By Karen Brooks
Gates Carbon Drive had a booth filled with purdy but practical bikes using their belt drives. The company is most known for making belt drives for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and naturally progressed to people-powered vehicles. The jury is still out on how well they work for mountain bikes (keep an eye out for an upcoming review in our sister magazine, Dirt Rag), but for city bikes, they make a lot of sense as a grease-free alternative to chains.
One trend apparent at this visit was the growth of high-end commuting bikes. It seems that the market is maturing to the point where customers want a BMW-level experience.
The BMC Urban Challenge, above, was inspired by the fact that recent Tour de France winner Cadel Evans needed something to ride around town. So why not a badass matte black city bike with Shimano Alfine 11-speed shifting? It will go for around $2,500.
Schindelhauer is a German brand that I was not familiar with. This shiny beauty pictured above, the Ludwig XIV, is so named because it sports a Rohloff 14-speed hub. It won City Bike of the Year at the Eurobike trade show. The price? If you have to ask… nearly four grand.
Focus is another German brand that is perhaps a little more down-to-earth. The above Urban 8 we saw at Outdoor Demo has, you guessed it, a Shimano 8-speed hub.
Here’s another bike pairing a Gates belt drive with the NuVinci N360 hub, the Novara Gotham. It’s a fully functional city machine with generator lights as well as rack and fenders. (Most companies have “gotten it” as far as racks and fenders go; I think generator lights will be the next item that will become standard on urban bikes.)
It doesn’t end here, we’ve got a lot more coverage of Interbike 2011.