Domahidy Designs was founded by Steve Domahidy, a bicycle industry veteran whose credits include being one of the founders of Niner Bikes, as well as the designer of the radical Factor Vis Vires road bike that we featured a few years back (RBA, May 2014). Now Domahidy is in full swing with his eponymous bike brand, which offers a selection of titanium and steel mountain bikes, as well as a carbon road bike. Unless you’re in the Denver, Colorado, area, though, you won’t find Domahidy bikes at your local shop, as the brand currently has a consumer-direct business model, meaning that you’ll need to visit their website to procure one.
“As a cash-hungry, cash-poor startup company, it can be a very tough road, and it’s difficult to develop carbon molds,” Domahidy says. “But through my consulting work, I had developed a relationship with a company outside the U.S. and had worked with them and with what I consider the best manufacturer in Asia to develop a carbon road bike a few years ago. I was able to negotiate the rights to branding that frame for the U.S. market, and our road bike just became available in July of 2015.”
The Domahidy Carbon Road was designed with a high stiffness-to-weight ratio in mind. With a claimed frame weight of 950 grams, its tube shapes appear simple and straightforward at first glance, but a closer inspection reveals subtle rounded edges along the wide top and downtubes, the latter of which is incredibly stout where it meets an equally robust BB386EVO bottom bracket shell. The head tube runs with a 1 1/8- to 1 1/2-inch taper and the chainstays are tall—again, all in the name of stiffness. The seatstays, by comparison, are straight and quite thin in order to help add some vertical compliance at the rear end, and they connect to a sloping top tube at the seat tube junction. Other highlights include a modular internal cable-routing system that can accommodate mechanical or electronic drivetrains, as well as two available paint schemes.
Currently, Domahidy’s website only offers the Carbon Road as a frameset, but Domahidy decked ours out with a SRAM Red 22 groupset, as well as a set of Zipp 202 Firecrest clinchers wrapped with 23mm Schwalbe One tires. The cockpit was made up of a Fizik Cyrano carbon handlebar and seatpost, aluminum stem and the Italian brand’s Arione model. Domahidy said that a similarly spec’d bike would retail for approximately $6495.
From our very first rollout, the Carbon Road’s high level of overall stiffness was apparent, which we attribute to the overbuilt bottom bracket shell area, wide downtube and tall chainstays. Even though it wasn’t designed with any overt aerodynamic shaping in mind, the bike rolls along terrifically across the flats and is more than capable of keeping pace in any fast group ride. It’s when the road turns up, however, that the Carbon Road truly shines, with quick uphill accelerations being its forte.
Standing up on the pedals along a steep pitch in the road, the bike surges forward with almost no perceivable flex. Likewise, the front end is also quite stiff thanks to its tapered head tube. Its steering feel is a touch heavier than other similar bikes in the Domahidy’s price range that we’ve tested, but nevertheless it stays firmly planted in corners, and we found ourselves relishing fast, sweeping descents with heaps of confidence.
Because the Carbon Road was designed to be a lightweight, stiff frame, however, its overall level of comfort is right on par with similar designs. The thin seatstays do a decent job of helping to dissipate high-frequency road vibrations, but it’s not a true endurance road bike. So, riders who put a premium on maximum comfort over long rides at the expense of low weight and pedaling efficiency may be a bit disappointed.
For those interested in a frameset that’s lightweight and stiff for its price and who don’t mind purchasing online as opposed to their local bike shop, then the Domahidy Carbon Road is worth checking out. One thing we’d like to see more of from the Carbon Road is tire clearance. The brand says that the Carbon Road frame can accommodate up to size-25mm tires, and although we were able to run certain 28mm tire models on rims narrower than the stock Zipp 202s, it would have been a boon to be able to utilize a bit more rubber in conjunction with the stock wheels on certain rides. Granted, that’s a bit nitpicky, because the Carbon Road is a terrific bike, one that would suit anyone looking for a high stiffness-to-weight ratio in a frameset costing well under $2000.
• Light and stiff, especially for the price
• Clean aesthetics and unique paint jobs
• Bypass the bike shop; online only
Price: $1699 (frameset); $6495 (as tested)
Weight: 14.4 pounds
Sizes: 49, 52 (tested), 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm