Friday, September 4, 2009

Trek Belleville

This beautiful blue 3-speed (also offered as a mixte) is a nice surprise from Trek, to be sold for $660. Hat tip to Darin K. for bringing this to our attention.

According to Trek, "the Belleville is the perfect choice for anybody looking for an Eco-smart bike with cargo capacity. Belleville comes completely equipped with front and rear racks, generator lights, and fenders to help you get the job done." Sounds like a BFROU!

The internet buzz is growing:

Cycling News: Commuter specials from Trek

Bike Hugger: Trek's Unexpected Mixte

Bike Hugger youtube video

Eco Velo: Trek Belleville

Here are the specs:

Frameset
Sizes 46, 51, 55, 59, 64cm
Frame Cro-Moly steel, city design
Fork High tensile steel w/rack mounts

Wheels
Wheels Shimano Nexus 3-speed rear hub, dyno front hub; alloy 36-hole rims
Tires Bontrager H2 Eco Design, 700x35c

Drivetrain
Shifters Shimano Nexus, 3 speed
Crank Alloy 3 piece, steel 44T chain ring
Cassette 19T cog
Pedals Steel city

Components
Saddle Bontrager Nebula Eco Design
Seat Post Steel
Handlebars Steel, city design
Stem Steel, integrated
Headset Aheadset w/semi-cartridge bearings, sealed
Brakeset Tektro alloy caliper

Accessories
Extras Matched fenders; chainguard; front and rear racks


If you've seen or ridden on one of these in real life, please leave a comment about your impression.

19 comments:

m e l i g r o s a said...

wowza
very cute!!!

Liz S. said...

I need another bicycle like I need a hole in the head, but the women's mixte version is phenomenal (and comes in a 43cm frame size).

What I don't understand is how it can be sold at such a low price. Think about it: internal-gear hub (albeit only 3-speed); front generator hub (!) and front and rear lights; front porteur rack (!) as well as the rear; fenders and chain guard... It would cost a minimum of $1,000 to put all these things together even without the cost of the frame. I do understand Trek's purchasing power, but still... I would expect something like this to be $1,660, not $660. For that reason alone I feel like I have to get it!

(Oh, they're not available yet. The minute I saw them on Trek's site I called my local dealer, and they said they won't get them until December.)

I have to laugh, though, at Trek's explanation as to why they are "eco-friendly". Reducing environmental impact in the manufacturing process -- hah! They must be afraid to give the real reason for their eco-friendliness -- that their practicality and ability to carry huge loads (if they are as described) makes them a perfect substitute for a car.

I need to start figuring out which bicycle to get rid of so that I can accommodate the Belleville... :-(

cloudsofviolet said...

I don't think it is such a low price. Bikes like that sell in Europe (and some of them are assembled there) for around the same price.

Liz said...

Except we're not in Europe... And I suspect you're thinking of a completely different level of quality -- you can find cheap bikes in Europe with fenders and chain guards and tire-driven dynamo hubs (but generally not internal gears or generator hubs), but they are still cheap bikes. The nice ones are all well over EUR 1,000 (about US$ 1,400).

And, compare it to what else you can get here for that amount. I don't think there is anything at that price that is so well spec'd for utility cycling.

Ted said...

Nice bike. Very nice price. Trek has a winner. Bravo.

David said...

Forgive me if I miss the whole like, 'vibe' of your blog, but as a fellow cycle tourist, why not go for the trek touring bike if you want a bike with capacity?

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/520/520/

No problem with 3 speeds and the whole classic cycle movement especially for urban or flat terrain, but aren't the second hand 3 speeds pretty good too?

Lazy Lowrydr said...

David, the whole idea of BFROU is to let us know of the new non-race city bikes out there that may interest us.

There is nothing wrong with the Trek Touring bikes, it's the fact that this one is less complicated in the fact that there is no deraliuer to worry about.

And it's a perfect type city bike. And price range is better for those with a tighter budget for a good grocery getter.

Liz, don't say that to loud or they may just start gouging us for the heck of it. And quality remains to be seen when they hit the LBS.

David said...

Ok fair enough about the derailleur. I've never had a 3 speed so don't know about the maintenace. I imagine it has other tricky issues particular to the era.
In any case. For touring why not go for 21 gears? Touring is more fun when you go up down and round and round. I heard Merida offer new crossover bikes at much cheaper than 600 USD: "My Merida is bottom of the quality bike range. (Merida Crossover S21 2009) Only 21 speeds and Suntour fork (designed for only mild/occasional off road use but Acera derailleur and double wall wheel rims." This bike should be about 300 US.

David Hembrow said...

Liz: There are plenty of cheap bikes over here too. They're sold in the department stores, complete with chainguards, mudguards, hub dynamos etc. for a couple of hundred euros.

This bike isn't particularly cheap. It's also not really particularly well equipped. The exposed chain isn't so great, for a start, and the front rack looks a bit style over substance.

It is disappointing that you are still not seeing the Dutch only models from Trek which are truly practical bikes.

David said...

The cost question is connected to volume, right? More bikes ==> lower cost. So as bikes like this have and continue to become more popular...

I wonder how this is affecting IBDs in the US (that's Independent Bicycle Dealers). They generally make lower margins on bikes (v. accessories, parts, labor, etc.), and bikes with included accessories might require more time (aka money) to assemble while at the same time "stealing" accessory sales. I've been out of the bike biz for a few year, anyone on the inside care to comment?

Scott said...

Comment to David re: touring -
This bike (& blog) are not about touring. They're about everyday day-to-day use, commuting, going to the grocery store, running errands, etc., all in your everyday clothes. I've never seen a 21-speed with a chain guard, for example.
I wouldn't worry about the bike dealers & their margins, as the point of bikes this these is to appeal to a different market from the tourers, racers, cruisers, etc. It's an attempt to expand the overall bike market & overall bike use, which can only be good for the shops.
For David Hembrow: again, you have to compare to what is actually available in America & for what price. With those parameters in mind, this is a very well-equipped bike for a very good price. I wish we had the options Europeans do, and hopefully bikes like this are a step in that direction.

John A said...

David -- I am a happy owner of the Trek L200 Navigator that is just like the Trek Dutch model you linked to - full chain guard and rear wheel lock -- i bought it here in Pittsburgh for $800 in 2004 and it's still going strong (though the rim-generator light broke quickly, thank heavens). i think Trek brought it over for only 2 years.

Mikey said...

I work at a Trek shop in Champaign, IL and just bought one of these for myself. They go together pretty quick once you figure out where everything goes. The Lights and Fenders and baskets are great, very well designed. The pedals, brakes, and brake levers are as cheap as a wally bike. But those are easily swapped out. Overall, very happy with it.

elopetomexico said...

I'm hoping to get mine on Friday. Hey Mikey, How bout a ride report....please?

elopetomexico said...

This machine is beautiful and a lot of bike for the money. I rode mine home about 7 miles today and I love it. The drivetrain is smooth and so is the ride. I loaded the front rack with ~10 pounds to see how it felt and it was fine on the road. Rack capacities are stamped: 25 kilos rear, 9 kilos front. They should have used the anti-flop spring for the front rack like on the GF Simple City(I think I can put something together here at home to remedy that). I also think they should have used the nice Pletscher dual kickstand the Simple sports(I put one on at the LBS and it is great on the Belleville).The lights are better than expected with the front actually providing some 'see the road' light and the rear staying lit well after stopping. Brakes,levers and pedals are nothing special. In keeping with the eco theme I put some led generater pedals on it and I'm thinking about inverse levers for the brakes anyway. Rims have a sticker: ETRO 622x19 6005A-T5. The welds look fine to me and the powder coating is really nice. 2 Eyelets front and rear, front fork rack braze ons and derailleur hanger make it fully customizable. I've heard the handlebar height can be adjusted but they could not see how at the dealer. One problem is the rear fender stays seem a bit too long; they are designed to be adjustable at the mount bolts but in practice the rack mounts prevent adjusting forward. As a result the rear fender has way too much space in the back; a rock could get caught in there. I'm sure there is a solution... The seat seems comfortable so I'm going to give it a try for a few hundred miles...I think that covers it for a first glance; it's a heavy, wonderful,functional hunk of steel and if that's what you like you will love this bike.

allen said...

I have been riding one of these for three weeks now. I commute on rapid transit. Short ride to station and get off the train 3 stops early for exercise, about an hour ride.

It is a very comfortable bike. I wear casual work clothes. The fenders, chain guard and built in lights make it perfect for my needs.

The weight is no problem, who cares how much the bike weighs. I carry a computer, lunch, book to read and clothes.

Changed the seat and added mountain bike clip peddles. Was getting a numb butt and feet on hour + rides.

I have really enjoyed getting back into biking and exercise again. Love the bike.

John Burnette said...

I've been trying to purchase a mixte version for a year now - to no avail. I finally got a chance to test ride a "male" version and liked it so much I bought it immediately.

Yes, it's heavy, but it rides like a Buick and has an extremely low first gear. I'm planning on touring with it on the C&O trail this summer.

Jon Bass said...

I bought this bike after not having owned a bike in about 10 years.I ride this everyday.The "BelleVille" handles speed really well and is fantastic at hauling a large grocery load for several miles.I think the only changes I would make are the seat and the grips.They are in no way comfortable.The brakes could use a better treatment as well.These things are an easy fix though.I custom pin-striped mine and added a bell,comfortable Bontrager seat and panniers and she is ready to rock.I have had this bike out on 30 mile rides and been comfortable all the way through.If you are just getting back into biking or just need a REALLY NICE commute/grocery bike, this is for YOU.You cannot beat the amenities that are present on the here.I can custom pin-stripe your BelleVille if you would like.E-mail at jonathan.bass67@gmail.com.Buy this Bike!!It is a Big bonus to the TREK line!
jb

Lou said...

I just picked up my Belleville yesterday. I waited 2 months to get it--it was backordered. This is an AMAZING bike! It offers so much for such a great price. Mine was on sale for $539, since the 2011 models are coming out soon. I just wrote up a full review here. If anyone is thinking of getting one, feel free to contact me.