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Trek Domane AL review: Blurring the line

Big tire clearance and lower weight give trek’s aluminum all-road bike credibility both on road and on dirt..

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The Trek Domane serves as the entry point not only to Trek’s road bike lineup for many but also to road cycling as a whole. Many of these cyclists will go with the Trek Domane AL a road bike that has to wear many hats. Some want it to be a swift recreational ride. Others want it as a potential commuter. Somehow, the Domane AL has managed to competently do both. 

As versatile a package as the previous Domane AL disc was, this latest fourth-generation Domane AL can realistically serve as someone’s gravel bike now, with some caveats.

As such, the Domane AL (pronounced ‘dough-MA-knee’) has been updated to offer even more options for the prospective cyclist who is looking for one bike to be both a road bike and a gravel bike.

Trek Domane AL updates

The updated Trek Domane AL is built with Trek’s Alpha 100-series aluminum. There isn’t much to it: standard alloy tubes, plain welds, and all of that. Despite the lack of serious tube shaping, there is a passing semblance between this bike and the Domane SL carbon bike I’ve ridden as well as the high-end Domane SLR road bike . Paired with that is a new full-carbon fork that offers loads of tire clearance.

Trek claims the updated Domane AL frame and fork is around a half pound lighter (approx 225 grams) than the previous Domane AL Disc. 


The Domane AL is updated to include internal cable routing from the headset down to clean up the cables. While this looks clean and it works well for the most part, replacing shift housing and fixing hydraulic brake lines will likely be a more expensive proposition when compared to the previous-generation Domane AL Disc.

There’s a standard 27.2 mm seat post and English threaded bottom bracket like before, but the bottom bracket area is updated to include a chain catcher that’s integrated into the frame. Additionally, the Domane AL features a rack mount at the rear for commuting. Fender mounts there to keep you dry on your ride, with the rear featuring a removable seat stay bridge too.

The Domane Al receives a Sram Universal Derailleur Hanger (UDH). While the UDH spec makes finding a new derailleur hanger an inexpensive and simple proposition, the Domane AL is also one of the first road bikes I’ve seen with it.

And perhaps most interestingly, the price of the Domane AL has gone down, at least in the U.S. Our Domane AL 4 shown here is $100 US cheaper than previously. Prices in other markets remain consistent.


Can a Trek Domane AL be a gravel bike? Mostly, yes

The updated feature set comes with Trek’s eyes set not only on the road but for gravel too. Official tire clearance is for 700c x 38 mm tires, but the Domane AL fits 40 mm knobby gravel tires front and rear without an issue. More importantly, the tires cleared the Shimano Tiagra front derailleur, meaning you won’t have to swap a front derailleur and crankset to have proper tire clearance with a gravel tire.

Further, the bottom bracket bottle cage mount and the top tube bag mount are distinct features once reserved for gravel bikes.


Trek has also updated the Domane AL with new handlebars. While Trek hesitates to call them flared handlebars, the bars do flare out to be wider in the drops than at the brake levers. My size 52 cm bike featured bars with a 40 mm width at the tops, but a 44 cm width at the drops. 

Is a handlebar a big deal in the grand scheme of things? No, but it goes a long way toward right-sizing handlebars for cyclists. Further, the wider drops offer a sense of greater control while in the drops. That’s huge for anyone, and good to see Trek thinking about that at this price point.

Importantly, this added capability makes the Trek Domane AL a worthwhile choice for someone looking to dabble in both road bike and gravel bikes. While the bike is still a road bike at heart, its features make it capable enough to ride lighter gravel frequently.

Updated geometry

Trek Domane AL gen 4 geometry chart

The Domane AL geometry hasn’t changed compared to the previous generation, but that’s not a bad thing. The Domane might just be the poster child of an upright road bike, with geometry that always leans on the upright as opposed to aggressive scale.

Further, the slack head angle, longer fork offset, 420 mm chainstays, and low 80 mm bottom bracket drop across sizes further lean into the bike’s mission of being approachable for riding long distances.

One thing to note is that the bike’s handling isn’t languid or sluggish: rather, the trail figures here indicate a bike that turns won’t quite feel like a boat on the road.

Riding the Trek Domane AL

My bike is essentially a Trek Domane AL 4. It features a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes. The rest of the build comes from Bontrager: Paradigm SL wheels, a Verse Comp saddle, and R1 Hardcase Lite tires in a 32 mm width.

My size 52 cm Trek Domane AL 4 weighed in at 22.27 pounds (10.1 kg) set up with tubes in the tires.

The updated Domane AL is exactly what you’d expect from the Domane lineup: comfort-first body positioning and predictable handling. Part of that comes down to the low bottom bracket; the 80 mm bottom bracket drop on my bike brings the center of gravity ever so slightly lower. Doing so makes the bike feel more stable and confidence-inspiring through the corners, at least theoretically. 

In reality, that low bottom bracket and the 32 mm tires as this bike was built make the bike feel really stable through corners. There’s plenty of grip, sure, but the confidence makes you feel willing to push the bike further on the road.


On gravel? The Domane AL rides along without complaint. The low bottom bracket offers good stability riding through chunk even with 40 mm tires. And while the trail figures are a little quicker than an average gravel bike at this price point, it feels quick and sporty on gravel. It would be an easy choice to ride on smooth gravel at events like SBT, but probably not the right bike for an event like Unbound. 

The Trek Domane AL 4 features a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain with hydraulic brakes. While the groupset isn’t especially lightweight, the shifts are consistently crisp. Further, the braking is strong, consistent, and a worthwhile upgrade over most mechanical disc brakes. 

Trek’s in-house component line, Bontrager, fills in the rest of the gaps here. The wheelset rode along without complaint, and its tubeless-ready profile makes it an easy wheelset to hold onto in the future. They are heavy wheels, however, weighing in at 2130 grams without tires. 


While the Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite 32 mm tires are known to be hard-wearing and durable, they aren’t quick-rolling. They’re heavy too; swapping them for a set of 32 mm Teravail Telegraph tires made the bike feel noticeably more spry. Ride through them if you’d like, but swapping these tires is an easy upgrade to the Domane AL’s overall ride.

I would’ve liked to see Centerlock compatible hubs here rather than 6-bolt so the end user can choose between 6-bolt and Centerlock rotors, but I suspect 6-bolt rotors were less expensive. Nonetheless, the brakes stopped reliably and brake rotor replacements will be cheaper down the line.

One more nitpick, particularly for folks riding a smaller frame: the seat tube water bottle cage mount is set too high. You can fit a 21 oz bottle here with a little room, but there is loads of space to mount it lower. I understand why Trek didn’t do it – the band-on front derailleur mount and integrated chain catcher need room – but smaller riders want bigger bottles, too!


The touch points on the bike – the bars and saddle work well. The handlebars are comfortable all over, with a slightly flattened profile at the tops and plenty of room to move around in the drops, partially thanks to the flare in the drops. Further, I get along well with the Bontrager Verse Comp saddle, a choice that feels right on bikes three times the price of this Domane AL.

I would call the Trek Domane AL safe. The bike doesn’t feel particularly urgent or excited to get up to speed, but it does feel confident and composed once there. The handling is predictable and smooth, but not especially sharp. They’re exactly what I expected from the Domane. But the gravel road capability surprised me, giving the Domane AL real all-road bike credibility.

The gravel bike tire clearance, mounts for racks and fenders, and full carbon fork are nice upgrades to a bike that I think will make a lot of people happy, whether they’re new to cycling or a seasoned rider alike.

Bike: Trek Domane AL 4 Gen 4

Price: $1,699.99 / £1,875 / €1,999



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Results have arrived, used bike buyers guide: trek domane model history.

The Trek Domane is an endurance road bike that can do it all — road race, commute, super-long rides, and even light gravel. Trek designed the bike frame's IsoSpeed Decoupler system to offer enough compliance for comfort, while maintaining pedaling efficiency. Here's your guide to the Domane line.

trek domane unbound

Written by: Micah Ling

Published on: Jun 8, 2021

Posted in: Guides

The Trek Domane is a classic example of an endurance road bike : It can do it all. You can hop in a road race with it, commute on it, take it for your long ride, and even venture onto gravel with it. Endurance road bikes are built to perform, but also to be comfortable.

What Trek Domane is right for you?

Trek Domane evolution

History of the Domane

Trek Domane 5.2

The first-generation Trek Domane. 2016-2019 Domane -Addition of a front IsoSpeed decoupler to decouple the steerer tube from the head tube and further reduce vibrations -New slider introduced on Domane SLR models that allows riders to adjust the level of damping offered by the rear IsoSpeed -Disc version allows 32mm tire clearance 2020+ Domane -More aerodynamic frame -Even more tire clearance added, up to 38mm -Hidden Storage compartment in the down tube

Trek Domane SL6

The latest Domane design packs in aero, comfort, and storage features.

Different builds

Here are a few of our favorite Domane builds from Trek that we’ve seen at TPC.

Trek Domane 5.2 Compact Road Bike - 2013

Trek designed the Domane to absorb bumps but also sustain speed. Its IsoSpeed decoupler improves comfort without sacrificing power transfer. This system separates the seat tube from the top tube so that it can flex freely. The compliance helps the bike isolate the rider from bumps and vibration. At the front, Trek designed an IsoSpeed fork that used more rake and a reversed dropout. A carbon IsoZone handlebar featured closed-cell foam pads in the top and drops of the handlebar, to mute the jarring of cobbled roads.

Trek Domane 5.9 Road Bike - 2016

Trek Domane 6 Series

Trek Domane SLR 6 Disc Road Bike - 2017

To further improve vibration reduction, an IsoCore handlebar was added. It includes a layer of rubber inside the carbon fiber. Tire clearance gets bumped up from 25mm to 28mm on the rim brake version, and 32mm on the disc brake model. On high-end models like the SLR 8, there’s also an upgrade to electronic shifting and a removable panel in the down tube for the Shimano Di2 battery.

Domane SL5 - 2020

With the newest models of the Domane, the top tube IsoSpeed on high-end SLR models has been improved. It is tunable and offers a finer balance between stiffness and comfort. It uses a repositioned slider under the top tube and an additional elastomer integrated into the design to offer more damping (SL models retain the original non-adjustable IsoSpeed system). The tube shapes have all been tweaked, borrowing technology from Trek’s more race focused road bikes to improve aerodynamics. The new Domane offers more tire clearance and can fit up to 38mm tires. The Hidden Storage compartment in the down tube provides a discrete space on the bike to store spare tubes, tools, and snacks.

If you’re looking for a versatile bike, the smooth ride, predictable handling, and upright riding position make the Domane perfect for both a new cyclist looking to push their mileage, and a seasoned racer, interested in rougher roads. The IsoSpeed technology reduces muscle fatigue and joint stress by absorbing vibrations from varied terrain, making it ideal for someone who truly wants to explore. Generally, if you want disc brakes, look at 2015 models and newer. Trek offered the Domane with rim brakes from 2013 to 2019. From 2020 onward, the new generation Domane will only be available with disc brakes. If you want electronic shifting , look for 2017 and newer. And if you want clearance for tires as wide as 38mm, or aero features, look at the 2020 and 2021 models.


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trek domane generation four

The New Trek Domane: A Great Bike Made Better

The new Domane is everything great about the old bike, plus lighter and quicker.

The Takeaway: Trek’s best road bike gets faster, lighter, quicker, and better

  • Frames are 300 grams lighter
  • Slight aerodynamic improvements
  • Compatible with any bar and stem

Price: $3,500 (SL 5) to $13,200 (SLR 9 eTap, tested) Weight: 19.7lb. (SL 5) to 16 lb. (SLR 9) 16.8 lb. as tested (SLR 9 eTap 52cm)

Trek Domane MK.4 Gallery

trek domane generation four

Trek Domane Generation Four—What is New

My biggest knock against the third-generation Domane was the weight. It was an excellent and feature-rich bike but a little hefty. So, I am happy to report that one of the most significant changes to the fourth generation frame is it is lighter by about 300 grams (more than half a pound. A large part of the weight savings came from simplifying the bike’s signature rear IsoSpeed Decoupler and eliminating the IsoSpeed Front system that debuted in the previous generation Domane.

When asked why Trek eliminated IsoSpeed Front, Jordan Roessingh, director of road bikes, stated that much of the system's benefit—which never offered the same compliance improvement as rear IsoSpeed—was made redundant by riders' increased adoption of higher volume tubeless tires run at lower pressures. Combined with the system’s weight penalty, Trek decided the juice was not worth the squeeze and punted IsoSpeed front into the dustbin of history.

Meanwhile, at the rear, Trek removed the adjustment from the SLR’s top tube IsoSpeed. All frames now have fixed compliance. Reggie Lund, a design engineer at Trek, said that it found, “A lot of our riders were never taking advantage of the adjustability on the previous generation bike,” so they decided to remove the feature which simplified and lighted the frame. Roessingh stated that the new Domane’s fixed compliance is in line with the previous generation SLR’s IsoSpeed set to the most compliant position.

trek domane generation four

SL-level frames also see a change to their rear IsoSpeed system. Trek has multiple iterations and generations of IsoSpeed. While third-generation Domane SLR frames had adjustable top tube IsoSpeed, third-generation Domane SL frames had non-adjustable seat tube IsoSpeed. SL and SLR fourth generation Domanes get the new non-adjustable top tube IsoSpeed.

Roessingh said that one of the drawbacks of the third-gen Domane’s non-adjustable seat tube IsoSpeed was that the system got more rigid as the seat tubes got shorter. In short, smaller and likely lighter riders experienced a rougher ride than larger riders. Top tube IsoSpeed eliminates this compromise and lets Trek tune compliance per frame size, said Rosseingh, so all riders experience similar levels of comfort.

Another signature feature of carbon framed Domane models that went to the dustbin was Trek’s No Cut semi-integrated seat mast. Instead, all models now use a seat post, although a proprietary D-shaped post instead of being round. Thankfully, Trek offers two lengths (280 and 320mm) and two offsets (five and 20mm) to help riders dial in fit. The seatpost clamp hides under a snap-on cover on the top tube, which helps clean up the lines of the new Domane.

Another way Trek cleaned up the Domane’s appearance is with a new stem with a cap that hides the hoses and housing before they enter the frame through the upper headset cover. But while the bike appears to have fully integrated routing, you can swap stem lengths without pulling the hoses or housing. The bike is compatible with a standard handlebar, and riders can use standard stems. However, if you want to install a standard stem, you will need to acquire a different upper headset cover from Trek, and you will probably want to zip-tie your hoses and housing together underneath the stem.

Trek’s Domane stem comes in sizes 60 to 130mm in minus-seven degree rise and 60 to 100mm in plus-seven degree rise. The faceplate features a single bolt mount for a computer/light/camera. Unfortunately, the Domane stem’s one-bolt mounting standard is different from Trek’s one-bolt mounting system for the Madone and Emonda and also different than any of the other stems with this feature (3T, Cervelo, Fizik, Specialized, Felt, Easton).

trek domane generation four

Trek also states that the new Domane is more aerodynamic than the previous generation due to the updated shape of the fork, downtube, seat tube, seat stays, and more-integrated cables in the front. However, Trek did not provide any data on the aerodynamic improvements. When I asked Roessingh for time or watt improvements, he told me, “I don’t think we have a specific claim other than saying we do know the bike is faster. But it’s not a huge amount so it’s not a claim we’re labeling as one of the headlines of the launch.”

One small new feature added to the Domane is a mount in the top tube for a feed bag. What has not changed is the Domane has clearance for up to a 38mm tire, hidden fender mounts, the threaded (T47) bottom bracket, and the in-frame storage accessed through the hatch in the downtube.

SL and SLR frames are compatible with mechanical drivetrains. But, there is a catch outlined in Trek’s FAQ, “The frame does not have a front derailleur housing stop, which means that you are limited to front derailleurs with a built-in stop, like Shimano toggle front derailleurs.” That means the frame is not compatible with SRAM or Campagnolo mechanical-shift drivetrains.

Trek Domane Four—SL Versus SLR

There are two grades of Domane frame: SL and SLR. According to Roessingh, “SL and SLR are essentially identical from a feature set perspective and frame shape perspective.” The biggest difference is the carbon: The SL uses Trek’s “500 Series” carbon while the SLR uses “800 series” carbon. That material difference results in a 200-300 gram reduction in frame weight. According to Trek, this puts the SL frameset at 2,500 grams and the SLR frameset around 2,200 grams.

trek domane generation four

Trek Domane Four—RSL for the Racers

Although Trek’s professional racers ride a Domane in some events, typically the cobbled classics, they do not ride the standard frame. Instead, they use the Domane RSL (Race Shop Limited). It is the frame ridden to victory in the 2022 Paris-Roubaix Femmes by Elisa Longo Borghini , and it has a few notable differences from the mainline frame.

The primary distinction is fit. The RSL fame is much lower and longer than the SL and SLR Domane. Using a 56cm frame as an example the RSL’s reach is 21mm longer (395 versus 347mm) while the stack is 43mm shorter (548 versus 591mm). The RSL also has a much shorter trail length (51mm compared to 61), likely because of the increased weight the RSL’s geometry places on the front wheel.

Other changes include eliminating the top tube bag mounts and in-frame storage hatch—you do not need those things when you have a fleet of team cars behind you—and the fender mounts. These changes help shave weight off the frame compared to the standard Domane. The RSL frame also has less tire clearance—its maximum tire width is 35mm instead of 38mm—but will fit larger chainrings (RSL: 2x 54/40, 1x 54T; SLR and SL: 2x 52/36, 1x 50T) than the SL and SLR models. Another noteworthy difference: The RSL is only compatible with electronic shifting.

Trek only offers the RSL as a frameset ($4,200) and only in sizes 52 to 60cm, four fewer sizes than the mainline frame. Claimed frameset (frame and fork) weight is 1600 grams for the RSL. On paper, that makes the RSL a whopping 600 grams lighter than the SLR. But when I fact-checked that weight delta with Roessingh, he told me, “The way we measure ‘frameset” weights in those metrics isn’t apples to apples. It includes a bunch of hardware and components. The RSL frame weight is only about 100g lighter than the SLR’s.”

Trek Domane Mk.IV—Geometry

Most of the Mk. IV Domane models carry forward the Mk. III’s endurance geometry with no changes. It is a shorter reach and a taller stack fit, with a longer wheelbase and mellower handling than a race bike. Trek offers nine sizes, from 44 to 62cm.

domane 4 sl slr geometry

The RSL version previously mentioned features a lower and longer fit race fit that is even more aggressive than the Madone and Emonda race bikes with the brand’s H1.5 geometry. The RSL is only offered in five sizes, from 52 to 60cm.

domane 4 rsl geometry

Trek Domane Mk.IV—Builds, Prices, and Weights

trek domane four

Trek’s rolling out the new Domane with 11 models: five SL builds priced between $3,500 to $7,500 and six SLR models priced at $8,000 to $13,200. Only one model, the $3,500 SL 5, has a mechanical shifting drivetrain (Shimano 105); all the rest have electronic drivetrains from Shimano and SRAM. The SL 5 is also the only 11-speed bike; the rest are 12-speed.

All models come with Bontrager tubeless-ready wheels and Bontrager’s R3 folding-bead, tubeless-ready tires in 32mm.

Claimed weights start at 8.93Kg (19.7 lb.) for the SL 5, with the lightest complete bike coming in at 7.25kg (16 lb.). One interesting note on prices and weights: For the same relative equipment level— Ultegra Di2 versus Force eTap AXS —most Shimano-equipped bikes are less expensive and lighter than the SRAM-equipped bikes. There is a big “but” because all SRAM-equipped Domanes from the SL 7 eTap and up have power meters while the Shimano builds have standard cranks. The other exception is the SL 6 ( Shimano 105 Di2 ) and SL 6 eTap ( SRAM Rival eTap AXS )—the Shimano bike is $600 cheaper but slightly (10 grams) heavier.

As always, the Domane will eventually, though not immediately, find its way into Trek’s Project One customization program for riders who want to pick their parts and paint. Trek also offers the SL ($2,499), SLR, and RSL (both $4,200) framesets for purchase.

trek domane generation four

Trek Domane Mk.IV—Ride Review

Trek’s Domane has been a favorite of mine since the first generation, but the third generation was flat-out amazing. Comfortable, practical, and fun, it had most of the speed of a race bike without the bullshit that makes race bikes so limited and limiting. It fits big tires! You could run any bar and stem! It could store a burrito in the downtube! And it was fast .

So when Trek told me they were sending me the new, fourth generation, Domane I hoped and prayed that they found a way to make it better without messing up what made it so great. And friends, my hopes and prayers were answered because riding the fourth generation Domane was like reacquainting with a dear old friend, but one who lost a bunch of weight and now goes to therapy. Because this bike is everything the gen-three Domane was, but better.

You can read what I said about the third-generation Domane when I reviewed it and when I wrote it up as our 2020 Bike of the Year and take all of the good stuff and apply it to the new, fourth-generation Domane. But my complaints about it being a little heavy are gone. And with the weight reduction, the gen-four Domane unlocks new performance levels.

The biggest difference is the new bike is quicker, snappier, and just flies. When you hear someone talk about a comfortable road bike, it usually suggests a bike that is squishy and slow feeling. But when you get on a bike that is fast, quick, and communicative but also floats and coddles the rider like a newborn baby, well, that is a special bike. And that is what the new Domane is: Special. A great bike made better. A bike for the modern road rider: Freaking fast, wonderfully comfortable, and oh so practical.

trek domane generation four

A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling , Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race. 

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Trek Domane SL 6 Review: My New Favorite Gravel Bike

  • by Riding With Ryan (Official)

Converting a road bike to a gravel bike is easier than you might think. In this Trek Domane SL 6 review we will cover what is both good and bad about the bike, as well as the modifications made to turn it into a gravel bike. If you have the AL version of the Domane pay attention. Converting the aluminum frame to gravel uses a different set of tire clearance specs.

As a road bike the Domane SL 6 would not rank well in many categories outside of comfort. As a gravel bike this thing is fast! Let’s dive into the details…

How Much Does Trek Domane SL 6 Weigh?

No road bike review would be complete without talking about weight. In this Trek Domane SL 6 review we will go over weight numbers and why they aren’t that important. There is no denying this is a “heavy” carbon road bike, but the well thought out features make it easier to ride farther and faster.

My Domane SL 6 is a size 56 cm. It weighs exactly what Trek said it would at 20.51lbs. With bottle cages, tire swaps and more I am running at closer to 22.5 lbs. A big reason this bike is over 20 lbs is because of the front and rear IsoSpeed.

The added weight of IsoSpeed may cost you a few watts, but what you gain in comfort more than makes up for it. Because this bike is so comfortable I can ride longer and faster on big rides. It also makes the bike perfect for those rougher gravel surfaces. You can run a narrower tire and maintain your comfort on gravel thanks to IsoSpeed. The reduced surface friction keeps me fast on the road too.

Trek Domane SL 6 Specs

The Trek Domane SL 6 is spec’d with a carbon fiber frame that includes both front and rear IsoSpeed. if you aren’t familiar with IsoSpeed it is essentially a coupler build into the from at the front headtube and where the seat tube connects to the top tube. The coupler absorbs some of the vibration before reaching your contact points making for a smoother more comfortable ride.

The wheels that come on this bike are Paradigm Comp 25. They aren’t the lightest wheels on a bike at this price point, but they are tubeless ready and work great with gravel tires.

The group set on this bike is the mechanical shifting version in Shimano Ultegra. The disc brakes are of course hydraulic, and I have to say I really prefer Shimano disc brakes over SRAM.

The saddle that comes with it is a Verse Comp, but saddles are something that should be custom fitted to each individual so I would recommend transferring your old saddle over or fitting for a new one.

The Elite IsoZone handlebars from Bontrager are nice. Because I did a gravel conversion, I switched over to ENVE bars that flare the drops out for a wider hand position during sketchy portions of trail.

Is the Domane SL 6 Worth It?

Even though I love this bike, I can’t say I will ever buy another one. For me, I want that high end electronic shifting on a race frameset, or I want something cheaper I can build up myself. Buying a carbon bike with mechanical Ultegra doesn’t get me excited anymore.

A big reason for my change of opinion could be the arrival of my Project One Trek Domane SLR 7 with Di2 Ultegra on it. Once you’ve ridden a bike with electronic shifting it is hard to go back to mechanical setups.

For many people the Domane SL 6 will already exceed their max budget. The 2021 SL 6 comes with a price tag of $4,099.99. One way I’ve been able to justify that high price tag is by using two different wheel sets. One wheelset has my gravel tires, the other my road tires. Now the bike works perfect to fill the needs of two different bikes.

How To Convert Trek Domane To Gravel Bike

There are a few steps required to make the change to a gravel bike. First, and most obvious, is a tire change. If you have the SL version of the Trek Domane you can fit a 38mm gravel tire, per trek. I personally use a 40mm gravel tire. I’m sure doing so would void my warranty if that tire were to cause damage, but I have over 1,000 miles without issues thus far.

For more information on gravel tires read: Which Gravel Tire Is Best?

Once you have your tires upgraded you will need to protect your bike. The new gravel tires will throw small gravel pieces are your frame. There is a product called Ride Wrap that makes precut vinyl for most bike models. Alternatively, you can pick something like this: 3M Clear Paint Protection Vinyl up on Amazon for $20 bucks.

Finally, converting a disc brake bike will be best. I really don’t like rim brakes covered in dust. When they get wet you lose stopping modulation, and your gravel riding experience will be a lot better on a disc brake bike. With the Domane being an endurance road bike the frame geometry is perfect for gravel biking.

If you have an old endurance road bike in the garage you already have the perfect bike to convert to gravel. If you want to really make a full conversion get some new handlebars that have drops flaring outward. This is a must have for a race gravel bike.

Can You Use Domane As A Touring Bike?

The short answer here is no. Even with the modifications made to turn it into a gravel bike, a touring bike requires racks for storage of supplies. Even as a gravel bike the Domane’s biggest downfall is a lack of storage add-ons available. Thankfully there is plenty of storage inside the downtube. There are also plenty of mounting locations for water bottles.

If this Trek Domane SL 6 review has you eager for a bike but you can’t find anything in stock visit a Trek dealer. One thing I love about Trek is the dealer locator on their website . For example, on the Trek Domane SL 6 page, you can see what dealers nearby have this exact bike in stock. Simply select color and size, then head to the closest dealer with the bike in stock.

If you don’t like drop bars and are looking for a bike at a much lower price point then the Trek FX 2 Disc may be the bike for you. Read my Trek FX 2 Review here.

2 thoughts on “Trek Domane SL 6 Review: My New Favorite Gravel Bike”

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Hi Ryan, I’d like to know deeper insinghts about your sentence such as ” If you have the AL version of the Domane pay attention. Converting the aluminum frame to gravel uses a different set of tire clearance specs.” because I’m planning to buy a Domane AL for riding on/off roads as usual.

Thanks in advance. Best regards.

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The aluminum frame and carbon frame have different tire clearance numbers. Double check with trek before committing to a size.

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First Look: All New Disc Specific Trek Domane

trek domane unbound

Heading into it’s third year of production, Trek has now added two disc specific models of it’s revolutionary Domane (rear) suspension bike to their endurance category. The Domane is currently available in both aluminum and carbon versions in an impressive range of prices (starting with the $1429 aluminum Domane 2.0). Although they made images available just days ago, Trek has not released any retail prices on the new bike, nor is there any model specific info found on their web site. The Domane 4.0 with standard brakes sells for $2089 and the Six series sells for $6899.

trek domane unbound

Here’s the Trek Project One Domane Classics Edition ($11, 519) that we’ve been testing this year and which is a close facsimile of the bike that Cancellara claimed the 2014 Tour of Flanders title aboard. The Classics Edition is the “pro” version of the Domane, and is used by close to half of the Trek Factory Racing Team in all the races, not just the cobbled Classics.

trek domane unbound

With it’s black on black finish, Trek either chose to miss an opportunity to promote itself or figured that since they’re Trek, they don’t need to display any branding. As with all things fashion, there were two opinions on the “murdered out” look, but with a bike shed already filled to the brim with black on black bikes, most of us are over the trend. Luckily, for those with the means to step-up, that’s where Trek’s unrivaled custom Project One paint & spec program comes into play.

One thing that was universally disliked about the Domane we received was the two extra feet of brake cable that extended off the front of the bike. No doubt, setting up bikes with hydraulic cables is more difficult than with the easy-to-cut mechanical cables, and between liability and OE manufacturer rules, it will be interesting to see what kind of cable set-up comes down the pike. As for our test bike, there was either zero oversight on the build, or Shimano’s spec on cable length (which the OE bike makers must meet) are entirely off.

trek domane unbound

One of the more distinguishing features that differentiates the standard Domane from the new disc braked version is that the latter is available with the more comfort oriented E2 geometry which includes a much taller head tube (17.5cm vs. 12cm of the Domane Classics Edition in size 56cm). 

trek domane unbound

Similar to the Madone (which runs it’s rear brake under the chainstay) the rear triangle on the disc Domane is free to run without a brake bridge which results in a truly elegant appearance with nothing but the graceful tube shapes to catch the eye. The IsoSpeed decoupler suspension unit sits on the top tube just in front of the seat tube and is barely noticeable – that is until you hit rough roads, then it’s quite noticeable.

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New Trek gravel bike ridden by Quinn Simmons at Unbound Gravel

Assumed to be the new Trek Checkpoint, the bike borrows features from elsewhere in Trek's road lineup

Image for New Trek gravel bike ridden by Quinn Simmons at Unbound Gravel

It's becoming apparent that Trek has been busy in the design room over recent months. Hot on the heels of Trek-Segafredo riders taking to the Critérium du Dauphiné aboard all-new Trek time trial bikes , it looks as though Trek has another new bike on the way. 

Quinn Simmons , Trek-Segafredo's former Junior world champion, took to the start line of Unbound Gravel as one of the favourites to win the race, and it appears he did so aboard an all-new Trek gravel bike. 

In this image captured by Wil Matthews for Cyclingnews , it's apparent that the bike Simmons rode isn't a model from Trek's existing lineup. 

Neither Trek nor representatives from the Trek-Segafredo team have been able to confirm any further details on the bike, so at this stage, we can only assume that this is the new Trek Checkpoint. 

  • Best gravel bikes
  • Trek Checkpoint SL 7 review

It looks as though the new bike has borrowed technology from throughout the rest of the Trek road lineup, with a head tube that mimics the brand's Emonda, and the seat tube junction being similar to the second-tier Domane SL. 

At the front, that Emonda-like head tube has followed the trend set by road bikes over recent years and been treated to integrated cabling. A brake hose can be seen entering the front of the head tube in the same place as it does on Trek's lightweight racer. The hoses then eject from the fork leg and non-drive-side chainstay in the same place as on the current Checkpoint. 

While the seatpost itself is similar to the seat mast design used by the existing Checkpoint, the Isospeed design is slightly different in shape, and most closely resembles that of the existing Domane SL, which helps to increase bump-absorption but without the adjustment offered by the higher-spec Domane SLR. The shape of the top tube also mimics the Domane, with more curvature than the existing Checkpoint. 

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The fork looks to still have a fender mount, suggesting Trek has kept fender compatibility. However, in the picture we have here, it's not possible to spot any mounts on the rear seat stay, meaning Trek has likely used the hidden mounting design found on models in the Domane range.  

Finally, it looks as though Trek has done away with the stranglehold sliding dropout design in favour of the more simple fixed position thru-axle. 

Of course, with the absence of any confirmed details, we're unsure of a potential launch date for the bike, but as ever, we will be the first to share the news as soon as we have it. 

trek domane unbound

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Josh Croxton

As the Tech Editor here at Cyclingnews, Josh leads on content relating to all-things tech, including bikes, kit and components in order to cover product launches and curate our world-class buying guides, reviews and deals. Alongside this, his love for WorldTour racing and eagle eyes mean he's often breaking tech stories from the pro peloton too. 

On the bike, 32-year-old Josh has been riding and racing since his early teens. He started out racing cross country when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s and has never looked back. He's always training for the next big event and is keen to get his hands on the newest tech to help. He enjoys a good long ride on road or gravel, but he's most alive when he's elbow-to-elbow in a local criterium. 

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CelebWatch: Shatner Gets “Weird” + Pine Goes To “Moscow” + Nimoy Wraps “Fringe” + Quinto On The “Margin”

| April 12, 2010 | By: Anthony Pascale 19 comments so far

Shatner pitches "Weird or What" in Cannes

We will find in May if William Shatner’s new sitcom Bleep My Dad Says gets picked up, but one Shatner show that is definitely going on the air is Weird or What , a new documentary series Shatner is co-producing an hosting. The show description press release make it sound a bit like Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of :

in Weird or What? William Shatner will investigate and analyze all that is weird in the world, including everything from paranormal phenomena to weird and wonderful creatures, from medical oddities to mysterious disappearances, and bizarre natural disasters to mystical monster attacks.  

The show has been sold to Discovery Channel in the US and History Channel in Canada. Today Shatner is at the MIP TV convention in Cannes today selling  the show to the world. Variety reports that production company Cineflix has successfully sold the show to "nearly every territory". At the event Shatner described the show:

We’re looking at weird circumstances but we’re presenting them in a light-hearted, jaunty way. We’re not taking ourselves too seriously.

Chris Pine headed to Moscow as Jack Ryan

Last year Chris Pine, the new Kirk, was tapped as the new Jack Ryan, to head up another big Paramount franchise. New details have emerged on this next film based on the Tom Clancy character. Pajiba reports the following story synopsis for the next Jack Ryan film (now with the working title of "Moscow"):

The movie will pick up with the Jack Ryan not long after his stint in the Marines, before he’s joined the CIA, while he’s a Wall Street stock broker, an occupation that will play heavily into the script. In the Clancy novels, Jack Ryan was a successful financial analyst in Baltimore for Merrill Lynch. In the new movie, he will have transplanted to Moscow to continue his financial advising, not for Merill Lynch (which has been absorbed by Bank of America), but for a billionaire employer. It is that billionaire employer who eventually sets Jack Ryan up to take the fall for terrorist plot designed to collapse the U.S. economy. After that, Ryan must race against time to clear his name, reveal the terrorist plot, and save his wife, who has been taken hostage by the billionaire employer.

No word yet on when "Moscow" will go in front of cameras or be released, but probably following Pine’s work on the next Star Trek .

Nimoy’s last day as an actor? + honored as space inspiration

Spock Prime, Leonard Nimoy has recently stated he is ready to back into acting retirement. This would mean his last job as an actor would be reprising his role as William Bell in the season finale  JJ Abrams’ Fringe . And yesterday, Nimoy tweeted " Finishing work on Fringe today. Really good experience. The two parter will air in May." Today he tweeted that his back home. Speaking of Twitter, in just four days TheRealNimoy has picked up almost 33,000 followers.

But Mr. Nimoy is still out and about. On Thursday Leonard is being honored by the Space Foundation at the National Space Symposium in Colorado. Nimoy is being presented with the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach award for being an inspiration to people around the world "to explore the wonders of science, space, and technology." And a reminder, next Friday the original Spock is headed to the Vulcan, Alberta, Canada (the official Star Trek capital of Canada) to unveil a bust of himself, and then he is off to the Calgary Entertainment Expo for the weekend.

Quinto on NYSE floor

Finally we come to the new Mr. Spock, Zachary Quinto. The actor is currently in New York  filling out his resume as a producer an actor in Margin Call , a film set in the world of the stock market. Last week Zach tweeted this pic of himself with his Before the Door production company partners.

While he has been in New York, Quinto has been a frequent Twitterer, sending gems like this one last Thursday:

the t-shirt i was wearing today smelled. so i bought a new t-shirt. now it smells. already. why you got to be so smelly t-shirts?

But no worries, Zach was cleaned up all nice by the next night…

Jeez, that photo of Nimoy is fierce! :D

I cant wait to see nimoy and the shat at vegas will miss them when their gone

Shats new show sounds fun–long as they dont make fun of believers cuz that could be bad n sad–

Like a jaunty “In Search Of…”

If I see one more word with quotes around it I’m going to “scream”.

Has Shatner seen Star Trek 11 yet?

How really cares. I don’t. maybe I did at one point. But I don’t now. Let it go. For crying….out….loud

“We’re not taking ourselves too seriously.”

In contrast to some of today’s Hollywood actor wannabees, Shatner can afford to not take himself too seriously. :)

Nimoy looks like an old, and very wise Spock on that photo. Acting retirement surely would be a waste of material…

#6 No, he’s busy having a life. :))

The two shows should be combined to form a show called “Weird Fringe”, and in the first show William Shatner could focus on mysteries of Mr.Spock’s bowl haircut.

Wow whats up with Quinto’s nerdball galsses….First we see a hobo Spock and now dork Spock.

ZQ’s follow up tweet is hilarious!

Nimoy always look cool…kinda badass…you wish Fringe would throw a evil Spock beard on him! Shat looks kinda pudgy…a jolly old type… I was really hoping Mr Nimoy would make it in the new MI movie as Paris…maybe a evil Paris with a beard!

Jack Ryan before Star Trek or after???

From everything I’ve seen of Ben Affleck, he’s pretty impressed with himself. Chris Pine will be 1000 times better than him.

Quinto needs a fashion adviser.

I think Quinto should do a music video as Bilbo Baggins

Alec Baldwin was a great Jack Ryan. Tough act to follow (and I’m a big Ford fan).

16. Yeah! xD lol

Quinto is always dressed stylish, cool and modern- I love it. Zach, just rub some patchouly on yourself and get back to work please!!!!!!!! And Bleep Jack Ryan!

Three ways to explore the open road

Carbon Domane

The Carbon Domane delivers incredible endurance comfort, ultimate versatility and pro-level speed in one podium-topping package. Enjoy ultra-light OCLV Carbon, newly refined rear IsoSpeed and sleek storage options.

  • Shop Domane SL
  • Shop Domane SLR

Aluminium Domane

The Domane AL offers classic Domane speed, comfort and versatility at an exceptional value. You get a light and durable Alpha Aluminium frame, a comfort-first carbon fork, and mounts for a top tube bag, rack and mudguards.

  • Shop Domane AL

Electric Domane+

Electric Domane+ models offer the same Domane comfort that you know and love, plus a natural-feeling assist that flattens hills, shrinks long distances and lets you take the tailwind with you. From the ultra-light and fast Domane+ SLR to the high-value Domane+ AL, there’s an e-road bike for everyone.

  • Shop Domane+

Pure race pedigree

The Domane was developed in collaboration with the pros of Trek-Segafredo to create a race-ready bike that’s fast and capable enough for the world’s most epic events – including the infamous Paris-Roubaix, where Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan raced Domane to victory two years in a row.

  • Read the story

"The Domane is: Special. A great bike made better. A bike for the modern road rider: Freaking fast, wonderfully comfortable and oh so practical.” – Bicycling

“The ride is simply sublime. Its balance between smooth, vibration-eliminating comfort, sharp handling and out-and-out speed combines with an ability to get off the beaten track." - BikeRadar

"It absorbs all road vibrations, operates quietly and accelerates on flats deceptively quickly… I'll be in for a rude awakening after returning to a road bike without IsoSpeed." - VeloNews

"The most notable transition from road to gravel was the sense of ease. Usually, when you roll from tarmac to stones, the bike can feel skittish and nervous (rider or bike). The Domane feels stable, and instead of holding your breath, you breathe out." - BikeRumor

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The Checkpoint is made for adventure, whether you’re racing Unbound Gravel, bikepacking on a remote logging path or cruising down the bike path. It’s fast, comfortable and smooth, with a versatile design that helps you reach all the places you dream of exploring on two wheels.

  • See the bike

Soar up climbs and fly over flats with the crazy-light and crazy-fast Émonda road bike. Complete with our best carbon, speedy design details and aerodynamic tube shaping, the Émonda is smooth at high speeds, confident in corners and fast wherever you ride it.


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  1. Domane

    Domane is a smooth, fast, and fun performance road bike that delivers incredible endurance comfort without sacrificing speed so you can ride stronger longer. ... Checkpoint is made for adventure, whether you're racing Unbound Gravel, bikepacking on a remote logging path, or cruising down the bike path. It's fast, comfortable, and smooth ...

  2. Trek Domane as a Gravel Bike

    A gravel drivetrain is going to have lower speeds and probably a clutch mechanism, which helps to prevent chain bounce. The road drivetrain is the opposite. In my opinion, Domane is a road bike first, but is more then capable of being take on gravel and is actually designed with gravel in mind. I think the AL5 would be a great for gravel riding ...

  3. Trek Domane AL review: Blurring the line

    The updated Trek Domane AL is built with Trek's Alpha 100-series aluminum. There isn't much to it: standard alloy tubes, plain welds, and all of that. ... but probably not the right bike for an event like Unbound. The Trek Domane AL 4 features a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain with hydraulic brakes. While the groupset isn't especially ...

  4. Used Bike Buyers Guide: Trek Domane Model History

    The Trek Domane is an endurance road bike that can do it all — road race, commute, super-long rides, and even light gravel. Trek designed the bike frame's IsoSpeed Decoupler system to offer enough compliance for comfort, while maintaining pedaling efficiency. ... Choosing The Best Tire Setup for Racing Unbound Gravel; FAQs, Guides Mar 18 ...

  5. Trek Domane Review

    The new Domane is everything great about the old bike, plus lighter and quicker. The Takeaway: Trek's best road bike gets faster, lighter, quicker, and better. Weight: 19.7lb. (SL 5) to 16 lb ...

  6. Trek Domane SL 6 Review: My New Favorite Gravel Bike

    There is no denying this is a "heavy" carbon road bike, but the well thought out features make it easier to ride farther and faster. My Domane SL 6 is a size 56 cm. It weighs exactly what Trek said it would at 20.51lbs. With bottle cages, tire swaps and more I am running at closer to 22.5 lbs.

  7. Has anyone here completed Unbound on a road bike set up as a ...

    Not even all cross bikes clear 38+. Wrex2020. Yes, Definitely depends on the type of road bike you would want to use and 38c is the bare minumum but with wet and muddy conditions you defintely wouldn't want to use 40 or larger. Looking at the specs of most brands endurance road vs gravel the gravel bikes still have a longer wheelbase and ...

  8. Just bought a Domane AL5, now I'm seeing all these post saying a

    The Domane is a road bike, it is designed for the road. The Checkpoint is a gravel bike, it is designed for gravel. If you are riding mostly on roads, stick with a road bike. Not that either is inflexible. I have a gravel bike, I bought it for commuting on broken roads and it is fantastic, even more comfortable than my Domane.

  9. Trek Unveils Full Suspension Domane

    The Domane 7 Disc. Look for four complete bikes: the Domane 6 ($4,999), the Domane 6 Disc ($5499), the Domane 7 ($5999), the Domane 7 Disc ($6499) and the Domane 9 ($10,999). There was no spec sheet supplied so we're unsure just what parts are found on all the models (the Domane 6 Disc is a Shimano Ultegra spec), however the Domane 9 was ...

  10. First Look: All New Disc Specific Trek Domane

    Although they made images available just days ago, Trek has not released any retail prices on the new bike, nor is there any model specific info found on their web site. The Domane 4.0 with standard brakes sells for $2089 and the Six series sells for $6899. Here's the Trek Project One Domane Classics Edition ($11, 519) that we've been ...

  11. Domane AL 3 Gen 3

    Domane AL carbon, tapered alloy steerer, internal brake routing, fender mounts, flat mount disc, 12x100mm thru axle. Frame fit. Endurance. Weight. 56 - 10.30 kg / 22.71 lbs. Weight limit. This bike has a maximum total weight limit (combined weight of bicycle, rider, and cargo) of 275 pounds (125 kg). Shifter.

  12. New Trek gravel bike ridden by Quinn Simmons at Unbound Gravel

    Quinn Simmons, Trek-Segafredo's former Junior world champion, took to the start line of Unbound Gravel as one of the favourites to win the race, and it appears he did so aboard an all-new Trek ...

  13. Gravel set up on the 2021 Domane? : r/TrekBikes

    Hey gang - Just purchased a 2021 domane SL7 with the 38c tire clearance. I'm currently rocking the stock 32c tires but am interested in having a gravel set up to swap out. ... Trek's policy is 6mm of clearance on all sides of the tire (possibly 5mm). Reducing that clearance with a tire that's larger than the frame is intended for could cause ...

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  15. Domane

    Domane was developed in collaboration with the pros of Trek-Segafredo to create a race-ready bike that's fast and capable enough for the world's most epic events - including the infamous Paris-Roubaix, where Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan raced Domane to victory two years in a row. ... whether you're racing Unbound Gravel ...

  16. Ah, Gray Sunflower, Forget Me Not! The Beautiful, the Sublime, and the

    When looking at the above video today, I thought of Allen Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra" (in which Ginsberg eulogizes a soot covered dead sunflower). And it made me think: what makes this UFO-like cloud (seen last Wednesday over Moscow) beguiling? And it occurred to me that it has to do with the distinction, long made in…

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  18. '21 Trek Domane for Gravel Rides : r/gravelcycling

    A 700 x 38 gravel king slick versus a 700 x 38 Barlow pass. The gravel king is 45 g lighter, is 3-4 Watts faster depending on pressure, Has a more puncture resistant tread and more puncture resistant sidewall. And it's only $50 compared to $80 for a Barlow pass. But you can still compare them.

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  20. Domane

    Heart of a road bike. Spirit of adventure. The Domane is a performance road bike that delivers incredible endurance comfort without sacrificing speed. Wherever you ride it - tarmac roads, hard-packed gravel or the cobblestones of the world's greatest one-day races - the Domane family is smooth, fast and fun.