Testing...Trek Domane 4.0 2013 Product Review | Rutland Cycling

Words by Aaron Scott

on 29/08/2013 19:44:00

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A seriously comfortable endurance bike that offers unprecedented compliance over the roughest of surfaces, the Trek 4.0 Domane draws on a design created for the top-of-the-range tour bikes, built to face-off the notorious cobbles of Flanders and Roubaix. The Domane platform features a unique knuckle design that allows the top tube and seat tube to move independently of each other for enhanced comfort. This is one of the most comfortable carbon sportive bikes around.

The Trek Domane. £1499.99 on the road.

Trek Domane 4.0 2013 product review

RIDING IMPRESSIONS

Rutland Cycling's Mark Craddock took the Domane 2.3 home for a test ride one evening (all of our staff are nuts about cycling...), and described the effect of the IsoSpeed knuckle design as the difference between being punched hard in the face or being pushed hard in the face. Despite Mark's visceral description, his point is how the same forces are being delivered to the rider, it's just they're smoothed out over a longer period and not delivered with sudden, startling impacts. Mark explains: �You have the same force applied to your face but it's a more gradual build up that results in you being moved backwards and not having your nose broken. That's what riding a Domane over a rough surface is like. You feel the bumps in the surface but on a much less punishing scale. The seat tube was allowed to flex and was isolated from the vibration and knocks that were heading up the seat stays. Let's be clear: the bike isn't a hovercraft; it doesn't float over anything but the feeling it gives over rough surfaces is a peculiar one - it does exactly what it claims to do.�

FRAME AND FORKS

The unique frame design is at the heart of the Domane range and it's fantastic to think Trek's designers sat around with Fabian Cancellara and penned the knuckle-design frame to help him endure the cobbles of some of the toughest continental tour legs, and now that same design is available across the range, from the £8000 bikes all the way down to the 2.3, at just £1200.

They call it IsoSpeed decoupler technology and insist it's about endurance rather than comfort, fending off any concerns about this being a slow bike. It certainly isn't,  and regardless of that compliance in the frame, once you stand out of the saddle, the 4.0 is as stiff as you need, transferring power through to the road with a vengeance. That chunky down tube culminating in a hefty BB90 bottom bracket helps to keep the bike true when it's time to attack.

One concern of some riders is how the complicated seat tube design is welded together and how this may affect durability. Trek have no such concerns and offer a lifetime warranty with this bike.

trek-domane-4.0-carbon-front-fork

The package is finished with a pair of IsoSpeed bladed carbon forks for a more communicative ride and improved ride quality to match that of the frame. It's worth noting too, that the forks are SpeedTrap compatible, ready for a sportive from the box, and also feature hidden mudguard brackets so you can continue your training through the year.

Buy the Trek Domane 2013 >>

KIT

To bring this bike into such a price point, Trek have hung the no-nonsense mid-point Shimano components from the 4.0, including a Tiagra groupset, which will serve you well until you're ready to consider upgrading. Front and rear Tiagra d�railleurs are shifted by Shimano Tiagra STI levers, with a 10-speed Tiagra 12-30t cassette and compact chainset for a 20-speed set-up with a decent spread.

The Bontrager wheels also help keep this keen price; they're not the lightest rims, and may be the first on your upgrade list further down the line, but they're as tough as nails and once up to speed offer a great ride.

THE RIDER

Anyone looking to upgrade from their first road bike or want their first serious road platform and are willing to pay the extra for a competitive piece of kit that'll serve them admirably in their first road events and last as long as they will. The H2 endurance geometry, combined with the IsoSpeed decoupler, makes this the perfect bike for anyone wanting to spend all day, every weekend, in the saddle.

BOTTOM LINE

A serious piece of kit designed for the worst road surfaces, including tour-winning technology designed to make this one of the most comfortable sportive bikes, but without losing the edge on performance.

Buy the Trek Domane 2013 >>

TREK DOMANE 4.0 FRAME GEOMETRY

trek-domane-4.0-geometry

TREK DOMANE 4.0 - FULL SPECIFICATION
  • Colours: Trek Black/Placid Blue
  • Sizes: 50cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm, 60cm
  • Frame: 400 Series OCLV Carbon, E2, BB90, DuoTrap compatible, IsoSpeed
  • Fork: Trek IsoSpeed carbon, E2
  • Rear Shock: 0
  • Wheels: Aluminium hubs w/Bontrager Approved aluminium rims
  • Front Tyre: Bontrager R1, 700x25c
  • Rear Tyre: Bontrager R1, 700x25c
  • Shifters: Shimano Tiagra STI, 10 speed
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra, braze-on
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Tiagra
  • Chainset: Shimano Tiagra, 50/34 (compact)
  • Cassette Shimano Tiagra 12-30, 10 speed
  • Chain: Not Specified
  • Bottom Bracket: BB90 Trek integrated Shimano BB kit
  • Front Brake: Aluminium dual-pivot brakes w/Shimano Tiagra STI levers
  • Rear Brake: Aluminium dual-pivot brakes w/Shimano Tiagra STI levers
  • Brake Levers: Aluminium dual-pivot brakes w/Shimano Tiagra STI levers
  • Saddle: Bontrager Affinity 1, steel rails
  • Seat Post: Bontrager Race Lite, infinite tilt adjustment, 20mm offset
  • Handlebars: Bontrager Race Blade VR-C, 31.8mm
  • Grips: Bontrager Gel Cork tape
  • Stem: Bontrager Race Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree
  • Headset: Integrated, cartridge bearings, sealed, aluminium, 1-1/8" top, 1.5" bottom
  • Extras: Vanishing mudguard mounts
  • Weight: Not Specified

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