Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Brucey
Posts: 31158
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Brucey » 16 Oct 2018, 2:44pm

...or they are happy to warrant that fraction of frames that (almost inevitably) break...... :shock: :shock:

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 734
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Cugel » 16 Oct 2018, 7:01pm

531colin wrote:
Cugel wrote:The rear end of a Domane is nicely "compliant" and you soon notice it's absence if you get aboard a bike without it or similar nether-kick tamer technology. ………….Speaking of which, I today installed a red-shift boingy-boingy stem loaded with a pivot and elastomers. .....


I'm conflicted about this stuff.
The Luddite in me says "marketing."
The rider in me says "shouldn't your weight be centred over the pedals, so you can un-weight the saddle/bars whenever you like?"
Theres also a small boy still in there, who wanted to be an engineer, but couldn't hack the maths., saying if you can get a significant flex out of an alloy seat tube, why not just finish the frame a bit lower down and get the flex out of an alloy seatpost?
We have a thread running with people worrying about breaking a carbon seatpost by using a saddlebag, never mind flexing the frame?
On frame design, I reject the fashion of lowering the seatstays, it puts an extra bending couple on the seat tube, for not much gain that I can see. But if you want a tall head tube and a reasonable standover, you can end up with a "dropped top tube" where the seat tube extends above the seat tube/top tube/seatstay joint. So the rider's weight (over a bump) puts more of a bending load on the seat tube, but I wouldn't like to say I can feel any comfort from it.
The seat tube needs to be laterally stiff at the bottom for pedalling loads, but compliant in the other direction at the top for comfort. One day I might do something really clever with seat tubes, if only I could work out what to do.....
If Trek are putting a hinge in there, the seat cluster can't be particularly heavily stressed?


Not being an engineer, I can only echo the Trek blurb about their isolink pivoting seat tube. Essentially, the flexing of the whole tube rather than just the seatpost, somehow mutes vibrations, both of the buzzy high frequency kind but also some of the lower frequency jarring from nastier surfaces.

As I understand it, the carbon fibre and resin seat tube is able to flex quite a bit without introducing a significant risk of it fatiguing quickly. I've had one Domane over 6 years and done a lot of rough-road miles on it with no sign at all of any frame fatigue, either visually or in terms of feel, creaks or anything else. I can't imagine that an aluminium alloy seat tube could flex as much as does the carbon seat tube, shown in Trek's slow motion promo video, without fatigue cracks resulting - but that's just a semi-educated guess based solely on the well-known nature of typical aluminium alloys used in bike frames and their inclination to fatigue and crack if flexed a lot.

The pivot of the Domane isolink, I suppose, doesn't create as great a stress on the whole tube as does a heavy saddlebag + rider on a relatively short seat pin .... ?

In practice, the Domane bikes I have (two) are both very good at killing the most wearisome vibrations that can rise from bad roads up to the seat. You can certainly feel the scabs and bumps are there but they are very muted. Trek claim that this "suspension" effect also stops the bike momentarily bouncing off the road surface. I can attest that a Domane does stick to the scabby roads on serious corners leant into in a way that I don't dare attempt on even the cyclo-cross bike with fatter, softer tyres. Domane bikes do seem to grab the road at all times short of flying off a ramp.

The introduction of that red-shift elastomer-damped pivoting handlebar stem has made the front end of the Domane as good as the back, in terms of greatly muting vibrations. Another ride today shows no sign of this stem making the steering feel queer or loose when pulling on the bars a bit. I suspect it too will help the front end of the bike stay stuck to the road a bit better on the nastier gravel scabs and mangled tarmac patches. We'll see.

Cugel

User avatar
StartingOut
Posts: 15
Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:58am

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby StartingOut » 16 Oct 2018, 11:28pm

Staaand by, what is this about the seatpost and fatigue? Do I need to worried about the seatpost breaking/cracking? If so, can’t I just put a new seatpost on?

User avatar
Paulatic
Posts: 3375
Joined: 2 Feb 2014, 1:03pm
Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Paulatic » 17 Oct 2018, 8:40am

StartingOut wrote:Staaand by, what is this about the seatpost and fatigue? Do I need to worried about the seatpost breaking/cracking? If so, can’t I just put a new seatpost on?


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=92411&hilit=Domane

Seat tube not seat post. Happened to me and, google it, others. Trek honoured their frame guarantee without question but with a bit of discussion I got it upgraded to CF. That new frame then ovalised in BB and again no problem with warranty issues.

Yes, all that trouble and I’d still buy another. I’ve ridden nothing better and I know 2 people Owners of Cannondale and Specialised who are envious of the service I’ve received. Their frame faults were not honoured by the manufacturer.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

User avatar
StartingOut
Posts: 15
Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:58am

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby StartingOut » 17 Oct 2018, 12:43pm

Paulatic wrote:<SNIP>

Thanks for clarifying, so would you recommend swapping this out for another tube?

User avatar
kylecycler
Posts: 488
Joined: 12 Aug 2013, 4:09pm
Location: Kyle, Ayrshire

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby kylecycler » 17 Oct 2018, 2:20pm

To be clear, aluminium Trek Domanes (including, of course, the AL3, the one StartingOut is looking at) no longer have the Rear IsoSpeed decoupler; only the carbon Domanes have it. Presumably it's been discontinued with aluminium Treks because of the seat tube breakages Paulatic and others experienced? I don't think even last year's aluminium Domanes had it either.

Aluminium Domanes now just have a 'regular' TIG-welded frame with hydroformed tubing. They have an IsoSpeed fork, but that's just a very compliant carbon fork. They don't have Front IsoSpeed either, which is located at the top of the headset and allows the steerer tube to flex; again that's only on the carbon Domanes.

It's all quite confusing, but you just have to read the specs carefully (at least, I think I'm correct, but check for yourselves!).

AL3 (aluminium)
https://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/bike ... Code=black

SL5 (carbon)
https://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/bike ... =black_red

IsoSpeed
https://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/insi ... /isospeed/

So nothing clever now with the aluminium ones, but nothing especially prone to breakage. The advantage I see this year over previous Domanes is proper clearance for wider tyres - at least, without the IsoSpeed, these should give you a cushy-ish ride.* There's now also clearance for mudguards - before, they had the fittings for these but not enough clearance. The geometry is a bit more relaxed than last year's, too - the accent seems to be towards compliance and endurance (at least as far as aluminium road bikes go, everything being relative), but without losing speed, which is the way all road bikes should be going. You want a bike you can ride all day and doesn't beat you up.

(*The AL3's tyres are listed as 25mm but I think they come through to the shops with 28mm; even then, I believe there's still plenty of clearance.)

User avatar
Paulatic
Posts: 3375
Joined: 2 Feb 2014, 1:03pm
Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Paulatic » 17 Oct 2018, 4:24pm

Kylecycler is quite right. It’s an entirely different beast now perhaps Trek have discovered aluminium doesn’t like constant flexing :D
Looks an enticing machine non the less and can anyone shed any light on this fancy stem business. Is it going to be a boon or a pain? Make sure it comes out of the shop with a stem for your requirements as buying one later doesn’t look cheap.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

User avatar
StartingOut
Posts: 15
Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:58am

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby StartingOut » 17 Oct 2018, 5:22pm

Thanks Kyle and Paul.

Paulatic wrote:Kylecycler is quite right. It’s an entirely different beast now perhaps Trek have discovered aluminium doesn’t like constant flexing :D
Looks an enticing machine non the less and can anyone shed any light on this fancy stem business. Is it going to be a boon or a pain? Make sure it comes out of the shop with a stem for your requirements as buying one later doesn’t look cheap.


Paul, what would I need to check for with the Stem? As you can imagine, being new to all this, I'm not really clued up on what to check for before handing over my money. If there's anything you'd recommend checking before deciding, please do let me know as I would greatly appreciate the help.

User avatar
TrevA
Posts: 1850
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby TrevA » 17 Oct 2018, 7:58pm

The length of the stem is the thing to check. As a rough guide, sit in the saddle with your hands on the brake hoods and look down at your front hub, if it's obscured by the handlebars, it's about right. Or if your current bike set up is comfortable, check the measurement from the seat post to the handlebars and get a stem that replicates that measurement. My Trek came with a stem that was way too short - 90mm and it now has a 120mm stem on it. But I have a longer torso that some people.

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 734
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Cugel » 17 Oct 2018, 9:12pm

Paulatic wrote:Kylecycler is quite right. It’s an entirely different beast now perhaps Trek have discovered aluminium doesn’t like constant flexing :D
Looks an enticing machine non the less and can anyone shed any light on this fancy stem business. Is it going to be a boon or a pain? Make sure it comes out of the shop with a stem for your requirements as buying one later doesn’t look cheap.


Do you mean the Trek front isolink thingy Trek introduced on the more expensive Domane CF frames? Or this, which is what I've been going on about as an effective vibration killer at the front end?

https://road.cc/content/review/249893-r ... nsion-stem

I did a 51 miler today in NW Lancashire, mostly back roads some of which are very rough indeed. The stem is, to use a technical term, bluddy marvellous at reproducing the floaty feeling of the back of a Domane at the front too. No sign of any untoward effects on the steering. In fact, the front end seems even better as fast downhill cornering.

Of course, this is just my impressions over (now) a total of just under 100 miles. Will the stem's pivot remain smooth? Will the elastomers rot? One can only know this in time.

Also, it ain't cheap; or lightweight. But it does seem very well made, hopefully tough over the long term.

Cugel

User avatar
Paulatic
Posts: 3375
Joined: 2 Feb 2014, 1:03pm
Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Paulatic » 17 Oct 2018, 9:58pm

Cugel wrote:[]

Do you mean the Trek front isolink thingy Trek introduced on the more expensive Domane CF frames? Or this, which is what I've been going on about as an effective vibration killer at the front end?

Cugel

I was referring to this blendr stem https://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/bont ... dr_how_to/ sounds like a dating app :lol:
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life RIP Hannah Hauxwell

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

User avatar
StartingOut
Posts: 15
Joined: 29 Jun 2018, 11:58am

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby StartingOut » 17 Oct 2018, 10:23pm

Haha I agree with you Paul, it does sound like a new dating app. Thanks for the tip, I guess I’ll have to spend some time watching GCN vids on what to look out for when buying a bike.

I hope The stem doesn’t fail as £190 for a new one is not a small amount!

Brucey
Posts: 31158
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Brucey » 17 Oct 2018, 10:38pm

FWIW the bottom line is that the Domane AL3 is liable to be a very similar ride to the Triban 500SE bike you have at present; basically you would be trading one budget road bike for another.

Please disregard the comments of others about how comfy their Domanes are; they are different models with different framesets. There is no fancy isoflex anything. The AL3 frame is (after a 'clever' design broke in previous models) very ordinary aluminium, there is no fancy stem, and there is just a carbon fork. The Trek carbon fork may or may not be more flexible than the carbon fork that (I think) you have on the 500SE.

The differences are mainly

1) one has an 8s cassette and the other has a 9s cassette , with a slightly different overall gear range
2) there are a few lighter parts on the Trek (amounting to 1kg difference, roughly)
3) one has 'Trek' writ upon it and the other does not.

As I mentioned earlier 1kg is not going to transform your cycling experience. Honestly I'd suggest that you stick a few more miles onto your present bike; use it as an opportunity to learn

a) how to maintain your bike (which will stand you in good stead for any later bike, and BTW the mistakes you make with this one will be less expensive)

b) what really makes you go fast; in rough order these things are fitness/technique, body position (aerodynamics), tyres. These three things are likely to make up over 95% of all the possible improvements in performance, from where you are now. Things like bicycle aerodynamics, fancy bearings, more gears, lower weight etc represent about 1% performance potential each, at most.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15683
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Vorpal » 18 Oct 2018, 7:31am

Or you can take a test ride and see if *you* think it's comfy enough to buy another bike.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 15683
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Trek Domane AL3 2018: Advice needed

Postby Vorpal » 18 Oct 2018, 7:35am

Brucey wrote:...or they are happy to warrant that fraction of frames that (almost inevitably) break...... :shock: :shock:

cheers

Warranty is a calculated risk. I know because I used to calculate it for a company in another industry.

It's practically impossible to design something that will never break, so they typically design something targetted at 85th or 90th percentile users. The overlap between production results, and the tail of the usage distribution (log-normal with a long tail, for who are interested) is usually quite small.

Once in a while with a new design or process, they mis-estimate where the production results will end up.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom