Like most carbon-based life forms, I feel an affinity to carbon-based gear, and Trek’s District Carbon single-speed road bike pulled at me with a remarkably powerful draw. It held such a magnetic attraction, I talked Trek into letting me hang onto the review bike for the better part of six months, but a few weeks ago, alas, they rather insistently, if politely, ask for it back.
Test enough bikes and you’re usually happy to see them go. There are lots of great steeds out there, and emptying a stall in the garage means room for something new. This one was different: The District Carbon is a belt-drive carbon street bike, whippet fast, dark as midnight on the new moon and cooler than the other side of the pillow. It provided the most fun I’ve had on a road bike in ages, primarily because of the belt drive, which provides instantaneous and silent acceleration, much like a Toyota Prius.
Also like a Prius, the District Carbon is heavier than you might expect from looking at it–around 20 pounds. By road bike standards, that’s positively Kirstie Alley. But if anybody buys the bike–at $3,365, it shouldn’t be taken for granted–I don’t think they’re worrying about the weight. The District Carbon wasn’t designed for practicality or common sense, it was designed to be the black knight–eye-catching, badass, whisper quiet. By those standards, it more than succeeds.
The District Carbon comes in five sizes (50, 54, 56, 58, 60cm) and is clad mostly in sister-brand Bontrager components. Seatpost and fork blades are carbon, steerer is aluminum. And the frame is based on the Madone 5 racing series.