Found: Tretta 2WD Bicycles – All Wheel Drive Road, Mountain & Cruiser Bikes

Tretta 2WD two wheel drive bicycles

Before I made it to Tretta’s booth, we saw a LOT of people riding them around. Talking with a few of our industry friends, the general consensus was that they, and the idea in general, is interesting, but execution is key. It seems Tretta knows that, which I’ll explain further down. First, a wee bit of history. This isn’t the first all-wheel drive bicycle. Christini took the concept to production with a driveshaft variant that could even work with front suspension…before turning his attention to motocross.

Tretta’s incarnation doesn’t seem to work with suspension, but it offers a different approach to the concept. Using a secondary chain layout, it transfers motion from the rear wheel to the front. But how does it steer, you ask?

Tretta 2WD two wheel drive bicycles

One large/long chain connects from the rear wheel to a smaller cog on the downtube. Colin rode one of these and noted that his jeans got snagged a bit at the left knee, so he had to pedal a bit bow-legged. He mentioned to them and they said they’re looking at a chain cover to make it safer.

Tretta 2WD two wheel drive bicycles

From there, it drives a cog connected to an axle with a universal joint under the dust boot, then down the fork to the front wheel.

Tretta 2WD two wheel drive bicycles

They had plenty of variants on display…like this city/path bike.

Tretta 2WD two wheel drive bicycles

Tretta 2WD two wheel drive bicycles

…and a mountain bike. There was also a beach cruiser with all wheel drive, which makes a bit of sense if you ride through soft sand all frequently. They also had one with studded winter tires, which perhaps makes the most sense if the chains could withstand the elements and seasonal road salt and other crud associated with winter riding.

The bikes are designed in Japan and launched there this year, now they’re trying to expand in the US.

Prices range from $1,000 to $1,600 depending on model. Surprisingly, they’re not as heavy as you might expect. They’re not light, but they won’t crush your soul either. Frames are chromoly steel.

Their reason for being at Interbike? To get rider feedback and see how the concept translates to the North American market. Got ideas? We know you do – keep it clean and leave ‘em in the comments.

Comments

yesplease - 09/17/12 - 11:23pm

Ice? Sure, Sand? Even better. Road? I can’t remember the last time I thought “self, I wish my front wheel was providing traction on this very grippy asphalt so that I could climb faster”

Build a 2wd fat bike that doesnt look like a walmart bike and we might talk. Heck even a decent looking MTB might be fun for….. something but I imagine the feedback won’t be great with these options.

MarkB - 09/17/12 - 11:30pm

Christini beat them to it by more than a couple years in the MTB arena; don’t see a need anywhere else, AWD on the road, even in snow/ice, is overdone, when studded tires do a marvelous job.

I could also see one of those buckling under me (Clydesdale!) in less than three years.

Mark - 09/17/12 - 11:31pm

very interesting solution.

but ah, …what was the problem again?

Bart - 09/17/12 - 11:43pm

If you thought you had a problem getting grease on your leg before!

Xris - 09/17/12 - 11:50pm

They need to make a fatbike version of this. Now.

Jordan - 09/18/12 - 12:30am

Only real reason I could see myself using something like this is Winter. Road bikes don’t need more traction, and I like my Suspension too much on the mtb.

Der_kruscher - 09/18/12 - 12:50am

Someone needs to talk to these folks about how STI levers are supposed to be positioned on handlebars. It’s hard to take a bike company seriously when they can’t even get that right.

Mindless - 09/18/12 - 12:52am

Solution in search of a problem.

guy - 09/18/12 - 1:11am

Well, I just got done lubing up my 4 chains and then my rear disc stopped working. Please tell me that a Slingshot version with an AMP fork and Manitou rear end is coming and I’ll let go of my antiquated rear wheel drive system that’s completely limiting my ability to climb…….trees. I test rode a shaft drive version of this concept back in 2001 and really wondered what the point was. There are studded tires for a reason. Not to mention how weird it felt trying to control power at the front end of the bike in a tight turn. Torque steer on a bike is an issue that needs not be introduced.

... - 09/18/12 - 1:22am

I agree that there’s not much point in AWD on the bikes they’ve chosen to make, but even still the implementation seems odd.
A twist-chain system with 1 chain over rollers would make more sense and have far less maintenance and cost than multiple jackshafts and a universal joint. Take a look at any front wheel drive recumbent to see how that works.

Singletrackroadie - 09/18/12 - 2:32am

Just what I need. More chains to clean.

Loyd flanders - 09/18/12 - 7:26am

Form follows function? Rubbish form, rubbish function….will people give 2wd bikes a rest!!

JR Z - 09/18/12 - 7:35am

@… Tried the single chain approach on a fat-bike. Works… for about 3 feet, then you’re wabbling all over the place trying to keep the bars straight. Single chain driven through a steerable system with castor is constantly trying to shorten itself and steer the bike. Long story short, the u-joint is required. It’d just be better if it was a bolt on system rather than a dedicated frame. I’d buy that for some extreme fatbiking!

mattgvt - 09/18/12 - 8:35am

zero interest from me

Gillis - 09/18/12 - 9:25am

It would be interesting to test this as just a FWD system, that would be the true test to see how well it actually works.

Tobias/Frost - 09/18/12 - 11:18am

Fatbike, fatbike, fatbike!!!

And a cargobike. Here where I ride theres 3 months of ice, slush, snow and a mix of it all on the bikepaths/roads so ive been thinking of a system like this for some time…

Lester Barnwell - 09/18/12 - 12:56pm

Perfect bike for e-riders who never ride, but love to post pictures on the internet’s various cycling forums.

Alex - 09/18/12 - 1:54pm

Off-road maybe a good idea to distribute the torque on really steep or loose climbs (rode a Christini at Interbike in 2000 – kinda neat – my dog still has the Christini-branded nylon/rope frisbee they were giving out), but I honestly can’t remember traction ever being a problem on my road bike. Audi went rally racing in the early 1980s with turbo-charging and full-time all wheel drive because traction in and out of corners and on loose terrain really matters. The significant difference between Audi race engines and humans is about 500 HP vs. about 1 HP… overpowering the drivetrain generally isn’t a problem…

Dr.Unk - 09/18/12 - 2:44pm

Where’s the DI2 version?

timmbers - 09/18/12 - 5:35pm

if memory serves the Christini had an on/off switch.. i rode one way back when the Interbike dirt demo was at Red Rock instead of Bootleg. seemed like a really fun bike and i had always wondered what happened to them.

scott - 09/18/12 - 7:41pm

Why would the use a left drive crank set and keep the chain shorter and away from heel strikes? dumb design!

tom - 09/19/12 - 7:49am

@Scott – then it would have to be a single speed (edited).

Mike N - 09/20/12 - 11:29pm

Christini, yeah, but anyone remember the Legacy Ovation? Do a google image search on that one!

Velobike - 12/17/12 - 4:03am

One for the people who use their bikes to get into interesting places, rather than those who want to be trail park heroes.

Can’t see it having an advantage on the street or armoured trails.

It’ll need a whole new riding style.

I’ll be watching this with interest.

Wonder where I can get one?

John pain - 01/09/13 - 6:08am

Very interesting use of many chains to get drive to front wheel but you would think this would create a lot of unwanted friction ! I made my own 2WD bike years ago but it just used a crankset instead of handlebars with one single chain from crankset to front wheel . With practice you learn how to crank and steer . The idea behind it was to exercise the whole body , not just your legs .

David Cajudo - 10/06/14 - 1:56pm

I’m thinking the same concept for my Optima Baron lowracer Recumbents to be able to tackle hills in So. California.
I had 26×20 wheels, modifications were needed to be able to adapt such mechanisms.
Needs to know if I could buy any kit.

David
Corona, Ca

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