Monday, November 17, 2008

New bikes from Trek

Even though I'm not in the market for a new bike, I really enjoy looking at new bikes. It's important (don't ask why -- it just is!) to keep up with what's new and to see how new technology is finding its way into cycling. My bike is a Trek Navigator, from the old days (2003) when they were numbered in hundreds (Laura's is a Navigator 300; mine's a 500) rather than decimals (the high-end new model is the Navigator 3.0). I'm happy with it; it's got design features I would change (like the grip shifters) and things I would add (like a rack and fenders), but it's a good commuter bike overall. And I think I've got at least another few years on it, before I'll really need to replace (or upgrade) it. Still, it's fun looking at new bikes and daydreaming.

(Just noticed I'm extremely parenthesis-heavy today. And a little incoherent. It probably says something about my mental state, but I couldn't guess what.)

Trek has a few new bikes out that I've been browsing online. If I had to buy a new Trek bike today, it'd probably be an Allant ("French for mobile", says the capsule description). It looks solid and comfortable, with nice gear ratios, good shifters, and built-in rack and fenders. The geometry looks nice, and I suspect it would be a nice ride. And, not too expensive; the MSRP is $540. More than a Schwinn, but one of the cheapest high-end bikes. Trek is one of the companies which still makes many of their women's bikes with step-through frames; I'm not sure why manufacturers still do this. The original rationale was to allow women to bicycle with discretion while wearing a long skirt, which hasn't been an issue for decades. It's a less-stable frame geometry, as well, so it has no practical advantage. The only reason I can see is marketing; people assume women's bikes have step-through frames, so they sell women's bikes with step-through frames. Their racing bikes (which sell based on performance rather than appealing to childhood memories of what women's bikes look like) all have standard frame geometry, and the women's racing bikes are differentiated by seat design and frame proportions (things which really should be different on women's bikes). The Allant WSD (Trek-speak for "women's model") not only has the standard girl-bike frame design, the rear rack is replaced by a basket mount for the front....

I think Trek hired a new copywriter for their new bike lines. My favorite might be the District model. According to their writer, it's "Aggressive. Edgy. And entirely progressive. The District's where things happen. It's fast, unapologetic, and, well, not for everyone. You either get it or you don't. For those that do, the District offers an experience unlike anything else out there." If I were to describe it, it'd be "pretty much your standard high-end fixed-gear bike -- now with bright orange wheels!" But this might be because I don't "get it". They also refer to the Valencia as a "two wheeled [sic] there-and-back machine". I know it's ad copy, but this still seems awfully pretentious.

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