For those looking for an excuse, a laundry list of potential struggles certainly exists when commuting by bike: weather, reckless drivers, flat tires, the looming fear that your accessories or bike itself will get stolen. Though Trek Bicycles‘ new urban commuter-focused model, Lync, aims to tackle many of the aforementioned issues—and make the ride to and from work (or anywhere) as enjoyable, low-maintenance and safe as possible, reminding riders why they love cycling in the first place.
We recently tested out the feature-filled Lync 5 model (an entry-level version is also available)—which hit bike stores at the end of last month—on the unforgiving streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Lync’s most marketable feature is its weather-resistant integrated LED lighting system. The powerful headlight illuminates the road ahead, making it easy to avoid potholes, gravel and the other unfriendly debris, while two taillights embedded in the rear drop outs (where the back wheel connects to the bike) make your presence known. Though clip-on lights have come a long way in recent years, they still need to be removed after each ride. Built-in lights, on the other hand, eliminate the opportunity for thieves with zero added effort by the rider.
The wires are hidden inside the frame, for a seamless look. Underneath the top tube are two buttons: headlight can be set to low or high mode, while the two tail lights (three lumens each) can be set to on, off or flash. The 550 lumen front light—whose angle is adjustable with a common bike tool—creates a pool of light brighter than the average 200-300 lumens found in popular consumer bike lights, but isn’t overkill (at above 700 lumens, you’d blind oncoming traffic).
In lieu of a self-recharging dynamo hub, a removable and rechargeable (via micro-USB) lithium ion battery pack is docked on the lower end of the down tube, near the bottom bracket. On its brightest mode, the battery will last for at least two hours. While some might argue that this isn’t theft-proof, a Trek Lync-specific battery is probably not as attractive (or recognizable) to thieves as universal bike lights.
“Our mantra is ‘We ride the ride our riders ride.’ That usually starts with interviews with people riding a bike for a specific motivation: fitness, utility or commuting. While the concept of Lync was born from observation around ‘the ride’—in this case, commuting,” Darren Snyder, Product Manager for Trek city bikes, tells CH. “The problem we solved is an age-old one. Through our observation, it was very easy to understand where we could improve this [lighting] experience. The research phase of this project went quickly while the design, prototype and refinement were arguably the longest parts of the process. In its entirety, Lync is the culmination of more than two years of R&D and engineering. ‘The ride’ in the end is the decision-maker. We don’t settle until it is defined by ‘the ride.'”
It’s comforting to know that Trek designs and develops each and every bike at their US headquarters or Netherlands design facility—and manufactures more bikes in the US than any other company. In fact, the Wisconsin company manufactured roughly half of the total 56,000 bikes made in the US last year; though this is still only about 1% of their entire production.
As a bonus, the Lync is compatible with Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. Though it’s somewhat heftier than the sleek single-speeds you’ll likely see ripping by in the bike lane, it makes up for it in stability. Plus, the Lync is still light enough to carry up and down a flight of stairs without a sweat. Ultimately, the Lync made us look forward to hitting the road at night, and solidified our bike as a go-to source of transportation. Night rides—evidently—really let riders experience a city from an entirely new perspective.
The Lync comes in to two models: the Lync 3 ($990) or Lync 5 ($1320). The latter upgrades from mechanical disc brakes to hydraulic, from 1×9 to a 3×9 speed drivetrain and has a custom rack with a U-lock mount. And with multiple frame sizes available, the unisex models are designed to fit most any adult. Visit Trek’s online store locator to find a nearby independent bike shop that can set you up with the Lync.
Images by Nara Shin