Trek Domane 5.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike

05 Jul

For the past six years my main road bike has been a Trek Madone carbon fiber racing bike—I bought it in 2007 on the same day that Alberto Contador won the Tour de France while riding for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. However, since I am a distance cyclist instead of a racer I’ve finally decided that I needed to switch to an endurance bike instead of a racing bike. I tried out a Felt Z2 and while it is an excellent endurance bike, I finally decided to buy a 2013 Trek Domane 5.9 with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset.

Trek Domane 5.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike

Trek Domane 5.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike

Like the Specialized Roubaix and Felt Z2, the Trek Domane is an endurance bike designed for very long rides on rough roads. These are all high-quality carbon fiber machines and engineered to absorb some of the bumps that can wear you down on Century rides. All of these bikes are in the same price range, but after careful consideration I decided the Trek Domane was the best value and suited my needs the best. After all, if it’s good enough for World Champion Fabian Cancellara, it’s good enough for me.

Expert Mechanic Alex Calder Assembling My New Trek Domane

Expert Mechanic Alex Calder Assembling My New Trek Domane 5.9

Like the last eight bikes I’ve bought, I got this one from the local bike shop (Zion Cyclery in Zion, Illinois). It’s not just that they have great prices, but they also have the best mechanics you will find anywhere. As I mentioned in a previous article, they have six full-time mechanics who work all-year long (that is very rare in our part of the country). Most bike shops in the Upper Midwest lay their mechanics off in the fall and usually start with a new crew the following spring. I really don’t want the kid who was putting bikes together at Toys “R” Us last Christmas working on my bikes!

Note the red IsoZone handlebar pads that reduce vibration

Note the red IsoZone handlebar pads that reduce vibration (the bar tape has been removed)

In addition the OCLV Carbon frame which does a great job of reducing road vibration, the Trek Domane has a few other features to give you a comfortable ride without negatively impacting your speed. If you peel back the bar tape from the handlebars you will see a pair of red IsoZone handlebar pads that reduce vibration displacement by 20% (according to Trek).

Trek Domane's IsoSpeed Decoupler

Trek Domane’s “IsoSpeed Decoupler”

One of the most unusual (and innovative) design features of this bike is the “IsoSpeed decoupler” that isolates the movement of the seat tube from the rest of the frame. The bottom line is that you can maintain a smooth cadence even over very rough roads!

Shimano Ulltregra Di2 Front Derailleur

Shimano Ulltregra Di2 Front Derailleur

The Trek Domane 5.2 comes with a standard Shimano Ultegra groupset (front and rear derailleur, shifters, crank, but for some unknown reason a Shimano 105 cassette). However, for around $1,200 more the Trek Domane 5.9 comes with a Shimano Ultregra Di2 groupset—a battery operated groupset! This means you are going to have the smoothest shifting you’ve ever experienced on a bike (even while climbing). In addition to smooth shifting, this unit also provides automatic trimming on the front derailleur.

Shimano Ultregra Di2 shifters

Shimano Ultregra Di2 Shifters

The Shimano Ultregra Di2 shifters look a lot like standard Shimano STI levers, but they offer digital push button shifting and an ergonomically designed hood (it is very comfortable). With no more effort than clicking the button on a computer mouse you can shift gears! Is it worth the extra cost? Give me a few weeks to decide.

Shimano Ultegra Di2 Lithium Ion Battery

Shimano Ultegra Di2 Lithium Ion Battery

This Shimano Ultregra Di2 groupset runs on a high-performance lithium-ion battery (7.4 V). This battery should run for about 1,200 miles between charges and it can be recharged in only 90 minutes (with the included charger). The battery weighs 71 grams and is mounted under the bottom bracket. This groupset comes with a compact chainring set (50T–34T) and a high-performance Ultegra chain.

While the Trek Domane is nearly perfect as is, but I did make a few changes for my comfort. First, I had the Bontrager handlebar tape swapped out for Lizard Skins DSP Bar Tape—this tape is made with DuraSoft Polymer (DSP) and provides a comfortable surface for your hands even on Century rides or longer. Next, because I live in an area where there is a lot of broken glass on the road I had a pair of Continental Gatorskin tires installed before I left the shop. The Trek Domane has a cut-out in the frame so you can add a Bontrager DuoTrap speed and cadence sensor with no added aerodynamic drag, so I had one installed and hooked it up with a Bontrager Node 2.1 (this display includes a heart monitor). I also took off the stock Bontrager Affinity 3 saddle and put on the Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle.

The 2013 Trek Domane 5.9 retails for $5,150 and is only available from an authorized Trek dealer (a WSD model is also available). Yeah, that is a lot of money for a bicycle—but I don’t gamble, drink, smoke or chase women (except my wife). I could have just put the money in the bank and saved it for retirement, but the truth is that I will probably never retire. I enjoy my vocation and as long as I have my health I want to continue working—it seems to me that the quickest way to die is to retire! By the way, if you are in the market for a gently used Trek Madone (54cm) drop me a note—I am putting it on Craig’s List next week.


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52 responses to “Trek Domane 5.9 Carbon Fiber Endurance Race Bike

  1. isaac976

    July 5, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    Gorgeous bike my friend.. really nice with the Di2 Ultegra setup as well..

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Thank you very much! I want to review the Di2 Ultegra, but not until I’ve put a 1,000 miles or so on it first.

      • isaac976

        July 5, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        Always.. Looking forward to it.. I Shun electronics.. Still a old school kinda guy.. But I heard a lot of good things about it

  2. billgncs

    July 5, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    nice – I went to a specialized roubaix – comfort over speed.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      I am one of those guys who is far more interested in distance than speed (within reason). On a smooth highway my Trek Madone is SLIGHTLY faster than the Domane, but on rough roads the Domane is definitely faster (and a lot more comfortable).

      • according2cat

        July 5, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        That’s good information to know. Not that I’m in the market yet for either of these truly exceptional bikes, but…hearing what you guys talk about regarding road surface is just one more little piece of information to add to my growing knowledge of things to consider the next time I purchase. (Also, I am not fast, and I don’t ride as far as you, but someday, I will ride both fast and far…and I will fly up hills. Then, I will be worthy of one of those bikes.)

      • billgncs

        July 5, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        sometimes I ride my Jamis ( steel Frame ) and if I hit cobblestones or rough road – I really miss the Roubaix and the shock dampening.

  3. Steve

    July 5, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    A new bike is always cause for celebration. When you splurge a little bit to get “the” bike, that adds even more excitement. Best of luck with your new ride and I look forward to hearing how it shakes out for you.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      I’ve had my eye on this bike since it came out and am very happy that I finally decided to buy it — but I am going to miss my Madone!

  4. Dickson

    July 5, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Another bike? Nice one! One of these days I hope to get Di2.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      Like I said, I don’t drink, smoke or gamble — I have to have somewhere to spend my money! 🙂

  5. TdF

    July 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    so now no excuses: next year see you at the maratona dles dolomites 😉

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      A ride through seven mountain passes in the Dolomites? You either overestimate my ability or underestimate my laziness! I am sure the scenery is spectacular — but just watching the videos of the race makes me tired. 🙂

      • TdF

        July 6, 2013 at 8:00 AM

        come on 😉

      • Adam C. Henderson

        July 6, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        sounds like a good reason to rent a convertible and enjoy the drive!

  6. Tracy Wilkins

    July 5, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Congrats! Hoping you have many thousands of happy and safe miles on that bike.

  7. Lisa Shaw

    July 5, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    That’s a mighty pretty machine. Enjoy!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      Thank you! It is pretty, but I actually liked the color scheme on my old Madone better (it was the Discovery Channel edition).

  8. Adam C. Henderson

    July 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    So…. when should I hire the professional writer to make up my “why you should give me this piece of gear” reply? We have to submit that by next Friday, correct? 🙂 Good for you! That’s a beauty!

    • Irish Katie

      July 5, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      I soooooo agree with you. I am going to enter this giveaway for sure. lol….omg I think EVERYONE would enter!

      • All Seasons Cyclist

        July 5, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        Both of you go ahead and submit an entry — I will give it all the consideration a Postal worker does to a package marked “fragile” and read it with all of the compassion of an IRS auditor. 🙂

        • Adam C. Henderson

          July 6, 2013 at 9:28 PM

          So….. “Don’t hire a professional writer,” that’s what you’re trying to say? 🙂

          I will be riding the Three-state century in August through your neck of the woods. Any chance of shaking hands? I used to live in Vernon Hills and am familiar with Lake County. Would love to steal… uh, I mean “see” that new bike! I’m also thinking of stopping in at your fav bike shop in Zion.

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          July 6, 2013 at 9:43 PM

          Adam, please drop me a note via the “Contact” from (at the top of the page) and we’ll see what we can work out. I always love meeting other cyclists as they are passing through town!

  9. bgddyjim

    July 5, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    She’s a beaut Clarke!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      In the words of Clark Griswold, “Why aren’t we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.”

  10. Irish Katie

    July 5, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Ohhh…when I was looking for my new bike I looked at BOTH those models. Not the year models you are looking at though. The ones I looked at were aluminum framed bikes. The Domane 2.1 and the Madone…errr..not sure which one…but a comparable one to the Domane 2.1.

    I could not even look at he carbon framed bikes without going into shell shock at the price lol. (I thought the IsoSpeed decoupler was pretty cool. It gave you some comfort due to added flex without loss in your power stroke. errr…I am regurgitating what I was told haha.)

    What I found really cool though? Were the names. The Madone was named for one of the Tour de Frances location from what I understand….and the Domane? Was a play on the letters in the Madone….and Domane means something too…but I cannot recall what.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 5, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      The first time people go shopping for a carbon fiber bike the shops really ought to make you sit down before they tell you the price. They are not cheap, but you really don’t need electricity at your house do you? Make the sacrifice! 😉

      • Irish Katie

        July 5, 2013 at 10:56 PM

        Haha…and food…what is the need for food? *smirkles*

        Actually, this one feller did tell me, you can never spend too much for a good bike *Smiles*…and I am sure you are going to LOVE yours nods *smiles*

  11. Melissa

    July 5, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    I hope you enjoy your beautiful new bike! I have the Domane 5.9 WSD, and I absolutely LOVE it. I mean, if I start rhapsodizing over that bike, there’s a real danger that I’ll be overcome with emotion and start crying tears of joy. 😉 It’s my first all carbon bike, and wow–what a difference! It’s so much smoother and so responsive. My bike was a birthday gift this past spring; I told my husband (who gave it to me) that it is far better than any expensive jewelry. Also, I can confirm that I haven’t charged the battery for the Di2 shifting in over 1000 miles. And for those who are concerned about such things, you can check (roughly) the amount of charge left in the battery by holding down one of the shifters while stopped and watching a panel of lights in steady or flashing green or orange.

  12. All Seasons Cyclist

    July 5, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    First, you are a great woman for wanting a bike instead of jewelry, and second, your husband is a great guy for getting you the “top of the line” WSD bike. I am curious though, since you have the Di2 shifters, do you really think they are worth the extra cost? I really like them, but I only have about 120 miles on them and haven’t decided if they were worth the extra cost (I’ve only had the bike for 4 days).

    • Melissa

      July 6, 2013 at 7:11 AM

      I really like the Di2 shifters, too, but it is difficult for me to say whether they are “worth” the extra cost. My aluminum bike has Shimano 105. The Ultegra Di2 is much nicer– definitely a luxury. Shifting is smoother and more reliable, even under load. I shift into whatever gear I want whenever I want and don’t worry about it. The auto trimming is great. As a recreational rider, I probably don’t *need* it. But I guess I could also say that about a carbon bike!

  13. kruzmeister

    July 6, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Congrats on the new bike, it looks like an absolute beast! I hope you have many a great century rides together! 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 6, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      I’ve already taken her out for a few Metric Century rides and she handles beautifully. Since I am still recovering from surgery I will probably wait a few weeks before I do a “real” Century.

  14. christov10

    July 6, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    I’d want to buy your old bike if the frame was 56 or 58. Someone’ll get a good bike.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 6, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      Too bad you’re so tall! The Madone is a work of art, but I really can’t justify keeping it and the Domane (and the other four bikes I have).

  15. Chief Scott Silverii, Ph.D.

    July 6, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    Congrats on researching and purchasing the perfect bike. The Di2 looks amazing. The bike becomes an extension of you, so great job picking your partner wisely. Happy hammering.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 6, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Thank you so much! I put a lot of time and effort into my bike choices — too much money to spend a a whim!

  16. cyardin

    July 7, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    Giddy up! Keep us posted on how your new steed rides. I am particularly interested in the dynamics of the IsoSpeed decoupler. One of the guys in my LBS demonstrated the “flex” in the seat post and I am very interested to see whether this might suit my riding on poorly maintained urban roads.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 7, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      I will publish a full review after I’ve put at least a 1,000 miles on it. However, I will tell you that yesterday I rode over a long stretch of broken asphalt (think Paris–Roubaix) and this bike handled wonderfully! My Madone would have been shaking and rattling, but the Domane just went over it and it did not jar me around — I was rather amazed myself!

  17. Sandra

    July 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    I am lucky, too, I suppose. I bought my first road bike (Bianchi all campy parts) in 1982 from Blue’s Bikes in Lincoln, NE. The next, a hybrid, in 1996 from the same company–new location. And the next four as well. The folks there know me name. They have the same maintenance staff (the key folks) all year round–and even though they are usually in the back, I recognize them. :-). LOVE my shop!!! I randomly buy them popcorn or bake them cookies, just or fun. 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 7, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Finding a good bike shop is not easy! I’m glad you take them popcorn and cookies — I sometimes buy a box of doughnuts for the guys at the local bike shop (they seem to like food).

  18. eatpedalpaddle

    July 11, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I’ve been riding an older version of the Roubaix and have been quite happy with it. It soaks up bumps very well, and was a great value at the time.
    The new Domane looks great! This category of bikes, often labeled “plush”, “endurance” or “comfort” tends to imply that the bikes are slower than other road bikes. I think Schleck and Cancellara are both riding the Domane in this year’s Tour, so it’s not like it’s a slow bike. Nothing slows me down more than being beaten up by a rough road for a few hours! The Domane ought to serve you well over your century rides. Happy riding!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 11, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      You are so right about being beaten up over rough roads! I’ve now put over 400 miles on this bike (I’ve only had the bike 10 days). The funny thing is that on the rough roads I am averaging a faster time on my “endurance” bike than I did on my “racing” bike!

  19. MikeW

    July 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    One thing I haven’t mentioned in reviewing your substantive reviews is your handling of the camera. These product shots are detailed, clear, and revealing of the components, contours, and materials. The technical skill of the images adds a great deal to the reviews. Well done!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 15, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      Thank you very much for noticing! I try to take photos that I think will help explain the story better than words can (that old phrase about a picture being worth a 1,000 words).

  20. julian

    October 24, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Good for you! Love the detail you put into your purchase, and thanks for sharing them! Cheers to living life to the fullest!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Thank you so very much! The more I ride this bike the more I admire the engineering behind it — it is a great piece of machinery!

  21. rdreher

    November 22, 2016 at 5:58 PM

    i live in southern california . i just traded in a 3 yr old focus on a 2016 domain 5.9 with di2 can’t wait to pick it up tomorrow the 23 of nov.


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