13/06/2013 | 2 comments
Spec’d to the max with Di2 electronic gearing and some seriously well thought out design, does the Domane 5.9 WSD live up to Trek’s claim of being a cobble-tuned secret weapon in a ride-all-day race?
The women’s specific version of the bike Fabian Cancellara rode to glory in the Paris Roubaix, the Trek Domane 5.9 WSD is a high-end carbon machine with Shimano’s electronic Di2 groupset. Built from Trek’s 500 Series OCLV Carbon using their KVF (Kammtail Virtual Foil) tube profile, the Domane is torsionally stiff, lightweight and built with miles in mind.
With a longer headtube and slightly more relaxed geometry than the racier Madone, the Domane is a high performance machine that crucially, feels comfortable to ride over distance. The longer headtube and shorter toptube puts more weight in the saddle, which takes pressure off your lower back, neck and arms. The riding position feels slightly upright, which coupled with a fairly short reach means you are able to rack up the miles without even noticing.
The longer wheel base and lower bottom bracket deliver a great deal of stability and control, I was able to descend and corner with confidence and the bike felt amazing when powering along at high speed. The huge bottom bracket, the widest available on a road bike, makes the frame stiffer and quicker to accelerate, and the bike certainly felt responsive without being twitchy.
A compact chainset keeps the weight down, and I found the gearing suited a variety of terrain. There are plenty of steep hills where I live on the outskirts of Dartmoor, and I had no problem getting up these in the lightest gear. In fact, the bike felt like a dream up hills, like it was taking me up them, rather than the other way around.
Thanks to the IsoSpeed decoupler at the junction of the toptube and seattube, the Domane handles rough roads with ease. Essentially, this nifty design feature separates the two tubes, meaning that the seattube absorbs the bumps and the toptube transfers power. The IsoSpeed fork with it’s rear facing dropouts also does a great job of absorbing vibrations. Combined, these two features do a superb job ironing out the bumps in rough roads for a smooth ride without losing power.
The bike comes with Shimano’s Di2 electronic groupset, and I have to say that I’d previously made fun of it; surely it’s just lazy to need batteries to change gear? But despite my initial skepticism, I really warmed to the Di2 system and the flawless shifting it delivered. I barely had to touch the lever to change gear, whereas in the past I’ve sometimes had to lean my body weight into the lever to get it to shift, either that or I’ve had to sweep the lever so far across that I have to get out of the saddle to reach. There were no such problems with this, it shifted flawlessly with just the lightest tap; helpful for my little lady hands.
Although the Di2 electronic levers take some of the stress out of shifting, it’s still a stretch, particularly when you’re on the drops and I found it nearly impossible to keep my finger on the brake when in this position. It’s great that companies such as Trek are making well thought out, high end bikes and components for women, but I can’t help but wish that someone would make shifters for smaller/ladies hands as well.
I also ran out of power in the middle of Dartmoor and had to ride home in the small ring, but I guess that’s my fault for not charging the battery!
As for the other components, the Domane 5.9 WSD comes kitted with Bontrager Race Lite tubeless ready wheels and is equipped with women’s specific parts, such as shorter cranks, a ladies’ saddle and narrower bars. Bontrager’s IsoZone bars use closed cell foam that reduces the frequency of the vibration buzzing through your hands on bumpy roads and I barely noticed the saddle, which is always a good sign.
Other nice touches include the integrated chain-keeper and the DuoTrap digital system – a built in computer sensor with works with many of the major ANT+wireless technology players, such as Garmin and Powertap, to measure speed and cadence.
The main draw for me has to be how Trek has magically produced something that feels both comfortable and zippy. The Domane 5.9 WSD is stable without feeling solid or dull, and comfortable without being boring and unresponsive.
- Lightweight shifting with Di2 electronic gears
- Unrivalled comfort
- Relaxed riding position
- Responsive and fast
- Remembering to charge the Di2 electronic gears
What Trek say about the Domane 5.9 WSD
Domane 5 Series is your cobble-tuned secret weapon in a ride-all-day race. IsoSpeed technology and Domane geometry give this carbon endurance race bike the winning edge.
Colours: White Shell/Trek Gold
Frame: 500 Series OCLV Carbon, E2, BB90, performance cable routing, DuoTrap compatible, Ride Tuned seatmast, IsoSpeed
Fork: Trek IsoSpeed full carbon, E2
Wheels: Bontrager Race Lite, Tubeless Ready
Tyres: Bontrager R3, 700x25c
Shifters: Shimano Ultegra STI Di2, 10 speed
Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2, braze-on
Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Crank: Shimano Ultegra, 50/34 (compact)
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-28, 10 speed
Saddle: Bontrager Affinity Race Lite WSD, titanium rails
Seatpost: Bontrager Ride Tuned Carbon seatmast cap, 20mm offset
Handlebar: Bontrager Race Lite IsoZone, aluminium, VR-CF, 31.8mm
Stem: Bontrager Race X Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree
Headset: Integrated, cartridge bearings, sealed, aluminium, 1-1/8″ top, 1.5″ bottom
Brakeset: Shimano Ultegra brakes w/Shimano Ultegra STI Di2 levers
Grips: Bontrager Gel Cork tape
Extras: Vanishing mudguard mounts