If you look a few posts down you'll see that I dropped the District 96 for all of you to check out. While it's a full-on concept bike, it's also a product that I knew would draw interest and inspire discussion. You've proven that you're interested and so I thought I would shed a little more light on the project with a sit-down with the designer responsible for the bike.
Hootie: What drove you to create the District 96?
Michael Leighton: The ID [Industrial Design] team was looking to do a fashion bike after we learned from our research that there are a ton of riders out there who place a value on their look and uniqueness. The desire was for a fast ride for fast people in a fast environment.
H: It's a little over the top.
ML: As it should be! It's strictly a fashion bike for the city. I don't have any illusions of people riding this in their local charity ride or anything like that. We wanted an over the top bike with a pursuit-style geometry. We threw on some some deep dish wheels and hardcase tires to give the bike a little robustness. Japanese track pedals are another detail. It's all about the details. It's somebody's 3rd bike. Something for Saturday night.
H: What's up with the paint?
ML: The design is elegant and agressive and we wanted the paint to communicate that. Keeping it simple and strong was the way to go but the chrome was hard to do. It's all about the flash factor. When he handed the finished frame to me the painter said "I will never paint another bike like this again." That's a direct quote.
H: Is this a bike that you would ride?
ML: The fun part of this project, is that I've wanted to ride something like this for a while. It's the essence of fast. I love the word "fast".
H: Where does the inspiration come from?
ML: The Trek 69'er has been such a well received concept and product and I really wanted to create it's evil twin in an urban bike. Instead of big wheel up front, throw it in the back.
H: The initial feedback has been up and down. What do you make of that?
ML: It's not a bike for everybody. It's polarizing, I realize that. It also addresses those who have strong opinions. As far as the position goes, it's a lot more comfortable than first impressions. You have to ride it to understand it. Haters'll hate but it's a slick ride.
H: Is this a bike you think will ever make it to production?
ML: It's the original concept for what is now the production District. With the District we wanted to add belt drive and some other things that didn't fit the 96'er. In bike design, it's all about delivering a functional tool that fits the brand. The District 96 isn't the answer to that but it's something unique and innovative that allowed us to push the envelope a little.
H: Anything you want to add?
ML: It's for kicking ass and taking initials.
ML: Ain't got time for names.
H: Comedy. Anything else?
ML: I think that's it for now, what's this for anyway?
H: The Trek Lifestyle Blog
ML: You have a Lifestyle blog?