Road Bike Shootout: Trek’s Domane+ LT 7 Vs. BMC’s AlpenChallenge

 

long days in the saddle with confident handling. Our size 56 has an effective top tube of 55.4cm for a reach of 37.7cm. There is a 16cm-tall head tube and a stack of 59.1cm. These is a 42cm-long chain stay with a wheelbase of 102cm. Frame and fork clearance leave massive room for tires, and
we tested up to a 40mm with room
to spare.

 

“The Domane+ LT 7 would make for a pretty good gravel bike, because the speeds are lower so the motor could provide more usable assistance, and there is plenty of
tire clearance.” 

 

The frame uses flat-mount disc brakes, and the fork has 100x12mm spacing, but the rear uses 148x12mm spacing (142x12mm is the road disc standard.) What makes the frame unique is the downtube fits the entire Fazua system inside. When the battery and motor are removed, it leaves a huge opening, exposing the internally routed brake hose and wires. The Fazua bottom bracket remains bolted to the frame, but the rest of the system is detachable. 

THE PARTS

Despite a handful of e-bike-specific parts, the bike uses many of the same components you’d expect to find on a regular road bike. Our middle-tier LT 7 runs on the always reliable Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes mated with 160mm rotors. Since the Fazua system requires a speed sensor, Trek as a custom-wired sensor near the rear axle, and the rear Shimano rotor has an integrated magnet. 

For changing gears, the Domane+ relies on a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain. The rear 11-34 cassette is mated to a 50/34 FSA chainring combo that are pushed by 172.5mm FSA carbon crankarms. The Di2 system has its own battery and doesn’t rely on the power from the Fazua system. 

The Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V carbon wheels are paired with 32mm tubeless-ready Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite tires. 

THE MOTOR

The Fazua system consists of four parts. First is the removable drive pack that houses the 250-watt, 60 N/m motor and weighs 1917 grams (4.22 pounds). A 252-Wh battery that weighs 1393 grams (3 pounds) is removable and slides into the drive pack for direct connection to the motor. This all locks into the frame and connects to the proprietary bottom bracket that’s an angular gearbox and includes integrated electronics for a two-sided torque measurement and additional cadence measurement. Last is the Remote FX, which is integrated into the top tube. This allows the switch between different assistance levels using the touch interface while also indicating battery charge and system status with five multicolored LEDs. An intelligent light sensor also adapts the LED brightness to external conditions.

THE RIDE

First things first, we had to charge the battery, which takes about four hours. The drive pack has to be removed from the frame to do so, and the supplied Abus key is mandatory to unlock and remove the unit. It is also worth noting that you will always need the key to power on the system. 

On the road the bike feels like a normal Domane with a bit of added weight. You really only feel the weight when out of the saddle, and after about an hour on the bike, it didn’t bother us much, and we became accustomed to it. With the drive system off or at speeds over 20 mph, there is no added drag or resistance. The bike pedals just as any normal bike would, but there is a slightly wider 165mm Q-factor of 165mm (Ultegra R8000 cranks are 146mm.) 

The bike is laterally stiff, probably due to the sheer size of the downtube and the connection points for the Fazua system. The bike feels comfortable in the saddle, and this can be tuned to your liking with the adjustable rear Isospeed system. The front Isospeed seems very stiff and doesn’t seem to be as compliant as previous versions on the standard Domane. This is probably because of the added weight of the Fazua system. 

Our test bike weighed in at 37.64 pounds. That’s fairly light for…