So I’m in the process of becoming one of those nuts who ride their bikes to work and use their wife’s car to pick up bags of concrete from the home store. I’ve read up a bit and have decided a “fitness-hybrid” or a “commuter-hybrid” is the best fit for me. I’ll share my cycle selection experience here. I use “cycle” because “bicycle” makes me sound old, and “bike” screams junior high to me… stupid? I know.
I took a trip to see the guys at the Beaverton Bike Gallery today to test drive a Trek Soho and a Trek Soho S. They had both in my size (20″ for my 5’11” frame seems about right) and they are really impressive machines. The Soho boasts roller brakes (sorta disk like), an 8 speed Shimano Nexus internal geared hub, and a carbon drive belt… and a price tag to match. The belt drive is noticeable, neither bad nor good, just different. The Soho S in turn has traditional brakes and a single speed chain drive. They both were very tight and nimble, but the Soho S’s minimalism made a noticeable difference in weight (both bikes are light, but riding the S I had to look down to make sure it was still there!). It’s true what they say about gears, you never realize how much your mind focuses on them until they aren’t there. The S was a truly liberating ride. I am concerned that a single-speed will be a hindrance on the grade from work to home. The nearly $500 up-charge for the Soho over the S probably plants it squarely out of my range, and while the fancy brakes and belt drive are cool – I’m not ready to be an early adopter in a field I am brand new to. I preferred the 700x32c tires on the Soho over the 700x28c on the Soho S. I found the saddle on each of them to be absolutely _horrible_