Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Trek Allant and Allant WSD

MSRP: $540.
  • It's got comfortable handlebars, swept back to provide an upright position.

  • It's got a comfy saddle, pretty wide. Wouldn't want it any wider, it would weigh a ton.

  • Fenders, elegantly painted to match, providing dignified protection from mud-splattered-on-the-back-of-your-shirt-and-in-your-crotch. No one likes that.

  • Carriers, black in back for him*, green in front for her**. Why is one in back and the other in front? I don't know.

  • A Bell! Look, no one knows what "On your left," means, and no one likes saying it at the volume required to make it heard. Also, it only works on multi-use trails, which represent 0.01% of bicycle-legal conveyances in the United States.***

  • It's got plenty of gears, as many as you'll ever need. (21 if you have to ask.)

What could be better? The little front rack really should have a basket, but that's easy to remedy. These are great bikes, and they're really cute.

In the US, Trek is the Coke of bicycles. There's a Pepsi, a Royal Crown, some generic brands, and lots of local micro-brews, but then there's Trek. It's true they had humble beginnings, but that's true for most of us. It's also true that they've accomplished a great deal, not the least of which was supporting a cyclist recovering from cancer after he'd been left for dead by his former team.

Trek makes a lot of bikes. Unfortunately, as recently as 2004 NOT even ONE Trek sold in the US was an off-the-shelf vehicle for practical transportation.

Something must have been happening below the surface, because in 2007 Trek CEO John Burke gave a fairly rousing speech, and initiated a bicycle advocacy campaign called 1 World, 2 Wheels. (When you're done here, please go to 1 World, 2 Wheels and listen to his talk, it's worth it.)

Mr. Burke clearly knows who puts the butter on his bread, but he also appears to know that unless transportation culture in the US begins to change, (a) many of his customers will be run off the road by people driving Hummer H-7s, and (b) it's going to be hard to ride bicycles in America's coastal cities when they're under water. In other words:

The bicycle is a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated problems.
That is Trek's tag line for 1 World, 2 Wheels, and for the Allant. What's the big deal about this bike? Nothing, and that's the point. Just get on and ride.

Notes:

* Sometimes called a "boy's bike," the black Allant has what should really be called a diamond frame. Sometimes people try to be egalitarian and say Unisex frame. I find it hard to say Unisex without sounding like an idiot. I keep thinking, I don't know what a Unisex is, and I don't think I want to know. We could refer to diamond frames as normal, but that implies that other designs are abnormal, and ends up creating all kinds of problems. Here's the facts, Jack: both men and women can and do ride diamond frame bicycles.

** Sometimes called a "girl's bike," the green Allant WSD has what is known as a step-through frame. Both men and women can and do ride step-through bicycles. The WSD anagram stands for "Woman-Specific Design," so it's possible/likely that men won't fit the step-through version very well. This isn't because it has a step-through frame however--it is the result of several other design features. Follow this link to find out more about WSD.

*** Multi-use trials are sometimes mistakenly called bike paths. Bike path is not correct terminology. This is important, because bicyclists must yield to pedestrians and equestrians on these trails, always.

38 comments:

Lynn said...

Maybe the front rack is for keeping a woman's handbag in sight and within easy reach? Beautiful bikes, anyway.

ethan said...

I am torn between the Handsome Devil and the Trek Allant.

rcp4 said...

Wow, these are nice looking bikes. I love the step-through with the front rack. It would be convenient to attach a basket, tote, etc. Wish they had one like this a few years ago. This type bike was what I had in mind but couldn't find. Love the cycling back to practical all-around bikes.

Freewheel said...

It's great that Trek is getting with the program.

Re: multi-use trails. Don't forget rollerbladers - they require a wide berth.

Ted said...

These are great, but would be perfect in my book if they both had front and rear racks (Why not, after all?) and perhaps more importantly, a chain guard. Any bike that's meant to be used around town for practical purposes needs one.

Good price too; even better if the frames are aluminum. The gearing may be a little much for most, but not if you live in San Francisco, Seattle, parts of San Diego or Pasadena.

In a perfect world, Trek will sell 5 of these for every road/race bike they sell (no hate here, I own a couple). I hope this isn't just a trend. We need more of these kinds of bikes on the road replacing cars.

David said...

Thanks for your comments.

Trek would probably say, "It _does_ have a chaingaurd." I'd say it's more of a "chainring-gaurd," but it does do a pretty good job keeping pants and shoe-laces from getting munched between chain and ring, though it will not keep them from contacting the chain and getting greasy/dirty.

Kris Ablan said...

I have this bike. I like the swept-back handle bars because its comfortable. The fenders are black and shiny and it makes the bike look classy.

I agree that to be a complete commuter bike, Trek should've put on a full chainguard. Also, a dynamo light wouldn't have hurt.

But other than that, it's a sweet bike to use around town.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the weight of the Trek Allant? Thanks!

David said...

I don't happen to know the weight, but I helped a friend buy one last week, and it was about what I expected.

I know that no one likes to hear this, but weight is simply not an important factor with this type of bicycle. If you're looking for this type of bike, in this price range, every bike will be within a pound or two of one another. Basically, that's the difference between an empty water bottle and full one, which is to say, not much.

If you want something lighter and sportier, look at flat-bar road bikes.

If you want to go faster, pedal harder ;-)

ethan said...

I bought the Allant. I'm enjoying it. As far as weight goes, I think it's pretty light. I have been riding a 35 lb. mountain bike, so everything seems like, but the Allant is not heavy at all.

Jennifer said...

The weight matters -- I need to be able to carry it down the stairs and onto the metro if I'm really going to use it in place of my car.

Susan said...

I just got this bike from my husband as an anniversary gift two weeks ago and I LOVE IT! It's not only stylish and elegant, but light, easy to ride and so comfortable. Who needs a car?

Still trying to find the perfect basket for it, though - does anybody know if Trek makes an Allant-specific one (that is removable for when I pop into the store?)

David said...

Susan,

I recommend attaching the basket permanently, and using a reusable shopping bag in the store. There are a couple of reasons for this:

-1- Removable baskets can get left at home by mistake, and can be stolen,
-2- Removable baskets are usually, but not always, a bit less sturdy, and
-3- Small things can fall out between the basket wires, and big things can bounce out, so it's nice to have your goods inside a bag, inside the basket.

Stop by a good local hardware store and look at their basket selection - it's likely to be a better selection than at your local bike shop, and the hardware-people can help you figure out how to attach the basket to the rack.

Cheers--David

Jason Nabors said...

I am an instructor at a college. I've been riding a cheap mountain bike, but the Allant looks more along the lines of the image I want to project. Like the bike riding Mr. Chips in the James Hilton novel.

Maggie said...

I bought the Allant WSD in early July. My commute to work includes hills. This bike has been a joy to ride. I feel safe and sturdy on it, especially down the hills.

One criticism; I wish that Trek had included lights and a rear rack like they did on their new Belleville bikes. I did add lights to my bike, but (so far) have not missed a rear rack.

Anonymous said...

I bought this awesome Allant bike yesterday and am in love with it. However on the women's bike design, I am not able to put it on my car with a bike rack. Does anyone know what kind of rack I need? I never thought about the small space between the bars being an issue. My other bikes have all been of the "unisex" variety and posed no problem.

David said...

You can carry "women's" bikes on most standard trunk-racks using this accessory, or one like it from any number of other manufacturers:

http://www.saris.com/p-170-bike-beam.aspx

Also good for kids bikes and bikes with odd frame shapes.

Anonymous said...

I have the Allant WSD bike too and also love it. I added a bike rack to the back along with a set of panniers - each pannier can carry a standard grocery bag and they clip off and on my rack in a second, (literally). These were also from Trek. I had the same issue with not being able to use my old bike rack with the Allant, so I got the top bar to clip onto my frame, - alas, beware that with certain vehicles anyway, this will still not hold your bike high enough (as with my Volvo XC70). My front wheel hangs a big too close to the ground for comfort so I need to remove the wheel each time for transport. Volvo of course recommends the rear hitch, which sounds like it would be about $300 for the hitch, $300 for the bike rack to attack to the hitch, and $300 for the installation - ouch! So far I'm just removing the front wheel when I transport but it is a bit more hassle. The rest of our family bikes which are all mountain type unisex frames do not have this problem. Thus far this is the only issue I have. Still trying to figure out if I can swing the whole car rack system and it might be worth it to me ultimately as I transport the bike a fair bit. Still thinking on it....I do LOVE the Allant however. I have a fairly bad back (a disc at L4-L5) and it's a comfy bike for me. I always feel very stable on it, plenty of gears and when I load up the panniers with groceries, still super stable and comfy to ride. Best bike I've ever had for my purposes which is around town marketing, to the library, etc, and also lots of bike paths rides.

Anonymous said...

I bought the WSD Allant a few weeks ago and i love it! I am a 115 pound 22 year old girl and i do not find it heavy at all. I live on the third story of my apt. and i run it up and down the stairs each i ride it, which is about 2-3 times a day. I can't stand the thought of leaving it alone downstairs to maybe be stolen! I ride it about 5-15 miles a day and i love the upright design, it is steady and fast at the same time. Highly recommend!

Anonymous said...

does anyone know where you can buy a front rack similar to that of Allant WSD?

David said...

For front racks:

Front racks and baskets are back in style, and they range from simple and cheap to super-deluxe:

The best deal in bicycling is the Wald 137 basket (www.waldsports.com). Chrome-plated, classy, made in the USA.

At the other end, take a look at the racks over at Velo Orange (www.velo-orange.com).

Anonymous said...

It looks fairly close to what I've been searching for over the past 2 weeks. What it doesn't have, and Mr. CEO are you listening? is 1) a chain guard, 2) a skirt/coat guard, 3)a front basket along with a back rack (I plan on grocery shopping with it, hello?)and 4) front and back lights, i.e., a truly european dutch bike but without the extra 20 lbs and with more than 3 gears.

David said...

Re: the previous comment, take a look at the Breezer Uptown 8. You'll have to add your own basket, but that's not too tough (see www.waldsports.com).

Dave said...

The Axiom Espresso Basket is a perfect fit for the WSD's front rack. Mounting instructions and photos here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cold_iron/4298070717/

Anonymous said...

I went to Performance Bike and bought what is called a tran it grocery bag pannier, it quicky clips onto my rack, then when i get there i can carry it with the attached shoulder strap, even comes with a reflective strap.
I am confused why anyone would want to permanently attach a basket.
When i get there i just carry my panner with me.

c w j said...

@ Prof Nabors

"image" you want to project?

get the bike that serves your ride needs, let the costume shop and set designer take care of the image for you.

a change of tires, bar and racks can nerd any mountain bike up real nice.

@ Anon

Oh, and, yeah. I've ridden the Allant. It's good stuff. I think for taller, less strong ladies the weight in the larger sizes could be an issue is something to be aware of, but it's definitely lighter than getting a steelie. Getting stronger via bike-bearing works is par-for-the'cyclin'-course though. Plus, it's cheaper than Planet Fitness.

Get it up on your shoulder on the store to see if you think it'll be too much for you to deal with. Though I can't imagine you're going to find much in this price range lighter - a rain cover and a good lock could very solve all that anyway.

Linda said...

hey everyone,
i bought this bike in london 2 months ago and i absolutely love it. i really wanted a nice basket to go with it and after searching everywhere, i eventually found this one on amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B002KMK29U/ref=oss_product

it looks perfect with the bike! hope that helps!!
:-)

Anonymous said...

linda,

just curious: is it safe to assume that you permanently attached this basket? It's great looking--out to find something comparable in the u.s.

thanks,
nancy

David said...

I work at a Trek dealership. We stock the Allant and Allant WSD, and it is the first bike I show to customers who come in looking for a commute/school/around-town/all-weather/errand bike. I have nothing but positive feedback from my customers who chose the Allant.

As far as front baskets for the Allant WSD, we have a solution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cold_iron/4298070717/

Andrew said...

Here is the perfect interchangable/removable basket! I just bought the bike and the basket!!

http://bontrager.com/model/08310
Look under baskets, click interchange baskets then you'll see it at the bottom.

Bontrager is the company that supplies trek bikes with other accessories like seat posts.

Melody said...

As far as the Bontrager baskets go it says they work with the Interchange system -

I have the Allant but it doesn't seem like the rear rack is similar to what they show in the Interchange Basket pictures. Does anyone know how to install those onto the Allant rear rack?

Harold Burleigh said...

Bought my Allant two years ago, found it very comfortable, just right for a rather out-of-shape 60 year old with a baddish back and one bad leg.
I finally persuaded my very petite (4'7")wife, a person of similar vintage, to upgrade to an alloy framed bike with a few gears. For her size, we couldn't find anything other than bikes meant for children. She went out with me today on our first long ride together on her 20" Trek MT 60.

I'm not sure just how large the the market for small adult style bike may be, but if a more diminutive WSD Allant or similar adult style model with 12 to 24 gear combination were available, we would certainly buy one.

anonymouse said...

randomly foudn the weight of trek allant wsd - 32 lbs - quite heavy but I'm still in love with it and going to manage somehow!

Anonymous said...

It is a heavy bike. It is also very comfortable and stable and it can go FAST, depending on the rider. The Allant can go over ruts, cracks and gravel with ease. This is the best bike I have ever had the pleasure of riding. I may in the future, remove the fenders as I live in Arizona and rain and mud are not an issue.

Mark said...

No need to stumble all over the place trying to make the frames gender-neutral. The women's frames date all the way back to the time when women rode while wearing dresses and a frame that attached nearly at seat height would be a hindrance to moving your legs up and down in a dress. The two different designs for men and women became institutionalized and survive to this day.

Unknown said...

I've had an Allant WSD for nearly two months now and have ridden it to work nearly every day. It was a bit over $600 though I paid extra for a rear rack and bags.

I test rode two bikes, the Allant and a more expensive Electra. I don't remember the Electra model but it was not unlike the Allant in appearance. It cost nearly twice as much as the Allant and was much lighter. I would have loved to have gotten the Electra--the reduced weight was great and didn't seem to adversely affect performance on my test ride. But it was twice as much. And I live where it is very flat.

If I lived somewhere where I had to commute up and down hillsI would have probably paid extra, but I don't. And I love my Allant. It's very nice looking, with the rear rack has great utility, and it gets the job done. One of my favorite features is the ergonomic handles. Anyone who has ever had a hint of carpal tunnel will love these.

My key complaint is that the shop where I bought it doesn't have early morning hours for tune ups or repairs. That's a big consideration if you are using a bike to get to work every day and don't want to leave it somewhere to be serviced. I was told to come back in 2-3 weeks after purchase for a tune up. I've several weeks past that now and haven't been able to fit that in because they don't open until I've been at work for an hour and are often near closing when I get home.

Mandie said...

After riding a 30-year-old raleigh that can no longer be repaired I am in need of a new bike. I am trying to choose between the Trek Allant WSD, Shift 4 and Verve 4. I live in Montreal. There are MANY potholes and hills. I use the bike for commuting and for carrying things. Any suggestions? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I know this an old post but I just came upon it while researching the Trek Allant. I'm loving the look of the bike - just what I've been looking for to supplement my sporty-looking bike.

Many things may have changed since 2009 - not sure. At least compared to today's situation, the information here is a bit confused, but it might reflect what was available in 2009. Today there are two versions - a 7-speed, and a 21-speed. It's the 7-speed with the MSRP in the middle-$500s. The 21-speed is about $90 more. (I honestly don't know if I NEED 21 speeds - my current bike offers that and I rarely go over the 9th gear, even on a very steep hill.) Currently the 7-speed has no racks and comes in a dark navy blue, while the men's 21-speed is black and the women's 21-speed is kind of a light beige. I agree it's odd that the women's bike comes with a front rack instead of a rear rack, as though all women want to put a basket on the front! I really want only a rear rack but I don't think the bike shop will swap them out. Even though the "men's" frame could be ridden by a woman, I'm too used to a step-through frame to switch to feel safe on a bike with a higher bar. I think I'll have to buy a different rear rack... perhaps that's not so bad as the stock rack looks a little flimsy.

By now I'm sure that Mandie, above, has purchased a new bike. I used to live in Montreal and I think the 21-speed Allant would fit the bill nicely - just be sure to protect against theft!