|So, soooo close!!|
Yes, it is the Trek Domane, and even before they introduced the newest version, it was top of the heap from a design perspective and spot on in geometry. Why? How could a huge, corporate entity, (well, "huge" in the sense that it is one of the biggest bicycle companies), make a bike that is almost the perfect gravel going weapon? Well, you can thank the cobbles and Fabian Cancellara for all of that.
Trek signed the classics master and went straight to work on ideas Fabian had for the "perfect cobble killer". He brought ideas forged from his past experiences and a European's innate sense of "what works" in terms of geometry on rough, inhospitable terrain that is the antithesis of what most Pro Road racing is done on. The result was a geometry that has more to do with traditional, "Italian" frame design house thought than the typical American Criterium type road bike geometry almost all of us are used to. For a bit of background on the differences and what they impart to a rider and how a bike handles, read this article from "Red Kite Prayer"
|The T-6 Standard Rando features geo similar to the Domane, only in steel.|
I know many folks think, "Just ride a cyclo cross bike!", and I would say that gravel road riders are not riding on cyclo cross courses. We don't need, and are not best served by, such designs. I would also add that ol' Fabs knows a thing or three about how a road bike on rough tracks should handle, since he has won the Strade Bianchi a couple of times, (a gravel road event in Italy), and that Trek has infused the design with technology that works and would be a huge benefit to any gravel road cyclist. You know "gravel roads" are.......wait for it......roads, right? Why wouldn't the design of a gravel road machine be best served by borrowing from a design for rough road cycling? One that has seen major success in road racing and with "normal cyclists".
So, yeah.....it's a Trek and all that, but if the bike would fit 40mm tires with clearance to spare, I would be all over this bike as my main gravel "go-fast" machine.