February 8, 2013
By Matthew Corson-Finnerty
For the last several months I’ve had the privilege of beta-testing a Silk, our new 20-inch Gates Carbon Belt Drive bicycle.
I’ve been impressed with the sturdiness and durability of the new design. I take the bike off curbs (sometimes up them). I drop the bike regularly. I never clean it. And I haven’t oiled it once.
Despite the repeated, and intentional, abuse it still runs smoothly.
My favorite moment, what really sold me on the Silk, came during a heavy downpour in the dark of night.
I was leaving the Bike Friday factory and traveling home via a bike path that runs alongside a canal.
I noticed that the water level of canal was high but didn’t think much of it. When I came to the first underpass, however, I was abruptly soaked from the knees down by a long stretch of water 7 inches deep.
My rain gear didn’t hold up so well and my boots filled with water, but the Silk didn’t skip a beat.
A half a mile later, still cursing myself for getting drenched, I encountered a second underpass.
This time I knew the water was coming and I thought, “Well, I can’t get any wetter … let’s see what this thing can do.”
I sped down the underpass as fast as I could, hitting the water with an even greater splash.
This time it was up to my knees and pedaling through it felt like I had the brakes on.
Downshifting with the Shimano Alfine 11 hub and the Gates CenterTrack Carbon Drive Belt entirely submerged? Not a problem.
In fact, the drive system responded just as well as it does when its not under 22 inches of Oregon winter runoff.
I pedaled out of the flooded underpass feeling victorious.
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