I’ve been looking for a good 3-speed utility commuter bike that I can carry a decent load on, easily get across town with (or pull from bus to train), and is durable (ie. steel) without derailers, as they tend to be the first thing to bend and twist on me when I’m coming on and off DART’s light rail through throngs of riders weilding heavy carry-ons. Most everything I’d found that fit all my needs was in the $1,500 range, which is a bit more than I’m willing to tackle at the moment. Civia’s and Surly’s have been at the top of my list until a friend pointed me to the latest object of my affection, the Trek Belleville.
It’s much more in my current price range, and looks like a good starter to bang around on until I can afford a Civia. The only thing it lacks is disc brakes, which I’m surprised they didn’t add considering it seems that most utility bikes on the market these days are equiping them standard. Apparantly it’s based on an older European worker bike (thus the nice retro design cues), and has some nice extras like a wide front carrying rack (think: bag of groceries), rear rack (laptop bag) and front hub generator. Hopefully the latter will come in handy to use for charging my phone via Dahon’s FreeCharge on those foggy headed mornings I’m out the door and forgot to plug in the night before. Great little movie here on the design and manufacturing process. Looks like Trek wanted to go as green as possible with the construction.