Archive for October, 2008
Ninja quiet. That’s how Trek describes the District, thanks to it’s Gates Belt Drive. Here is a shot and descriptions from the new 2009 catalogue.
Official description after the jump.
One of the most exciting and unique parts of the Trek District besides it’s amazing good looks is the fact that it features the Gates Belt Drive. There have been quite a few people, including myself, wondering just how you go about getting the tension and tracking set right and how it’s affected by having to take a wheel off. I had a chance to ask Trek some questions, and here is what I found out.
TD: I think the biggest question that people have is just how the belt tensioning and alignment work. I know that belt drives require a fair amount of tension to avoid slipping, and the alignment is pretty critical. Is it something that is easily done, does pulling the wheel off to fix a flat totally screw up the alignment?
TREK: The belt is tensioned at the rear dropouts, which attach to the frame via two bolts and slide horizontally. The drop outs are each one piece, but when the wheel is taken off and the drop outs are completely removed, the belt can be removed and replaced via a slit between the chain stay and seat stay on the drive side. There isn’t any lateral adjustment because the chain line is set by the BB spindle length and it’s nearly impossible to successfully have the wheel installed with the dropouts bolted in different positions, and since the drop outs themselves are not horizontal, the wheel is easy to install correctly. It’s not a quick release system, but installing and removing the wheel takes very little effort.
TD: As far as tensioning the belt, I was half expecting some sort of set screw like some of the horizon drop out bikes have. Without set screws, how do you have fine adjustment over the belt tracking and tension. It seems like it’s not a very refined method? Or am I just making it sound harder than it really is.
TREK: Since you’re actually moving the dropouts themselves, and not the wheel in the drop out, it’s much easier to set tension and position. I would say the sliding drop out system is easier to set than setting a wheel into the correct position of a traditional horizontal or semi-horizontal drop out. It is essentially impossible to set the wheel into the frame without the correct lateral spacing between the stays. All one has to do is pull back on the wheel till the belt is tight while the drop out retaining bolts are loose, tighten the bolts, then ride.
There are very few Districts available at this time, so not many people have actually ridden one. I know a bike shop employee that was lucky enough to take a spin on one back at Trek world, here are his impressions.
Well, here is the first bit of info you may be interested in. If you order a district right now (10/22/08) in a 56 cm you can expect it March 9, 2009. Trek likes to underpromise and overdeliver so let’s hope that is the case with the district.
I was able to ride the District as well as the Soho, both equipped with belt drives, at Trek World on the demo day at the plant in Waterloo, WI. The bike we rode was not the District you see in the photos, however it was the same frame geometry and the belt drive, so you got the idea even though you didn’t get the flashy velocity rims and the leather grips.
The first thing you notice is how quiet it is. A single speed has never been a noisy bike, so the noticeable silence of a belt drive is impressive. It is an extremely smooth riding bike and will be great city bike due to the greaseless belt drive and chain guard. Those fixed gear devotees should be able to convert their Districts. The guys at Trekworld said that the belt drive could not only handle the additional torque that a fixed gear creates, but would in fact out perform a traditional chain. The belt drive, since it has no bushings is not supposed to stretch…ever.
As far as the geometry of the District goes, it feels very similar to a crossbike. Not quite as relaxed as a mtb, but still relaxed enough to be a great commuter while remaining fast. The District is going to be an extremely fun bike to ride and pictures pretty much speak for themselves as far as aesthetics are concerned.
The jury is still out on the carbon drive belt system, but Trek isn’t the first to use it. Here are some comments from others that had a chance to ride a belt drive bike.
With all the buzz that is out there about the District, there seems to be a little discrepancy about the actual delivery date. At this point, there are just a handful in existence. I hope to be getting my hands on one soon for a little demo. Unfortunately when it comes to actually buying one, it doesn’t look like they are going to be available by November like some of the first reports state. With the new belt drive system, there are some extra details to work out to get the bike into full production. Some of the bike shops I have talked to lately say that they don’t expect it until February or March of 09. I did however have a chance to talk with Trek on the phone the other day, and they mentioned that they hoped to have the first ones coming out of production in December 08. They did mention that the numbers would be limited so many people wouldn’t see them in their LBS until early 09.
Trekworld 09 was the first big showcase for the Trek District, and it caused a lot of buzz too. Some of the best pictures available of the District at Trekworld come from Guitar Ted, who had a backstage pass and snapped some good photo’s. While the pictures can been seen all over the internet now, the ones here were originally posted over at Bicycle Design. If you are looking for more shots in high res, check out Richard Masoner’s Flickr photos.
While I obviously don’t have the whole inside story on the roots of the Trek District, we can pick up a couple of good hints from Treks blog “LIfe in the bike lane“. Just after Trekworld and the announcement of the new Trek District there was an interview with the designer of the District 96. While at first blush it looks like there isn’t a whole lot in common between the District and the 96er, there is probably more there than meets the eye. The 96er is a “full on concept bike” and as such we will probably never see it go into production. Probably a good thing too, because it’s not nearly as good looking as the District. The District 96 shows that Trek is thinking about “fashion” bikes for the urban hipster crowd. While it may be over the top, it is the forerunner to the more stylish, and much more practical District. Some of the obvious carryovers are the deep v rims and the track pedals. I’m just glad the production design turned out so much better than the concept.
More pics of the District 96 after the jump.
Why would anyone have a whole blog dedicated to one bike? Why not? I first heard about the Trek District a couple of weeks ago, when I saw it on Coolmaterial.com. My first reaction was that it was one fine looking SS, especially for one that was a production bike. When I noticed that it had a belt drive, instead of a chain drive, my obsession started. Since then I have been scouring the internet looking for more information about it. While the information about it is still somewhat limited, one thing is apparent, there is a lot of buzz about the bike. That’s when I got the crazy idea to start a one bike blog. I figured there were others out there like me who were looking for more information, so I thought I would do my best to gather it all in one place. With that, TrekDistrict.com was born. Think of it as the unofficial fan site of the Trek District bike.
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