The award-winning Domane is built for long-distance, multi-day racing, and comfort and efficiency is woven into its DNA. Its siblings at Trek — the aero Madone and flyweight climbing fiend the Emonda — are champions in their categories and, in that respect, the Domane is no different.
The Trek Domane SL6 Disc Women’s is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019 and has been crowned best women's road bike. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women's bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub page.
In 2018, in a close-fought battle, the Domane SL6 Disc Women’s took the title of Women’s Road Bike of the Year. This year, with the competition just as close, it’s done it again.
Although labelled as the women’s Domane, it has the same unisex frame as others within the range, but with sex- and size-specific finishing kit, such as the Bontrager Ajna saddle and adapted stem lengths and handlebar widths to suit female riders.
The frame is constructed from 500 series OCLV carbon, coupled with a carbon fork with a tapered steerer.
IsoSpeed is one of the most impressive features on the Domane: a decoupling system achieved through frame design and shock-absorbing elastomer pads, it allows both the seat tube and the headset area of the fork to have some free movement.
They can flex to absorb road chatter, and are isolated from many of the same forces coming through the frame, which means those forces aren’t transmitted through the saddle and handlebars.
And it most definitely works. Take the Domane for a ride and it feels like you’re riding on freshly laid tarmac; that fatiguing road rumble just isn’t there.
The endurance-focused geometry places the rider in a moderate position: not too aggressive, not too upright. It’s a more relaxed position for longer rides, but it still puts you in a good place to put some power down when on the drops and pushing through.
Hidden mudguard mounts make this a winter-ready ride, plus some impressive tyre clearance means you can fit full coverage mudguards.
As you’d expect for a bike at this price-point, the Domane SL6 boasts a full Ultegra 11-speed groupset including hydraulic disc brakes.
The Bontrager Paradigm is an alloy performance wheelset with interchangeable axles for a variety of frames and forks. They’re tubeless ready and the wide 23mm outer rim width forms a good base for the impressively wide 32mm Bontrager R2 Hard-Case Lite tyres.
For an endurance bike, 32mm may seem wide, but there’s no obvious penalty in rolling resistance and the additional comfort and grip outweighs any negatives.
Finishing kit is a combination of alloy and carbon. The carbon Bontrager Ride Tuned seatmast helps increase vertical compliance and adds to the comfort of the ride.
An alloy Bontrager Pro stem and Elite IsoZone VR-SF handlebars form the basis of the cockpit. Even more comfort-enhancing features are packed in here: the handlebars have integrated road-chatter-absorbing foam pads, plus a short reach and shallow drop. They’re also compatible with clip-on aero bars.
The stem comes ready to fit a range of products, such as lights and computers, as part of Bontrager’s Blendr system of mounts and brackets, which helps to keep the cockpit neat and clutter-free.
Those shock-absorbing elements, combined with the longest wheelbase on test, mean the Domane is wonderfully confident on descents. It holds its line and carves downhill even when the going gets rough. The trade-off is that while steering is fast and responsive, it’s not quite as agile as, say, the Specialized Tarmac or the Canyon Ultimate.
The clincher for the Domane, though, is its composure and balance: it’s plush, but stiff and efficient. That smoothness might mean it doesn’t feel as fast but, rest assured, racing is in the Domane’s DNA.
You can ride this bike for hours at a time in comfort, leaving you with legs fresh enough for a powerful dose of sprint-speed. The Domane does exactly what it was designed to do, and it does it very well indeed. It’s a clear winner in terms of all-round versatility.
Trek Domane SL6 Disc Women’s geometry
- Seat angle: 74.2 degrees
- Head angle: 71.3 degrees
- Chainstay: 42cm
- Seat tube: 47.5cm
- Top tube: 53cm
- Head tube: 14.5cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 8cm
- Wheelbase: 1,003mm
- Stack: 56.1cm
- Reach: 37.1cm