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Watch: Ride Across Britain documentary

A day-to-day account of one of the most iconic challenges available to British cyclists, the Ride Across Britain.

David Kenning
26 Jun 2017

Ride Across Britain: The bike

Trek Domane SLR 6 Disc

£4,000, trekbikes.com

If you’re taking on the ultimate endurance ride, you want the ultimate endurance bike, and the new Trek Domane SLR, as ridden by Fabian Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix, is a prime contender. 

While the S and SL frames retain the old Domane’s IsoSpeed seat tube (decoupled from the top tube so it flexes when you hit bumps), the SLR’s seat tube can now be adjusted via a slider for a firm ride when you want to race or maximum comfort when the road gets rough. Even at the lowest setting, it’s far from bouncy.

IsoSpeed is now incorporated in the head tube too, while the new IsoCore handlebars have elastomer inserts to soak up vibrations further. It’s a real improvement on the old Domane, which felt slightly unbalanced due to the relative harshness of the front end compared to the rear.

Disc brake models now come with huge 32mm tyres (non-disc versions take up to 28mm). At 70psi, the grippy and supple Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite feel like riding on cushions. Their size drew comments from other riders, but the fact we were able to easily keep up with those on 25c tyres answered any questions about speed. In fact, on the flat we often found ourselves dropping fellow riders simply because we could maintain speed over worn-out tarmac with no power-sapping judder. They’re also tubeless ready, as are the Paradigm Comp wheels.

Riding the Domane SLR, it’s not that you don’t notice the bumps but bone-jarring thuds become more of a soft rumble, while the massive down tube, long wheelbase and low bottom bracket provide a stiff and stable platform, ideal for carving through sweeping bends on fast descents.  

The 6 in the name refers to the spec level – full Ultegra hydraulic groupset in this case. Ninja cyclists will be happy with the standard matt black but another SLR rider we met had customised his bike via Trek’s Project One scheme with a stunning ‘California Sky Blue’ paintjob. And mudguard mounts make it a true year-round ride. 

Is this the ultimate endurance bike? Possibly. The seatpost slider is perhaps a bit of a gimmick – if we wanted to save a few quid we’d settle for the SL, but we’d pick disc brakes every time, as much for the huge tyres as the brakes themselves. Quite simply, this is a supremely comfortable bike that also happens to be pretty quick.

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