Saturday, December 26, 2009
Trek Soho Commuter
The Soho is a belt drive bike aimed at the urban commuter market. It features an internally geared eight-speed hub, has full fenders, a chainguard, rubberized toptube for leaning/locking up, puncture resistant tires with reflective sidewalls, and maintenance free roller brakes. The bike is new to me and so far I have put on a big-ass front basket for trips to Star Market, a few lights here and there, and my I-home stereo. For those who havent heard it, the I-home is one of the coolest ways to go for tunes on a bike (your ipod goes inside it, its weather resistant, and it has a wireless controller on the stem).
The Carbon Drive belt system mated to a Shimano internal eight speed hub makes for a clean, quiet, low maintenance drive system. CD claims that the belt will get approximately 8000 miles out of it and requires zero lubrication.
My only gripe is that the Soho retails for right around a grand which is a little high for a commuter bike but in its defense, that seems to be where most bikes with internally geared 7 or 8 speed hubs are priced these days and this particular bike had a lot of practical features that really set it apart. I had a Surly BIg Dummy before this bike which was considerably more expensive but had a lot more cargo carrying capacity. The Dummy was awesome but overkill for the bulk of my trips. In comparison, the Soho is a lot more nimble and I am really enjoying the fact that I can wear long pants with absolutely no worries about grease or snags. On the down side, you have to shop a lot more conservatively which actually works well for me since I usually only grocery shop for a couple of days at a time. I have to admit that I love the look and ride of the bike but the squishy saddle (which actually isnt the original seat) has to go. It has a built in tail light which i thought was cool but also has more padding than I am used to and it feels weird. I also have some different flat pedals and some Hold Fast straps (thanx Janet : ) ) that I think will make it more enjoyable - that way I get some degree of foot retention but wont be committed to any particular shoes. So yeh, thats my review of the bike so far. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Don't forget to check out the show at The Flying Monkey tonight.