If you've been paying attention over the last week or so you'll know that Fabian Cancellara rode a new Trek frame to victory in the Strade Bianchi race over in Italy. We suggested it was a new Pavé-friendly Madone, but the UCI's new approved frames and forks list shows it to be the proud owner of a new name: Domane.
The UCI's no-sticker-no-ride policy means that bikes ridden in UCI-sanctioned races have to be approved, and the list is available on the UCI website. It only gets updated once a month though, so while Spartacus was ripping up the Strade the details of his new bike were still not on the public list, even though it had clearly been approved for racing. So anyway, now we know a little more. Here's a recap.
The Domane looks like it's designed as a comfort-performance bike. Most manufacturers make one, and increasingly we're seeing the pro teams using them for certain types of races, most notably the cobbled classics and anything that involves rough surfaces. BMC have been trialling their new GF01 under Thor Hushovd on the cobbles, and Rabobank will be using the slightly more upright Defy Advanced SL for some of the riders in the Spring Classics. There's the Cannondale Synapse and Specialized Roubaix, too.
Trek have always maintained up to now that they didn't need a 'sportive' bike as the Madone was comfy enough, and available in different fits to suit different riders. Whether they've relented due to market pressure for a Gran Fondo style frame or it's been in development all the time, we don't know. But it's here now.
The basic elements of a classics bike seem to be present. The Bontrager RXL fork is also new and approved according to the UCI list and looks to have a bit more rake and redesigned dropouts. The legs are thinner too; all of this adding together to spell more comfort up front and a slightly longer wheelbase for a more stable ride over the uneven stuff. At the back the skinny seatstays are skinnier still to help with rear-end cushioning, and there's what appears to be a rubber bumper between the seat tube and the top tube/stays. Whether that means that those components aren't bonded together, we're not sure; certainly that would be a radical way of introducing more fore-aft compliance in the frame.
Anyway it's not a new Madone. But that doesn't mean a new Madone isn't on the way, after all it's been three years since the top bike in Trek's range got a proper makeover, and we wouldn't be surprised if the UCI's slide rules and sticker printers aren't already being readied on that front ahead of the Grand Tours. We'll see. Judging by the UCI's list, the Domane frame will be available in three flavours - Domane 1, Domane 2 and Domane 3 - and eight sizes from 47cm to 62cm. And if Trek are true to form the bikes are probably on the water right now, to be ready to buy when they're officially released. That's how they roll. So it probably won't be a long wait.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.