Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Koga Miyata LiteAce

Koga-Miyata sells this model as a comfort bike, but I think it would meet all city bike needs. The frame is aluminum, but it's hard to find fault with the rest of the specs. A Nexus 8-speed hub, real leather grips and AXA wheel lock round it out.

Model LiteAce (G)
Segment Comfort
Season 2010
Frame sizes 50-54-57-60-63cm
Frame description Completely hand-built Super Smooth TIG-welded frame. Tubes manufactured in triple-hardened and triple butted 7005 aluminium. Down tube with integrated shifter and brake cables. Equipped with integrated headset, rear carrier and basements for all accessories and unique Koga chain tension system
Front fork Koga Feather JF2-Koga-24 - Lightweigt - Ball bearing guided suspension fork - Travel 35 mm
Head set Tange Seiki ball bearing -Integrated in frame
Color Hazelnut brown/Warm gray//
Handlebar Koga Touring alloy - Lightweight - Silver color
Stem Koga Locusta one bolt adjustable stem
Grips Koga Ergonomic genuine leather
Brake (front) Shimano Rollerbrake BR-IM80
Brake (rear) Shimano Rollerbrake BR-IM80
Shift/Brake lever (r) Shimano Nexus Tap fire with optical gear display
Brakelever (l) Shimano Nexus
Brake cable Stainless steel inner cable -Flexible outer cable with teflon tube for light braking
Shifter cable Stainless steel inner cable -Flexible outer cable with teflon tube for light shifting
Chain KMC Z610HX for smooth shifting and riding
Front Hub Shimano DH-3R30 6V/3,0W - Low rotating friction - Quick Release
Rear Hub Shimano Nexus-8 Premium - 8 internal gears in hub - Premium: High driving efficiency and increased service life
Tyres Schwalbe City Lite 37mm - Puncture Protection - Side reflection
Tube Koga - 36 mm valve
Rims Koga KM19-622 Strong alloy - Double wall and double eyeletted 36 holes - Durable finished - Silver color
Rim tape Hermanns innertube protective
Spokes Sapim stainless - Cold forged reinforced
Saddle Selle Royal Wave - Royal Gel inside - Scuff guards - Koga logo
Seat pillar Satori alloy - Shock absorbing - Safety Clamp construction - Travel 30mm
SeatclampKoga alloy

The Case For Not Owning A Bike

Mayor Fenty at the Capitol Bikeshare kickoff.  Credit: DDOT via Washcycle.
This week the largest bike sharing program in the United States was launched right here in Washington, D.C.  Capital Bikeshare means that there are suddenly 1,100 new bikes in D.C. and Arlington, Va., available at 100 bike stations in D.C. and 14 in Arlington.

1,100 bikes. Credit: Capital Bikeshare

The bikes themselves are 3-speeds with a front basket, internal gear hubs, fenders, chainguards, and headlights and taillights that run whenever you are riding.  Because of the step-through design, the bikes fit just about anyone with a little seat adjustment (they have quick release seat posts).

A Bike For The Rest Of Us.  Credit: Capital Bikeshare

So, in D.C. and Arlington, you no longer need to own a bike to get around by bike (not that there's anything wrong with owning bikes).  This comes at a time when D.C. has more and better bike facilities than ever before, including several area bike co-ops, bicycle-specific traffic signals and more bike lanes - even on America's Main Street - Pennsylvania Avenue. There are also many opportunities for multi-modal transportation.

Regional buses can carry up to 2 bikes on the front.  Bikes can go on Metro before or after rush hour on weekdays and anytime on weekends.  Credit: WMATA

Chatting about bike sharing in front of Zipcar, the car sharing company.  Bike sharing and car sharing go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Credit: twitter
This is the future.  Bikes for all of us.

2017 UPDATE 

Bikeshare took another step forward in September 2017 when a number of companies debuted GPS-tracked smart bikes in Washington, D.C.  These so-called "dockless bikes" are not intended as a replacement for the successful Capital Bikeshare program, but as a supplement. It's hard not to be giddy about supply finally catching up with the demand for bikes for the rest of us.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Case For Owning Multiple Bikes

Ah, the search for "The One."

1892 wedding picture. Courtesy Pikes Peak library.

The One who will make your heart flutter, your insides tingle.  The One who will have you walking around in a dreamy daze. 

The One you will travel the world with, over smooth roads and rough terrain. The One who will be with you when you take in amazingly beautiful vistas. The One who will be with you during your most mundane moments, such as grocery-shopping, hardware store runs, and commuting to work. 

The One, for better and for worse.

Have you found The One?

I thought I had 10 years ago.  She was an Italian-made steel road bike, versatile enough to be my commuter, my century ride, my light tourer, my grocery-hauling do-it-all multipurpose bike (you knew this was about bikes, right?). 

The One.

But time and experience will change a man.

I still believe that steel road bikes make the best all-rounders.  But what if you want to do some fully-loaded touring or bike camping?  Then maybe the Surly Long-Haul Trucker is The One, or if you love vintage bikes maybe a 1980's Miyata 1000.

The 1983 Miyati 1000.  Credit:

What if you want to take in some dirt?  Then you may want wider tire clearance to allow for fatter tires, if not knobbies.  Of course, this point is arguable.  In a 1993 article in Bicycling magazine, Chris Kostman wrote: "I routinely dust every mountain biker I encounter on the trail. And I ride a road bike."  Of course, he is a cocky S-O-B: "More bluntly, a road bike is equal to or better than a mountain bike if ridden with skill like I have."

Grant Petersen pursued the dream of The One during his tenure with Bridgestone.  The result was the XO-1, which he touted as "the most versatile, the most exciting bike we've ever made; and under the legs of a strong, skilled rider, it can do almost anything."

An ad for the XO-1.  Credit:

The XO-1 became the Atlantis when Petersen started Rivendell, but the XO-1 has plenty of other progeny as well, including recent entrants such as the Rawland Sogn and perhaps Surly's soon-to-be released Troll.

The Troll (note to Surly -- please rename). Credit: Surly Blog.

Surly says "the idea behind this sucker is a commuter, tractor, off-roader, tourer, dethmachine."  By the way, Surly is quite serious about the "tractor" part - they're coming out with a trailer for 2011 that they claim can haul 300 pounds of cargo. 

There's nothing wrong with pursuing The One.  But I've found a special joy in owning a bunch of bikes and riding them all frequently.  I currently have five very different bikes: the aforementioned road bike, an XO-2, a mountain bike, a fixie, and a 60-year-old English 3-speed.  I find that I am riding more than ever. 

The 1994 Bridgestone catalog included an article titled "How To Ride A Bike Forever," which recommended owning multiple bikes:

Make your bicycles so different that your experience on one is unlike the other -- a mountain bike and a road bike, a multispeed and a single speed, or a clunker, or a recumbent.  For some people, even different handlebars are enough of a change.  It's worth a try.

How To Ride A Bike Forever - click for big if you want to read the whole thing. Credit:

So there you have it.  It's okay to be with multiple bikes.  And don't worry: they never get jealous.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rawland Sogn

The Rawland Sogn steel frameset, with its signature biplane fork, can easily be built up as a versatile, do-anything bike. Most notably, the wide fork allows for swapping knobbies and road tires and wheels (700C or 650B). You could keep two wheelsets and have two very different bikes using the same frame.

Ready for the road.  Courtesy: Gino Zahnd
Ready for the trail.  Courtesy Gino Zahnd.

And now for some news.

Rawland Cycles recently announced that it will reissue the Sogn after listening cyclists' suggestions for “refinements of this venerable model.” The price is $500 for frameset orders received by October 15, then the price will go up to $600.

For more on the Sogn, check out the Cycling Spokane blog.  If you own a Sogn, leave a comment and let us know how you built it up and whether you're enjoying it.