and every review I’ve read speaks of the “maintenance-free, lubrication-free, stretch-free” carbon belt drive.
How can anything be lubrication-free? Won’t that increase wear between the carbon chainwheel teeth and the carbon belt? In my experience normal chains wear out mainly from teeth wear, made worse through lack of lubrication and cleaning.
Even though it looks like a cynical ‘jump on the fixed-gear trend’, it is a very clean looking bike (there is a Carbon OCLV Livestrong version which is like $6000!?!?).
Has anyone here ridden one and what do they think?
Yes. I have. I’m not sold on it, and I work part-time for a Trek dealer. I should be falling all over myself for it. Nope. Here’s the deal, they don’t always stay on, and you are very limited in your chainring/cog choices. It’s not impossible to imagine, the tech. basically came out of snowmobiles, but in this application it just isn’t quite there yet. It doesn’t wear nearly as much as metal on metal and “carbon” is sort of a relative term. The chainrings and cogs are steel. It’s maintenance free because you don’t need to lube it, but you will need to tighten it just like a singlespeed chain. It will wear out over time.
It also makes an awful noise, and feels very foreign. There’s noticeable slack in the drive, too.
It’s not so bad mated to an internally geared hub, but it’s just not quite there yet.
And for the link to Chainring/Cog wear. Typically, as chains wear, so do cassettes (the gears on the rear wheel) with out lubrication, they wear much more rapidly, shifting suffers, etc. When it’s time to replace a chain, it’s usually time to replace your cassette because they wear at almost the same rate.
It doesn’t wear nearly as much as metal on metal and “carbon” is sort of a relative term. The chainrings and cogs are steel. It’s maintenance free because you don’t need to lube it, but you will need to tighten it just like a singlespeed chain.
Hmmm, so it does have metal on metal wear, will wear out and stretch…I wonder if it makes that fan-belt slipping sound when it gets worn?
The video states one of its main appeals is cleanliness (not getting your work pants dirty) but no mudguards? I have clean pants but I have a brown streak up my arse and back and a face full of road-grit (it does have the pannier/ mudguard mounts though).
Typically, as chains wear, so do cassettes (the gears on the rear wheel) with out lubrication, they wear much more rapidly, shifting suffers, etc. When it’s time to replace a chain, it’s usually time to replace your cassette because they wear at almost the same rate.
When I worked in a bike shop, we had one guy who got furiouser and furiouser because he had bought the same bike for himself and his son, but his sons chain always slipped. It turned out the son had buckled his rear wheel and crimped the rim at the join, so he swapped his rear wheel for his dads (which had never been ridden) and then complained that it didn’t work properly. The dad thought the chainwheels were broken because “the teeth are all busted” and we were thieves and bastards etc. Even when we showed him the different teeth ramps and gates for shifting, on new bikes and on XT and XTR cranksets out of the box, he didn’t believe us and got madder and madder…good times…
Can someone explain the hipster thing? Nobody likes hipsters apparently, but I can’t quite work out why. Is it because they are rich kids with stupid clothes and stupid hair and an over-developed sense of entitlement? Isn’t that all young people?
Hipster: also related to the word “hippie”. The meaning is constantly in flux. I think of some hippies, like George Carlin or Alan Watts, and think that they were “hip with it”. They understood the farce of our society.
The recent hipsters seem to cover themselves with the farce of society. They ride inferior bikes, they cover themselves in uncomfortable garish clothes reminiscent of the most hollow and ornate era of our recent history.
I also think there is a gen X element in disdain for hipsters. Gen X was distinctly anti-fashion (I know that ironically became a fashion).
The pros are it’s really light (80 grams- an XT chain is 304 grams) but an internal hub like a Rohloff speedhub is 1700 to 1825 grams without the belt adapter. An XT rear end is about 911 grams (sprocket 275 gr, rear hub 411gr, rear mech 227gr-approx.). If the durablity/ reliability is good, if would be a great touring setup.
This bit is interesting. What is the typical life of a bike?
Sprocket wear posed another challenge. Initially, Trek tried anodized aluminum sprockets. The sprockets were tested on a prototype bike that was ridden in several single cross racing events. Trek found that the contact points between the belt and the sprocket had worn. That led to a consultation with Gates engineers, who recommended a proprietary flame spray coating called Armour-GK™. This coating improves sprocket wear resistance and durability to the point where the sprockets are unlikely to wear out in the life of a typical bike.
Treks warranty is lifetime for frame, Bontranger components 3 years, and Shimano components are Shimanos warranty (2 to 3 years). Gates say “twice the life” of a chain.
Went down to the LBS (Lance Armstrong’s shop) who carries basically all of the Trek bikes in their inventory. Anyway, spotted the District on the floor, and decided to take it out for a test run. Eh. Its got initial appeal from the wow factor. Def hipster cred. The frame is just an average aluminum frame, couldn’t tell how flexy as I only rode it for about 10 minutes top. The whole “super quiet” thing, eh again. If you have a nice(r) chain-driven bike, and the components are adjusted properly, you won’t have any noise to begin with. My SRAM drivetrain is virtually silent, there is some tick tick ticking, but its not like it drives you insane or will create hearing loss after time. It just a noise. Frankly the tire noise is just as loud, or the cars driving by you. Not really a noticeable feature. Plus, the District is not dead silent. The rear hub makes just as much noise as any other bike. It is just a marketing feature. Anyway. Additionally, I like to change gears on my bikes, so that was one point that I couldn’t get around, but I can at least understand the mentality and the reasoning why. Brakes and gears are great things. Use them, keep them. Two people stopped me on the streets of Austin to ask about it while I was riding it though, so if you want a bit of an ego boost, this could be the bike. The only thing I really liked about it was the absolute zero amount of slack on the belt. While coasting at around 10mph, you can start pedaling backwards, and then SLAM your pedals into forward rotation again… immediate torque. No slop or delay whatsoever. Very cool in that respect. (And admittedly, there wasn’t that metal on metal “BUNK!” if you were to do that with a chain.)
Good point. If you paid more than $50 for the frame and didn’t build it up with the “track bike components” yourself, you’re a total poser.
I suppose it could be compared to black leather punk jackets. Each person has their own that they customized themselves, adding spikes, band patches, earning road rash/cuts/rips/etc. It would be like if a company started making premade generic punk jackets with the flair already added, I’m sure it wouldn’t go over well with the guys/gals wearing their originals.
BikeSnob has a detailed unpacking of one- it looks like a $150 bike:
On the Phillipe Starck reality show he bollocked one contestant for buying a 90 Euro bike as a sustainable object, because he claimed it required slave labour to build something so cheap, and so shoddy. At least that bike had gears.