Need input on the Domane and my non-Domane options
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  1. #1
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    Need input on the Domane and my non-Domane options

    Background: Cat 1 mtb racer using a road bike for vast majority of training. Pavement condition within hours of my house are rural chip seal, some gravel sections, very few smooth sections. Average about 10 hours a week on the road, rest is MTB.

    Currently riding Scott CR1 with 23mm wide rims set up tubeless on 25c Bontrager R2 and R3 at 80/85 psi, gel tape, comfy Specialized 143 ti railed saddle and RBX bib, carbon post (albeit a 31.6mm), gel gloves. You get my gist: I'm outfitted for the riding.

    But after yet another year the area roads are borderline masochistic for my 40+ body. I've HTFU, but there comes a point where options are to be explored in order to make my 3+ hour rides more appealing.

    The Domane geometry fits and is interesting, but I know the front end is a traditional carbon fork and with my gel gloves, gel bar tape and wide tubeless tires it's not going to be any better than my Scott's all-carbon fork with rearward facing dropouts.

    Will the coupler on the Domane be that big of a difference? It's not like I'm slamming into square edged potholes and powering through cobble. Being frugal and realistic, not trying to be overpowered by upgrade-itis, should I shim/put on a 27.2 post on the CR1, go 28c tubeless and maybe try something else I haven't mentioned?

  2. #2
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    if you can fit 28c, start there. Shimming a 27.2 should also help. I'd try these before biting the bullet on the domane.

    With that said, I have friends on 4.5's, 5.9's, and 6.7 Domanes and they all rave about the bike. I test rode a domane and liked it alot as well. It's a damn good bike, but I'd spend the hundred or so bucks and see if you can make the Scott work with 28s first.

  3. #3
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    My thought is to go with a cyclocross bike with 35c tires or mountain bike with slicks or inverted treads. I use both for crushed limestone rail trail riding and you could not ask for a smoother ride. Yes it is not fast, but I train with power and during base training all I care about is time in zone.

  4. #4
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    If you're not racing the road bike, I think the cyclocross bike is a viable option. The Gunnar Crosshairs has a very road bike like geometry but will accept the 'cross tires.

    it's on my short list when I replace my road bike for exactly the same reasons as you have outlined - hopefully in the next couple of years.

  5. #5
    mrwirey
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    Bmc gf01

    Hello,
    I have been experimenting with 'comfort riding' for lack of a better term. I have recently built up a Lynskey Sportive and several other titanium bikes (Lynskey R230, Litespeed Xicon, Litespeed T5, Cysco Custom) as well as few steel bikes (Casati Laser, Cysco Custom S3). I have tried pretty much every combination of wide wheels (Zipps 101s, 303s, and 808s; HED JET 9; Custom 24f/28r Chris King R45 hubs with H Plus Archetypes, homebuilt 24f/28r BHS 23mm rims with lightweight BHS hubs, and Boyd Vitesse), narrow wheels (Campagnolo Shamal 2-way fit, Mavic Ksyrium ES, R-SYS SLR, and SSC, Mavic Open Pros 32f/32r with Ultegra Hubs, Topolino, Spinergy Full Carbon Clinchers, plus many others), and tires (Continental 4000s 23mm & 25mm, Continental 4-Seasons 25mm & 28mm, Vitorria Rubino Pro III 23mm, Vittoria Pave CG III 27mm, and Hutchinson/Specialized Tubeless 23mm). I rode a TREK Domane 5.9 on a TREK Travel Tour during the last week of the 100th TdF this year with wide rims, 25mm Bontrager tires, and tire pressure set at 95psi. I was impressed with how the bike rode like a normal road bike yet muted the road. It was good, but not better than say my Lynskey Sportive with Boyd Vitesse and 25mm Continental 4000s at 90psi.

    So I decided to go a different route. I bought a 2013 BMC GF01 frame and built it up with an extra Campy Chorus group I had laying around. I put on a set of Campy Khamsin training wheels and decided to go for the 27mm Vittoria Pave CG IIIs set at 100psi since the bike was designed around 28mm tires. I rode it for the first time on Friday. H-O-L-Y CATS! This bike is in a league of its own when it comes to comfort. During the first hour on the bike I was totally preoccupied with the feeling my tire was going flat. There was no road feedback. None. It was almost too muted if that is possible. The thing is frickin' magic carpet ride.

    But there is no such thing as a free dog. That beautiful ride comes at a price. The bike is really (really) ugly. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but even as the owner I am glad I don't have to see what I am riding while I am riding it. Oh, and those awesome Vittorias... They only come in one color: black with green sidewalls. Yes, they too are fugly.

    Bottom Line: Try the Vittorias before you do anything else. Next, try the BMC before you buy the Domane. My two cents...

    Very respectfully, Tim

    P.S. The crappy iPhone pic is only to prove I have the (ugly) bike with the (even uglier) tires.

    BMC GF01.jpg
    Last edited by mrwirey; 09-08-2013 at 12:11 PM.
    "Anything can be a torch if you set it on fire"

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    OP - What tire pressure are you running?
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

  7. #7
    Steaming piles of opinion
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    The benefits you can get out of a frame are dwarfed by what you can get out of the tires.
    So first, check pressures, as noted. I trust you've managed that.

    Second, look to larger tires. You can run lower pressures for better compliance, and the wider contact patch will float over the surface imperfections better.

    In this regard, I'm not so hot on tubeless. To make the technology work in the constraints of narrow wheels, relatively high pressures are required. But that limits the size of the tire - because a larger tire exerts a lot more outward pressure on the rim (compared to a narrower tire at the same pressure.) As a result, most of the 'wide' tubeless tires tend not to measure quite as wide as the number on the sidewall would suggest.

    I'm not very familiar with the CR1, but it looks like it might be close on clearances, limiting tire size. So if this does go down the path of a new bike, I'd echo the earlier recommendations - look into the CX / gravel grinder class of bikes. They're both becoming very popular now, so you should have a lot of choices.

    And IMO, don't hesitate to look at something other than carbon fiber as a frame material. Where ride comfort is a priority, it is most often the bottom of my list. Most builds are emphasizing light weight and stiffness, and the build techniques that support that do not support vibration damping as well. The 'cheaper, heavier' frames often do better in this regard, even within a model line. But for my money, Ti and/or steel are the place to be if the roads aren't smooth.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  8. #8
    mrwirey
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    Quote Originally Posted by danl1 View Post
    The benefits you can get out of a frame are dwarfed by what you can get out of the tires.
    So first, check pressures, as noted. I trust you've managed that.
    Danl1: I thought so too until I rode the TREK Domane for a week in the Alps and bought the BMC GF01. The TREK and the BMC are designed from top to bottom and front to rear to be compliant yet stiff. My Lynskey Sportive is more of a classic design (think mid 90s) and is no where near as compliant as the TREK or BMC plus it weighs significantly more (if that matters).
    I own six modern Ti bikes, two modern steel bikes, and about a dozen modern carbon and mixed material bikes. I concede I don't know everything, but I have quite a bit of comparitive experience.

    OP: That said, I agree you should try larger tires (27c Vittorias with 320tpi tubed or the new Hutchinson 28c). You are already running low tire pressure so I wouldn't go much lower even with tubeless. Shimming the seat tube and running a 25.4mm seatpost ala Cannondale might help. I shimmed my Litespeed T5 from 31.6mm to 27.2mm and I am running a Lynskey setback seatpost. It makes a noticeable difference, but it really depends on how much exposed seat post you have. If you have a lot of exposed seat post this may be a good option for you. I also run 26mm handlebars instead of 31.8mm on a few of my bikes to eek out a bit more comfort if the bike makes my hands numb. Bottom Line: None of these things come close to the compliance offered by my BMC GF01. Sorry. Other than that...HTFU a bit more.

    Very respectfully, Tim
    Last edited by mrwirey; 09-08-2013 at 12:08 PM.
    "Anything can be a torch if you set it on fire"

  9. #9
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    Thanks to all for the input. My shimmed 27.2 doesn't have a lot of exposed tube so I'm thinking that option is not going to prove fruitful.

    Box of Hutchinson Sector/Secteur 28c came in. I'll run them at about 80 front and 85 rear for starters; rims are 23mm wide BHS on BHS hubs at 20/24.

  10. #10
    mrwirey
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    Cool.
    "Anything can be a torch if you set it on fire"

  11. #11
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    Did a quick search on the BMC GF01 and besides being "ugly" (I think it's very nice looking) many comments were along the lines of "put 28c and a thin seatpost on any bike and it'll do the same." Some good BMC year-end sales going on... may have to go that route if I can't HTFU and deal with another winter and spring of local roads.

  12. #12
    mrwirey
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    Like I said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I don't know if I agree with the people who say, "put 28c and a thin seatpost on any bike and it'll do the same." I've tried and I own and they just don't compare to the ride of the GF01.

    I bought my BMC GF01 frame/fork/seatpost/headset off eBay for $1,500. It was originally equpped with Di2, which had been removed. The BMC is easily convertable to accomodate fully cabled groups. I have ridden this bike down the same roads as three of my other bikes for comparison (Carbon Ridley Excalibur, Titanium Lynskey Sportive, and Aluminum/Carbon Masi Gran Criterium S), all with Continental 4-Seasons 28cs on 23mm rims at 80f-85r psi and a Lynskey titanium 27.2mm seatpost. The stock seatpost sizes are: Ridley 31.6mm, Lynskey 27.2, and Masi 32.4. All three of them rode better than OEM, but none of them were anywhere near as forgiving as the BMC. Like I said, "it is in a league of its own."

    Best of luck. Hope the tires alone do the trick for you. I think they may be enough to tame your chip seal.

    Very respectfully, Tim
    "Anything can be a torch if you set it on fire"

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