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Domane 4.3 to SL6 or SLR7?

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Domane 4.3 to SL6 or SLR7?

Old 01-17-21, 11:18 AM
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BenOnATrek
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Domane 4.3 to SL6 or SLR7?

Hi, I have had a Trek Domane 4.3 since 2014. It has served me well over a few thousand miles. I upgraded the wheels fairly early on (currently running tubeless Mavic Ksyrium) and I also replaced the chainset a couple of years ago with Ultegra - don't know what the original was, it was Shimano but not 105 and weighed a ton. The combination of these changes transformed the bike (or perhaps I got fitter and lost some weight but I like to think the money was well spent!).


While I am still enjoying the bike, friends now have newer bikes with disc brakes and wider tyres and I have been getting bike envy and I am looking for excuses to get a new bike. Winter cycling here in the UK (especially with all the rain we have had recently) tests the bike - cables start to get sticky, gear changes less slick, usually after the first hour of a ride no matter how well I have cleaned the bike between rides. And I definitely have to apply brakes earlier than friends when a fast descent ends at a junction.


So my question is, has anyone upgraded from an earlier Domane to one of the current models - and did you feel the change worthwhile? The most obvious change for me would seem to be to the SL6 (based on cost as much as anything else). I would gain disc brakes, front ISO (which I am quite keen on for some of my longer rides) and an extra cog on the cassette. But I would sacrifice weight, my current bike (including pedals and water bottle cages) is about 8.17 Kg vs the 9.3 Kg of the SL 6. I would fairly soon replace the wheels (I was thinking the Hunt 33 Carbon Aero at 1347g a pair) adnd run tubeless tyres. I would also switch my saddle over for now. So I would gain back around 730g but still a fair bit heavier than my current bike.


I was wondering if anyone had made a similar switch from old tech to new and if they really noticed the extra weight or whether other benefits outweighed (if you pardon the pun) it?


There is a bike shortage in the UK at the moment. Most Trek bike shops are not having much/any stock in popular sizes but I have found one that has an SLR 7 (2020). It is obviously a big jump up in price but I might just manage it without selling one of the kids. This would obviously give me a lighter bike and Di2 (which appeals after my ride in the rain on muddy roads yesterday and sticky gear changes). But is it worth it? I cannot even get to test ride bikes at the moment so it is a bit of a leap of faith.


I would welcome views from anyone with experience of the new Domane - or if you have experience a similar old to new 'upgrade'. Many thanks.
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Old 01-17-21, 12:51 PM
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I have no experience with these Trek models -- but really, the issues you are describing are not at all brand-specific.

Buying a new bike in order to get disc brakes and one more cog seems like overkill, to me. Rim brakes, if well-maintained, are going to stop just fine, and a new bike won't affect the shifting that you are complaining about.

If it were me, I would get Kool Stop Salmon brake pads (in the model appropriate to your brake calipers) and slap on some fenders (if your bike doesn't have mounts, look at something like SKS Raceblades, which will still attach to the bike).

If you really want more tire clearance, then you will indeed need a new bike...But if you are riding in messy winter weather, be sure to buy one with fender mounts and put on proper fenders. That will be the single biggest thing you can do to keep the bike relatively clean and trouble-free in the slop.
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Old 01-17-21, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I have no experience with these Trek models -- but really, the issues you are describing are not at all brand-specific.

Buying a new bike in order to get disc brakes and one more cog seems like overkill, to me. Rim brakes, if well-maintained, are going to stop just fine, and a new bike won't affect the shifting that you are complaining about.

If it were me, I would get Kool Stop Salmon brake pads (in the model appropriate to your brake calipers) and slap on some fenders (if your bike doesn't have mounts, look at something like SKS Raceblades, which will still attach to the bike).

If you really want more tire clearance, then you will indeed need a new bike...But if you are riding in messy winter weather, be sure to buy one with fender mounts and put on proper fenders. That will be the single biggest thing you can do to keep the bike relatively clean and trouble-free in the slop.
Thanks Koyote,
Yes all good advice, I am probably just making excuses to justify spending lots of money. Thanks for a bit of reality!
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Old 01-17-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BenOnATrek View Post
Thanks Koyote,
Yes all good advice, I am probably just making excuses to justify spending lots of money. Thanks for a bit of reality!
Nothing wrong with wanting a new bike, as long as you are realistic. It's great to have more than one bike -- maybe you should buy a gravel or 'cross bike. That can get you disc brakes, more tire clearance, and (shop carefully) fender mounts. That would be a great sloppy weather bike, and you might enjoy taking it off-pavement all year 'round.
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Old 01-17-21, 02:38 PM
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If you can swing it why not? I am sure while you are on your death bed you wont be thinking “Damm I shouldn’t have bought that bike”. You are talking a generational change in bikes and the improvements are amazing. Disc brakes are fantastic, electronic shifting is also a big plus but the biggest perk is the ability to run larger tires.
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Old 01-17-21, 03:53 PM
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I owned the previous generation Domane SL - fantastic bike.

I would not go back to rim brakes. I would not buy another bike that can't accommodate at least 30mm WAM tires. I would not go back to tubes.
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Old 01-17-21, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Nothing wrong with wanting a new bike, as long as you are realistic. It's great to have more than one bike -- maybe you should buy a gravel or 'cross bike. That can get you disc brakes, more tire clearance, and (shop carefully) fender mounts. That would be a great sloppy weather bike, and you might enjoy taking it off-pavement all year 'round.
The Domane that he's looking at will clear 38mm tires or so. It's a great all-road bike.
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Old 01-17-21, 04:09 PM
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I have owned the Domane 4.3, the 2017 SLR7 and the 2020 SLR7.

The latest platform is a big step up in terms integration, tire-clearance, and groupset. Absolutely no looking back form my perspective. Of course, it is a costly upgrade - If you take the plunge, I'd try and move to the SL7 to get Aeolus 3V wheels and Di2.
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Old 01-17-21, 04:25 PM
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Thanks to everyone for replying. It is a big decision and I want to make sure that I am doing it for the right reasons. It is encouraging to hear from people who have made the step from old versions to new and to hear their thoughts about it. I am in my 50s now and so I guess this will probably be my last chance to make a really big bike purchase. I know that there is a certain amount of 'lockdown' fever (we are in our second national lockdown now) influencing my decision - it is good to have positive things to focus on - and exercise is one thing that we are still allowed (and encouraged) to do. I will have to sleep on it!
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Old 01-17-21, 04:31 PM
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Not the same but similar.

I had a 2011 Madone 4.6 and upgraded to a 2015 Emonda SLR. It was a huge expenditure, but well worth it. I've ridden a Domane SL and was not impressed compared to my SLR.

If you can manage the finances.... DO IT.

And keep the old bike for rainy and wet days. It will make the new bike last longer.
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Old 01-17-21, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
The Domane that he's looking at will clear 38mm tires or so. It's a great all-road bike.
I went and had a look at the Trek website -- yep, lots of tire clearance, and fender mounts! I didn't realize that, so thanks for pointing it out.

If I were the OP, I'd go for the SL7 (I think that's the one) and get Di2. Go big or go home.
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Old 01-17-21, 05:48 PM
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I had a 2014 4.3 Domane. As a retirement gift to myself last year, I upgraded to the SLR7 Disc. Yes, it was a freakin' fortune! And I haven't regretted it for a minute.

I wasn't in any hurry for electronics, discs, etc, I just wanted a great bike for once in my life. And it delivers. The change is great, it's a way better ride and handles far beyond my meager skills.
Note that this is the 2019 model. Reviews on the 2020 are very good. If you have the cash to pull it off, I'd recommend the upgrade.
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Old 01-17-21, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
If I were the OP, I'd go for the SL7 (I think that's the one) and get Di2. Go big or go home.
I have to agree that the best value is the SL7, but after you've ridden a SLR you won't look back.

I've rented a SL over 3 February vacations in Scottsdale and there's a huge difference in the way they climb and handle. But at 2.5x the cost... you have to have the disposable income.
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Old 01-17-21, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I've rented a SL over 3 February vacations in Scottsdale and there's a huge difference in the way they climb and handle. But at 2.5x the cost... you have to have the disposable income.
Are you still comparing your Emonda SLR with the Domane SL? It's really not a valid means of comparing an SL vs and SLR - the difference between models is much, much more significant than the carbon difference. The Domane geo is slower/more stable and it's also carrying extra weight, primarily because of the larger tubes, greater tire clearance, and front and rear IsoSpeed.
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Old 01-17-21, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Are you still comparing your Emonda SLR with the Domane SL? It's really not a valid means of comparing an SL vs and SLR - the difference between models is much, much more significant than the carbon difference. The Domane geo is slower/more stable and it's also carrying extra weight, primarily because of the larger tubes, greater tire clearance, and front and rear IsoSpeed.
You're right, not a fair comparison.
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Old 01-17-21, 08:34 PM
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I traded in a 2019 Domane SL6 for a 2020 Domane SLR 7 Project One. After riding the SLR 7 for 11.5 months and about 5000 miles I have absolutely zero regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a lot of money but at the stage of life I'm at you can't take it with you so might as well enjoy it while I can.
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Old 01-17-21, 08:54 PM
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Not exactly the same, but similar. I have a Emonda ALR 6 from 2016 and got a 2021 Domane SLR 7. I moved from rim to disk, Aluminum to high end carbon, narrow wheels to the ability to have rather wide tires. It is a huge improvement in some respects and I have pretty much relegated my Emonda ALR to my trainer and my Emonda ALR is a fantastic riding bike and I still take it out now and then, but it just does not compare to the ride and feel on the Domane SLR 7. I originally was going to buy a SL7 , but due to the delay in shipping I pulled the trigger for the Project One and have no regrets. I would do it again.
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Old 01-18-21, 02:16 AM
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Thanks everyone, your comments are appreciated.

I am thinking about the SLR7 rather than the SL7 as the SL is not available at the moment (till about October is what I am being told) and I have found a bike shop with a 2020 SLR at a discount.

I will speak to the bike store to check they still have it and take it from there.
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Old 01-19-21, 04:46 AM
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I have ordered the SLR 7! I will have to wait 2-3 weeks for delivery as it has to go from warehouse in Germany to the bike store - and deliveries are all up the spout since Brexit (UK leaving the European Union - whoever thought that was a good idea?!).
So I will have to wait impatiently till then.
Thanks again for your help and ideas.
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Old 01-19-21, 10:40 PM
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congrats, you are really going to like it. However in the big scheme of things, 2-3 weeks is nothing compared to 8 or 9 months.
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Old 01-20-21, 12:25 AM
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Cost of bike / ( hours of enjoyment a year ). At least that how I look at things. It's easy for me to spend money on bikes, smart trainer etc...
I think you more than got your moneys worth out of your old bike. There's something to be said about just owning a bike that you really like and want to ride. Puts
a smile on your face just looking at it.
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Old 01-20-21, 09:33 PM
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I've noticed as I have gotten older, getting new bikes every other year has slacked off. I went 5 years between new bikes this last time and so far and I am really digging the Domane SLR could see this being he last purchase...but I doubt it
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Old 01-21-21, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
Cost of bike / ( hours of enjoyment a year ). At least that how I look at things. It's easy for me to spend money on bikes, smart trainer etc...
I think you more than got your moneys worth out of your old bike. There's something to be said about just owning a bike that you really like and want to ride. Puts
a smile on your face just looking at it.
That's so true. I was on Cannondale for years and I really didn't like them as they didn't fit me real well. I'm now back on Trek and love riding again. It's not much fun to ride a bike you don't like.
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Old 01-21-21, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Snotrub View Post
That's so true. I was on Cannondale for years and I really didn't like them as they didn't fit me real well. I'm now back on Trek and love riding again. It's not much fun to ride a bike you don't like.
Amen!!!! I had a Cannondale SuperSix that I absolutely loved and should have kept, but I was stupid and sold it. I got a super deal on a Synapse HiMod and initially liked it, but grew to hate every second I was riding it. I never got comfortable on it and don't even start me on the bottom bracket noise.......it drove me nuts. I cut my losses very quickly and sold it. Its a shame though, I should have enjoyed that bike. That is when I got the very quiet Trek Emonda ALR, and found that bike far more enjoyable than the Synapse.
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Old 01-22-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
Amen!!!! I had a Cannondale SuperSix that I absolutely loved and should have kept, but I was stupid and sold it. I got a super deal on a Synapse HiMod and initially liked it, but grew to hate every second I was riding it. I never got comfortable on it and don't even start me on the bottom bracket noise.......it drove me nuts. I cut my losses very quickly and sold it. Its a shame though, I should have enjoyed that bike. That is when I got the very quiet Trek Emonda ALR, and found that bike far more enjoyable than the Synapse.
I had an Evo Super Six Red Racing and I hated it. People ask what I didn't like about it and all I could say is that it didn't fit me real well and it was a "hard" bike. Every contact point was hard, steering was hard and I could only ride it for an hour before I started hurting somewhere and sometimes everywhere. Then, I had the carbon Flash and although I didn't hate it, I didn't like it either. It was more of a , "meh". It's hard to get motivated to ride when you don't like your bicycles. I was on a team that was sponsored by Cannondale, so as long as I was on that team, I had to ride Cannondale. I know, first world problems. Whoa is me.
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