Wednesday, August 26, 2009

District Carbon: which district?

Well, since I got an eye infection around a month ago, I've been feeling up and down, but mostly down. Progress after antibacterial drops from the optometrist, but since then, I've been feeling under the weather again. I needed to pass on the University Road Race, which is a favorite race of mine. My power numbers suggested I should be able to hang on that suffer-fest, and placing at University probably means a top-15 result, which is good for me.

So when I'm not riding, my mind invariably drifts to equipment. This bike in particular catches my attention:

Trek District Carbon

First, the rational self: this thing makes no sense at all. Urban bikes get ridden through potholes, leaned against posts, stacked on bike racks in overcrowded Caltrain cars, wrapped with chains outside Rainbow grocery, and shouldn't stand out in a crowd of possible theft targets.

This bit of bike boutiquery begs to be babied: one serious scratch or crack on carbon and it needs to be tossed, or else sent to Craig Calfee for expensive repairs. For urban, steel is the real choice. Even a direct hit from a car and all it takes is a few choice mallet whacks from a good frame builder and it's ready to go again, as I experienced first hand with my Ritchey Breakaway (thank you Mr. Mikkelsen!).

The one dose of sense: the belt drive. These things have been proven to be efficient even compared to a clean chain, and chains often are less than photo-ready clean. Furthermore, while I wouldn't want to rub a dirty rubber belt against my pants leg, it certainly beats a direct hit with an oiled chain, even a properly oiled one where the excess has been wiped away.

So with all the silly aspects, why do I keep staring at the thing? Excessive, sure, but excess directed at something other than winning a UCI-sanctioned race. Excess at riding to work and home again. Excess in a bike instead of a car.

And while it's obviously not an all-around racing bike, it would work nicely for certain hillclimbs. For example, I used a 2:1 gear ratio in my recent Old La Honda PR. This same ratio is available as a 50/25. A range of ratios are possible, with the adjustable drop-outs handling belt tension.

Plus, I love the black-on-black look.

Will I buy one? No way. My rational self has too much sway. But even that rational self admits it's pretty cool.

Any less excessive?


Ron said...

Part of the reason is that cycling companies will only sell what will make them money. To do this, they have to be in tune with the current trends. I guess the data shows not many want to ride heavy steel bicycles around. I don't know. Certainly a carbon bicycle is the last thing I'll carry around in an urban environment.

Yokota Fritz said...

I don't know -- over the top stuff like this usually doesn't bug me, but this is just way over the top, IMO. It's gone beyond cool and circled back underneath to just too much of a good thing.

Still, I'd like to try it out :-)