Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is Your Bike A Bike For The Rest Of Us?

Then tell us about it!

Leave a comment here or on twitter. If you have a pic, you can link to it.

Public Bikes

The founder of Public Bikes says the idea for the company occurred during a trip to Amsterdam in 2002. If you can't visit Amsterdam, but nevertheless want to know what he would find so inspiring, take a virtual trip to Amsterdamize.

Public Bikes has a vision statement that corresponds nicely with our philosophy here at BRFOU:

Our bikes are designed to help make city life a little simpler and a little more fun. Our real mission is to help make our communities more enjoyable. So we see ourselves as a "more livable cities” company. And bikes are a perfect place to start. Bikes make our communities more personal, more vibrant, more civilized, more human and more PUBLIC. That's how we got our name.

Public Bikes offers two basic models: a mixte and a diamond frame.

The mixte, pictured above, is offered as an 8-speed for $1200 or a 3-speed for $900. A bit pricey, but it includes a Shimano Nexus IGH, fenders, chainguard, and rack braze-ons. Here are the specs for the 8-speed mixte:

Weight: 31.7 lbs

Frame: PUBLIC 4130 chromoly steel frame, with fender and rack braze-ons, integrated kickstand bracket

Fork: PUBLIC 4130 chromoly steel fork, with PUBLIC investment cast fork crown, with fender and rack braze-ons

Handlebar: Alloy commuting bar, 25 deg back sweep, 590mm wide, 25mm rise, 25.4mm clamp

Stem: Forged alloy quill stem, 25 degree rise, 25.4mm clamp

Headset: 1" threaded alloy

Grips: PUBLIC triangle grip, 125/90mm, closed end

Freewheel: Shimano 20 tooth cog

Crankset: Alloy crankset, 42 tooth chainring, square taper

Bottom bracket: Square taper BSA English threaded cartridge bottom bracket

Chain: KMC Z410, 1/2" x 1/8"

Pedals: PUBLIC Butterfly alloy platform pedal, with rubber pads, 9/16" axle, ball bearings

Front & rear brake: Alloy dual pivot caliper brake, super long reach (55-73mm), 1-pc pads

Shifter: Shimano Nexus Inter-8 Revoshift twist shifter

Brake levers: Alloy 4 finger caliper brake lever

Saddle: PUBLIC seat, 165mm wide, steel polished rails

Seat post: Alloy 1 bolt, 27.2mm

Seat post clamp: Alloy 1 bolt

Tires: Kenda Kwest, 700x35c, 60TPI, with reflective stripe

Inner tubes: Presta valve

Rims: Alloy deep section, 36 hole, 700c, machined brake surface

Front hub: Alloy, nutted bolt-on axle

Rear hub: Shimano Nexus Inter-8, 8 speed internal geared hub

Spokes: Stainless steel 14G

Chainguard: Alloy chainguard

Kickstand: Alloy center mount

Fenders: Alloy full fender

The diamond frame, pictured above, is available as an 8-speed for $1150, a 3-speed for $850, or a single speed for $600. I like the looks of this orange 3-speed.

Bowery Lane Bicycles Breukelen White 3-Speed

Bowery Lane Bicycles make what the Rivendell folks would call "MUSA" products. Made in the USA. These bikes are made in NYC (with American Steel, they note) in the same factory that cranks out Bikes for The Rest of Us made by Worksman Bicycles. So you'll pay a little more than a Chinese-made bike but you'll sleep better because these bikes were made by well-paid US workers in an environmentally-friendly factory. Although you can have the bikes shipped to your local LBS they were not transported by bunker-fuel-drinking cargo ships across vast oceans.

Bowery Lane Bicycles is adding a fourth model this spring. They took their step-through frame (Breukelen), painted it white and added a three speed IGH (with coaster brake) and front roller brake. The saddle is a more conventional two-spring model as well. I would note that the IGH and front roller brake were likely made in China and shipped across vast oceans, but hey, you can't win them all.

The Good:
  • MUSA
  • Matching painted fenders (better get a mudflap on the front)
  • Cool wooden box
  • Roller/coaster brakes
  • Leather saddle and cork grips
The Bad:
  • Sad mismatched rear rack
  • Black cable housing on a white bike
  • One size fits all
You can find Bowery Lane Bicycles in select locations. Breukelen White 3-speed is $795 shipped.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nirve Euro Sport Commuter Series

Nirve is a brand that makes me think of funky cruisers parked in front of my LBS. To my surprise they have a series of steel-framed bikes with internal hub gears, 700c wheels, leather-look saddles and retro paint jobs. All of the bikes have side-pull rim brakes and some sort of chain guard/ring, but no fenders or racks. The frames are 4130 CroMo with lugs (!) on the top tub and TIG-welded elsewhere (per Nirve specs).

I suspect these bikes are being re-branded and sold elsewhere. Grant saw a similar bike for sale in the UK. If you've seen any of these frames elsewhere, let us know.

Nirve Dealer Locator:

Wilshire - 3-speed with low-profile chain guard ($650), also available in a Mixte
Brookhurst - 7-speed IGH ($750)
Fairfax - 8-speed Shimano Alfine, chain ring and Shimano Dyno Hub with lights ($1000)