The Trek Domane+ series of road bikes combines electric assist with the comfortable ride and endurance geometry that has made the Domane bikes so popular. It’s a natural combination as the electrification allows riders to ride even further while enhancing the ride quality with the integrated battery. Trek currently offers the Domane+ series of bikes in two primary variations: carbon fiber SLR models and the aluminum AL 5. The SLR variations retail between $8,499.95 to $12,999.95 depending on the component set. With a retail price of $3,499.95 the Trek Domane+ AL 5 is the most accessible electric bike in the lineup and arguably one of the best values.
The bike is equipped with mechanical Shimano 105 components including hydraulic disc brakes. In terms of electrification, the AL 5 is equipped with a 250W / 40Nm HyDrive hub motor and a 250Wh battery integrated into the downtube. The combination is rated for up to 55 miles in eco mode with an optional 250Wh range extender battery available which doubles the range. To achieve a natural feeling ride, Trek has utilized a torque sensor and three selectable assist levels to feather in the electric power. An integrated display in the top tube displays the remaining battery and current assist level.
The Trek Domane+ AL 5 combines the endurance geometry and smooth ride Domane is known for with a hub motor and integrated battery.
|Rating||Design: A |
|Measured Weight (in lb)||31 (56cm)|
|Likes||+ Bike frame is well proportioned and looks like a non-ebike|
+ Smooth ride and very stable descending
+ Power assist let you climb like a pro
|Dislikes||– Jumps between three assistance modes can be large|
– Hub motor makes changing wheelsets difficult
– The hub and battery add weight to the bike
|Where to Buy (US)||Trek|
FIT AND FINISH
Visually, the Trek Domane+ AL 5 is easy to mistake for a standard Domane AL 5 bike. The bike features a contoured top tube, a tall headtube and lower bottom bracket geometry to achieve an endurance-oriented riding geometry. Trek has done an impressive job hiding the 250Wh battery inside the downtube while still maintaining the proper proportions. Currently, Trek only offers the Domane+ AL 5 in three color schemes: black, viper red and the mercury color we have in this review. It’s an attractive silver-like color with a bronze Trek logo and accents on the fork. While the color isn’t as flashy some of the Project One color options the SLR models offer, it iss a sleek yet modern. The bike’s 100 series aluminum frame has visible welds at the attachment points as well as visible weld marks around the bottom bracket.
The Domane+ AL 5 features internal cable routing with wires routed through the downtube and fork for a clean overall appearance. With the Domane series being more of an endurance bike, Trek has incorporated rack and fender mounts into the frame of the bike. The mounts are well disguised with flush rubber covers rather than exposed bolts or screws found on other bikes. Rather than the top tube bottle mounts found on the standard Domane bike, the Domane+ AL 5 has a black stripe and display screen with a large black power button. The display blends in with the stripe when it’s off but has vibrant colors when it is on to indicate the battery status and assist level with graphical representations. To charge the e-bike’s battery there is a plastic cover below the downtube bottle cage which can be opened to insert the provided charging cable.
As far as components, the Trek Domane+ AL 5 incorporates a combination of Shimano 105 R7000 drivetrain with a mix of Bontrager finishing kit. Aside from the compact 50/34 FSA Vero Pro crankset the bike has a complete 11-speed Shimano 105 R7000 series setup including flat mounted 160mm hydraulic disc brakes. Next to each shifter you’ll find a single button which either increases or decreases the current assist mode. In-house Bontrager components help keep the cost of the bike down with the Verse Short Comp saddle, Elite IsoZone handlebar, Carbon seatpost and Elite stem. That also extends to the wheels and tires which are tubeless-ready Bontrager Pardigm wheels with R1 Hard-Case Lite tires. The bike’s modern 12mm thru-axle design with disc brakes means it’s easy to upgrade components or switch to more aggressive wheels and tires for gravel riding.
HYENA RIDER ASSIST APP
Hyena offers a Hyena Rider Assist (HRA) app that can connect to the Trek Domane+ AL 5. The app can be used to display serial number information, battery status, perform basic ride tracking and most importantly tune the assist levels. To connect the bike you simply power the motor on and then double tap it to enter the Bluetooth connecting mode which turns the bike battery display to blue bars. With the HRA app on, the bike can be quickly discovered and you can enter a custom bike name and view details of the bike. Selecting the iDrive button from the main screen not only displays the firmware and model numbers but also an interactive line chart.
Each of the three assist levels can be adjusted between 33% ranges (i.e. L1: 0-33, L2: 34-66, L3: 67-100) to customize the feel of the bike. This is a great way to personalize the ride experience by adjusting the power assist to your riding style. For those looking to extend the range you can reduce the first-level eco mode or unlock the full 100% motor assist if you have steep climbs. The other feature of the app is the ability to view the battery as a percentage and add a charge notification with an adjustable battery percent threshold. This is a convenient way to avoid running out of charge or just checking the battery before riding with an actual percent display instead of having to interpret the bar battery display.
RIDING WITHOUT POWER
One of the main questions we ask with e-road bikes like the Domane+ is how they feel when the power is off. Can they be ridden like a normal bike? The answer with the Domane+ AL5 is a yes with an asterisk. The endurance geometry and wide gearing mean you can easily climb steep hills or do long routes without ever using any power. However, it’s hard to get around the fact that the hub and motor add weight to the bike. The 31lb weight of the bike combined with the generous 32mm tires mean the Domane+ AL5 feels slower and requires more effort than a traditional 20lb or lighter road bike. This was particularly obvious for us as we spent most of our time switching between the Trek Domane+ AL5 and our 16lb Specialized Tarmac.
As the saying goes, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” which is true here. Trek has done an excellent job disguising the electric components but there is still a noticeable weight difference between this bike and the non-electric Domane AL 5. Otherwise, there isn’t noticeable drag when riding with power off and once you adjust to the weight it feels like a standard road bike. One of the surprising benefits of the extra weight is how well the bike descends. We suspect it’s the battery weight in the downtube that contributes to a low-center-of-mass that makes the bike handle smoothly and confidently even when descending at high speeds. While typical road bikes feel twitchy at higher speeds, the Domane+ AL 5 feels locked in.
RIDING WITH POWER
One of the main features of the Trek Domane+ AL 5 is the hub motor and integrated battery. While the 250Wh battery and 40 Nm HyDrive motor aren’t the highest capacity or most powerful setups on the market, it’s a well tested and refined design that is utilized on a variety of other bikes on the market including other Trek models. The hub motor is well matched to the relatively light weight of the bike and provides smooth assistance to climb steep climbs or handle urban traffic. Unlike budget hub drive bikes which use cadence sensors to simply turn the power on or off, Trek has utilized a torque sensor to feather the power in for a natural feel. The harder you pedal, the more assistance you get up to the maximum percentage in each assist level. As a level 1 e-bike this is a pedal assist motor that is only active when you’re pedaling and is limited to a maximum of 20mph. That means assist is only useful at slower speeds while climbing or in stop-and-go traffic to help you accelerate from a stop.
Even in the lowest eco mode (~12% of max output), the bike feels light and fast which allows you to cruise up steep climbs like a pro. While it’s hard to hear the motor while you’re riding, those behind you can hear a subtle noise as the power ramps up. With the torque sensor setup, you’re rewarded for riding with a smooth cadence as coasting shuts the power and can result in a jerky on/off feel. At higher assist levels the bike can push you back in the saddle and feels as if someone is pushing you from behind as it accelerates. While the initial acceleration feels strange, in most other scenarios the motor’s assistance is fairly seamless. We do wish Trek had integrated more than 3 assist modes though, as the jumps between them feel too large for us. On some climbs eco mode simply felt like too much assistance while on steeper climbs we’d toggle between two modes.
In terms of real-world range, we found that it really depends on how you use the bike. Trek claims a range of 55 miles using only eco mode and even offers a range extender add-on batter that can double the range. Using the eco mode sparingly only on steep portions of climbs meant we didn’t have to charge the bike very often. For an all-power steep 3300ft ride we got about 36 miles out of the battery and made it back with the low battery status light flashing which was impressive. That makes us believe the 55 mile range claim, particularly if you choose less demanding routes. The Domane+ really shines as a performance equalizer or as a way to tackle longer routes that include climbs as the assist modes can make even 15% gradients feel like a flat road.
Overall, we found the Trek Domane+ AL5 to be an attractive and well designed bike. Trek has done an excellent job disguising the battery and electric motor inside the frame while maintaining the classic Domane geometry and appearance. The bike offers smooth shifting, confidence inspiring hydraulic disc brakes and the endurance geometry that has made the Domane bikes so popular. While the added electric components makes the Domane+ AL 5 more expensive and heavier than the standard Domane AL 5, it is significantly more affordable than the Domane+ SLR variations. Although $3.5k is hard to call budget friendly, it’s very well priced and maintains sleek road bike geometry and appearance with the peace of mind that Trek’s warranty and excellent customer service. The bike certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a way to extend your range, tackle hard climbs or keep up with faster riders the Trek Domane+ AL 5 is an excellent e-road bike.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Trek. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.