I loved your review. I was on the fence between the Cannondale Lefty and this one but ordered the Trek after reading your article and finding a 2021 on sale for 4900. No offense but it was like your article was 5% and my ass saving 2k was the rest!Last Sunday I made the purchase of the Domane +HP as I wanted to pick up a e-road bike. I did try for a few days a Creo SL which was a nice bike but suffice to say it wasn't for me for several reasons. The moment I rode the Domane I could instantly feel how this bike differs from many others and why it makes sense for my intended usage. For those who are interested in this bike as there is almost nothing out there about it to read about, here goes some thoughts after riding it now for some 250 miles in less than 6 days.
The weight: yes it has a pedal assist motor and 500 watt hour battery there is wt involved and certainly not as light as a Creo (in comparison), however the weight distribution does feels better and the bike is certainly more planted. I often will pedal with the assist motor off or in eco mode (flats or down hills) and the rolling weight difference is really not an issue. With the Domane, I feel there better control of the bike and perhaps its because of the weight and the frame angles utilized - this is controversial for sure but without doing the science, Im attributing however incorrectly this to distributive forces of me on bike, bike on ground and ground reaction forces.
Pedal Assist Drive: This is the bosch Gen 4 speed performance device and works well. I also have an EMTB that is obviously tuned to higher initial torque and I tell you this because of the expectations of off the line torque coming from that ride to this one is completely different. This bike is made for sustained and higher road speeds, I have found that it is best from a standing start to run through your gears to pick up speed. This particular motor is tuned appropriately for its application but relying on the bike to instantly zoom you from zero to 15 miles an hour as you start out from a stop in a higher gear like a high torque EMTB can, you will have to change your thinking. Don't misunderstand the pedal assist is there, its just not a torquey jolt.
On hills the motor can provide you with all types of assist and you can vary your input to achieve the goal of the climb your looking for. Should you want to train the legs for more strength eco and touring, should you want to attempt a KOM than sport or turbo. What I really enjoy about this pedal assist drive over that of say the Creo SL or the Vado Sl (which I test rode for a few miles) is the ability to have these choices in assist level. Not to disparage the Specialized, its just bikes I some have experience with, the flexibility of the greater power in the assist drive is a greater benefit than the weight difference. The Domane can easily attain its 28 mph limit and help you to sustain in and around this range even in very hilly terrain, which is where I live.
The motor responds well to your input and doesn't surge your forward in anyway. As you apply torque you can feel a little extra push and when you stop it stops. When riding you really don't notice anything different than if you just rode an analogue bike, except your going faster or your not grinding out that hill in front of you (should you choose do that you can)
Battery life: Yes of my main concerns. I regularly ride 30 plus miles, pretty much daily. This is where this bike certainly shines. As an example 30 mile ride with 1722 feet of elevation change and 1 hour 32 min on the road, I returned home with about approximately 50% power. I rode the bike with intention maximizing the use of power but not throttling myself to the point of why did I buy an ebike in the first place. To use the power when I need it and not use it when I don't; at the end of this ride the data demonstrated an approximately 50/50 relationship between motor assist and myself as input with the the average speed is around 21 MPH.
Battery life trade offs are of course human input to electric assist, the more assist the less battery life. If you want to run on Turbo or Sport you will certainly increase your average speed and you will watch the battery drain quickly which is expected, but you'll get there quicker so for a commute this can be very effective. I have yet to try a full on turbo ride, I may do this for a calculation on percentage drain per minute - just for fun. Suffice to say, Bosch has battery estimator and it seems pretty much in the ballpark of what I am getting. I am also not a heavy rider about 158-160 lbs so the bike and me are under 200 lbs.
As an aside and In comparison to the Creo SL EVO that I had, I was able to get 33 miles before battery emptied and that was working with it in its eco and middle modes, not on turbo. To add a secondary battery it would be an additional 500 dollars, plus cable cost and water bottle holder cost. This add on option would bring the watt hours up to approximately equal with the Trek however with the Domane you can add on an additional 500 watt hours. I would presume that based on my initial findings the Creo would achieve near that same range as the Trek (with its single battery), but still would come up short by a few miles with the additional watt hours.
Bike Fit and Finish - yes this is high quality performance bike. Yes its been to the shop a couple of times now. A firmware update to the bike was done at the time of purchase and it did mess up the function of the lighting package and it needs to be sorted out. I am also having issues when I go over a bump heavily, the bike shuts off. I took the bike in last evening and it seems that battery alignment may be off and they need to adjust this. Finally off the showroom floor and onto the street, the rear derailleur was not adjusted correctly and the chain was slipping. I was able to perform an adjustment which by enlarge fixed the problem. The shop at the same time as fixing the lighting /software issue, also performed some adjustments to fix the chain slippage. I am happy about the service they provided but underwhelmed that the high dollar bike would be allowed to leave the shop without a full inspection to ensure everything was in top flight running order. Frame, Brakes and everything else is nice. If you want to get super OCD, the very bright front light has to cables that run in front of it, not centrally but to the sides... its not a practical issue just annoying as you would think it could be better.
The integrated lighting package is excellent btw and its absolutely necessary. In my Creo experience (again not to bash in anyway) I would have had to add on this feature.
Ride quality: Yes this bike is fantastic for ride quality. There is very low motor noise, of course its there but its not going to bother you should you desire total silence you can turn this feature off LOL, Road noise in minimal. Riding is fantastic as the bike / seat soaks up road vibration very well. No issues with wrists getting fatigued or hands becoming numb. Its a very comfortable experience. The bike also seems fast. In that just peddling the bike you achieve and maintain speed quickly.
Controller: I do very much like the layout overall the buttons are big an on the left hand side but I wish they had the ability to back light to see them at night. I also feel that perhaps a switch for power settings could be incorporated into the drop bar behind the brake which would make switching a whole lot better. Of course Bosch doesn't make the brake levers and Shimano doesn't make switches for Bosch .... so yeah aint gonna happen. Given the parameters of the bike, the controller does what is supposed to do, yes it could be more efficient. PS the walk button is activated but is placed in an impractical place to really access, unlike on my EMTB the walk function is easily activation and utilized. To be fair your in all likelihood never going to use this functionality and if you have to walk, its a pretty light bike anyway but it should have been better thought out to begin with.
Overall: TLDR. So far I am liking this bike a lot, I am not a "roadie" per say, I generally ride the trails. Its fundamentally a bike you have to learn. A ride or two will determine if it fits you well in terms of comfort and purpose, You then have to learn how to perform with this bike. Its forgiving in that you have the power when you want or need it but you still to pay attention to road and shift in accordance with terrain + cadence to get the most out of it. Test rides in parking lots on flats are helpful but this bike offers a lot of performance which you can't appreciate until you put some seat time in and that's hard decision to make when these bikes are ahemmm ... not cheap