Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Trek Domane Classics via Trek Project One

BikeRadar: "Ride and handling: Crisp handling, meetrear suspension"

Article originally posted on

While race bikes traditionally are tight and jumpy like cats, the Domane Classics Edition is more like a lion; the pro-edition fork offers plenty of agility up front, but there is no mistaking the fact you're driving a long bus. Turns and quick dodges can be rapidly and easily initiated, but the rear end takes a split second to come around. Depending on how you like your bike feel — and where and how you ride — this can be a good thing.

On rough roads, for example, the Classics Edition truly shines. When you hit washboards in a group and the errant bottle escapes its cage on a bike in front of you, a quick flick of the bars will suffice to jump out of the way.

There are few remarkable things going on with the geometry and frame construction.

The Classics Edition shares the crazy-low bottom bracket (7.5-8cm drop) and long chain stays with the rest of the Domane line. And, as with the rest of the line, the IsoSpeed 'decoupler' allows not only the seatmast but the entire seat tube to flex far more than with a rigidly connected seat cluster. Trek claims a two-fold improvement in comfort and it's wholly believable. But the Classics Edition gets a faster-handling fork that the Factory team riders demand, plus a shorter head tube for getting low and aero.

The pro-edition fork still sweeps far forward (5.3cm rake) with the dropouts cutting sharply back, offering a mild leaf-spring suspension effect while retaining a tighter front end. Put it all together, and it feels more like you're riding down inside the Classics Edition than up on top of it.

While IsoSpeed offers hearty helpings of comfort, the Classics Edition is not magic. The bike is still constrained by many standard parameters of road bike design. For example, the fork does not flex anywhere as much as the IsoSpeed rear does (to do so would do bizarre things to the handling). As a result, you feel bumps about twice as much at the handlebar than at the saddle.

Trek includes an integrated chain catcher and there's also a pocket on the inside of the left chain stay for a Bontrager DuoTrap ANT+ sensor for speed and cadence data without having to zip tie plastic bits to the frame.

Offered as part of Trek's Project One custom-build project, you can dress the Classics Edition a variety of ways. Trek sent this tester equipped with Shimano's latest and greatest, Dura-Ace Di2 9070, and outfitted with its house-brand wheels, cockpit and saddle. Quite often, "house brand" means "cost effective," but Bontrager has earned its status as a quality standalone brand. We endorse Di2 9070 highly, and we'll focus on the Bontrager parts here.

The Bontrager Aeolus 5 wheels features Zipp-made carbon clincher rims laced to DT Swiss hubs and spokes. Prior to this bike, we have ridden and raced both the clincher and the Bontrager-made tubulars on road, cyclo-cross and triathlon bikes quite a bit, and the aerodynamics, durability and braking are all on par with the best-in-class options out there. Bontrager recommends its cork pads with the Aeolus hoops.

As you'd expect with a bike aimed at taking the sting out of the road, 25c tires provide the cushioning grip, specifically Bontrager R4 clinchers on our tester.

There are plenty of build options available through Project One.

Bumstead's Bicycles
1038 W. 4th St.
Ontario, CA 91762
(909) 984-9067

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