Spot Brand Belt Drive Singlespeed 29er

Summer 2008 - A Different Ride

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I had so much fun test riding one of these at Interbike '07, that I wanted one and wanted one and wanted one. And finally got one.

While some mountain bikes are pushing the technological envelope though suspension technology or carbon fiber frame construction, this bike takes a somewhat less obvious route to "New and Improved".

The frame is classic steel; comfortable and efficient.

The wheels are the bigger-is-better "road" rims with phat tires that come out to about three inches bigger than traditional mountain bike wheels. "29-ers" in the parlance. They're no longer anything new, but have become a viable alternative for people who like the way they ride. (I do.)

It's a singlespeed bike. Nothing at all new about this. The first bikes had a simple gear-to-gear driveline. Singlespeed are a pleasant fringe of the mountain bike community. Simple and efficient. Less to break or damage. Inexpensive. And an intriguing, challenging, and different way to ride the same old trails. But it's the singlespeed driveline that really sets this Spot apart.

Belt Drive. That's the biggest and most obvious different between this bike and almost all bikes out there. Instead of the long-time standard chain drive and gears, this bike uses a carbon-rubber drive belt and special belt-wheels. The effect is the same. Turning the pedals turns the back wheel. There are some differences: No lube needed. Clean and quiet. I've found that the belt requires a slightly different perception to begin to understand what will keep it running effectively -- mostly pertaining to the "beltline" -- the subtle angles between the parts.

There are discussion groups online where the benefits of Belts vs. Chains are enthusiastically argued. I don't know if the belt drive is the "wave of the future" or if it's just another passing fad. But I know that when I ride this bike I smile.