Friday, April 30, 2010

Trek Soho

I was recently at a Trek test-drive event and let me tell you, people love Trek bikes. Unfortunately, there were no Treks that fit the Bikes For The Rest Of Us bill to ride that day. I did spot a very fine-looking Soho in person. All the bits that make the Soho a great commuter are there... internal hub gears, roller brakes, fenders, etc. It has a belt drive instead of a chain as well. Keep in mind that the stem on this bike is of the threadless (non-quill) variety; you can't raise the stem once it's cut, so make sure the bike fits.

The components of the Soho are top notch, but unfortunately the price up there... over $1100. I wish more of these great features trickled down to other bikes in the Trek lineup. I'm not expecting a Gates Drive on every bike, mind you; yet some fenders, roller brakes and chain guards would be nice on some of the mid-priced bikes.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Brodie Section.8

Brodie Bicycles is not a common brand in the US, but according to BikeBikeYYC (Calgary, Alberta) it's a solid bike that sells well in Canadian bike shops. Brodie got their start with mountain bikes, and it shows in their product line-up. The bike that really got my attention was Section.8.

This bike has some really great features out of the box like a double kickstand, rack, and fenders with integrated flaps. You'll find a disk brake on the front and a roller brake with integral cooling disk mated to the Nexus 8 rear hub. The front disk brake should dispel any concerns with the stopping power of roller brakes; however, personally I would like to see a rollerbrake/dynohub combination on the front wheel. The tan leatherette saddle and grips are a classy touch.

I expect a relaxed ride from the Aluminum frame. The steeply-sloping top tube reminds me of an Electra Townie without the crank-forward drawback. Brodie seems to take great pride in their paint jobs as well, offering custom paint on some models.

FRAME6061 Butted Al City Bike
FRONT FORKBrodie Cromo Road
HANDLE BARBrodie City Bend 25.4
BRAKESShim.IM70 Roller / Tek.6" IO Disc
CRANKSTruvativ IsoFlow 38T
PEDALSWellgo Alloy Comfort
HUBSShimano Nexus 8 Spd
CASSETTEShimano Nexus 18t
RIMSShining A-M3 / SS
TIRESKenda Eurotour 42c
SHIFTERSShimano Nexus 8 Spd
SADDLEFreedome Relax Deluxe
S/POSTBrodie 27.2
EXTRASBrodie Fenders / Kickstand / Rack

Friday, April 16, 2010

Novara Transfer from REI

The Transfer is a bike that could easily replace your car for getting to work every day. 

It comes fully loaded and ready for all-weather riding. The dynohub powers the headlight that turns on automatically in the dark (as does the battery taillight). The steel frame has color-matched fenders and sturdy rack. The platform pedals and chain guard allow you to ride it in street clothes as well. The wheels are 26" and come with flat-resistant reflective tires. Even the drivetrain is commute-friendly... a 7-speed IGH.
With the this feature list I would expect a price around $1000, not the $650 that you'll find on it's price tag at REI. This weekend REI members get $130 off, so keep your eye open for 20% off sales throughout the year.

**Correction, tires are Vittoria Randonneur Cross 700x35, so 700c wheels not 26"
Specs (from REI):



ForkChromoly pinpoint
CranksetRPM City single 42t
Bottom bracketShimano Square Taper
ShiftersShimano Nexus 7-speed
Rear cogsShimano 21t
Number of gears7
BrakesTektro linear-pull
Brake leversTektro
RimsWeinmann XTB-26
Front hubJoytech Dynamo
Rear hubShimano Inter-7 Internal
TiresVittoria Randonneur Cross 700x40c
HandlebarKalloy Cozy Comfort
StemAluminum quill
Seat postAluminum microadjustable
SaddleVelo Transfer
PedalsAlloy Platform
ChainKMC HG40

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Batavus in the USA: The BUB

Batavus has been making bicycles in the Netherlands since 1917 and they know a thing or two about making bikes for the city. Dutch bikes are different from the typical Trek Hybrid here in the US. The drivetrain is hidden away behind chaincases and hubs so that they don't rust when left out in the rain. The metal parts are all treated to withstand the weather. Brakes are typically coaster or drum, so that they're not affected by bent or grimy rims. Most have a rack on the back that can hold an extra passenger. Oh, and they are mostly black and all pretty heavy by US standards (40lbs+).

In recent years Batavus has hoped to capture some of the export market by making bikes with wider appeal. Some, like the Breukelen, are Aluminum-framed modern interpretations of the more classic bikes like the Old Dutch. The BUB is a different animal because it doesn't try to look like any bike you've seen before. Oh, and it costs about half of the typical Batavus.

What makes the BUB so special by US standards?
  • It has a cool paperclip-shaped frame that has won the prestigious iF Award
  • Well, if you needed to Google "iF Award" like me then let me just tell you that it makes Aluminum tubing look really good
  • It comes with a wheel lock for dashing into your favorite Kebab place for carryout
  • You can get it with front/rear lights and front/rear racks
  • The tires are big and wide but it's not for beach cruising
  • You sit upright to see over the backs of bent-over fixie riders ahead of you.
  • You're tempted to add reflectors to the bike because of the cool colored plastic bits they offer
  • It costs $600 and it's not made in China
You can get a BUB this spring at your local Batavus Dealer. If you actually have a local dealer with Dutch bikes you are incredibly lucky. So head to your local Clever Cycles, or Renaissance Bicycles or Copenhagen Cyclery or Bikes@Vienna and give a Dutch bike a ride.