and if they can sell some here, why not, the container was coming over in any case.

And, some frail people is also unable to cycle with their friends/partners up Helshoogte (for example) too.

Headshot, May 10 2019 01:33

I wonder if there will ever be an eBike Cape Epic. Imagine how epic it would be seeing people pedalling 25kg flat battery eBikes into the finish. A true test!

RaymondC, May 10 2019 04:36

Interesting bike, would be interesting to see how she handles on a super technical high speed decent you should feel more planted.

gummibear, May 11 2019 08:05

Makes complete sense...

 

If you're a commuter looking at a motorbike, but feel you might prefer something slightly more expensive and much slower.

This actually does make sense.The governments in most European countries are giving great rebates and and tax incentives for electric vehicles.With this you could use the bike paths and avoid the traffic jams so get to work faster. 

jhaerr, Aug 31 2019 02:16

Let me add a comment-
I own the domane e-bike and it is my favorite bike next to my madone 9.0.
First of all its a bike, and we all love riding bikes, this one is exceptionally well made and great fun to ride.
What you missed, is there are many very committed riders that ride 20+ miles every day, and have for many years. After 16 years of strong riding, my health changed and i had open surgery valve replacement and aorta at age 55, but very fit.
This bike is perfect to continue riding same routes and distance but added ability to “dial in” exact heart rates by adding small increments of power. I love this bike!!
Still ride my other madone’s but not hard like the old days, but this bike brings back the passion, speed, distance, that we all live for!