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Trek Front ISO Speed Headed for Extinction?

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Trek Front ISO Speed Headed for Extinction?

Old 12-12-21, 12:27 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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Trek Front ISO Speed Headed for Extinction?

File this post under, "Thinking out-loud with no real answer unless you're a design engineer at Trek."

Having owned a 2020 Trek Domane SL7 for the past two years, it's my experience that the Domane is an excellent endurance bike that aids in helping me feel less beat-up after each ride, which is what an endurance bike is supposed to do. In addition to really wide 700x32C road tires which obviously absorb a lot of shock, it also has front and rear ISO decouplers.

I've noticed that in Trek's latest line-up of bikes, only the Domane still has the front ISO decoupler system which seems odd. I would've thought that the latest Checkpoint would've had it as well and perhaps been an option on some of the Boone frames (although the Boone is a weight-weenie's CX bike, so maybe not.) I'm starting to wonder if the next Domane frame refresh will drop the front ISO decoupler as well. Perhaps the added weight, cost, and complexity of the front ISO decoupler doesn't offset the gains it provides and hence it not being adopted on other bikes in Trek's lineup?

Since I now own only my Domane, I can't comparison test another bike w/o the ISO decoupler but with 700x32C tires to see if the ISO decoupler is significantly contributing to reducing shock to my hands and wrists... or if it's the wide tires doing most of the work. Do any of you own a Domane w/ front and rear ISO decouplers and another bike with 700x32C tires but no ISO decouplers to compare? Is the front ISO decoupler worth it to you or should it head for extinction?
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Old 12-12-21, 02:21 PM
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I do have access to another bike, but since it is not the same level of carbon, I would be hesitant to say the from ISO is the reason. Although, I do ride my Emonda ALR which I have Carbon bars and seatpost on, it does not have ISO front or rear and I do not feel beat up after a long ride on it, as I run 28's tubeless on it. I would think having the larger volume tires and tubeless for lower pressures makes a world of difference in comfort.
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Old 12-13-21, 08:31 AM
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Trek likes having their clearly defined road bike lineup: aero, lightweight, endurance and gravel. Of these road bikes, it makes the most sense for Front Iso to be on the Domane. Of these road bikes, Front Iso has been exclusive to the Domane*. That it continues to be exclusive to the Domane doesn't strike me as a sign that it's going away.

I no longer own a Domane, but yes, the Front Iso helped quite a bit, mostly with the bigger cracks/bumps/potholes; that was pretty apparent when swapping between bikes. Even my gravel bike, with larger, lower PSI tires, transmitted much more jolt through the handles than the Domane did.

* IIRC, they slapped it on some limited releases like a CX bike, but I'm not aware that it's been in anything else.
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Old 12-13-21, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Trek likes having their clearly defined road bike lineup: aero, lightweight, endurance and gravel. Of these road bikes, it makes the most sense for Front Iso to be on the Domane.
Why wouldnt it make the most sense to use it on the bike that will see the most bumps?
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Old 12-13-21, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Why wouldnt it make the most sense to use it on the bike that will see the most bumps?
Trek said it themselves in discussing the omission on the Checkpoint -

“At some point, the volume of the tyre becomes the dominant part of the compliance experience for the bike, especially for front IsoSpeed,” Roessingh explained. “That additional compliance is very subtle, it’s not a lot of travel [10mm], so as we experimented with using front IsoSpeed and taking it out, we found that the rider couldn't really perceive much of a difference when using such a big volume tyre.”
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Old 12-13-21, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Trek said it themselves in discussing the omission on the Checkpoint -
Interesting, especially considering your comment about feeling more jolt in your gravel bike even though tires are larger.
Thanks.
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Old 12-13-21, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Interesting, especially considering your comment about feeling more jolt in your gravel bike even though tires are larger.
Thanks.
I was running 35s (vs 28 on the Domane); the Checkpoint can take significantly larger.
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Old 12-13-21, 10:05 PM
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I noticed that when I was running 32 mm on my domane it was so muted, it almost put me to sleep, so I tried 28's, which I enjoyed, but it was a little more rigid. When I tired some 30mm, that was the sweet spot for me. The ride is so comfy and buttery, it just heavenly on the roads that are a little more grainy. I moved the 28's to my Emonda and feel the same cushiness that I get on the Domane.
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Old 12-19-21, 10:56 AM
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While riding my Domane in "gravel mode" (i.e., 700x38C tires) on a rails-to-trails trail this past summer, I was happy to have all the front shock vibration I could get when I hit about 5 gopher holes on the trail. The second I turned to look at something other than the trail's surface, I'd hit one of these holes that sent a mc-nasty shock from my hands straight into my brain (or so it felt). I didn't suffer any long-term injury from the impacts on the ride but can't image how painful things would've been on a bike with less shock absorbing features than my Domane.

As stated by others, it's not clear to me as to why front ISO speed wouldn't be on the Checkpoint if it actually works since gravel certainly would be the lumpiest surface short of actual mountain bike trails.
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Old 12-19-21, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
While riding my Domane in "gravel mode" (i.e., 700x38C tires) on a rails-to-trails trail this past summer, I was happy to have all the front shock vibration I could get when I hit about 5 gopher holes on the trail. The second I turned to look at something other than the trail's surface, I'd hit one of these holes that sent a mc-nasty shock from my hands straight into my brain (or so it felt). I didn't suffer any long-term injury from the impacts on the ride but can't image how painful things would've been on a bike with less shock absorbing features than my Domane.

As stated by others, it's not clear to me as to why front ISO speed wouldn't be on the Checkpoint if it actually works since gravel certainly would be the lumpiest surface short of actual mountain bike trails.
Yeah, depends I guess on what you attempt to ride with your gravel bike. Silca's cat3 and cat4 gravel would be I think well served by additional damping in the front.
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Old 12-19-21, 07:50 PM
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imo, the dampening of ISO is limited to not just the amount of travel it can lend, but also limited by physical design for durability in taking those hits. IE: Using a paperclip as a leaf spring for a full sized truck. Kinda of an extreme example, but hopefully the point is made.

If the Checkpoint had that ISO setup, it [ISO] might see premature fatiguing from not being robust enough.
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Old 12-28-21, 11:47 PM
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Sample of one, so take it for what it's worth.


As a one-handed rider, I have been upended by front end challenges more times than I would care to admit - rumble strips, railroad tracks and the like.


The current generation of Domane - I've had all three - is by far the best at handling both the unexpected and expected jolts that happen on the road.


I raced it on gravel on a fairly rugged course, running 40mm gravel tires. It was competent but scary on the washboard descents. The ISO front was barely noticeable in the rough sections.


The Checkpoint I now ride for gravel is at home there. Because the challenge is constant, I'd be hard pressed to think of a ride that would have been better on the Domane.
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