Trek Belleville WSD mixte. It has been out for about a year and looks promising in pictures, but what is it like in person? I had noticed this bicycle earlier at one of my local bike shops - the Wheelworks in Somerville, MA - and recently had a chance to try it.
The Trek Belleville mixte comes in two frame sizes - 43cm (17") and 50cm (20"). I am fairly certain that I tried the smaller frame, because I had to raise the saddle half a foot from its original position in order to ride the bike (note that the pictures here show the original position, not the raised position). However, while the seat tube was short, the rest of the bicycle seemed quite large. The step-over was high and bringing my leg over took some careful negotiating. And the reach from the saddle to the handlebars was characteristic of a larger frame.
Preparing to test-ride the bike, I walked it off of the sidewalk curb - at which point it made loud clunking noises. Upon investigation, we discovered that the fenders were wobbly - and the cause seemed to be in the design of the attachment points, rather than in the assembly. This could be an issue when riding over bumps or potholes.
Of all the other bicycles I have test ridden, the Trek Belleville mixte is the most similar to the Specialized Globe Haul I tried last year. Both feature mixte-style construction and integrated racks, and are roughly in the same price range. Comparing the two, my impression is that the Globe Haul's construction is of somewhat better quality and I preferred the feel of the Globe's ride. In pictures and from a distance, the Trek Belleville comes across as a prettier and more classic-looking bicycle, but in person this is not so. As for comparing the Trek Belleville WSD to traditional, classic mixtes - there is something clumsy about the Trek, as a result of which it does not resemble the real deal despite the twin-stay construction.
The racks on the Trek Belleville mixte are impressive, and the fact that dynamo lighting comes standard on this bicycle is nothing short of amazing. The gorgeous paint job is also to be commended. But despite all the extras, the bicycle has an awkward and flimsy feel to it in person. The current retail of the Trek Belleville mixte is around $650, and the Wheelworks in Somerville has it on sale at the moment for a lower price. Regardless of what I think of the Trek Belleville, one thing is for sure: A production bicycle with racks and dynamo lighting is a step forward for the industry that is in itself worth applauding.