Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trek District

It's hard for D.C. bike bloggers to ignore a bike called "District." (H/T WashCycle). Trek is introducing this single-speed model (MSRP $930)and the 8-speed Soho (MSRP $990) as belt-driven, urban bikes.

Between Trek's belt-driven models and the new shaft-driven models, such as the Biria Newport, there seems to be a chain-free trend emerging. Even CNN is reporting on it.

Belt drives may be cleaner, but are they as efficient and durable as chains? Only time (and miles ridden) will tell.

2009 Specs for The District:

Frame: Alpha Black Aluminum (sizes 50, 54, 56, 58, 60 cm)
Crank: Bontrager Satellite Nebula w/ 55T alloy C-drive belt sprocket
Cassette: C-drive 22T alloy belt sprocket
Saddle: Bontrager Race
Handlebars: Trek Urban
Brakeset: Alloy dual pivot
Wheels: Alloy cartridge bearing hubs; alloy rims
Tires: Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase, 700x25c
Belt drive

So... will we be seeing any Districts in the District?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

kg271, by Madsen Cycles

These won't appeal to everyone, but they're pretty neat:

Bike - Black Bucket
Bike - Black Rack

Here's a new longtail on the scene, and it's got a funny name. The manufacturer, Madsen Cycles, calls it "kg271." I assume that's a reference to its cargo cpacity--but that's a sizable load (almost 600 pounds)--so don't go trying it 'cause I said so, because I did not say so.

  • Hi-tensile steel frame.
  • 8-speed Sram X5 drive parts.
  • One size, they say, fits 5'-0" to 6'-6". This troubles me a bit, but I'm only looking at a picture. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.
  • The "bucket" version has a bench seat with two seatbelts, and bet it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys with two little ones in there. It holds 40 gallons. Of what? I guess they leave that up to you.
  • The rack on the rack-clad version looks pretty stout, and the six equally-spaced horizontal elements suggest a great deal of flexibility. Madsen's website suggests forthcoming accessories to carry a couple of bike on roof-rack style trays; or a couple of passengers; but what excites me most is the potential for a Grill Bike. Imagine slow cooking some short ribs on your way down to the mall on July 4th: "No, no more Powerbars for me. Thanks though."

Bucket Style: $1300. Rack Style: $1100.
Either way, add $100 for shipping to the LBS/IBD of your choice.
Madsen will cover the cost of assembly and tuning--a nice touch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Origin8 Cykel 3speed

[I know that it's standard practice to photograph bicycles from the right side, so as to display the drivetrain components. However, in light of last week's election results, I thought we could "take a turn to the left" for a bit. -David]

This is the Origin8 Cykel. Origin8 is a house brand for J&B Importers, distributor of wide repute and many warehouses. It's a steel framed 3-speed bike with modern styling. I have it on good authority that it's "super-comfortable and fun to ride!" It comes in a step-through (aka "women's" or "girls'") frame also.

Best thing about it: any shop in the country can get you one. Broadway Bike School sells 'em for $500.
In the DC area, Silver Cycles had the standard and step-through models in stock and ready to go.

Pake Urban Six-Speed

Pake, a company previously only for hipster penny-pinchers, now offers a practical town bike.

It's laid back, with 6-speeds, a (black) steel frame and fork, with (black) fenders, (black) chainguard, and a (silver, thankfully) bell. It has removable decals, and a kind of vintage look to it. Best of all, you'll pay
$375 for it at Broadway Bicycle School.
The spec is nothing special, you might as well say, "some parts," but there are some name brand bits here and there, in places that make sense:
• Men's 18" or Ladies 16" step-thru
• Steel frame (black)
• Shimano rear derailleur and freewheel
• Sugino crank
• Shimano Revoshift Twist shifters
• Alloy V-brakes
• Kenda 700x35c tires
• 36h spoke alloy wheels
• Spring saddle-vinyl cover
• Steel fenders (black)
• Plastic chain guard (black)
• Bell (silver, the proper color for a bell, unless it's brass)

The company claims this bike is, "Faster than the Millenium Falcon," but as we all know, that was long long ago, in a galaxy far far away.

Biria Newport 3

The Biria Newport is a chainless, shaft-driven bicycle made by Incline for Biria. The shaft is sealed inside an aluminum case along with an internal hub. According to Biria, "this means exceptional performance without chain grime, corrosion, or gear-grinding -- and no maintenance." It also means no chain grease on your clothes as you ride to work, and no pantleg-caught-in-the-drivetrain hazard.

Biria offers two chainless 3-speeds, the Newport 3 and the Cruz 3. Both can be purchased directly from Biria, for a limited time, with free shipping. The Newport is $360 and the Cruz is $430.

A few specs on the Newport 3:

3-spd Sturmey-Archer internal hub
Alloy frame (men's 17" or 19", ladies' 15")
Puncture-resistant tires (manufacturer not identified)
Suspension seatpost
Alloy wheels, stainless steel spokes

If you have any info about the Newport 3, Cruz 3, or chainless bikes in general, please share in the comments.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2009 Electra

Originally uploaded by cleverchimp
No details on this bike yet, but it looks very promising. The other new Electra designs look equally stylish and useful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Novara Fusion

Novara Fusion. Available on sale at REI for $589.93 (regularly about $700).

Watch the unveiling of the '09 Fusion on video at Bike Hugger.

Some real nice touches: Internal brakes and shifting; dynamo hub powered dual headlight; tailight, fenders, rear rack.


Frame: 6061 Aluminum (Note: It's not clear what frame sizes are available at REI)

Crankset: RPM City Single 46TT

Shifters: Shimano Nexus 8-speed Revo

Brakes: Front and Rear Roller (apparently the '09 model will have disc brakes)

Rear cog: Shimano 21T

Front hub: Shimano Nexus Dynamo

Rear hub: Shimano Nexus 8-speed internal

Rims: Alex ACE 17

Tires: Vittoria Randonneur 700x32

Stem: Kalloy Alloy Adjustable

Handlebar: Kalloy Cozy Comfort

Seat post: Post Moderne Suspension

Saddle: Velo Fast Comfort

Pedals: Alloy Platform

Chain: Shimano IG31

Weight: 34 pounds

Good deal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The "San Jos8," from Harris Cyclery

The San Jose is terrific bike, but if one gear just doesn't do it for you, Harris Cyclery will set it up with Shimano's Nexis 8-speed internally geared hub and shifter. With some lights and fenders, this bike approaches an ideal drop-bar all-rounder. The idea came from Sheldon Brown, which is reason enough to try it: The San Jos8, at Harris Cyclery.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bianchi San Jose

The Bianchi San Jose is a single speed available at Capitol Hill Bikes for $700. They call it a "simple, worry-free, do-it-all" bike.

2008 Specs

Frame: Double-butted CrMo; sizes: 44-49-52-55-58-61
Crankset: Sugino 42T
Chain: KMC Z30
Sprocket: Shimano SF-MX30
Wheels: Alex Solo Track
Tires: WTB All Terrainasaurus 700 x 32C
Brakes: Cane Creek SCX-5

Pretty simple. Add fenders and a rack and call it a day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flying Pigeon

A reader (thanks to Matt) directed me to Flying Pigeon NYC, a local dealer for the terrific bikes of the same name. In this context, both local and terrific are relative terms. Regarding the former, NYC is closer to me than any part of China. Regarding the later, Lance doesn't ride a Flying Pigeon, but it's likely that there are more actively used Flying Pigeons around the world than all other actively used bikes put together, and that makes them terrific in my book.
The Flying Pigeon NYC Blog has pretty pictures of Flying Pigeon bicycles, either with young and beautiful New Yorkers, at popular New York City locations, or both. This is interesting, because Pigeons are not exactly chic outside Gotham.

Pigeons are fairly low tech vehicles, but they are extremely utilitarian. They are designed to get you where you want to go, regardless of weather or time of day, though not especially quickly. The full "spec" really isn't what this bike is about. This is the global Model-T of bikes: generic and reliable. It does come with lots of nice "accessories," but in this case, they're just part of the bike--a Flying Pigeon would be naked without its fenders and chaincase. There's also a stout rear carrier, a functional dynamo light set, and a kickin' double kickstand. The women's (aka step-through) version has nice low clearance, and both versions provide a short reach to the grips and an upright riding position.

A few notes:

  • I won't say these things are heavy, because even a Smart Car weight a lot more, but they're not fun to carry up stairs. Fortunately that isn't much of an issue (see below).
  • You should never, I repeat, you should NEVER wear lycra, or "cycling clothing" while riding a Flying Pigeon. The full chaincase should be a good indication that business attire is welcome on board, as are bell bottoms, and palazzo pants, whatever those are.
  • Aside from the leather saddle, the bike is built to be parked outside. Cover the seat with a plastic bag when you park the bike. If you're riding in the rain, keep it covered and sit right on the bag. If it's sunny, stuff the bag under the seat, so you'll always have it handy. 
  • Parked outside all-day-everyday, it might rust a little. So what? The entire thing is tough steel, and you didn't buy it because of the way it looks, did you? Actually, it appears that Flying Pigeons are something of a fashion accessory for some folks. Whatever floats your boat, but don't ask me to carry it up to your fourth-floor walk-up.
  • Speaking of steel: Many contemporary bikes have aluminium rims which have provide good braking power in wet and dry conditions. When aluminum rims get dented, however, they're pretty much scrap-metal. Steel rims, like those on the Pigeon, get slippery when wet, but if they become dented, can be hammered back into shape. Cool. Just be careful when its wet.
  • I've heard that NYC can be rough for bikes parked outside, but I have little experience in this area. Talk to a local bike shop about security, and take their advice. Definitely don't skimp on the lock. No one ever regretted not having something stolen. If you're not in NYC (e. g. if you're in DC), your Pigeon will be safe with a big honkin' lock--as long as you know how to use it.
  • I just learned that the Flying Pigeon brand has been declared a national treasure of China. Spectacular!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Planet Bike Rack Blinky 5

Hurray for Planet Bike.

I've liked PB for a long time, and now they've done something I've been wanted them to do for a long time: include a rack-mount with a tail-light. It's really a no brainer--if you've got a rear carrier on your bike, then the only good place to put your tail-light is the back of your rack.

The Rack Blinky 5 comes packaged with rack-mount in addition to the seatpost mount. The rack-mount is also available seperately, as it has been in the past. 
Hurray for Planet Bike!

PS for the rest of us:
This seemingly insignificant change makes the lives of your mechanic and your local bike shop's inventory staff just a bit easier, and saves you a few bucks. Both are good for you!

PS for the bikey folks (i.e. not "the rest of us"):
The rack-mount is versatile, too, allowing use of either the vertical (a la Blackburn, et al.) or horizontal (a la European, Planet Bike racks, and most others) two bolt patterns. I've also successfully bolted the mount to fenders made by Planet Bike and SKS.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Xtracycle Radish

If you're looking for a perky radish, you can't go wrong with the one in Henri Rousseau's Pink Candle (see above), but since you're here at Bikes-For-The-Rest-Of-Us, I have to assume these aren't the droids you're looking for.

How about this Radish, from Xtracycle, One-Of-Our-Favorite-Companies-Ever:
The Radish is Xtracycle's latest creation: a full longtail bike that comes in one box, with everything you need to ride in style. I posted about it previously, but there is some new information from the Xtra-folks. They've designed the frame and chosen the components so that riders of various sizes can be comfortably accommodated with only a change of saddle height, so it's a one-size-fits-most arrangement. (If they're as smart as we think they are, they'll spec a bolted seat-post binder, or a wee cable to keep combat the black-market in seat-posts and saddles.)
The Xtra-folks have also disclosed these not-too-specific specifications:
  • Xtracycle-specific steel frame, mated to a matching Free Radical (powder coated, we assume),
  • Steel fork with V-brake in front,
  • Rear disc brake (cable-actuated, we assume),
  • 7 or 8 gears with "insane" range,
  • Swept-back bars and overall laid-back styling,
  • A good all-around component set (with a freehub and stout wheels, we assume),
  • Fat-G street tires (Schwalbe, we prefer; Kenda, we expect), and
  • Loads of standard accessories, including a chainguard, fenders, and the full Xtracycle longtail kit with Freeloader bags and traditional Snap Deck.
Price tag: $1199.
Radishes are almost available. Get on the Radish mailing list by emailing your contact to I did.

Monday, August 4, 2008

SmartBike Comes To DC

Rumor has it that the much anticipated bike sharing program in Washington, DC, is operational! Supre-fantastique! Check it out and report back. Details and locations are here: SmartBike DC.

Photo: Jeff Peel, some rights reserved, CC 2.0

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Catching On

From today's Washington Post:

What's happening is, the American conception of the bicycle-as-toy and the bicycle-as-sports-equipment is being infiltrated by the European notion of the bicycle-as-transportation and the Asian notion of the bicycle-as-cargo-hauler. The idea has dawned that, guess what, contrary to the biker dogma of the 1970s and 1980s, you don't have to break your back with drop-down handlebars and obsess over ever-lighter space-age frames.

Read the whole article.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A couple from Dahon: Curve D3 & Glide P8

Stop, Drop, and Fold
Folding bikes have a bit of a stigma for some hardcore cyclists, but darn if they aren't good for lots of things. Shall we list some? Lets. You can:

There are several companies that make good folding bikes, but if you use US Dollars, and are on any kind of budget, you're as likely as not to end up with a Dahon. I've pictured the Curve D3 and the Glide P8 here, and Dahon's website has all the specs'n'stuff on them and on the company's other models as well. Dahon's goal from the start was to enable people to use bicycles for everyday transportation - to integrate bicycling into their lives - and since the company is celebrating its 25th Annivarsary this year, I thought it would be appropriate to profile the company.
David Hon started the company in 1983, after trying and failing to get established bicycle makers interested in his ideas and designs. Since then, Dahon has produced over three million folding bikes. For 2008, the website lists 24 models available in the US, with varying in features and affordability. From a practical perspective, the affordability element may be Dahon's best feature: the Curve D3 retails for about $400, and it's not at all the least expensive.

In addition to Dahon-branded products, the company designs/builds bikes under contract to other companies, such as Breezer, and licenses its technology to many more. The company claims that over 95% of folding bicycles on the market use at least some Dahon technology. In 2002, Dahon won a lawsuit in Taiwanese criminal court against former employees and their company, Neobike, who were producing inexpensive imitations and infringing on Dahon patents (other leading folding bike companies have had similar problems with intellectual property rights). It doesn't stop there however - the company continues to develop innovative techonology and designs, including the Mu XXV, a 16.5 pound anniversary model.

The models pictured here have been selected based on purely subjective criteria: (a) I saw a Curve D3 the other day, (b) it's red, and that's my favorite color, and (c) I like the curvy frame and practical accessories on the Glide P8. The Curve D3 and Caio P8 (on your left, and the Glide's twin sister) are available at:

Note: the basket pictured on the Glide is not included. Dahon has two bad habits: picturing bikes with non-included accessories and an archaic inventory system and delivery schedule. I have bad habits too, but I'm not going to list them here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Redline 925

Redline 925. Available at City Bikes for $529.99. This is a fixed gear with a flip-flop hub so you can switch over to freewheel.

Redline's slogan for this bike: "Simplify your life and your ride."


Frame: Chromoly double-butted
Crankset: 42T with guard
Cassette: 16T single
Pedals: Alloy track with toe clips
Wheels: Alex ACE 19 32H, nutted
Tires: Kenda 700 x 28
Brake: Tektro dual pivot caliper
Handlebars: Alloy bullhorn
Saddle: Velo
Fenders with mudflaps

Some reviews:

Dirt Rag

Bike Hugger

Steve Block

Something to think about with the 925: what kind of handlebars do you prefer? If you don't like bullhorns, you can always swap them for something else.

Friday, June 13, 2008

IRO Cycle

IRO Cycle makes custom fixed gears and single speeds from their family-run shop in Middleburg, Pennsylvania (they were formerly on Staten Island). They make an "inexpensive bicycle that’s lighter, simpler, quieter, and more elegant -- a thrill to ride and a breeze to maintain."

The great thing about IRO is that you get to design your own bike using the tools on their website. I designed the Rob Roy pictured above and selected some cool extras, such as painted rims. The total cost still came to less than $900. The best way to check out the price and specs is to build the bike using their website. No purchase necessary - you can simply email the picture to yourself or a friend.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Kona Africa Bike

The Most Important Bike in the World, perhaps.
USA $ 349 EUROPE € 345 AFRICA BIKE 3.0
The AfricaBike graces the pages of the June issue of Reader's Digest in a story titled "Four Ways of Looking at a Bicycle" - the best thing on two wheels in Africa, Germany, New York City and Paris. The article explains the importance of the AfricaBike to healthcare workers (and others) in sub- Saharan Africa and how it has become a vital means of transportation. It also features three other bikes in the categories: as a concept, as a memorial and as community property. 

AfricaBike all-star campaigner Christine George reached her goal of raising $10,000 for the BikeTown program with a little help from Virginia Tech honors students. One major campaign donor was the Wytheville, VA Rotary Club who's members ended up giving $2,200! Other major campaign donors included: Patricia Caldwell ($1,000), Dr. Jack Dudley ($600), VT Communication Skills Classes ($600), Ava Howard ($500), Wiley Contracting Co. ($500), Members of the VT WLP Council ($500), and the VT College of Vet. Med. Class of '09 ($400).

Nicely done folks.

Frame sizesOne Size
Frame tubingKona Cromoly
ForkKona P2
CrankarmsProWheel Z005
PedalsXERAMA SP-102
ChainKMC Z410 RB
FreewheelShimano 16t
HandlebarKona Chromoly
StemKona Cruiser
Front hubFormula
Rear hubShimano SG-3C41 DX 3spd coaster Brake
SpokesStainless 14g
TiresKenda SMALL BLOCK 8 w/Thornproof Tubes
RimsRigida Cyber 10
SeatpostHL SP-200
Seat clampKona Clamp
ColorBlack Matt

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Felt Cafe Deluxe

Felt Cafe 8 Deluxe. MSRP: $599.

Felt calls the Cafe 8 Deluxe "a real-world answer to bicycle commuting and any local store runs."


Frame: Butted 6061 Aluminum w/ hydroform top tube.
Rear Derailleur: HG-40 cassette
Crankset: 38T Chainring w/ double guard
Chain: KMC Rustbuster
Wheels: Aluminum Tall Profile Rims
Tires: WTB Pathway 700 x 38c
Saddle: Selle Royal w/ gel-infused double-density foam
Aluminum Handlebar-Mount Cupholder
Rear Carrier
Selle Italia removable clip-on saddle bag
Aluminum fenders
Safety Bell

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kronan Classic 3-Speed

Knonan Classic. Available in the U.S. through Kronan's website for $600 + a $47 flat shipping rate. Kronan's motto: "Fall in love with your bicycle again."

H/T Drunk And In Charge Blog for bringing this bike to our attention.

Also, some sweet pics from Copenhagen Cycle Chic.


Wheels: Miche, aluminum
Rear hub: Shimano 1-spd or 3-spd SRAM T3 Spectro
Chain: KMC 108 links
Crankset: Shimano steel 46T
Pedals: Aluminum spindle
Tires: 50 psi; 26" tubes
Saddle: Cushioned w/ vinyl upholstery
Rear light: Darkness & motion activated. .06 watts. Stainless steel cover & cage
Front light: Front wheel generator - 6 volt, 3 watts
Brakes: Drum brake SRAM T3
Luggage carrier: Painted steel w/ 2 chrome spring clips & pump holder. Pump included!
Bell: Stainless steel w/ Kronan logo
Fenders, chainguard


Monday, May 19, 2008

The KHS Green

The tag line for this bike is, "With the Green it's not about speed, it's about a lifestyle." Sounds good to me. In fact, this bike resembles the basic Dutch bike in several ways: a) it's mostly black, b) it's built for comfort w/ nice high bars, c) it comes with several practical accessories, and d) it appears to have steel crankarms. I'd like to see a dynamo-powered light set, and a little more sweep in the handlebars, but for $300 it looks like a terrific off-the-shelf city bike.

KHS: Green
MSRP: $299(?)

Frame Hi-Ten Classic or Step-thru
Fork Hi-Ten
Headset 1" Treaded
Rims Weinmann ZAC21 silver anodized alloy 700 x 38c
Hubs Shimano 3 speed Nexus Coaster Brake Rear
Tires Staad 700 x 38c
Spokes 14G UCP, 36°
Shifters Shimano 3 speed Nexus Revo Twist
Chain 1/2" x 1/8"
Crankset 3-piece with complete chainguard
Bottom Bracket 3-piece
Cog Shimano
Pedals VP alloy w/steel cage w/boron axle
Seatpost Steel
Saddle Dual Density with Elastomer Springs
Handlebar 4" rise
Stem Alloy w/Tall Quill
Grips Kraton
Brakes Coaster Rear, Hand Brake Front
Color Black
Frame Size 17", 21" Men's and 14", 17" Ladies
Extras Fenders, Alloy Rear Carrier, Kick Stand, Bell and Rear Wheel Lock

Friday, May 16, 2008

Giant Suede

Giant Suede. MSRP $800.

Bike Portland: Discussion of the Shimano coasting gruppo.

2008 Specs:

Frame: ALUXX Aluminum (sizes: regular, large for men; one size for women)
Brakes: Shimano coasting rear coaster brake
Cassette: Shimano 16T
Chain: Shimano coasting
Cranks: Shimano 33T
Rims: Alloy 20/28H
Tires: Multi-surface 26x1.95, w/ slime-filled innertubes
Handlebar: Steel 4" riser
Saddle: Unity Comfort Cruiser
Pedals: Resin/Kraton platform
Front bag
Rear Rack
Rear Panniers

If you have any feedback about Suede, please leave a comment.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Gary Fisher Simple City 8

Simple City 8 M
The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) on this one is $888.88, a little more than "the rest of us" might be willing to spend.
Simple City 8 W
Actually it's $879.99, but still that's quite a chunk of change. Nevertheless, I think this bike belongs here, and is worth the bread. Particularly when you realize that $4.00/gallon is a good deal in many parts of the world.

Part of the reason I dig this bike is the kickin' front basket, with which it appears you could carry a good size chunk of change, or bit of bread, or whatever. I also appreciate a good diagram, and this bike comes with one:
Here is what Mr Fisher's marketing people have to say in conjunction:
1. Firmly mounted front rack with five-point mounting system keeps cargo stable and close to the head tube for flop-free handling
2. Swiss-made double-leg Pfletcher kickstand keeps bike perfectly upright for easy parking and loading
3. Custom alloy chainguard is durable yet lightweight with high level of coverage to keep pants leg free of grease
4. Simple City 8 includes an anti-rotational spring between the downtube and fork to stabilize the front basket while loading gear
5. Low-rider mounts on fork for front rack
6. Full-coverage steel fenders are durable and prevent road spray
7. Front facing dropouts allow for a traditional full-coverage fender on the rear wheel
8. Internally routed cables for a clean look and ease of maintenance
Good work, marketing people. And good work, product designers! 

A few comments from the Bikes-For-The-Rest-Of-Us editorial staff:

I'm pretty sure they spelled the name wrong though. It's Pletscher. (Photo: Rivendell Bicycle Works. Their site is worth a look, lots of good advice. I think so anyway, though others might disagree.)

Chainguards are making a comeback, and my pants are pleased about that. This bike's chainguard has style, too, and that's a nice touch. I think I'm still going to roll up my right cuff, but just so that everyone knows I'm a bike nerd. If you're not a bike nerd and don't want to look like one, or if you are and want to travel in cognito, well, now's your chance.

Item 4 on the list. I don't know exactly how they rigged this bit, but it sounds like a good idea. It sounds like the kind of good idea that old French paperboy-bikes might have employed (these Porteurs are responsible for the current front-rack-chic you see in glossy pictures from Portland, OR). I'll report back after I have a test ride.
Item 7 on the list, because someone would otherwise complain that the bike doesn't have rear-facing dropouts (from which it is extremely difficult to "drop out").

Item 8 on the list, because, as has been said before, "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing, it's what you're doing when you look like you're doing what you're doing." That is to say, this bike has some style, and it's style mostly of a functional sort, which is good. Here's my one gripe:

The yellowish-cream color, Fisher calls it "gloss sand," seems to me a little too close to the maybe-not-quite-proprietary-enough "Kustard" color used by a small brand called Kogswell. And while there may not be any royalties owed, there is a debt, and it's unlikely that Mr Fisher or his parent, A. M. Trek, will ever acknowledge or pay this debt. But we all know it's there. (For the record, the reason Kogswell is important is that it played a large part in the rediscovery, if you will, of the french Porteurs. I have little doubt that they would have come back without Kogswell, 'cause of the general Bicycle-Zeitgeist, but lets give credit where it is due, please.)

I think this bike looks better in black anyway. The 3-speed version of this bike, which lacks some of the standard accessories, comes in black. It looks cool, in an old-French-bike kind of way. And it's good looking. Really, really, really good looking.

Simple City 3 M
The Simple City 3, MSRP: $549.99 (wouldn't $555.55 be more fun?)

For the sake of Gender Equity, and because step-through frames are way cooler than they're given credit for, here is the step-through version of the Simple City 3:

Simple City 3 W
Hmm. I just noticed that this color is also familiar. This color, which Fisher calls "gloss aqua," is also known as Celeste. Celeste is the traditional color associated with the legendary Italian brand Bianchi. Hmm, what's up, Gary?

I have to say that I loved the Electra Amsterdam bike in white, and although it's a little hard to see the step-through Simple City 8's white frame against the white background, but I suspect that on the road, it is a right-fine-lookin' machine. Blame Fisher's marketeers for the gafaw.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Raddish

Image: Derek Pearson,

Now, I dunno when this bike will be available, but it's always fun to have a sneak-peak at something cool, and practical (my own bias).
It's a frameset/bike that was designed by or for Xtracycle, and it will be sold, I gather, by Xtracycle. It's called the Raddish, and it looks real nice. 
Bikes?Rubbish! has an unofficial review, but since he's actually working for Xtracycle, I guess it's not really unofficial. Interesting product launch strategy.
Well, X-folks, we're ready and waiting...

Giant Simple Seven

Giant Simple Seven. Available at Alfred E. Bike for $300.

2008 Specs:

Size: One size fits most
Color: Candy red (M/W); black (M); pearl white (W)
Shifters: Shimano Revo 7-spd (also avail. as single speed)
RD: Shimano Tourney MegaRange
Brakes: Alloy Direct Pull w/ power control
Cassette: Shimano 13-34T, Mega Range
Chain: KMC Z51
Cranks: Giant Alloy 3-piece, 46T
Rims: Alloy 36H
Hubs: Fr. Alloy nutted; Rear: Alloy nutted freewheel
Tires: RoadStar Cruiser 26x2.125"
Handlebar: Steel cruiser
Saddle: Unity Comfort Cruiser w/ memory foam
Pedals: Resin/Kraton Comfort Platform

If you have any feedback about the Simple Seven, please leave a comment.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Basil Bags & Baskets

Holy cow, what's this? No bike?

Well, it's a Bike Accessory For The Rest Of Us.

Basil is a Dutch company that was started and is still owned by a family that has been in the bike biz for at least four generations. As you can see, they've taken some traditional and practical designs and updated them with 21st Century style and technology.
Even the swanky bag below attaches neatly to a rear carrier.

Best of all, they're now available at local bike shops across the US. If your local shop doesn't know what you're talking about, tell them that Seattle Bike Supply is the US distributor. If they still don't know what you're talking about, find a new shop.

Redline R530

European Sophistication and Practicality
Lightweight 6061 aluminum frame that is specially designed for utilitarian use. Shock absorbing Suntour front fork with 50mm of travel. Quiet, “maintenance free,” easy shifting Shimano Nexus 7 speed drive train & highly efficient roller brakes. Easy fit handlebars & stem adjust for comfortable upright riding positions. Sturdy aluminum double wall rims with stainless steel spokes, with flat resistant tubes for trouble free adventure. Comes fully dressed with fenders, rear cargo carrier, full chainguard, & shockabsorbing seatpost. Available in a step thru & 4 diamond style frame sizes (S-XL).
FRAME - 6061 alloy 130mm spacing
FORK - SR Suntour 50mm
HEADSET - Tange threaded 28.6mm
F.DERAIL - none!
R.DERAIL - none!
SHIFTERS - Shimano Nexus 7
CRANKSET - Alloy 38T
BB - Square taper
PEDALS - Alloy comfort
WHEELSET - Alloy double wall rim , alloy nutted hubs, 14 gauge stainless spokes
TIRES - Kenda 700 x 38
BRAKE - Shimano Nexus Roller
BRAKE LVR - Tektro
BAR - Alloy 55mm rise
STEM - Alloy adjustable
SADDLE - Comfort
POST - Alloy comfort suspension 27.2mm

EXTRAS - fenders, rear cargo carrier, full chainguard
David's comments:

This is a good looking and practical machine. Although it's a bit more expensive, internal hub gearing is really the way to go for urban utility: you can shift while waiting at a stoplight, and use a full chaincase (which Redline has wisely provided), saving your pants or skirt. In addition to the other useful accessories that come standard, this bike has nice high handlebars for a casual posture and good traffic spotting, and the step-through version has a nice deep scoop. 

The bike does have two design flaws. First, the quick-release seat collar is a terrific way to get your seat stolen. It's easy to switch the quick-release collar for a regular bolt-on collar (you may be able to replace just the bolt itself). Second, and not as easily fixed, is the suspension fork. This thing is heavy, detracts from the handling of the bike, and probably isn't absorbing much in the way of shock or vibration (most of that is done by the tires, properly inflated).

Now get some lights, and a Basil bag or basket, and you're all set. Make sure you get a taillight that can be mounted on the back of the rack where it will be much more visible than if mounted on the seatpost or elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bianchi Milano Parco

Milano Parco by Bianchi. Available at Capitol Hill Bikes for $450.

Review by Coffee Joe, a commenter at Commute By Bike.

2008 Specs:

Frame: Bianchi 26" Milano City Aluminum (Sizes: 16.5, 18.5, 20, 22")
Colors: Celeste
Crankset: Prowheel PI-244A alloy with steel ring 44T
Chain: KMC Z610H
Cog: Shimano 20T
Front hub: Joytech JY-761DSE alloy 36h
Rear hub: Shimano Nexus SG-3R40 3-spd 36h
Rims: Alex ACE19 alloy 36h
Tires: Kenda K-193 26"x1.5
Handlebar: Kalloy SP-359 alloy 27.2 mm
Saddle: Velo VLG-519AD2 double density
Brakes: Lee-chi XL96 alloy
Pedals: Pistal type steel
Chainguard: Plastic SP-45C painted
Mudguards: Yuen I YCA-5M alloy tubular

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yuba Mundo

The Mundo Utility Bicycle byYuba is available in the US from Rock The Bike, for $799, plus $59 shipping. A review is forthcoming in Velovision, March 2008, and several other press bits & testimonials are available on the Yuba and Rock The Bike websites.
From Rock The Bike:
A simple, rugged, ready-to-ride utility bike.
The Mundo is a long-wheelbase bike with stout cargo racks.
Its one-piece frame fits a wide variety of riders, from approximately 5' to over 6'. The slack seat angle and upright bars put you in a relaxed, upright position in traffic. But while you may not be particularly 'aero' on the Mundo, you can carry heavy, awkward, and bulky loads with ease. Using tension straps to secure boxes, and the soon-to-be-available extra large Ortlieb panniers for smaller items, you'll find the Mundo to a versatile and cheerful companion to your bicycle lifestyle.
Shipping costs are only $59 to the continental US for this heavy duty utility bicycle, despite it's long wheelbase.
The Mundo doesn't come with many name brand parts. But its German designers have spec'ed quality wheels, including the standard 48-spoke rear wheel with oversized axle. When you start carrying heavy loads on a long-wheelbase bicycle you'll quickly come to appreciate the value of a strong rear wheel. The Mundo comes with oversized semi-slick city tires, providing a stable, smooth ride.
We encourage our customers to shop around and investigate their options for utility bicycles. The Mundo stands out by offering exceptional value and simplicity.
FAQ Press & Testimonials Features & Options Related Posts

From Yuba's website:
Full Spec:
  • Frame tubing -- Hi-ten steel, integrated cargo/passenger racks, and braze-ons for fenders, a dynamo headlight, and a standard tail light
  • Fork -- Cruiser fork D type (threaded steerer)
  • Headset -- OEM Threaded Headset 1 1/8" Steel
  • Crankset -- FC 170/38t Chainring
  • Chain -- Chain UG51 116 Links
  • Freewheel -- Shimano 6-speed G 14-28T
  • Rear Derailleur -- R/D 6 speed
  • Shifters -- Revo-Shift
  • Brakes -- OEM V-Brake black
  • Brakes Lever -- OEM V-Brake alloy
  • Rims -- OEM Rim 559-21 Alu
  • Rear Wheel -- Reinforced 48 Spokes (2.34mm)
  • Pedals -- Pedal city/Trk 2K Alu
  • Tires -- Type cruiser K-1008
  • Tubes -- Thorn resistant tube
  • Color -- Red or Blue
  • Size -- One size fits all

Monday, March 31, 2008

Jamis Commuter 4.0

Jamis Commuter 4.0. Available at City Bikes for $869.

Review at City Bikes Blog

2008 Specs:

Frame: 6061 aluminum triple gauge main tubes and stays, sloping design, chainstay disc brake mount, rack/fender mounts, replaceable derailleur hanger, FutureForm polycarbonate fenders. (Sizes: M: 14.5” 16.5” 18.5” 20.5” 22” W: 14.5”, 17.5” )
Color: Cream
Wheels: Weinmann SPHYNX double wall disc rims with eyelets 700c, 36H.
Hubs: Shimano Alfine Inter-8 CenterLock disc rear, Shimano M495 CenterLock disc front.
Tires: Kenda Kwest street tires, 700 x 32c, with K-Shield puncture protection and 3M reflective safety stripe.
RD: Shimano CT-S500 chain tensioner.
FD: Shimano R440.
Chain: KMC Z-9000
Freewheel: Shimano 18T
Crankset: FSA Vero Compact Double, 48/34 with Chainguard, 170mm, (14.5-18.5”)
175mm, (20.5-22”)
Pedals: Full alloy City/Cross, toe clip compatible
Brakes: Shimano Mechanical Disc Brake, BR-M415, 160mm (6”) CenterLock rotors with Tektro Levers
Handlebars: Classic swept-back, 10° rise x 540mm wide, Alloy
Seatpost: Suspension with alloy pillar, 350mm x 27.2mm, with alloy QR clamp
Saddle: Jamis Comfort with synthetic suede top, burnished sides, steel rails, memory foam and bumper springs
Weight: 30.5 lbs

If you have any feedback on the Jamis Commuter 4.0, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pashley Roadster Classic

Pashley Roadster Classic. Available at Velorution in London for £495.00 (that's about $989).

Pashley has been making quality bikes for 80 years. For more on Pashley's 80th anniversary, check out:

Jim Langley

2008 Specs

Frame: Lugged and brazed (sizes: 20.5", 22.5" & 24.5)
Color: Buckingham Black
Gears: Sturmey Archer 3-spd hub gears
Wheels: 28" w/ black rims
Brakes: Sturmey Archer hub brakes
Pedals: Alloy non-slip
Saddle: Black Brooks B-33
Steel rear carrier w/ fold-down wheel stand
Ding dong bell
Coat guards

If you have any feedback on the Pashley Roadster Classic, please leave a comment.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pashley Guv'nor

Pashley Guv'nor. Available at Cycle Sense in North Yorkshire for £795.00 (that's about $1,574).

Pashley has been making quality bikes for 80 years. This model is apparently based on one that Pashley built in the 1930's.

I didn't find any reviews, but the Guv'nor did produce some internet buzz:

Jim Langley

Bike Radar

2007 Specs

Frame: Reynolds 531 lugged and brazed (sizes: 20.5" & 22.5")
Color: Buckingham Black
Gears: Sturmey Archer Single Speed
Wheels: 28" w/ gold piped black rims
Brakes: Sturmey Archer hub brakes
Pedals: Alloy non-slip
Saddle: Brooks B-17
Tires: Schawlbe Delta Cruiser

If you have any feedback on the Pashley Guv'nor, please leave a comment.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Swobo Sanchez

Swobo Sanchez. Available at Bike Rack with front brake for $625.

There's a lot online about the Sanchez and Swobo generally:

Bike Evangelist on Swobo's Street Bikes.

More about Swobo:

Mtbr: The Swobo Story.

Crooked Cog podcast: An interview with Swobo's Tim Parr.

2008 Specs:

Frame: Butted CroMo (sizes: 46, 50, 53, 55, 57, 60, 62 cm)
Color: Galvanized
Handlebar: Alloy, 30mm rise
Brakes: Not included
Crankset: Truvativ Touro, 48T
Chain: KMC, white
Fixed Cog: 16T
Hubs: Swobo high flange, nutted and flip-flop
Rims: Alex 28 hole
Tires: Continental UltraSport, 700 x 23c
Saddle: Swobo, w/ custom bottle opener
Pedals: Wellgo, 1-piece resin
No Rack & fender eyelets

If you have any feedback on the Swobo Sanchez, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Swobo Folsom

Swobo Folsom. This 1-speed coaster bike is available at Bike Rack for $450.

There's a lot online about Folsom and Swobo generally:

Cool Hunting Review and interview with Swobo's Tim Parr.

More about Swobo:

Mtbr: The Swobo Story.

Crooked Cog podcast: An interview with Swobo's Tim Parr.

2008 Specs:

Frame: 7005 butted aluminum (sizes: 16, 20")
Color: Matte Gray
Handlebar: Alloy, 4" rise
Brakes: Shimano coaster rear
Crankset: Truvativ Isoflow, 42T w/ CNC alloy guard
Chain: KMC
Cassette: Shimano 18T
Hubs: Shimano coaster rear; Swobo fr. nutted (not Q/R)
Rims: Alex 36 hole
Tires: Kenda K-RAD, 26 x 1.95
Saddle: Swobo, w/ custom bottle opener
Pedals: Wellgo, 1-piece aluminum body
Rack & fender eyelets (fenders/rack not included)

If you have any feedback on the Swobo Folsom, please leave a comment.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Swobo Otis

Swobo Otis. Available at Bike Rack for $650.

There's a lot online about this bike and Swobo generally:

Competitive Cyclist - a well-written review.

Dirt Rag Magazine's review.

Bicycling Magazine: Otis makes its "commute in style" feature.

More about Swobo:

Mtbr: The Swobo Story.

Crooked Cog podcast: An interview with Swobo's Tim Parr.

2008 Specs:

Frame: 7005 butted aluminum (sizes: 16, 18, 20, 22", 16.5" step-through)
Color: Matte Black
Handlebar: Alloy, 30mm rise
Brakes: SRAM iMotion coaster rear; Avid BB5 mechanical disc front
Crankset: Truvativ Isoflow, 38T w/ CNC alloy guard
Chain: KMC
Cassette: SRAM 19T
Hubs: SRAM iMotion 3 rear; Swobo fr. w/ locking Q/R
Rims: Alex 36 hole
Tires: Kenda Kwest, 26 x 1.5, puncture resistant
Shifters: SRAM iMotion 3-speed twist shifter
Saddle: Swobo, w/ custom bottle opener
Pedals: Wellgo, 1-piece aluminum body
Rack & fender eyelets (fenders apparently not included, although the step-through version is pictured w/ fenders)

If you have any feedback on the Swobo Otis, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Raleigh Detour Deluxe

Raleigh Detour Deluxe. Available at Agoura Cycles, Agoura Hills, California, for $ 710.

Preview at Commute By Bike.

Loads of pics at the Raleigh Bike Blog.

2008 Specs:

Frame: Atomic 13 Aluminum Hybrid (sizes: 15, 17, 19, 21, 23)
Crankset: Shimano TX-71: 28-38-48
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore
Brakes: Shimano M465 mechanical disc 6" rotors
Cog set: SRAM PG830 (11-32T) 8-spd
Rims: Weinmann XTB-26 Double Wall
Tires: Kenda K1053 w/ K shield & reflective sides, 700 x 35c
Pedals: 1 piece alloy body & cage
Handlebar: Alloy riser
Saddle: Avenir Comfy Road
Colors: Brown
Chain: KMC Z82
Hubset: Dynamo DH3D Dynamo Disc QR 36h (front); Shimano M475 Disc QR 36H (rear)
Lights: Basta Pilot front & rear w/ auto on/off
Bottle cage mounts
Rack (standard)

If you have any feedback about the Raleigh Deluxe Detour, please leave a comment.