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Trek Domane AL 3 upgrades and improvements

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Trek Domane AL 3 upgrades and improvements

Old 06-16-22, 02:13 PM
  #1  
snappy9567
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Trek Domane AL 3 upgrades and improvements

Hey. I have been riding a domane al3 for about 8 months now. I am riding on average 300 miles a week
I have been wanted to upgrade some on the components, but not sure what I can upgrade and what i shouldn't touch or bother with.
I want to upgrade handlebars to something aero and carbon but I am a small person and worry about leaver reach and comfort with small hands. Also, not trying the spend a lot of $$$$$
The Domane AL3 right now has the original Sora Group set, but I am not thrilled with it. Its a bit clunky. Should I move up to the 105 group set and how many components will I actually have to change out? I understand that the bike is mechanical disk brakes that works with the Sora but i don't think the breaks will work with the 105 group set? Will disk brake rotor, calipers, leavers, and hubs all have to be switched out?
I am mainly trying to lighten the bike and have a more aggressive ride style and speed.
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Old 06-16-22, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by snappy9567 View Post
Hey. I have been riding a domane al3 for about 8 months now. I am riding on average 300 miles a week
I have been wanted to upgrade some on the components, but not sure what I can upgrade and what i shouldn't touch or bother with.
I want to upgrade handlebars to something aero and carbon but I am a small person and worry about leaver reach and comfort with small hands. Also, not trying the spend a lot of $$$$$
The Domane AL3 right now has the original Sora Group set, but I am not thrilled with it. Its a bit clunky. Should I move up to the 105 group set and how many components will I actually have to change out? I understand that the bike is mechanical disk brakes that works with the Sora but i don't think the breaks will work with the 105 group set? Will disk brake rotor, calipers, leavers, and hubs all have to be switched out?
I am mainly trying to lighten the bike and have a more aggressive ride style and speed.
Sell it and but a 105 level Emonda. That makes the most financial sense.
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Old 06-17-22, 09:38 AM
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Only ridden it eight months? How much previous road bike experience?

I'm thinking save your money that you'd spend for upgrades, and then revisit this again at the end of next year and look to getting a new and better bike that matches your findings and desires on what your current bike doesn't do well for you. And once fleshing all those out, get the new bike in the late winter or early spring of 2024.

If you actually have some reason other than upgrade fever, then maybe push it up to thinking about it at the end of this year and purchasing something late winter or early spring of 2023.

Upgrading is still an option. But I suspect you'll be more comfortable on long rides if you go with a carbon bike instead of your current aluminum bike. Maybe not, it's only a slight difference. But if you put all DuraAce components and a carbon wheelset on your bike, I doubt it'd be much more than 3½ lbs lighter than it's 22 or so pounds it currently is.

Last edited by Iride01; 06-17-22 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 06-19-22, 08:13 PM
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The Domane AL3 would make a great rain/commute/store getter bike. It should have rack mounts. For know ride it. Get new lighter faster rolling tires and tubes. Save and get a new higher end second bike later. Meets the N+1 rule.
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Old 06-20-22, 02:33 AM
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Averaging 300 miles a week with Sora. If that’s accurate then sell it and buy something with 105 or higher.
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Old 06-20-22, 05:24 AM
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300 miles a week is serious cycling, any way you look at it. Color me impressed.

I recently built up a bare frame with 105 mix of new and used. Upgrading your drive train to 105 is going to be expensive. Like $600-700 if you stay with rim brakes and shop your parts.

Budget, time and quality make for tough choices, I know.

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Old 06-20-22, 09:03 AM
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It's a very good week when I can spare enough time to crest 100mi - 300mi is huge!

I presume you've changed tires already? Switching to nice kevlar (folding) bead tires is an easy way to save 1/2 lbs over the OEM wire bead tires.

Beyond that, I would look towards switching wheels out. Given that you're on a thru-axle, disc brake bike, an upgrade to carbon wheels could not only save you at least 1 lbs (if not closer to 1.5lbs), but also be more aero, and have the added benefit of being compatible with almost any new frame/bike. Something like Hunt Carbon Aero Disc wheels will be a huge upgrade over your current wheels, and are likely better (or at least as good) as wheels that come stock on bikes costing up to about $4-5k.

You can switch out your bars the next time your bar tape starts wearing out, which should be fairly frequently if you're riding 300mi week. In the meantime, a switch to a carbon seatpost from the OEM alloy post could net you 1/3-1/2 lbs, and only cost you about $100-150. I have a U.S.E. Evo on one bike that comes in around 120g, which is better than my Thomson Masterpiece (about 160g IIRC), and both are definitely better than the OEM FSA that I've retired (300g+).

I wouldn't bother upgrading the Sora to 105 - not because 105 isn't better, but because you're going to have to change so much going from 9-speed Sora to 11-speed 105. At a bare minimum, you're looking at a new right shifter, chain, cassette, and rear derailleur, and for optimal performance, you're going to want to change out the left shift, front derailleur, and crankset, as well. At that point, you're probably looking at $600 or more in parts, plus labor if you're not doing this yourself - not to mention rewrapping bar tape (an expense I've forgotten to factor in before). All in, you're probably looking at $1k to upgrade to 105 - and that's sticking with mechanical brakes. Add a few hundred on top of that if you want to switch to hydro.

My recommendation would be to upgrade the wheels, tires, and cockpit of your Domane, and keep riding the hell out of it. While you're doing that, figure out the things you like and dislike the most about the Domane, and narrow down your choices for your next bike - and you'll be able to port your nice wheels and (likely) your cockpit to your next bike.
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Old 06-20-22, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by snappy9567 View Post
... I am mainly trying to lighten the bike and have a more aggressive ride style and speed.
Nothing wrong with upgrading components, we all do it, but it isn't going to yield a more "aggressive" ride style, nor does it happen over night. Being able to sustain riding in that aggressive fit takes adjustments as you put on those miles. Anything from reducing the amount of spacers under the stem, flipping or switching the stem to a more negative angle can help you adjust towards that aggressive ride style.
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Old 06-21-22, 08:15 AM
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i have not changes tires. I am usign the ones that came with the bike
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Old 06-21-22, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by snappy9567 View Post
i have not changes tires. I am usign the ones that came with the bike
In which case, pick up some Continental GP5000 kevlar bead tires, and if you're mildly adventurous, some latex tubes. Between the tires and tubes, you'll save about a pound (450g) of rotating weight, which will make the bike feel more lively when accelerating, as well as likely saving yourself about 10 watts of power. Depending on how much the original tires weigh, you could even save a bit more than that.

If you've really done 300 mi/week for 8 months, you're likely pushing 10k miles - so if your mileage figures are accurate, your rear tire ought to be squared out, bald, and unsafe to ride on, assuming it even has any tread left.

For about $150 for tires and tubes, this is probably the best bang for your buck upgrade from weight as well as efficiency.

I also second what one of the other posters mentioned - for a more aggressive position, pull any spacers out from under the stem, and put them on top - that'll lower your bars for free. You could also ask your LBS if you could borrow a longer stem and see how that fits you - both of those (longer, lower) are really the key points for a 'more aggressive' fit.
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Old 06-21-22, 02:13 PM
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what about rims? should I change out?
tubes or tubeless ?
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Old 06-21-22, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by snappy9567 View Post
what about rims? should I change out?
tubes or tubeless ?
If you have the budget, new carbon wheels (like Hunt Aero Lights) could also save you a pound or more, and likely improve your aerodynamics slightly.

Tubes or tubeless is an ongoing war here.
- Tubeless has been measured to have lower rolling resistance, but often needs regular pumping. Tires are often difficult to install.
- Tubed with a latex tube is only slightly behind tubeless when it comes to rolling resistance, but definitely need regular pumping as latex tubes leak slightly.
- Butyl tubed (traditional) has the highest rolling resistance, but can go for a week or two without pumping, and replacements are inexpensive and readily available.

The best option would be to find wheels that are tubeless compatible or tubeless ready - that way, you can experiment with tubeless and decide if you want to run tubes or not. A bit more effort than I want to mess with, but I'm generally pretty lazy when it comes to that kind of thing.
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