BY Sergei Lekoutovich
December 19, 2014, 4:32pm
Built up the Ajax by Spot Brand and went for a quick ride around the block. I am thoroughly impressed. It’s really hard to describe the difference in feel with the belt, but it is distinct and very nice, smooth yet decisive. With the mechanical efficiency of 80something% vs a standard chain being 30something%, you could feel the added power. It’s easy to see why Harley Davidsons use them exclusively. Plus, there’s the fact that they never need oiling, will never tear up your pants, and last 2 – 3 times longer than a chain. This is obviously the way of the future.
The geometry of the frame felt awesome. It felt quick and nimble, yet relaxed at the same time. With a tapered head tube the bike responds incredibly well to torquing up those hills. The hydroformed aluminium frame and carbon fiber fork basically fire you off the line. This is a serious performance vehicle with the comfort and compliance of a cruiser and well thought out mounts for fenders and racks.
The marriage of a belt drive with a Shimano Alfine internal 8 speed gear just seems to have been preordained by Zeus himself. Shift while hammering on the pedals, shift going up hill, shift while standing still. Each throw of my thumb was met with an instant and confident engagement of the internal gearbox.
The braking was similarly crisp and powerful. With Avid’s BB5 mechanical disc brakes, you can stop in any condition. Snow, rain, sleet, men, it doesn’t matter what’s coming down on you. You will stop, reliably and effectively. There’s a reason that cars, motorcycles, mountain bikers all use this technology. It’s simply better in every way.
I don’t know what to say. They look awesome, they ride awesome. I’m stunned. It’s better than I could’ve imagined.
I’ll have the rest of the shipment built up in the next couple days. Check out their website, see what they offer. If you’re curious about redefining your cycling experience, come check them out and go for a test ride.
I have to stop talking now. Wow. Just… Wow.
September 19, 2014, 11:09am
I’ve had my Ajax for about 9 months now and am pretty pleased with it thus far. I use this exclusively for commuting and have made some minor modifications to suit my needs and tastes. I cut about 1/2″ from each end of the handlebar, added a Tubus Vega Evo rack, replaced my grips with Brooks leather, replaced the saddle with a Brooks C17, and finally, I removed the chain/belt guard. It’s been a smooth, comfortable, and surprisingly stylish ride since then. I often get compliments and 2nd or 3rd looks at my bike on the road or even propped up next to my desk in the office so it’s certainly a looker! I do however have a few gripes which may have more to do with the setup from the retailer. As noted by another reviewer, shifting was a bit hit-or-miss if the cable isn’t adjusted perfectly into the rear hub. Luckily, adjustments are as easy as turning a knob on on the gear shifter and once dialed in you’re good until your cables stretch out–after which it’s just another quick turn of the knob. My other issues have to do with the brakes: the front brakes tend to rub when you put weight on the fork so it seems like there is some flex in the carbon fiber. I also find the brake feel a bit rough compared to other disc and rim brakes that I have used in the past.
June 11, 2014, 9:50am
I’ve had my Ajax now for about 6 months. I use it almost exclusively for commuting 2-4x per week — 15kms each way year round in the Pacific NorthWest. I’ve added black plastic front and rear fenders, a rear pannier rack along with front/rear MagicShine lights for fall/winter commuting.
Initial break in required a few adjustments as brake and shifter cables stretched. Would violently bang out of gear when climbing and wouldn’t always shift. Adjusting the Alfine IGH is dead simple and doesn’t require tools. Takes a few minor tweaks to get it perfect, but once set, seems to have held for a few months.
I ended up adding bar ends and new grip tape to add a second hand position — sort of like riding “on the hoods”. IMHO, should be part of the stock package. I think a road bar would be the better setup for this bike as it provides multiple hand positions for commuting. I looked at making that change, but it meant new brakes and levers and had a price tag >$400 — bar ends actually worked out well.
Bike is quick and very responsive. You can really feel the smooth direct power between the pedals, belt and rear wheel — power is instant. I time my commute home using Endomondo, and this bike is every bit as fast as the Norco Cyclocross it replaced. Extremely quiet and maintenance beyond the initial tweaking is close to zero. Gearing for commuting is adequate — particularly the low range for climbing.
I value the IGH’s ability to shift when stopped — get quickly stuck at a light or in traffic, and it’s easy to gear down and get ready to start riding quickly.
The only knock I have against the stock setup is that the high gear (gear 8) isn’t high enough. I am not a go-fast cyclist, but find that on flats or a slight downhill I very quickly outspin the gearing. I have the stock front ring, and would be better served stepping up one size — but that means new belt as well so for now, I live with it.
BY Gregg Oldring
December 9, 2013, 4:43pm
I put some studded tires on and rode my new Ajax home from the bike shop last Friday. Since then, it’s been ridiculously cold. Today my morning commute was -30°C/-22°F. The Ajax was brilliant. Shifting from 1st to second gear, I could really notice the viscosity of the oil in the Alfine hub but other than that, my ride to work was only a minute more of moving time then my mid-summer commute.
BY Miguel Camões
September 30, 2013, 3:30pm
I am a portuguese expat living in Macau, China, and I became now a happy owner of a gorgeous, efficient 2013 Ajax.
I bought it from BlackMountain Sports, a shop in Australia, since there are no stores selling Spot Brand here around. All the process ran through email and after several emails to and from Trevor Bell – a big thanks to him, for all the support and professionalism! – I got my bike delivered at my home in a box.
After assembly, wich was very easy, I spent about one hour just looking at it! All the details are magnificent!
Then the ride:
First thing noticed, the bike is very “feather-like”. More than lightweight, everything is smooth. The touch, the riding, the turnings, the braking… And top of the notch, the driving system. The belt, together with the Alfine, are so soft and silent! It’s really impressive.
I’m using the bike to go to work everyday, but I have already other plans for some longer tours due to its comfort.
Oh! And it’s a head-turner everywhere we go.
As a minor disapointment, I didn’t like to see a sticker in the bottom of the frame saying “Made in Taiwan”. Ok, we know evrything is produced in Asia, but the sticker acts a bit like a surprise punch (like buying a Ferrari and finding a “Made in China” label somewhere…).
Bottom line: this beauty is addictive!
BY Ernie Buenafe
February 19, 2013, 9:33pm
I took my first ride on the Ajax today. The temperature was 5C. The bike rode superbly thanks to the Alfine hub and Gates belt drive. I effortlessly and silently moved through the gears, 5 through 8.
I had chatted with someone at Spot about getting the Ajax. I was pointed to a local distributer in my area and the rest is history. The Ajax is my most anticipated bike purchase ever, due primarily to the Alfine IGH and Gates Belt. These were the two selling points for me. The Alfine has nicely spaced gears and when the ratios are computed for the 46×24 pulley combination, one gets the following gear inches.
1: 27 (equivalent 34×33)
8: 83 (equivalent 50×16)
The low is plenty but the high might not be. I might change out the front pulley to the larger 50T, this means a longer belt as well. The 46T works fine for now.
August 23, 2012, 9:34am
I’ve been commuting about 6 miles each way to work for the past 15 years, and I’ve gone through bunches of cogs and chains, so I’m really excited to have a bike with belt drive and an internal hub. My Spot dealer swapped out the Shimano Alfine 8 that came on the Ajax with a Nuvinci 360n continuously variable hub. Now there is no chain noise and no sound of shifting gears, only the sound of the tires on the road. Black and silent – I call it the Ajax stealth-cycle. I’m looking forward to pedaling home on the cold damp winter days and NOT having to clean a chain and gear cassette.
August 23, 2012, 9:33am
This is a well thought out, near-perfect commuting bike. Carbon-fiber belt is both more impervious to rain than a chain (a big benefit given how much time this bike spends outdoors) and won’t smear grease on your khakis when you find yourself riding in street clothes. Internal gearing is a plus for similar reasons. Geometry is light and comfortable–a real pleasure to ride. Nice appointments like reflectivity in the seat and on the tires means you don’t have to have the bike festooned with reflectors (although I promptly put a rear flasher on mine). Shimano hub has all the gears I need for my 7.5-mile daily commute and switches between them with the smoothness of a derailleur. My one gripe may be kinda ironic given the former gig of Spot’s owner (at Avid), but I kinda wish they made a version of this bike with conventional brakes. The disks stop the bike like nobody’s business, but they are the only part of the bike that makes noise. It’s blissfully silent when you’re in “go” mode. And every person who has ever had an opportunity to comment on it has had the same reaction: “Cool bike!”
March 20, 2012, 3:41pm
This is a really fun bike. I come from a road bike background and appreciate the build & component quality, and road feel of the Ajax. I do like belt drive. It may not on paper have the efficiency of a chain but on the road I can stomp on it and it has a strong pull + the belt definitely has a wtf factor as I go by someone. The bike is basically a silent, responsive, fun street machine.
I got the 2011 model, but asked them to put the straight bars on (these look like they’re standard on the 2012). When I got the Ajax, I ditched the bear paws for MKS toe strap pedals.
Tho they are totally different bikes, my S-Works e5 gets way less road time now.