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.