Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Allant: Trek's Best Bicycle?


I work at the Bicycle Center here in Issaquah and we sell Trek bicycles. Trek makes a wide range of bikes, from carbon Madones that go really fast when some guy named Lance is riding them to the laid back Pure cruisers with wides seats and cushy tires. And Trek makes mountain bikes, kids bikes, sport-fitness bikes, the classic 520 touring bike, commuter bikes and well, we've got a pretty good sized shop and we don't even come close to having enough space to stock every bike that Trek makes. We can order anything Trek has in their warehouses and have it in a shop in a week, but like any business we have to pick and choose what we have in stock and on display.

We have one spot in our shop that is the prime spot -- the front window display. And there is one bike that owns that spot -- the olive green women's Allant. Trek did something very, very right with this bike. It's a women's bike that's not pink or purple. The bike is pretty but not overly girly. The Allant is a practical city bike with a light aluminum frame and a good range of gears so it works well in our hilly part of the world. The tires are a good width for city streets or a gravel bike path. It comes with real metal fenders, a front rack and and kickstand. It is both comfortable and fun to ride. And pretty much as fast as I can build them up, they roll out the door. At less than $600, it's a good bike at a great price. And yes, I'm biased. I sell Allants. I sell a lot of them.

I've seen women drag their husbands into our shop, point them at the Allant and say "this is what I want." When we don't have the Allant in the window, we have women coming into the shop asking "where did that bike go?" I even had one woman say "where did my bike go?" She'd been saving up and was thrilled when I told her I was building up another Allant.

We tend to stock the 15" framed Allant, which works well for women from 5 feet to 5 foot six or so. We order in bigger models for taller women, but it is so nice to have a bike in stock that works for a small adult. Iruru, who is pictured at the top of this post, is five foot nothing. See the smile on her face? I see a similar smile on the face of almost every woman who tries the Allant.

The men's Allant is similar but it's black and comes with a rack on the rear instead of a front. The men's version is a very good bike and it sells well, but the men's Allants don't fly out the door the way the women's bike does.

I'm thrilled that bikes like the Allants exist. For too long it seemed like the entire bike industry had plenty to sell you if you wanted to race on the road or thrash bomb down a mountain but nothing if you wanted to ride to the store, ride with your kid or go to the coffee shop. Trek makes a bike that's great for the kind of biking that a lot of people do every day. It's called the Allant.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA

51 comments:

Ted said...

Be sure to adjust her seatpost - she is way to low on the bike.

Kent Peterson said...

Yeah, I know. We start nervous riders all the way down and work 'em up.

mimi torchia boothby watercolors said...

YAY! too bad you're way the heck out in Issaquah now. Those are nice bikes and I bought the granddaddy of that bike in the 1990's, a Trek "hybrid" these are even better. And I'm glad you have a woman's bike in the prime showcase space. LOVE the story

Anonymous said...

Nooo... That bike isn't the best Trek makes... There is just won winner who deserves this price: The Madone! It is hands down the best bike I've ever seen and ridden.

Of course, it serves a different customer base and this might be the best women's bike Trek offers, but THE BEST BIKE is the Madone.

Bob B said...

Hey Kent, great post. I'm glad Trek is making bikes like this. Our local small town Trek dealer also has had one displayed in the front window. It appears that the crankset is one with non-replaceable rings, is this so? We considered this bike for my wife. We ended up buying a 2010 Raleigh Roadster mixte 1x8. She eventually chose a 70s mixte that I restored over that one, so we sold it.

Johann Rissik said...

Real people. Real bikes.

Nice one Kent.

Kent Peterson said...

Bob B,

Yeah, on bikes at this price level you often see the cranks without removable rings. If you keep an eye on chain wear, it's rare to wear out rings on a bike of this type. Also replacement cranksets with rings often cost less than getting 3 individual chainrings these days. It's not a trend I'm fond of, but it's the way things are now.

Micheal Blue said...

Kent, this looks like a nice utility and/or easy-cruising bike. It suffers from the same sickness many other bikes suffer: fenders that don't offer proper (full) coverage. The front rack looks cute and just large enough for a woman's purse (but not of much use for anything larger). So the bike manages to look relaxed, useful, pleasant-to-look-at, without looking like a utility bike. It should have a chain cover, too.

Pax said...

The uber low seat setting depicted is encouraging for those of us looking for exactly this sort of 'practical-WSD-reintroduce-me-to-cycling' bike -but for someone who is 4'10". Any idea if it'd be worth the (sorry) trek to a dealership?

Kent Peterson said...

Pax,

I think a 4'10"er might fit on the little Allant. A 13" framed Skye (also at your local Trek dealer) is another possibility. As noted Iruru is five feet tall and she doesn't need the seat all the way down.

Ben said...

my trek has been going for 20+ years. excellent condition. hard to argue against trek...

Mr. S. said...

Guessing Iruru is Japanese, not by her appearance, nor by her name, but here in Japan they're taught at school that you have to able to put both feet down flat while sitting, for safety. Hey, at least they all bicycle!

Kent Peterson said...

Mr. S.,

Yes, Iruru is Japanese and grew up in Japan. She told me she rode everywhere there and she was thrilled to find such a nice bike here in the US.

Peter said...

Looks like a great bike for "the rest of us". I'm glad to see manufacturers starting to again make bicycles that the majority of Americans would want to ride.

I've been looking for a vintage 3-speed bike to fix up for my local utility riding as I've gotten old and creaky and am no longer comfortable on my sport/tour bike. But the top-tube version of the Allant looks like a good choice. Not too heavy, upright position, possibly ergonomic hand position, looks good, etc.

Couple of things I'd change - the rear rack looks too short to be really useful. I'd love a 5-speed internal hub. And why the "straight blades" on the fork?

Anonymous said...

I like looking at the Portland most, in Trek's lineup. Do those sell?

Btw, it's interesting to see the positive role bicycles have played in Japan after the tsunami. I haven't read any stories, but bikes appear in so many photographs and video, going where cars couldn't.

Kent Peterson said...

You would think the Portland would sell like hotcakes here, but we actually have a leftover 2010 one that is now 10% off because we want it out being ridden instead of taking up space. We have a 2011 Portland as well. People tend to hesitate to spend $1000+ on a commuter bike. We sell more PDXs, Allants, FXs & high end Madones. People will spend $2000+ for racy, but for practical $400 to $600 bikes are what sell.

Juneann said...

Great story! I must admit, I did say, "You're my bike," when I first gripped the bars of an Allant. I was looking for a bike like this forever and once I made this purchase, I knew exactly why I waited. It rides like a dream. I put a back rack on it and got some panniers for commuting and it's pretty much the most perfect bike ever for a gal like me (and apparently many gals). I haven't been in a heavy rain yet so we'll see how the fenders do. Anyway, bonus: I got a 2011 for $50 under MSRP! Booya! Long live the Allant.

steve crandall said...

I'm very happy to see a few shops realizing there is a market beyond the weekend racers and mountain bike types. For this type of bike I like finding more practical fenders and different racks, but that is a nit as it might increase the price too much and the goal is to get someone on a bike that works well.

The Trek eco series is also nice. Steel frames and a bit of design, the Belleville is good for reasonably flat areas (it only has three speeds) and the Atwood is a nice starting place for adding your preferred fenders and racks. Women love the white tires on the Atwood:-)

Fit is very important if someone is going to use the bike. I wonder how many people get bikes from bkig box stores and just give up because it doesn't work very well? Anyway - Colleen is a very tall friend - well over 6'6. With a 40 inch inseam it is very hard finding anything that fits. She can't afford a bespoke bike and put up with something that was a poor fit. She does some good work encouraging kids to use bikes and garden to be healthy and Trek learned about her and created a custom ride based on the Atwood to fit perfectly. They even did a custom paint job on it to reflect her personality. She loves it and has named it Indigo Blaze.

It is great to see Trek worrying beyond just racers.

Cold Iron said...

Well put, Kent.
The Allant is also a bestseller in Alameda, CA. Most customers, when shopping for a new bike, decide on Allant after a test-ride...so not only is it designed well, priced right, and good-looking, it delivers where it matters most: comfort and handling. As far as what to do with the front rack, well, this is my solution:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cold_iron/4298070717/

dolan said...

Yay for posting this.

My wife loves her Jamis Commuter 3 (very similar) with a front rack and wicker basket on it, and I've heard more than one woman comment that they want a bike "just like that".

More people on bikes is a good thing.

DOaB said...

I recently bought the men's Allant a couple of weeks ago and I have to say it is a sweet ride. I'm an older (47) recreational cyclist just warming up to the idea of commuting by bike. I test rode a few different models and chose the Allant because it met my "must have" requirements nicely: Upright riding position; fenders; rear rack; multiple gears.

Prior to the Allant I was riding a Dutch made Gazelle three speed. It's a great bike and I love it, but I really needed more gearing options.

My only criticism of the Allant was the saddle. I replaced the stock Bontrager with a Brooks B67 and I think it makes an already great looking bike look even better. Not to mention more comfortable to ride (YMMV).

dreamlet said...

Great post! I've test ridden the Allant and I was surprised at how comfortable, easy-riding and cute it is. It really does seem to be a good all-around bike and the price is right. I've recommended it to several friends who are in the market for new bikes. It also seems to be readily available, which is nice.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this - I'm really looking forward to purchasing my Allant!

Anonymous said...

Best bicycle: Montague Bike. Seriously, check em out. Full size folding bikes. Makes my commute a lot more convenient and they're so versatile.

Robin Arnold said...

Hi Kent...Great post. I just bought this bike from a local shop and so far I love it. It was a 2009 model that for some reason they never put together until recently. I am wondering though if the bike is too large for me because of what you said in your post. It is a 17.5 inch frame and I'm around 5'5". So far it feels ok but I haven't rode it a lot yet. Any thoughts on that?

Kent Peterson said...

Hi Robin,

There's actually some pretty good overlap in the Allants sizing and I think you'll be fine on a 17.5.

Here's a funny addenda to the Allant story. Trek is temporarily out of them right now (they should be getting more in next week). When I mentioned this to my wife at dinner she replied "Oh No!" It turns out she's been saving up for one for herself but hadn't told me. So with luck, in a week or so you'll be seeing more posts here about the Allant.

Anonymous said...

I saw my first Allant yesterday..It was on the streets of Sydney, Australia, and I am taking one for a test ride today. I'm so excited to have found a bike that is 100% what I have been searching for, and really pleased to read the glowing reports about the bike. Thanks for your post, Kent :)

Anonymous said...

Yes Kent, you do sell Allants! My old mountain bike was so uncomfortable I had given up riding at all. Then I saw your post, sought out an Allant, bought a 2012 in the new Cork color and immediately gave my old bike away. Trek should give you an award!

Jane said...

Hi, Kent!

I have a few questions. I'm a 5'4" woman. Would a 17.5" mens Allant be okay for me to ride? I haven't actually tried it out, but I'm supposed to meet a seller in a few days. So in your opinion...
1. Can I ride it comfortably with the given logistics?
2. What's a reasonable price for a used but like new 2009 model?
3. Do you have any suggestions as to what I MUST make sure of when trying out the bike concerning stand over height, clearance above the seat, etc...
THANKS SO MUCH!

Kent Peterson said...

Hi Jane,

As it happens I own a 17.5 Men's Allant. I'm 5'6" with a 30" inseam and it's perfect for me. My wife, who is 5'2" fits great on her 15" women's Allant but I just checked and she can clear the top tube on my bike and we could get the seat into a good spot for her but she's more comfortable on her bike. So I think a 17.5 would probably be fine for you.

The main thing to check is if you feel to stretched out. Give it a test ride and you'll figure it out pretty quick.

Price varies a lot with location. Here in the Seattle area damn near anything that rolls and is in good condition is worth at least a couple of hundred bucks. A new Allant is going for $550 but Allants (and Treks in general) hold their value well, so I wouldn't feel bad paying up to $400 for one in great condition.

But no bike is a bargain if it doesn't fit. If you ride it and love it, go for it. If not, hold out for something else.

Finally, search this blog for "Allant" Christine & I have had lots of adventures with our bikes!

Jane said...

Thank you so much! Your fast response is helpful and very much appreciated!

Ergonomics Warehouse said...

Thank you so much! Your fast response is helpful and very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Kent, are you familiar with trek's 7500fx (vintage circa late 1990s?). If so, how does the Allant compare? I ask because I may be in need of a bike soon. I have been riding her bike—which reminds me how sweet a bike trek makes even in these price ranges. As spring approaches, she'll want to ride more and there will be marital conflict brewing. I'd filch her bike but she deserves better than that. :) Maybe she'd like a new Allant for herself in place of the 7500fx.

Kent Peterson said...

Hi Anonymous 4:26AM,

Your Trek 7500FX is kind of an ancestor to various current Trek bikes. Now Trek calls the 7000 series bikes (7100, 7200 etc) Hybrids (700c wheels, shock forks, fairly upright riding position & flat bars). The 7 series FX bikes (7.1FX, 7.2FX etc) are called Sport Fitness bikes and have 700c wheels, no shock forks, a slightly more forward riding position, & flat bars. The FX frame with the addition of fenders, kickstand, rack, sweptback bars, ergo grips & a wider saddle becomes an Allant. So the Allant is really a 7.something fully configured for comfortable urban riding.

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Kent, thanks! The Allant seems like a perfect fit. I'm going down to my trek dealer lbs pronto to check it out. Btw, here is the way I have my wife's 7500fx configured. It's a totally sweet riding machine...for sure.

http://db.tt/6RnkSHmf

Anonymous said...

The lbs had zero of these on the floor! I like to support the lbs abut every time I try, they let me down. :(

EstherP said...

I'm planning on getting a bike, and I've had my eye on this beauty for a while now... the only thing is, none of the retailers near me stock the Allant WSD. I'm new to cycling, so I want to know: how important is it to try out a bike before you buy one? Would you recommend somehow getting to try out an Allant WSD before ordering one, or is it just so great that it's sure to fit me perfectly? I'm about 5'3" so I plan to get the 15" frame.

Kent Peterson said...

Hi EstherP,

I'm a big fan of test riding, but if that's not possible, I wouldn't be worried about ordering in a 15" Allant for you. We try to keep them in stock, but we've had at least a dozen women order them when we've been out and they've wound up happy with their bikes.

If you scan the blog for follow up posts to this one, you'll find a lot about my wife's adventures with her Allant. She's just a bit shorter than you and loves her bike.

Jennifer said...

OK, so I've read a lot about how wonderfully this bike fits a petite woman, but I am the opposite. I am a 6'2" woman with a 37" inseam and I have NEVER seen a women's bike that could fit me (therefore no riding in a skirt). I ride a 17 year old men's Trek 720 that has been fitted for me (more or less), but I am in the market for a new bike. Would this one work? If not, any suggestions> (I am a Trek fan)

Erin Rothchild said...

Hi Kent, another taller gal here..almost 5'11" and overweight by about a 100lbs. Have a lot of tummy. 36 inch inseam, and shorter torso. 53 yrs old and looking for a comfortable girls bike w features for riding in the park and sidewalks and a little on the grass and gravel riding. Sat on a 19"Verve 2 and after MUCH adjustment it was comfortable, but still felt smaller - Also the seat stem smooshed down and did not hold the height adjustment twice. I am about 270. Please share your thoughts w me. Want a Girl BIKE as I have a hip that hurts and would not be comfortable on a guys bicycle at this time. Thank you in advance. My email is erin_rothchild@yahoo.com

Kent Peterson said...

Hi Jennifer & Erin,

Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Given the length of your legs, I think you'd be happiest on the largest Allant WSD, the one with the 20" frame. The Allant handlebars curve back more than the bars on many bikes, which puts the rider in a more upright position. My wife and I find this nicer for riding in traffic. Because of the upright position, the Allant has a wider saddle than the racier bikes and that seems to work well for most folks.

I hope this helps.

Ollie said...

This is a rather old post but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask..how much would a used Trek Allant 15'' be that's about 2 years (I think it's either 2010 or 2009, the olive version) and a bit worn? Anyways, thanks for the post, I found it informative :).

Kent Peterson said...

Hi Ollie,

I still get asked about the olive colored Allants, which some folks (like my wife) prefer to the current cream colored ones, so the demand is still there. If I was going to list one used, I'd probably ask $300 to $400 for it.

Ollie said...

Thanks Kent, for the fast reply :)! I was actually looking to buy - just wasn't sure which range to haggle for - something I'm rather terrible at. I imagine the olive ones would be popular still, considering it would be about 100-200$ less than retail, good deals are always nice.

Darla said...

I prefer the olive color, but wanted the "men's" version, so I have "The Black Pearl. And <3 <3 <3 mine! I put a front rack on it, too, and splurged on the only Rivendell item I can afford: their Sackville front trunk.

Anonymous said...

I know this blog is a couple of years old. But recently my teenage daughter crunched my wife's three-year old Allant. I was looking for a couple of parts and stumbled upon this blog.

I agree with Kent. The Allant may well be Trek's best "real world" bike. My wife was incredibly tired of hunching over on her mountain bike. We rented one of these while on vacation. She was hooked. I bought her one for her birthday. A year later, she surprised me with one.

The Allant harks back to the best of typical old-school European daily-drivers found in France, Switzerland, Holland or Germany. They are durable. They look good. Gearing is great. They are unpretentious. (How many wanna-be racers am I going to see in Tour spandex?) Best of all, they are COMFORTABLE. A three-mile jaunt to the store is easy to want to do on this bike. It handles pavement and gravel bike trails well. If it rains a little, no worries, the fenders stop "skunk stripes."

The olive green was a fabulous choice for the women's bike. It is a timeless color (same with mine in basic black).

Wouldn't mind finding an easily removed set of paniers for it. Any thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks!

I can't count the times people have stopped us and asked where they can get bikes like ours. I hope Trek continues to make the Allant forever. It is a keeper.

Anonymous said...

I am back looking for a bike after years not riding, except in leaner years, with my young son, chasing him on his BMX with an el-cheapo mountain bike.
Riding in Thailand on Thai made women's bikes has been a treat, a few steps up from my "mountain bike" now sold. Looking back at the early years, riding to school on my copper orange metallic "Malvern Star", it was a classic school bike.

Today I test ran the Trek Allant, Verve, Giant Cypress and another, an Estaria (I think).
Well, what an immense surprise and experience!
The Allant won me for the ride. I never imagined riding could be this pleasurable.
Love the features.
Longed for a green bike, and I didn't even know there had been an olive one

In any case, Treks were not available in Australia a while back I heard, but are now.
After dinner and simmering in my brain which bike to choose out of those I rode, the Allant has already created in me cell-memory, and that is Good, very good. Here they sell at $650Au.
I feel happy to have found this bike, and excited, very.

Anonymous said...

What size frame would be a good fit for a 5'2 and 1/2" girl? I'm looking for a hybrid model -- not sure which one.

Kent Peterson said...

Anon,

For an Allant, a 15" frame is the size you're looking for.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your response!

So a 16" wouldn't work? I'm asking because the bike I'm looking at doesn't come in 15". My daughter is going to grow a little -- do you think one can make a 16" work -- leaning to the side at a stop light for example? I know it's not ideal but wanted to get your thoughts.

Also, and maybe I should have said this first -- we tried a 17" Trek -- that was selling retail for 770.00 -- was a 7.1 or 7.2 -- I really don't know much about the Trek line but this was at a bike shop in NYC.

Kent Peterson said...

Different bike models can size quite differently. A 16" might fit your daughter fine. Basically if you can get your butt, feet and hands in the right spots and not be risking injury getting on and off at stops, you're OK.