Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trek District

It's hard for D.C. bike bloggers to ignore a bike called "District." (H/T WashCycle). Trek is introducing this single-speed model (MSRP $930)and the 8-speed Soho (MSRP $990) as belt-driven, urban bikes.

Between Trek's belt-driven models and the new shaft-driven models, such as the Biria Newport, there seems to be a chain-free trend emerging. Even CNN is reporting on it.

Belt drives may be cleaner, but are they as efficient and durable as chains? Only time (and miles ridden) will tell.

2009 Specs for The District:

Frame: Alpha Black Aluminum (sizes 50, 54, 56, 58, 60 cm)
Crank: Bontrager Satellite Nebula w/ 55T alloy C-drive belt sprocket
Cassette: C-drive 22T alloy belt sprocket
Saddle: Bontrager Race
Handlebars: Trek Urban
Brakeset: Alloy dual pivot
Wheels: Alloy cartridge bearing hubs; alloy rims
Tires: Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase, 700x25c
Belt drive

So... will we be seeing any Districts in the District?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

kg271, by Madsen Cycles

These won't appeal to everyone, but they're pretty neat:

Bike - Black Bucket
Bike - Black Rack

Here's a new longtail on the scene, and it's got a funny name. The manufacturer, Madsen Cycles, calls it "kg271." I assume that's a reference to its cargo cpacity--but that's a sizable load (almost 600 pounds)--so don't go trying it 'cause I said so, because I did not say so.

  • Hi-tensile steel frame.
  • 8-speed Sram X5 drive parts.
  • One size, they say, fits 5'-0" to 6'-6". This troubles me a bit, but I'm only looking at a picture. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.
  • The "bucket" version has a bench seat with two seatbelts, and bet it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys with two little ones in there. It holds 40 gallons. Of what? I guess they leave that up to you.
  • The rack on the rack-clad version looks pretty stout, and the six equally-spaced horizontal elements suggest a great deal of flexibility. Madsen's website suggests forthcoming accessories to carry a couple of bike on roof-rack style trays; or a couple of passengers; but what excites me most is the potential for a Grill Bike. Imagine slow cooking some short ribs on your way down to the mall on July 4th: "No, no more Powerbars for me. Thanks though."

Bucket Style: $1300. Rack Style: $1100.
Either way, add $100 for shipping to the LBS/IBD of your choice.
Madsen will cover the cost of assembly and tuning--a nice touch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Origin8 Cykel 3speed

[I know that it's standard practice to photograph bicycles from the right side, so as to display the drivetrain components. However, in light of last week's election results, I thought we could "take a turn to the left" for a bit. -David]

This is the Origin8 Cykel. Origin8 is a house brand for J&B Importers, distributor of wide repute and many warehouses. It's a steel framed 3-speed bike with modern styling. I have it on good authority that it's "super-comfortable and fun to ride!" It comes in a step-through (aka "women's" or "girls'") frame also.

Best thing about it: any shop in the country can get you one. Broadway Bike School sells 'em for $500.
In the DC area, Silver Cycles had the standard and step-through models in stock and ready to go.

Pake Urban Six-Speed

Pake, a company previously only for hipster penny-pinchers, now offers a practical town bike.

It's laid back, with 6-speeds, a (black) steel frame and fork, with (black) fenders, (black) chainguard, and a (silver, thankfully) bell. It has removable decals, and a kind of vintage look to it. Best of all, you'll pay
$375 for it at Broadway Bicycle School.
The spec is nothing special, you might as well say, "some parts," but there are some name brand bits here and there, in places that make sense:
• Men's 18" or Ladies 16" step-thru
• Steel frame (black)
• Shimano rear derailleur and freewheel
• Sugino crank
• Shimano Revoshift Twist shifters
• Alloy V-brakes
• Kenda 700x35c tires
• 36h spoke alloy wheels
• Spring saddle-vinyl cover
• Steel fenders (black)
• Plastic chain guard (black)
• Bell (silver, the proper color for a bell, unless it's brass)

The company claims this bike is, "Faster than the Millenium Falcon," but as we all know, that was long long ago, in a galaxy far far away.

Biria Newport 3

The Biria Newport is a chainless, shaft-driven bicycle made by Incline for Biria. The shaft is sealed inside an aluminum case along with an internal hub. According to Biria, "this means exceptional performance without chain grime, corrosion, or gear-grinding -- and no maintenance." It also means no chain grease on your clothes as you ride to work, and no pantleg-caught-in-the-drivetrain hazard.

Biria offers two chainless 3-speeds, the Newport 3 and the Cruz 3. Both can be purchased directly from Biria, for a limited time, with free shipping. The Newport is $360 and the Cruz is $430.

A few specs on the Newport 3:

3-spd Sturmey-Archer internal hub
Alloy frame (men's 17" or 19", ladies' 15")
Puncture-resistant tires (manufacturer not identified)
Suspension seatpost
Alloy wheels, stainless steel spokes

If you have any info about the Newport 3, Cruz 3, or chainless bikes in general, please share in the comments.