I moved to London in January and I knew immediately, that I need a bike to commute. I looked around on the market to find the most suitable bike for my needs. What I was looking for was the following:
- Simplicity – I used to ride a fixed gear bike back home in Budapest and I loved the fact that I didn’t need to bother with derailleurs, cogs cables and the likes. I didn’t want a fixed gear bike this time though as I needed time to get used to ride on the other side of the road and I didn’t want too much distraction.
- Black – I wanted a black bike, as simple as that
- Affordable – I didn’t want to buy an expensive bike because if you fork out £900 for a commuter bike, you get reluctant to chain it anywhere so it kind of defies the purpose of an urban bike.
All these and my bias towards Trek (I have a Trek 8500 mountain bike and a Trek 1.2 road bike) pointed towards the Trek Soho S. It was single speed, it was black, sleek, beautiful and under £400. So be it, I thought
Due to my height (6’4″) I opted for the 22″ frame and it was a good decision, the size is perfect and allows me to transform my pedalling efforts optimally into speed. The handlebar was a bit too wide but I had had cut some 2″ from each end, it makes navigating through traffic much easier.
I really like the drivetrain’s specifics: 44T in front with a 17T freewheel in the back. For me, it is the perfect solution, I can pedal up almost everywhere (to be fair, it can be tricky when it gets really steep) and I don’t necessarily need to start freewheel when a smaller descent starts. The brakes are performing really well, especially after the first two weeks. One feature I love is the chainguard which allows me to don’t care about my pants and I don’t need to tuck it under my socks anymore which makes everyday cycling much easier, at least to me.
The bike was performing flawlessly for about two months when suddenly the left pedal broke into two pieces. Closer inspection revealed that it had a plastic body, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Still, I was expecting a bit more than that.
I had another problem with the bike: the crankset started to clack and it started to feel funny during pedalling. My unfortunate ankle injury prevented me from taking the bike back to the shop to see what the problem could be but again, it’s a bit annoying that something so essential as a crankset or a bottom bracket starts to have problems after 5 months of use
My overall opinion of the bike is that the design and the riding capabilities are excellent, however using better components in certain places might have saved me a lot of trouble.