The first climb we took on was the Oude Kwaremont. It’s the longest climb in the Tour of Flanders and one of the roughest, too, with the cobbles on the bottom half in particularly poor condition. Here the challenge is picking a line to avoid your front wheel dropping into one of the huge gaps between cobbles, and staying clear of the slick mud caked across the road by vehicles clearing up after the race.
When riding on the cobbles, there’s still a discernible difference in the comfort served up by the front and rear of the bike. That will always be the case – there will always be a limit as to what can be achieved at the front on rough cobbles, without affecting the handling or resorting to a suspension system. However, the Domane SLR undoubtedly softens things up – riding on the cobbles here was a significantly less jarring experience than our previous visit – and that was nicely amplified through the rear of the bike when we dropped the IsoSpeed to its lowest setting for the Paterberg and Koppenberg. The difference isn’t night and day, like switching from a road bike to a full suss mountain bike, but it is tangible and noticeable.
Even with 28mm tyres and the rear IsoSpeed on its lowest setting, the Domane SLR feels anything but sluggish zipping along in a fast group, though we need to spend more time on the Domane SLR, on a range of rides, roads and terrain, to understand the nuances of particularly settings across the range offered, and really see what effect the rear IsoSpeed’s adjustability has on stiffness and comfort.
– Related reading: What makes a Classics bike? –