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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-31-10, 05:35 PM   #1
djpfine
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Trek District - what a blast!

I've been hunting for a do-it-all fixed gear for winter training/running errands. The guy at my LBS convinced me to give the belt drive Trek District a shot even though I was looking for a steel frame. Wow, what a fun bike! It definitely stood out compared to the others I tried (e.g., Redline 925, Bianchi Pista). It felt light and sporty and that belt drive is fantastic!

Despite being a single speed aluminum bike that's over my budget, I'm now seriously considering saving up for it instead. On the plus side for winter riding, it's aluminum and won't rust, and the belt drive will require very little maintenance. On the down side, I really wanted a steel frame for comfort and also more of a cross-style bike that accepts larger tires for when the weather gets really bad. Would running 28 tires be good enough to use on paved roads during winter? Aside from when there's snow on the ground of course. It's also a shame they don't yet make this in a fixed gear, as I'd also love to start getting into that type of riding. I feel like I might regret buying a single speed bike down the road.

Decisions, decisions...what what would you do?
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Old 10-31-10, 05:50 PM   #2
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If you honestly think you'll ride more if you had the District, I say save up and get it. It's probably going to pay off in the long run anyways. + It's a good bike. I'd love to try out belt drive.

btw, 4th district of 5th? or carbon..
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Old 10-31-10, 06:07 PM   #3
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i stopped by a local bike shop just to test one, cause i say they had it in the window. it was really nice.
I really don't ride anything that coasts anymore, so I wasn't used to that, but it was incredibly smooth. I could imagine riding one if I didn't know or care to know much about bikes but still enjoyed a good commute. it is a perfect low maintenance bike.
They had an 8 speed internally geared hub version too. It had front and rear drum brakes. it would be great for snow with the internal hub and internal brakes.

I had heard mixed things about belt drives, but after riding it, when I build up a new bike i'll build it for a belt drive
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Old 10-31-10, 06:22 PM   #4
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btw, 4th district of 5th? or carbon..
It was a 2010 in the brown/green colors.
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Old 10-31-10, 09:12 PM   #5
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the aluminum district with the belt drive is just called the "District" i believe.
Its a really nice bike. i enjoyed riding it, and my coworker has one with bullhorns, which was a nice upgrade.
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Old 10-31-10, 09:15 PM   #6
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I'd totally put some drops/hoods on it and wrap with Brooks tape. Mmmmmmmmmm
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Old 11-01-10, 05:42 AM   #7
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and the belt drive will require very little maintenance.
if you want the bike, and it calls to you, you should probably just save and get it. that being said, its really just gimmicky to think that a belt drive will have a lot less maint. than a single speed/fixed gear bike, it takes about 30 seconds to lube a chain every few hundred miles, that amounts to a few minutes over the bikes lifetime.

also, if you really want a bad weather bike, and a "training" bike, i would think a SS cyclocross bike better suits your needs. caliper brakes are really a show stopper when it gets really nasty out, and the ability to run knobby tires when its snows, etc will be handy. you also expressed an interest in riding fixed, i wouldnt buy a bike that precludes this possibility, if you think it may be interesting to you in the future.

just my 2 cents though.
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Old 11-01-10, 10:01 AM   #8
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They make a fixed gear district with a chain. That might be closer to what you want?

Are you getting all distracted by that belt thing? you can't change gear ratios if you ever decide to, and sounds like you can't go fixed with it. A properly set up chain drive is smooth and quiet.

I think you will probably want some larger tires for winter. Are you sure even the 28mm will work? I have some on my bike, but had to dremmel out the brakes so they didn't rub on the calipers, and in the rear I have to use gearing/chain lenght that will get me at the back half of the dropout.

Food for though.
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Old 11-01-10, 10:53 AM   #9
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Excellent points guys, thanks. Yes, I think I'm overly excited by the belt drive. And you're right, as a winter trainer it's probably not ideal with those skinny tires. I always seem to come back to the cyclocross style bikes for their all out versatility.

Lots more thinking to do...
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Old 11-01-10, 11:56 AM   #10
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I got the steel Motobecane fantomcross Uno from bikes direct, ~$400, acouple months ago. I upped the freewheel to 20T and combined with the 38T front chainring I have a pretty nice gear ratio for off-road fireroad and trail riding. It comes with a flip-flop hub and the 16T fixed gear is nice when I ride with my road bike friends.

Apparently it can fit 42c wide tires, but I think only in the front. I currently have 38c tires on and the clearance between the back wheel and seat tube is about a milimeter. So far it's a great offroad bike, super snappy and responsive and the only maintainence is in lubing the chain. I think it has fender and rack mounts too so it could be a good commuter.
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Old 11-01-10, 01:49 PM   #11
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I got the steel Motobecane fantomcross Uno from bikes direct, ~$400, acouple months ago. I upped the freewheel to 20T and combined with the 38T front chainring I have a pretty nice gear ratio for off-road fireroad and trail riding. It comes with a flip-flop hub and the 16T fixed gear is nice when I ride with my road bike friends.

Apparently it can fit 42c wide tires, but I think only in the front. I currently have 38c tires on and the clearance between the back wheel and seat tube is about a milimeter. So far it's a great offroad bike, super snappy and responsive and the only maintainence is in lubing the chain. I think it has fender and rack mounts too so it could be a good commuter.
Another Uno owner here, besides the ass-hatchet seat (which I replaced immediately) and somewhat flexy wheels (I take it on singletrack and do things like play polo on it... and am ~200#), it is a good bike for the price. Only minor complaints, rear brake cable guides on bottom of top tube (not the best for shouldering it, which happens a lot for me in the winter), rack mounts a hair too close to fork and track ends, it is a pretty good bike. My studded winter tires fit with plenty of room.
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Old 11-01-10, 02:43 PM   #12
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Cable guides for the rear brake have been put on the top of the top tube since you got yours, Ianjk.
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Old 11-01-10, 03:22 PM   #13
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Excellent points guys, thanks. Yes, I think I'm overly excited by the belt drive. And you're right, as a winter trainer it's probably not ideal with those skinny tires. I always seem to come back to the cyclocross style bikes for their all out versatility.

Lots more thinking to do...
If you like the District and the shop is offering a deal on last year's colorway, save up for it. Otherwise, do check out the 4th and 5th Districts--you lose the belt drive, but you also gain the ability to ride fixed at some point if you so choose. Plus they cost less. And I love the '11 colors, and retro graphics.



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