Thoughts while riding my Domane+

TomWilcox

Member
I have several hundred more miles on my Domane+ I’m writing a review as I think the trek website does novice buyers of e-bikes a disservice. There are two very different types of bikes available on the web site, but they look similar.

The class 1 bikes (domane+ LT, LT7, LT9) use small, light fazua motors with moderate assist up to 20 mph. The batteries are small and light, and discreet so its not as obvious you have an e-bike. If you are a strong, experienced rider who is willing to spend an extra $3000 on top of an already expensive bike to get an edge going up hills without other riders condemning you, then these bikes are for you. In general the 250Whr batteries are too small to keep turned on for a long ride, and too weak for anything more than moderate assistance.

The class 3 bikes (Domane+ , HP, and HP7) use heavier, larger and far more powerful Bosch motors with enormous amounts of assist up to 28 mph. The 500Whr batteries are big, heavy and powerful, and the bikes are uglier. If you want to commute to work without arriving a sweaty mess, or if you want assistance over a long range, or unbeatable average speeds over distances greater than 30 miles or so, these bikes are for you.

Over several hundred miles I have realized that the bosch bikes have several significant features that may not be considered important at first.
  1. Range meter. The biggest novice mistake is equating remaining battery power with distance. Many bikes have a battery icon with 5 power bars or leds on the frame. Do NOT rely on this. Range goes UP and down depending on torque, rpm and gearing. You can use up your last bar over 20 miles of casual riding or burn through your last bar in a 2 mile climb leaving you empty. The Bosch bikes put the range meter front and center on your speedo, not buried somewhere in a phone app. How you use your assistance is entirely dependent on you’re remaining range. Range is the most important number you need to know.
  2. +/- power buttons. It sounds trivial, but its REALLY important to be able to adjust your assistance up OR down from ANY level, just like your gears. Some bikes only have one button and you have to push it repeatedly to cycle through all levels of assist to get to the one you need. This is a bad setup if you need a quick change when you’re in pursuit or out of the saddle in a climb.
  3. Removable battery. If you live in an apartment or studio, you can leave your bike at the bottom of the stairs and just bring up the battery to charge in your home overnight. If you ride to work, you can leave your bike locked up and charge the battery under your desk during the day. Battery performance and longevity is preserved by keeping the battery at ambient temperatures. If your garage gets very hot or cold, you can keep your bike in the garage, but keep your battery indoors to make it last years longer.
  4. Big brake hoods and wide pedals. The relaxed geometry has some subtle but really nice features. The large brake hoods really decrease wrist strain over long rides, so you don’t have to keep moving your hands around. The distance between the center of the pedals is an inch wider which really reduces low back pain, sciatica and leg numbness. It decreases pressure on your third through 5th toes, which in turn decreases peroneal muscle strain.
  5. 4 levels of assist. Some bikes have only 3 levels of assist. I strongly think 4 is better. What are these like in real world riding? ECO takes away the excess weight of the bike, so you’re like everyone else. It’s great for drafting. You can get 80 miles out of a 500Whr battery, but I doubt it for a 250Whr battery. TOUR is almost too powerful. It’s great for solo riding into a headwind, or for taking your turn in the front of a group. You’ll get 45 miles of continuous assist. SPORT is so powerful that it’s only real use is if you want to catch that guy who is a mile up a big hill ahead of you. You can climb 6% grades at 18mph. TURBO mode? Just insane!! Just plan on completing each hour of riding in 40-45 minutes.
  6. Almost all Lithium Ion batteries, including the ones in cell phones can be recharged around 1200 times before they fail. Quite simply, you’re going to have to recharge a 250 Whr battery twice as often as a 500 Whr battery for going the same distance. This means the battery will only last half as long. The Domane+ battery currently costs $900, so this is not an insignificant cost.
Needed improvements
  1. Optional 250 Whr battery. Although the 500 Whr battery is optimal, there are two instances where a lighter battery would be helpful. One is as a supplemental battery. Currently you can add an additional 500Whr battery giving you about a 160 mile range, but at an additional 6 lbs. The second instance is where you are doing a short fast race up to 30 miles. The 2020 bosch engine is 3 lbs lighter than the 2019 engine (although the bike is currently listed as the same weight). A 250Whr battery is half the weight, so there is a potential 6 lb savings to the whole bike, bringing it down from 38 to 32 lbs. That is really significant.
  2. Move Kiox controls to left brake so that you don’t have to take your hand off the handlebars. Since there is only one chain ring, the left hand has no other function except front brake. This has been suggested by others and is a great idea.
  3. 52 tooth front ring. The 2019 Trek domaine+ has a 50 front 11-36 rear configuration which is an excellent all rounder. The 2020 Bosch motor is 12% MORE powerful, but Trek has slowed the gearing to a 46 front 11-42 rear. My experience is that tour mode is so powerful, I spend most of my time cramped into the the fastest 4 gears. I would prefer a 52 front chain ring to put the chain in the middle of my back cassette where it should be. This would improve distance and therefore efficiency. Sport mode is more than sufficient to climb any hill if I’m struggling in my 36 tooth gear. Maybe this could be an option for the Domane+ HP7.
 

mattrg

New Member
The 46T ring in the front is definitely too small. The bike comes with a Praxis 110BCD Wave Tech Threaded e-ring Wave. I contacted their tech support and there are no plans to offer a larger ring. It would be great to find a way to increase it. Are there any other road rings that will fit this bike?

 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
Turbo is kind of fun, but I almost never use it because it takes too much battery. I definitely wouldn't mind a setting in between eco and tour.
 

TomWilcox

Member
It has been suggested that the slower gearing is a response to range anxiety - allowing you to pedal home without power if you run out. But I think that after a few miles you start to understand the limitations of the battery. In addition, the range feature lets you adjust your assistance to the length of the ride, so I still contend the slower gearing is too conservative. Since the motor's behavior depends on the gear you are in as well as cadence and applied force, I don't think you can simply switch out the front chain ring. In addition, I'm not sure the derailuer and chain length are big enough to handle a 50T up front and 46T rear tooth, so it may require even more modifications.
 

StmbtDave

Active Member
It has been suggested that the slower gearing is a response to range anxiety - allowing you to pedal home without power if you run out. But I think that after a few miles you start to understand the limitations of the battery. In addition, the range feature lets you adjust your assistance to the length of the ride, so I still contend the slower gearing is too conservative. Since the motor's behavior depends on the gear you are in as well as cadence and applied force, I don't think you can simply switch out the front chain ring. In addition, I'm not sure the derailuer and chain length are big enough to handle a 50T up front and 46T rear tooth, so it may require even more modifications.
Isn't the cassette an 11/42? My Creo runs the GRX setup and the derailleur is rated to handle a max 42T rear. I also have the 46T chainring.
 

TomWilcox

Member
You are right, the HP back cassette is 11-42, and hopefully there is enough redundancy in the derailleur so that the front chain ring can simply be changed to a 50 tooth. I was impressed by my Creo test ride and it felt fast in maximum assist with 240 watts of assist, perhaps because the bike is only 27 lbs, but At only 240 Watts, I think a 46T chain ring and 11-42 cassette is probably appropriate. In addition, the battery is only 320 Wh, so it is possible to run out of battery in a Creo if you’re hard at it, and you might need the slower gearing to limp home. My Domane+ is listed at 63nM and 350 Watts of max assist. The HP bikes have a newer motor with 75 nM. I can’t find a Watts listed, but if it’s a direct correlation (I’m unconvinced) that would be 417 Watts. That’s an enormous power advantage over the Creo’s 240 Watts. Yes, the Domane is heavier, but that amount of power can easily support a 50T chain ring. The rare times I use either sport or turbo, the assist is insane, and the larger 500 Wh battery won’t leave you stranded. I just feel that anyone who is serious enough to pay $7500 - 10,000 for an HP isn’t looking for a casual ride.

On a different note, one of the things I love about my Domane+ is the ability to catch up to other riders, then step up a level of assist so that I can carry on a friendly conversation along side them without getting winded or left behind.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
I cannot read this thread patiently. High Speed Domane+ e-bikes are just not offered in Poland. I guess it is based on the fact the Speed Pedelecs in Europe have to have many accessories to qualify as mopeds and these accessories would negate the Domane+ as a road-bike. Same with Specialized Creo.
 

TomWilcox

Member
Let me ease your jealousy. Las Vegas is too hot to ride during the Summer. Spring and Autumn are really short - about a month long. And while the temperature is good for riding, it's terribly windy. Furthermore, its a desert, so there's nothing to see, and much of the valley is flat, so there aren't many great scenic climbs. In essence, we need faster bikes here because the scenery is lousy and the season is short. Eastern Europe seems spectacular in comparison. :)
 

mattrg

New Member
It has been suggested that the slower gearing is a response to range anxiety - allowing you to pedal home without power if you run out. But I think that after a few miles you start to understand the limitations of the battery. In addition, the range feature lets you adjust your assistance to the length of the ride, so I still contend the slower gearing is too conservative. Since the motor's behavior depends on the gear you are in as well as cadence and applied force, I don't think you can simply switch out the front chain ring. In addition, I'm not sure the derailuer and chain length are big enough to handle a 50T up front and 46T rear tooth, so it may require even more modifications.

This bike calculator is interesting. I’ve decided the 46t chainring is fine. You’d only gain 2.5mph by trying to change it to a 50t and 5mph assuming a 53 would even fit. I also like the 1x setup more after seeing this. You really don’t need the extra stepping of a 2x with the motor assist. (The smart guys who design these bikes know this. I’m just catching up. Ha.)
 

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TomWilcox

Member
I agree that a single front chain ring is quite sufficient. With the motor assist I see no advantage to a dual front chain ring, unless you wanted a 46t for every day use and a 52t for really giving it the gas. The 2020 Bosch motor ups the torque from 63nM to 75nM and it would be interesting to see if that is a useable difference. I think they made significant improvements from my 2019 Domane+, to the 2020 Domane+ 7 with the Kiox set up etc. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they make even more improvements as the road biking community decides where e-bikes should fit in. While I agree that many people like me, will buy an e-bike for more relaxed riding (old, fat, injured, rehabilitating etc), I'm trying to convince people (and Trek) that a higher end e-bike is a serious alternative for the competitive cyclist.
 

TomWilcox

Member
Saw an add for a bike startup company called flx bikes today ((Link Removed - No Longer Exists)). They are crowd funding an electric street bike called the baby maker (!) to add to their mountain and fat bikes. This bike has a rear hub motor and a chain belt on its fanciest configuration. Details are sparse and its certainly an apples to oranges comparison, but they are using a 63T (yes sixty-three tooth) front chain ring. This is supposed to be quick city bike, not a racing road bike. Confirms my suspicions that a 50 or 52 chain ring should be available in the higher priced Trek electric bikes. Also this bike, as well as the specialized creo and others are using a 700 x 28 wheel instead of the 700 x 35 on the Trek. The 35mm is popular on the higher end graveller bikes. The higher end Trek electric bikes would be well suited to drop to a 28mm too.
 

KCENDER

New Member
I agree that a single front chain ring is quite sufficient. With the motor assist I see no advantage to a dual front chain ring, unless you wanted a 46t for every day use and a 52t for really giving it the gas. The 2020 Bosch motor ups the torque from 63nM to 75nM and it would be interesting to see if that is a useable difference. I think they made significant improvements from my 2019 Domane+, to the 2020 Domane+ 7 with the Kiox set up etc. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they make even more improvements as the road biking community decides where e-bikes should fit in. While I agree that many people like me, will buy an e-bike for more relaxed riding (old, fat, injured, rehabilitating etc), I'm trying to convince people (and Trek) that a higher end e-bike is a serious alternative for the competitive cyclist.
Tom, I agree with everything you wrote. As for me, I can't wrap my mind around the idea of using a $10k bike to ride gravel. I learned something new this morning at the LBS that I hadn't seen mentioned yet: the Bosch system purposely adds resistance after 28mph (class 3). So even if you are capable of higher speeds, you will meet resistance unlike the +LT at twenty. That's direct from the shop owner. Yes, you can coast faster downhill, but don't rotate the cranks. Come on man, really? What a nanny state we live in.
 

Tyson

New Member
Tom, I agree with everything you wrote. As for me, I can't wrap my mind around the idea of using a $10k bike to ride gravel. I learned something new this morning at the LBS that I hadn't seen mentioned yet: the Bosch system purposely adds resistance after 28mph (class 3). So even if you are capable of higher speeds, you will meet resistance unlike the +LT at twenty. That's direct from the shop owner. Yes, you can coast faster downhill, but don't rotate the cranks. Come on man, really? What a nanny state we live in.
It is possible that the reason "Bosch adds resistance" isn't mentioned could be because it isn't true. I have no inside information, but I am very happy with the way they do power roll off at 28mph, and don't feel like there is added resistance after. You do of course get the whole real resistance (wind, road, etc.) when the assist goes away, and you realize how much the motor is helping depending on your assist level when this happens, but I don't feel like it is something more. I often look down and see I am at speeds greater than 28mph while I am peddling away. I would hate to see people not consider this bike because of reading about added resistance and 46T front should be 50T (46T is a good choice in my opinion). My LBS ordered the Trek Domane+ HP in my size without any personal financial commitment (possibly motivated by my enthusiasm that my research showed this was THE bike for me). I took it for a test ride (to be honest I didn't come back and took it for a full ride), and when I came back I never so happily handed over my credit card.

To add to the gravel/road conversation here, I put Specialized Roubaix Pro Tubeless 30/32 tires on my factory rims after taping with a double wrap of 25mm Stan's tape and 2oz of Orange Endurance sealant. These are my road rims. I had Sugar Wheel Works build a second set for gravel. These are HED Belgium G (previously called Eroica) rims built as 28 spoke (front and rear) 3 cross on White Industries hubs and November Cycles centerlock shims to dial in the brake rotor centering (note rear rotor is special version with magnet Shimano EM810 160mm). These also run tubeless with knobby tires 35c in rear and 38c in front. I used 3M auto paint protection film to armor areas that would take rock hits. They key to the 3M film is to get a spray bottle and apply wet before rubbing down in place from center outward.

I didn't originally like the idea of riding gravel with such an expensive bike. Currently I decided that I am going to ride the crap out of this thing to get my money's worth. In the past 6 weeks I have ridden on pavement along the Pacific Coast and on dirt trails at 11,000 feet so steep at times I used the Bosch Kiox "Walk Assist" feature (Yes, its there but you have to ask your LBS to enable it). So far I am happy with the 2021 Domane+ HP.
 

TomWilcox

Member
Those of you who bought a 2019 and 2020 Domane+ are eligible for a free upgrade to increase turbo mode from 75 Nm to 85 Nm, which would be amazing to feel. My older Domane+ doesn't have the same motor, and doesn't qualify. However, I got an email in the last few weeks for a free upgrade. When I called they said that it is supposed to smooth the transitions even more, and is eligible to ALL Domane+ bikes, including mine. I haven't taken my bike in yet, but since I have no problems with the transitions, I doubt I'll notice much difference. I hope I'm wrong. I have never read anything to suggest that the motor adds resistance after 28 mph and don't believe it to be so, but if that is a concern for you, maybe the new upgrade will address that.
 

tegnamo

Member
Tom, I agree with everything you wrote. As for me, I can't wrap my mind around the idea of using a $10k bike to ride gravel. I learned something new this morning at the LBS that I hadn't seen mentioned yet: the Bosch system purposely adds resistance after 28mph (class 3). So even if you are capable of higher speeds, you will meet resistance unlike the +LT at twenty. That's direct from the shop owner. Yes, you can coast faster downhill, but don't rotate the cranks. Come on man, really? What a nanny state we live in.
There's no "added resistance" performed by the motor after you exceed the cutoff speed. It's just that the motor stops helping you, so you feel the natural resistance of the Bosch motor internals (albeit minimal) plus the usual resistances of pedaling a heavy bike over 28mph. The same internal resistance is present when the motor is turned off as well. Your LBS person is possibly confused or you misheard him :(
 

KCENDER

New Member
There's no "added resistance" performed by the motor after you exceed the cutoff speed. It's just that the motor stops helping you, so you feel the natural resistance of the Bosch motor internals (albeit minimal) plus the usual resistances of pedaling a heavy bike over 28mph. The same internal resistance is present when the motor is turned off as well. Your LBS person is possibly confused or you misheard him :(
Thanks to all you guys for the input and I certainly wouldn't dispute your personal experience. No, I didn't mis-hear what she said, but of course, I am gathering information from all sources and yours are very valuable to me. Tyson, your point is well taken, go for it! It's a personal thing for sure, and I get it! It's a 'me' thing and this is going to be my last bike. I would like it to be correct and a huge outlay. Having said that: this has been one of the most informative sites with good people trying to help others and that is kind of rare from my experience. I like all of the useful input by the members. You are good guys and I appreciate it.

John
 
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