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Domane (comfort) owners, would you opt for Emonda (light) if you rode 80% mountains?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Domane (comfort) owners, would you opt for Emonda (light) if you rode 80% mountains?

Old 07-05-17, 07:48 AM
  #1  
Red7
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Domane (comfort) owners, would you opt for Emonda (light) if you rode 80% mountains?

First off this is to educate myself as I've been very happy with my Domane but I'm trying to understand when weight trumps comfort, as well as, how a high-end SLR Emonda (H2) would compare to a low-end (400 series) Domane as far as comfort and performance. Before I get into it I'll state that I'm not a weight weenie and understand that getting my legs in shape will make a much bigger difference than a lighter bike.

That said, a LBS has a 2015 Emonda SLR 6 that they are blowing out for under $3k (not that much more than what I'd have in my 400 series Domane if I put on Ultegra) and the fact that it supposedly weighs in at about 14.5 lbs vs about 20 lbs for my Domane, intrigued me enough to at least ask about it here.

If you've seen my other post I've been debating between upgrading my current Domane (with Ultegra) vs getting a new bike at some point. I love the isospeed, and the Domane in general, l but most of my riding is in the mountains of North Carolina where it's all up and down. If there is one area where I've been underwhelmed in my recent transition from MTB to road, it is when climbing as I just assumed there would be a much bigger difference between a heavy full suspension MTB and a road bike. The Blue Ridge Parkway and passes around my house have some steep sustained climbs and I realize my legs will get stronger the more I climb but am just curious how much difference 5 lbs makes.

Awhile back I rode a Domane and Emonda back to back and noticed a couple things. 1. The Domane was way more compliant over the same section of cobble to the point where I was totally sold on the isospeed decoupler. 2. The Emonda H2 was a really solid bike and not nearly as aggressive geo as I had assumed it would be. 3. I've yet to ride my Domane on any "sustained cobble" like I compared the two bikes on at the LBS.....so yes, the Domane's isospeed is really good but I've found myself mostly on fairly smooth roads so far.

Comparably priced, I think I'd go with a SLR Domane for but I am wondering if when the road turns more vertical, at what point would some of you value weight more than pure comfort? Thanks!
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Old 07-05-17, 08:02 AM
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Assume that you and bike weigh 200 lb. Then 5 lb is 2.5% lighter, so if you pedal with the same power, then you'll go 2.5% faster up hill.

Or if you maintain the same speed ascending, it will be 2.5% easier.

For comparison, shifting to a lower gear is about 6% easier.
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Old 07-05-17, 09:26 AM
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I do mostly climbing and I recently doubled down on the Domane - I bought an SLR to replace my 4.5. I briefly owned an Emonda SL6.

I do not buy into the Emonda for climbing for the simple reason that what goes up must come down...I simply prefer the more steady tracking of the front fork from a handling perspective, especially on the descents and on long flat hauls, wherein I am not required to actively respond to every road irregularity to the extent that I found on the Emonda.

I just had my SLR on Skyline late last week...It was incredible!



To me, the Domane is the only bike in the lineup that makes sense unless you are trying to eke out every ounce of aero, in which case the Madone becomes more attractive.

For perceived exertion during climbing, I've never been able to point to my equipment as a variable. Depending on the distance of a ride, I am carrying 2-4 24oz bottles...I have never noticed a difference one way or another...I think the weight can only show up in the most elite of competitions wherein every other attribute has been optimized...kind of like the virtues of aero.

Good luck in your decision

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Old 07-05-17, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Red7 View Post
at what point would some of you value weight more than pure comfort? Thanks!
At the point where I am losing races with uphill finishes by a few seconds.

Come think of it, I don't really care that much for 'comfort.' I'd get the one with the coolest paintjob and/or better handling.
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Old 07-05-17, 11:07 AM
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Thanks everyone! Yea, it was just a momentary irrational analysis and I think I'm on the other side of it. The reality is I really want a Domane SLR disc and here I stumbled upon a phenomenal deal on an Emonda SLR and it tempted me a bit. However, today I confirmed I could not fit 28c tires on the Emonda to get me closer to the comfort of the Domane.

The good thing that came out of this is I have been going back and forth about upgrading my Domane 4.0 disc vs getting a new bike and I think that question is answered. I'm going to ride it as is (other than new wheels and Schwalbe Pro one 28c tires) and wait for the right deal on a Domane SLR.
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Old 07-05-17, 03:27 PM
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I now ride 100% mountains. No.

However - I prefer endurance rides.
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Old 07-05-17, 06:42 PM
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Absolutely! That Emonda SLR is I rode a Roubaix and now usually ride a Tarmac and a BMC SLR01. Even for rides over 50 miles, I prefer those, though the BMC has a more compliant ride. Most of my rides are mountain rides. I prefer lighter stiff bikes for climbing. For long flatter rides, I'd prefer an endurance bike, I guess. The only downside is no 28 tires. I don't use 28 tires but having that capability would be nice.
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Old 07-06-17, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Red7 View Post
Thanks everyone! Yea, it was just a momentary irrational analysis and I think I'm on the other side of it. The reality is I really want a Domane SLR disc and here I stumbled upon a phenomenal deal on an Emonda SLR and it tempted me a bit. However, today I confirmed I could not fit 28c tires on the Emonda to get me closer to the comfort of the Domane.

The good thing that came out of this is I have been going back and forth about upgrading my Domane 4.0 disc vs getting a new bike and I think that question is answered. I'm going to ride it as is (other than new wheels and Schwalbe Pro one 28c tires) and wait for the right deal on a Domane SLR.
Weight:
A full water bottle (22 ounces) weighs about 1.4 pounds. So do a test climb with two full bottles and again with two empty bottles.

Gearing
I see you have a 32 low gear in the cassette. I really like mine on hills, I'll spin in my 34F-32R even on moderate grades.

The 11-32 isn't as nice on very flat rides. I'm hunting back and forth between two cogs, looking for the optimal cadence. So, for fast flatland group rides, I sometimes change to a narrower range cassette.

Shifting
Locally, I have lots of rolling hills, and some mile long climbs that often have a lot of variation in grades during the climb. So I really like my Di2 electronic shifting. I'm always shifting the back, looking for the best cadence of the moment, and with Di2, I can just use my ring finger (or any finger) to click it. And I'll often shift the front chainrings even for very small roller hills.

I have it set to "shift 3 cogs" on a long (1/2 second or more) press. At the base of a hill, I hold both bottom paddles to go to the small chainring and 3 harder cogs. Then the two top paddles to do the reverse over the top of the hill.

Electronic shifting will get cheaper. Shimano, Sram, Campagnolo, and now FSA are selling them. So I'd hold off and see what happens in a couple of years.

Tire size and pressure
I have room for 28+ in the frame. I have wide rims (HED Ardennes+) that measure 25.5 mm outside width. On those rims, my 23mm GP4000S measure 26mm. So at 170 pounds, I use 80-85 psi front, 100-105 psi rear. It's very comfortable and fast. I haven't felt the need to go wider.

My other bike is a light touring - all day ride bike, with 29mm tires. That's 65 psi front, 80 psi rear. Very nice on really bad roads, and on roads with those annoying bumpy expansion joints.

Last edited by rm -rf; 07-06-17 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 07-20-17, 07:01 AM
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I'm new to all this, but I did not consider an Edmonda due to long term aches and pains. My 33 mile training ride track contains +1900ft ascent, which I assume qualifies as hilly. The Domane is far more ready to gobble it up than I. I opine that the primary intended use for the bike, rider's physical condition, and the road surfaces one plans to attack may be most important in a person's decision between the Edmonda and Domane.
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Old 07-20-17, 07:30 AM
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80% is a crazy high grade. I don't think I could do that on any bike.
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Old 07-20-17, 08:40 AM
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i own a 2016 emonda sl6 and originally wanted a domane. i went with the sl6 bc of a huge sale and the price was too good to pass up. i had a hybrid trek before that had a "coupler" on the rear to soften the ride and it felt amazing - pitted roads felt like i was riding on a glass/tile street. it was amazing. im super happy with the emonda but i told myself in a couple of years, i'll get a domane with both front+rear iso speed decouplers.

my area is not really hilly but there are a couple of climbs that i like doing simply for the workout. the roads in my area are 80% newer and i purposely pick those streets over the rougher ones. with that being said, i am more than happy with the emonda. the all carbon bike i think absorbs a ton of the imperfections on the newly paved roads in my area and the ride is super smooth, silent and predictable. in my particular case, i think either domane and emonda are fine but dont think it would be worth it to spend a few grand to get the other bike. IMO.

if most of your roads were in bad shape and you ride a ton of miles each time you go out, i would stick with the domane. but if they are not so bad, then i would recommend the emonda i am unsure as to whether or not you will feel a huge, tangible difference on both bikes, imo.

Last edited by sh00k; 07-20-17 at 09:00 AM.
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