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

 

 

an e-bike, but 15–20 pounds heavier than our regular test bikes. You can remove the drive pack and battery to drop over 7 pounds, and Fazua offers an accessory downtube cover. 

Cornering is fun on the bike, and the handling is confident. The bike responds quickly to rider input, but thanks to its 102cm wheelbase, it’s not jumpy or hyper-responsive. Out of the saddle the bike feels cumbersome, but with the motor mass positioned low, it minimizes the impact. 

When you power on the system, the bike comes alive when speeds are below 20 mph. For us we would get a quick boost from a stop as we got up to speed, but most of our flat riding is between 22–28mph, so no assist was delivered. It’s when the roads tilt up and the climbing begins that the system kicks in and delivers three modes of assistance: Breeze (low with green LED), River (middle with blue LED) and Rocket (strong with pink LED), as well as no assist indicated by white LEDs. On sustained climbs that we would normally be doing between 10–12mph on the 

Rocket setting, we could sustain closer to 17 and 18 mph with the same level of rider input. 

The power is not enough to propel you effortlessly up a steep climb, but more like the benefit of a tailwind or a friend pushing you. For us, we almost always ended our 40–60-mile rides with more than half the battery still remaining. We would leave the bike in the River mode for the most part and normally get about 2500–3500 feet of climbing. We didn’t change the way we pedaled or our effort, so unless we were going uphill, the motor was disengaged.

THE VERDICT

At the end of the day the Domane+ LT is a pretty sweet bike. It’s stiff, responsive and has a geometry that really suits everyone. There is room for road tires or gravel tires, and the weight of the Fazua system is minimal for an e-road bike. The 20-mph-assist cutoff level is a definite letdown for performance-level riding. If you have trouble staying in a bunch ride, this most likely will only make it harder, thanks to the added weight. Now, if things tilt uphill, then you friends better put their heads down and push, because you will be leading the group. 

For us, it really comes down to the user experience. To charge, power on, or power off, we had to keep track of a key. There is no way to leave it unlocked, so don’t misplace it. Eight hours is a long-enough time that it probably won’t time out on you and go into its deep-sleep mode, but there should be a way to power this system on from the remote any time. There is also no connectability to a normal cycling computer. The system has strain gauges, cadence sensor and speed sensor built in, but no way to link it to your head unit. Sure, you can use their app, but honestly, that app was less than impressive, too.

There are three price points of the Domane +LT with a starting price of $6500 all the way up to $12,500. The builds are all pretty good, and…