Trek unveil £1,000 Domane 2 series

IsoSpeed decoupler now available on Aluminium framed 2.0 and 2.3 bikes

by Dave Atkinson   July 18, 2012  

We're over at Trek World Europe in Frankfurt at the mo having a look at the fresh goods from Trek and Bontrager. You've probably already seen that they've got Fabian Cancellara's Trek Domane from the Tour over here, but that's not the only interesting Domane on show. There's also one, believe it or not, that you can get on Cyclescheme.

A Domane for £1,000? That's right. Obviously it's not a pro-level, OCLV Carbon dream machine like Fabian's bike, but it's interesting nonetheless. Essentially, Trek have brought the IsoSpeed technology to an Aluminium frame and called it the Domane 2 series.

If you're not up to speed with the IsoSpeed decoupler, then the basic premise is this: in order to tune the ride of the bike at the seatpost, it's better if you don't have to deal with the fact that it's bonded to the top tube and seat stays. That way you've got all of the seat tube to play with, rather than just the top couple of inches.

The IsoSpeed decoupler isolates the seat post from the top tube and stays so that it can flex independently. Trek are very careful not to talk about the decoupler as a pivot, as it's not really acting as a pivot in the way most people would understand from a suspension setup. In purely engineering terms, though, that's basically what you have, hidden by a rubber insert that's simply there to keep the junction clear of grime; it doesn't perform any damping duties.

The fact that the seatpost is decoupled from the frame at that point means it can be much more compliant; in the Carbon bikes compliance is increased over the Madone from 23mm to 35mm. We don't have figures for the Aluminium bike just yet, but we'd expect it, like the Carbon frame, to be a significant difference. To build the bike in Aluminium with the decoupler throws up a whole set of new problems, not least the fact that Aluminium fatigues over time in a way that Carbon doesn't. But Trek are happy that they've got the Domane 2 series frame dialled in terms of compliance for the rider and stiffness for the power in the same way as the higher-end models.

Up front the Domane 2 series has a Carbon IsoSpeed fork that uses the same design as the more expensive bikes in the range, with the fork blade arcing over the top of the dropout to give more vertical compliance at the front too. The Domane 2.0 is built up with 10-speed Tiagra running gear and a compact chainset for exactly a grand. If you want 105 components then there's a Domane 2.3 that's a couple of hundred quid more. We've put our names on the list for one of the entry-level bikes, so stay tuned for a just-in and a review.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

WHOAAAAAAAAA

NEW SORA!!!!!!!!

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
18th July 2012 - 21:18

6 Likes

Is that a huge badly finished weld on the pic of the seat tube? seriously ugly.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [222 posts]
18th July 2012 - 21:42

12 Likes

WHOAAA!!

Sora's not the lowest in the Shimano order now, there's a new Tourney.

You've probably all heard about this though, haven't you.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
18th July 2012 - 21:48

6 Likes

No, it's not a weld, it's a reflection - if you look carefully you can see my legs Nerd

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
18th July 2012 - 23:01

7 Likes

Well, this certainly seems to fly in the face of engineering logic and the properties of aluminium....thats a material you wouldnt expect to be used where the design relies on repeated flexing of a tube !
Treks material science engineers are much more qualified than me however so all credit to them, I do wonder just how few of these are likely to be on the second hand market in 5 years time.

posted by scrapper [63 posts]
19th July 2012 - 7:12

2 Likes

Blimey - that's brave of them. Considering the number of cracked-at-the-bottom-bracket frames I've seen (mostly aluminium, but steel and titanium too) freeing the seatpost to act as a long lever on the BB indicates either a remarkable degree of confidence in their metallurgy and process or control or a worrying triumph of optimism over experience.

posted by steff [81 posts]
19th July 2012 - 9:57

6 Likes

Also, is my experience that hands and feet always numb long before the arse does atypical? If I were designing for me, I'd do something like sliding, elastomer-sprung fork dropouts long before I'd think of something like this. That said, I do usually ride steel frames with 27.2 seatposts (sometimes carbon ones).

posted by steff [81 posts]
19th July 2012 - 10:00

7 Likes

steff wrote:
Also, is my experience that hands and feet always numb long before the arse does atypical? If I were designing for me, I'd do something like sliding, elastomer-sprung fork dropouts long before I'd think of something like this. That said, I do usually ride steel frames with 27.2 seatposts (sometimes carbon ones).

the fork's been redesigned of course and the higher end models have trek's new isozone bars with built-in pads (more on them later). i don't *think* the 2 series domanes have the bars. they do have the fork though.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
19th July 2012 - 10:37

7 Likes

dave_atkinson wrote:
steff wrote:
Also, is my experience that hands and feet always numb long before the arse does atypical? If I were designing for me, I'd do something like sliding, elastomer-sprung fork dropouts long before I'd think of something like this. That said, I do usually ride steel frames with 27.2 seatposts (sometimes carbon ones).

the fork's been redesigned of course and the higher end models have trek's new isozone bars with built-in pads (more on them later). i don't *think* the 2 series domanes have the bars. they do have the fork though.

Steff - your experience is not atypical, I've often heard people complain of hands and shoulders and neck suffering before rear end (experience from owning a bike shop once, and being a cyclist for over 40 years inc. clubs). I'm just the same, my first thought was also 'what about the front end, surely that should come first'?

Most of the time I ride a full carbon frame, seatpin, and bars, but lately I've been experimenting with 'compliance modification' on a 631 steel frame (Bob Jackson Club Audax). I've tried 23, 25 and 28c tyres, carbon bars, double bar tape, carbon seatpin, and even a USE carbon suspension seatpin.

The tyres seem to make the most difference. The suspension pin obviously soaks up bumps but doesn't seem to smooth out vibration, which maybe it isn't supposed to, as this would presumably also soak up some of your effort. Carbon bars don't seem to be much different from alloy in vibe control - I've tried three different types of carbon bar, 3T, an unnamed far-east one, and Pro - no apparent difference in damping. Front end mods., then, seem to me, so far, to be mostly affected by tyres. I've also tried 32spoke in a 3x pattern as opposed to radial spoking, again a minimal difference. Double bar tape feels better on rough surfaces, helped a lot more by loosening your grip over cobbles and the like.

These are all just subjective, amateurish impressions of course: I would love to see some sort of more objective, scientific type testing of the 'compliance' of all these aspects, if one were devisable.

Also, is the Trek frame going to be available as a frame only? I'd love to try it but could not live with that Shimano stuff.

posted by bikeylikey [173 posts]
21st July 2012 - 7:21

9 Likes