Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chainless bicycles

I've seen some chainless bikes before. Specifically shaft driven. But now Trek is coming out with 2 belt driven bikes.

The first is the "District". As stated on the Trek website - "Trek’s first production belt-drive singlespeed features an aggressive riding geometry and an edgy appearance. The belt drive is a carbon fiber composite belt reinforced to prevent stretch. The worry-free, lube-rejecting, lighter-than-any-chain-you’ve-ever-owned belt also produces a ninja-like quiet ride. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a retro-styled singlespeed. The District is completely progressive."

If this came out last year I would have saved up a few more bucks and purchased it instead of my Pista.

The second is the Soho. The Soho is an 8 speed via rear, internal hub. It also features disc brakes and fenders.
According to this article - the belt is whisper silent, never needs lubricating, can't be cut (everything can be cut but . . . ) and lasts 3 years - the life span of 3 chains. Now I have to wonder if the life span is based on riding a bike daily for 3 years or a bike that just sits there. Will the belt become brittle after 3 years, just sitting there? Will it ever become brittle and break or will it just wear out. It is said to be a carbon composite. My other question is how much will it cost to replace/purchase such a belt? I can replace a chain for about $20.00. On the other hand, no lube, no cleaning.