I can’t say we’re ready to sell these yet, but we’re close: the long anticipated belt drive tikit. Using the Gates Carbon Belt Drive leaves us a bit limited on gearing so we are inclined to wait until later in the year when the Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub comes out before release.
So the one you’ll see in and around the Gates booth (thanks, Jeff Linder, for delivering it!) at Interbike (now you’re going, right?) has a normal old 8 speed Alfine. I would still buy it, though. There aren’t going to be any road races on it, but it was a usable flatland gear on the high end. So plenty of low 🙂
Another stumbling block for us on the belt drive is how stiff to make the frame so that flex doesn’t result in belt slippage. So we increased the chainstays from 1/2″ to 5/8″ and brought the chainstay bridge closer to the rear wheel for better triangulation. If anything, it’s overbuilt.
Other interesting frame features include some ideas that Rob English has been kicking around. One is the lack of a clip brace (between the rear end and the back of the main frame). Another is the integration of the stand into the seatmast latch. Both of these are for simplicity’s sake, but the former one makes for better function and easier repair of the rear end latch: a clamp on pin. There is also something going on with the latch pins to simplify things, too, which will provide more clearance.
Then there is the cool split seatstay Rob came up with to deal with split seat stays. Because, as I told Juan Díaz Díaz, a regular on the Bike Friday IRC channel, elevated chainstays are so late 80s 😉
Did I mention these bars? I think I found the first flat bars I like. I am stoked about that! They are Civia Colfax 25° bend multiposition bars. All the clearance and compatibility of a flat bar but so much more wrist friendly.
And am I stoked about the bike! I, for one, plan on pushing hard to release it with the 8 speed. All of us were surprised that the gearing really wasn’t that bad after all. But if you want to be on the list for the official release, get in touch.
Oh and we’re looking for good names. I like Traffic tikit. In typical Bike Friday fashion, it’s a play on words. The Season tikit is a great commuter but this is the übercommuter and in that sense, it really conquers the traffic. What do you think?
UPDATE 15 February 2011: As I’m sure you all know, it’s out now. We opted to give it a relatively lame name, in my opinion, but at least it tells you what it is: Carbon Drive tikit. At the time of writing (yes, I realize this differs from the link above), the 11 speed is $3175 and the 8 speed is $2595. Please note that the use of Phil Wood belt drive cogs allows us to get reasonable gearing with the 8 speed. You also might note the special offer on a Phil Wood hub upgrade..