I am planning for one week/ two weeks long bike touring, mostly on the road with a moderate amount of riding uphill (mainly in Japan).

My weight is around 60kg. All of my touring gear won't exceed 10 Kg of weight. I am planning to buy a Trek Domane SL5 (because of its endurance characteristic).

I am prioritizing the following facts to consider for a bike for touring:

  1. Comfort for a long ride.
  2. Durability
  3. Budget-friendly but still not outdated.
  4. 7~21 days touring

Is it okay to choose a Trek Domane SL5 2021 as a touring bike?

  • 6
    How are you planning to carry gear? The Domane appears to lack mounting points Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 18:17
  • 3
    @Khaliddhali I wouldn’t use a rack in a bike unless it was mounted to proper mounting points. Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 0:31
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    @Khaliddhall The seat post is CF, so that isn't an option. One could use a combination of a large seat, frame and handlebar bags.
    – P. Barney
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 2:05
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    Have a search on this site, there are a number of posts about fitting a rack to carbon frames, which I see as a show stopper for buying this bike. (bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/35807/…)
    – mattnz
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 3:09
  • 4
    Talking about budget friendly, one could easily buy both a decent road bike and a touring bike for the price of Domane SL5.
    – ojs
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


People tour on all kinds of bikes. That said, if you're going to tour on the Domane, you'll need to figure out how you'll be carrying your gear, since (as Argenti mentions in his comment), it doesn't have any mounting points for racks.

There are workarounds for mounting a rack (which come with compromises), and increasingly people are bikepacking—using frame bags, seat bags, and handlebar rolls that mount directly on the bike instead of traditional racks and panniers (which come with a different set of compromises). 10 kg of gear is probably close to the limit of what you could fit in a bikepacking setup.

  • I'll have to weigh my bikepacking gear. It's set up from a test ride last night, but your 10kg is probably close, excluding things like water that go on the frame. Picture: strava.com/activities/3898912831
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 19:21
  • @ChrisH, actually that 10Kg is max including 2~3 water bottle (3Ltrs). Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 7:53
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    @Khaliddhali that's good then, Adam's and my estimates give you a bit of headroom. A 15 litre saddlebag and 7 litre bar bag like mine should be plenty. Space is more of an issue than weight for me. Mine as pictured in that link has camping/cooking gear including a sleeping bag, but little in the way of clothes, so if you don't plan to camp, you'll have plenty of space.
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 8:01
  • So, I guess this comes down to following options, Option A: 1. Saddlebag(clothing, cooking item->1.5Kg), 2. handlebar bag(sleeping bag->max 1.3Kg), [does it affect front ISO decoupler?] 3. frame bag(for tent, mat, food->max 4kg) 4. Two water bottle (max 2.5kg) Total: 9.3Kg Option B: Tailfin Rack + Handlebar bag Option C: Getting a different Model near to this one, Like Trek Checkpoint SL5 (Well, in that case, no point of this question) Thank you all Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 8:39
  • There are a couple of specific racks that can be mounted to a bike like the Domane: these rely on using a special through-axle that serves as the bottom rack mount, and a special seatpost collar that serves as the top mount. Fixing punctures would be a chore, and there may be heel-clearance problems.
    – Adam Rice
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 16:03

Regarding durability, I'm sure the Trek Domane SL5 2021 can take a bit of a battering, but I personally would be wary of taking anything with a carbon frame on a tour.

I did a 3.5 week tour of Japan myself last year (best time of my life!) and no joke, I smashed one of the seat-stays into a bicycle gate thing between Osaka and Kyoto on my first day of riding. Luckily I took a steel frame bike, but I hit it hard enough that I'm sure a carbon frame would have been ruined. It had (and still has) a sizable bend in it, but it survived the trip without any trouble, and still does me good as an occasional backup commuter.

Point being, when you are touring, your bike is your everything, and if it gets damaged, your holiday is ruined (especially if it's only a couple of weeks). A steel frame will be heavier, but if it takes a hit, it's much more likely to survive and be rideable. I don't think you can have that kind of confidence for carbon (or even aluminium for that matter).

Regarding comfort for touring, certain bikes are built with a frame geometry that has comfort in mind, but you can make many bikes acceptable for touring comfort by adjusting them properly to your body. The bike I took was probably more of a racing geometry, but with the right adjustments and good seat I was fine. In fact, if I were you, I'd spend a big part of my effort on getting a seat that suits you really well. I'd recommend a Selle SMP, but seat selection is a very personal thing.

Good luck with your tour, Japan is an amazing place to see by bike, and a great place for a first tour - you're never more than 10km form a conbini!

bicycle gate thing

Image from: http://regex.info/blog/2015-06-26/2592

  • 1
    @Michael added a picture for you :) the one I had my run in with only had the top pair of sticky-out bits
    – Bamboo
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 13:23
  • We've got almost such evil designs round here, only ours aren't shiny and are hard to spot in the dark. After a couple of near misses I always walk them
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 13:46
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    I agree with you about steel vs. other materials. Also, it is possible to find really light steel bike (I have a book that present a Herse's randonneuse less than 10kg, including racks, etc..), and the weight of the bike is less important than for road/race bikes. When I go on a tour, my #1 criterion for all choices is « Can it be repaired ? », and weight vs. possibility to weld and strength even when bent make me choose for steel too.
    – Bromind
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 14:34
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    It's true that steel is the best-repairable of the common bike materials, however the bad reputation of carbon in this regard is only partially deserved. It's not so much the carbon per se that's so brittle but the extremly weight-optimised construction of carbon road bikes. Good carbon mountainbikes OTOH are quite sturdy (especially enduro/downhill ones) – a crash that damages these would generally also deform a steel bike too much to be fixable on the road by yourself. Sure, they're also heavier than a steel road bike, but that's mostly because of the suspension and tyres. Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 20:35

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