Above: For 2013, Spot upgraded the brakes to Avid BB5, added a pant guard, and changed the swept-back bars to flat bars. Same price, $1699. As always, Joe Bike’s own Portlandistan Package is available. For $2199 (with the 8-speed hub), we handspin the front wheel to include an Alfine dyno hub, which we wire to Busch & Mueller front and rear dyno lights with capacitors, Axiom Rainrunner or other fenders, Axiom Streamliner rack, and a Portland Design Works or Crane brass bell). Sizes: 42 cm (stepthrough), 49, 52, 55, 57, 60, 62.
The 2013 Spot Ajax 8-speed with CenterTrack is built on the game-changing Acme frameset. It has the same custom Spot Brand aluminum frame, the same carbon fork, and the same patent-pending Kobe dropouts found on the Acme, but with the Shimano Alfine 8-sp internal hub and Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes instead of the Acme’s 11-speed hub and hydraulic disc brakes.
You can order directly through our online store, via email or phone or, of course, by stopping by.
We also offer conversion to an n360 continuously variable hub ($2199), shown below with optional rack and fenders.
Shown below is our own drop-bar version ($1899) 8-speed Ajax with J-Tek bar-end shifter. If you prefer the Versa shifter integrated with the brake levers on drop bars and Avid BB7 disc brakes, then you’re looking at $1999 and we’re watching you looking at that.
And below we have an Ajax with n360, drop bars, Berthoud Rohloff shifter, SON dynamo hub with Busch & Muller lighting, Sykes wood fenders, and an Axiom Streamliner for Disc rack.
The Ajax shares with the Acme such revolutionary design details as the first post-mount carbon fiber fork with dropouts that recognize and compensate for directional braking force of the disc calipers. Simple and elegant, they take secure front wheel engagement up another notch. Post mount brakes reduce the weight, bulk and additional hardware of ISO mount brakes. That means your brakes are directly engaged to the fork, without any bulky hardware. All the dozens of thoughtful engineering details add up to the exceptional ride, performance, comfort and safety that is purpose-built into every bike. All set up for racks, fenders, and water bottle cages.
Only from Joe Bike: the Ajax Portlandistan Package
Aluminum frame, carbon fork
Alfine 8-speed hub
Gates CenterTrack, 50/24
Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes
Alfine dyno hub
Busch & Muller Cyo or Lumotec Lyt Senso Plus (front) or upgrade to the new B&M Luxos B or U (the latter with a handlebar-mounted smart device charger) (additional charge applies for this upgrade).
Busch & Muller Toplight Line Plus with brake light, or other B&M model (rear)
Axiom Streamliner rack (110 lb. capacity; black or brushed aluminum)
Axiom Rainrunner fenders with full reflective stripe
Portland Design Works King of Ding brass bell
Price for this package build: $2199 with flat bars, higher with drop.
Domestic shipping: About $130 via UPS Ground, including insurance.
Australian customers: We offer low-cost, insured shipping to Australia. Please see https://www.priceusa.com.au/order/?mod=order to get a quick shipping quote. You’ll need to enter these typical box dimensions: 133 x 22 x 79 cm, gross weight 17 kg. Bonus: There is no within-US shipping charge for Australian customers, because PriceUSA has an office in Portland.
Wired magazine gave the Ajax a Gear of the Year award in December 2011.
And, in May 2011, Wired.com published the following.
Spot’s Stealth Commuter Breaks the Chain May 1, 2011
By John Bradley
The Spot Ajax is the quietest bike I’ve ever been on. During one test ride, I found myself cutting through a deserted parking lot away from traffic. The only sound the bike made — and this was while pedaling — was the squeak of the tires against the asphalt. If the matte-black Ajax looks stealthy, it’s even more so once you ride it.
Though materials and build play a part in the Ajax’s silent operation, the main reasons are the 8-speed internal hub and belt drive at the heart of the bike’s derailleur-free drivetrain. Single-speed elitists are easy to dismiss. But their off-putting hipsterism is rooted in one undeniable truth: Taking derailleurs out of the picture makes things a whole lot simpler and more reliable.
Of course, taking gears out of the picture can make riding a lot less fun, if not downright miserable for those in hilly areas. Multigeared internal hubs like the Shimano Alfine 8 featured on the Ajax hit the best of both worlds.
All gearing is internal, meaning no derailleurs to break, bend, or fall out of tune. Internal hubs even let you shift gears without pedaling — a godsend for urban commuters who forget to downshift before stopping at red lights.
With the Ajax, Spot takes the simplicity and dependability further by replacing the chain with a belt, like the ones found on automotive engines. In fact, Gates, the maker of Spot’s belt-drive system, is primarily a parts supplier for the auto industry.
The durable belts, made from layers of polyurethane, rubber and carbon-fiber strands, don’t need lubrication, either. So there’s no risk of showing up for work with grease stains on your chinos.
The Ajax’s belt drive uses the new CenterTrack design from Gates. A retaining ridge down the center eliminates any side-to-side slipping.
The Ajax’s distinctive, swoopy looks and great handling are thanks to Spot product manager Sky Yaeger, a veteran bike designer who previously worked for Swobo and Bianchi and created their best-known urban bikes.
Though the Ajax comes spec’d with backswept mustache bars, Yeager gave it a nimble geometry more in line with cyclocross bikes — all the better for darting in and out of traffic. The mustache bars are plenty stable and comfortable, but more aggressive urban riders will want to swap in a road-bike-style drop bar, which would probably be more in line with the frame’s aesthetics, anyway.
The molded aluminum frame is married to a carbon-fiber fork, which mutes a bit of road vibration and helps quiet the rattling typical of most aluminum frames. Stopping power comes from Shimano mechanical disk brakes, which are not as pleasantly plush and modulated as hydraulic discs but they are simpler and less expensive. For city riding, they were all the brake I needed, even on the 28-percent-grade descent that is part of my morning commute.
Tabs and bolt holes molded into the fork allow for direct mounting of the front brake caliper, rather than relying on extra bolts and hardware. Touches like this, plus the butted aluminum frame, keep weight for the entire bike down to a very respectable 26 pounds.
The Ajax comes with mounts for fenders and panniers, both things I would likely add, though they would mar the bike’s stripped-down look.
Not included with the Ajax, however, are reflectors. Not exactly, anyway. Instead of bolting slabs of cheap, unsightly plastic to the wheels, Spot has spec’d the Ajax with WTB tires that have reflective whitewalls. They pop in headlights as well as any standard reflector but disappear in the daylight.
But the most ingenious feature of the bike has to be the rear dropout. Belt drives require precise tension to work correctly. Change a flat on your rear wheel, and you might need to go to a shop familiar with belt drives to get everything working again.
To remedy this, Spot created a new dropout that attaches to the bike on a small pivot. There are two other bolts on the dropout, one for adjusting belt tension and another for locking everything into place. Tension is set at the factory, and the vertical dropout allows the user to remove the rear wheel without ever changing the tension setting.
It might seem like a small thing, but it helps keep the Ajax running smoothly without frequent visits to the bike shop. It’s those small things that make the Ajax such a pleasure to ride.
WIRED Distinctive, urban-inspired looks with anodized, matte-black finish. Almost as quiet in motion as it is standing still. No-lube drive train means no grease on your pants. Carbon belt should outlast a standard chain. Built-in reflectivity on the tires, so no dorky reflectors on the spokes.
TIRED Mustache bars are not for everyone. Relatively narrow platform on the pedals increases risk of foot shooting off the side; most riders, especially those with a wider stance, will want bigger ones. The parts and tech may justify the price, but this is still a lot to pay for a city bike.