I'm trying a lot of bikes out at the Sea Otter Classic 2008 in Monterey, California. A lot of them feel like any other bike, but a real stand out is the single speed belt driven 29er from Spot Brand Bikes.
I took the Spot 29er for a spin on the demo trail and flew down the singletrack with absolute confidence on this bike. I feathered the brakes a little approaching some of the sandy curves (and that was only because I don't know the bike), but other than it was full speed ahead. On the uphills the bike goes like it should -- I didn't miss the lack of gearing at all. I didn't have the legs for a couple of especially steep uphill sections, but that's because I rode my fixed gear to Sea Otter some 40 miles from Santa Cruz County yesterday morning.
I tried to make the Gates belt drive slip like Guitar Ted did last fall at Interbike, but I couldn't do it, but again, my legs weren't quite up to snuff. The belt drive is absolutely smooth and clean.
Spot Brand's steel framed bikes are hand built in Golden, Colorado. The bike I tested retails for about $3400. They're selling their demo bikes from the show, however, for as much as $1,000 off of list. These are brand new, hand built, nicely equipped bicycles.
Visit the Sea Otter Classic near Monterey, California this weekend to try these and other bicycles from a number of vendors.
...jeezus, fritz...forget what you rode AT sea otter, tell us a bout your ride TO sea otter on yer fix gear, no less...i'm impressed...i know a lot of those back roads & you must have done a lot of juking & jiving back & forth to get there in what had to have been a headwind... ...hope ya got a lift back... ...cheers, mate...i toast your efforts...