First Impression: Trek Domane Classics Edition and 6.9 Disc

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Twice this year, an unsolicited bike box from Trek arrived at our West Coast editorial office. The first was the 2014 Domane Classics Edition, a Wisconsin-made carbon road bike stoked to the gills with (almost) all the latest gear to set a racing cyclist’s heart aflutter: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting, aggressive-positioning carbon frame, fork, and deep-section wide rims with the popular 700x25c tires. What sets it apart from the Domane 4.5 we reviewed is the smaller, more aerodynamic head tube, 1cm longer wheelbase and top tube.

All that’s missing on the Classics Edition are tubular tires, an SRM power meter, a gargantuan set of lungs and slow-twitch muscles, and it’s the exact duplicate of Trek Factory Team superstar Fabian Cancellara.

The second was the 2015 Domane 6.9 Disc, a similar design platform on paper, with a taller head tube (by more than 3cm), shorter top tube but similar wheelbase to accommodate much larger tires (up to 32s), and disc brakes with thru axles front (15mm) and rear (142×12), like a mountain bike. It also has the full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting drivetrain, but with a more amateur-friendly 50/34 compact crankset and 11-28 tooth, 11-speed cassette for most terrain.

Why disc brakes on a high-zoot road bike? To move beyond the century-old caliper rim brakes and provide more slowing and stopping power for tired hands over the long haul in all conditions, it appears, and to shake up the staid and slow-evolving road bike market to reflect what most non racers want from a high-end machine.

Initial thoughts?

For starters, the $11,519 price tag of the Classics Edition is $1,100 more than my dream motorcycle, the Moto Guzzi V7, which could red carpet me to the ends of the earth. Would I chose the Classics Edition if I had the financial means? I support American-made products, I’m from Wisconsin, and it’s proven to be a great-handling and capable bike after nearly 500 miles of testing. At 15.10 pounds for our 60cm, it’s in the world-class thoroughbred arena.

Conversely, our Asian-made 60cm 6.9 Disc weighs a titch below 17 pounds for $7,899, and provided much more versatility once the stock 25c tires were replaced with Panaracer’s 700x28c Gravelkings. The higher handlebar position felt best once I settled in the drops on longer rides, and the stable wheelbase took the edge off the rough stuff. I admit that I’m smitten with the Di2 shifting; maybe the Ultegra version — which in my opinion is best for the rest of us non racers — would be better suited on this model, which would help drop the price enough the waggle a carrot to the curious onlookers?

Look for my complete reviews in Issue 30, available in early August.

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