Monday, June 18, 2012

Pilen Lyx

Lyx in red and in black. Courtesy: Pilen
The Pilen Lyx, available as a step-through or diamond frame, is about $1,230 at J.C. Lind Bike Co. in Chicago.  It is not sold online.

Pilen Cycles, founded in 1999, develop and assemble their bikes in a family-run factory in Sweden.  According to their website, "a Pilen is a bike for those who need a reliable friend in life that you can always trust. If you cycle to work, to a picnic with your children, or enjoy touring, then we believe Pilen is the best choice for you."

Lyx has become one of Pilen's most popular models.  There have been plenty of reviews to check out:



Lovely Bike


Here are the full specs:

ColorsYou can choose between 4 colours. Black, red, green and blue.
FrameHeight: 56 cm. Chrome molybdenum steel. Powder coated.
ForkChrome molybdenum steel with cast crown.
MudguardsStainless Steel. Black powder coated.
Bearing and Chain WheelThe bearings come from Kinex and require no maintenance. Aluminium crankshafts.
Chain and chain guard108 links. Anti rust processed chain. The chain guard has a layer of Zink before powder coating.
Rear hub
Rear hub alt. 1Shimano zero-gear. Coaster brake.
Rear hub alt. 2SRAM Automatix 2. Coaster brake. Automatic Shift.
Rear hub alt. 3SRAM T3. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
Rear hub alt. 4SRAM P5. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
Rear hub alt. 5SRAM S7. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
Rear hub alt. 6Shimano Nexus Inter 3.Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
Rear hub alt. 7Shimano Nexus Inter 7. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
Rear hub alt. 8Shimano Nexus Inter 8. Rollerbrake or Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
Rear hub alt. 9Shimano Nexus Inter 8 with rollerbrakes. Handlebar Gripshift. Front and rear brakes on handlebar.

Front hubShimano DH-2R35-E-with rollerbrake and hub generator.
Gear shifterHandlebars Grip shift (except Duomatic 2).
TiresSchwalbe Citizen 47-622 with Puncture Protection. For heavy persons (+85) kg, we recommend Schwalbe Big Apple.
Wheel28 inches (47-622) double bottomed aluminium rims, targeted spoke holes, eyelets and strong spokes in stainless steel. The rear wheel have reduced spokes.
SpokesStainless steel 2,36mm. Reduced in the rear wheel.
CarrierStable carrier made of steel tubing with stainless steel clamps. Painted black.
LockABUS high security lock (class 8).
BrakesCoaster brakes or rollerbrake (rear rollerbrakes only on Shimano Nexus Inter-8).
SadelBrooks B66 leather with springs. Available in colors: Black, Brown and Honey.
Front lampBusch & Müller with 2.4 watts H3-lamp. Excellent light for even the darkest road.
Rear lampLED. Automatic light activated by low light and movement. From Spanninga.
ReflexesReflex sides on the tires, in the rear and front lamp and on the basket (ladies model).
BellStainless steel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wald baskets

Wald baskets vary in size and price, and are available both online and at your local bike shop.

Last week I talked about Grant Petersen's new book, Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike.  In his book, Petersen extols the virtues of baskets, writing:

When you're after function and can give up the French country look, forget wicker, rattan, and wood baskets, and get an easy-loading, space-efficient rectangular one made of steel wire.  The best are made by Wald, in Kentucky.  They come chrome-plated or painted black, in enough sizes and styles and mounting methods to satisfy anybody.

I was glad to read this, because I think baskets are among most underappreciated of bike accessories. Racks are great, and I recommend them, but baskets are perfect for holding groceries.  You don't need to remember your panniers or bungee cords.

The advantages of baskets go well beyond grocery shopping.  Baskets are great for holding all kinds of objects, whether you're headed out to play hoops...

... or on your way to a party...

... a basket will come in handy.  It's one the easiest ways to make your bike more useful.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grant Petersen vs. Bicycling Magazine

Grant Petersen, the founder of Rivendell, has long railed against how racing-centric bicycling is in America. For example, in a 2005 interview with Sheldon Brown at Interbike, Petersen ranted:
I think the worst thing that's happening in bicycles these days and it's been happening for years is using racing and competition bicycles to sell bicycles to people who are not going to do that. I mean, it wouldn't happen in cars. You don't see people driving around in cars that people race on the dragstrip or in NASCAR cars but that's the kind of bike that people get on and ride. It's not a practical bike for everyday living....
Now Petersen, whose wonderful writing made collectibles out of old Bridgestone catalogs and Rivendell Readers, has written a book based on this theme: Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike.

This is not going to be a review of his book. Instead, I thought I'd set up a debate between Petersen and the most consistent purveyor of the racing-centric view of bicycling I could think of: Bicycling Magazine.

Bicycling has obliged by publishing an article in its July 2012 issue called Beginners' Guide: A Construction Manual. This is an article on "how to become a cyclist." So what I'm going to do here is take a quote or close paraphrase from Bicycling's "Construction Manual" and then a counterpoint from Petersen's Just Ride. I'll leave it to you to decide who makes more sense.

On bike shorts

Bicycling Magazine: Bike shorts wick sweat and make riding comfortable. A section of padding, called a chamois, is sewn into the seat of the garment to help prevent chafing.

Grant Petersen: The benefits of tight shorts with padded crotches matter only to racers and mega-milers. For anybody else, and for recreational rides, even vigorous ones lasting the better part of a day, a good saddle, smooth-seamed shorts, and standing up now and then are all you need.

On jerseys

BM: Made of lightweight, fast-drying materials that stay cool, this shirt includes back pockets to hold snacks, keys, and other essentials.

GP: If you don't race, loose is better. Loose clothing ventilates better and stays off your skin. Untuck your shirt, so it flaps a little and keeps the air moving around your skin.  

On shoes

BM: Invest in a clipless system, which increases power and efficiency and smooths out pedal strokes by connecting cleats on your shoes to the pedals.

GP: As long as your pedals aren't dinky, any shoe does the job without flexing because the shoe is supported by the pedal. The benefits of pedaling free far outweigh any real or imagined benefits of being locked in.  

On gloves

BM: They prevent blisters and pressure pain from the handlebar and protect your hands in case of a fall.

 GP: I can see gloves (or mittens) in cold weather, but they're far from essential in fair weather.

On helmets

BM: That's your only brain up there. Strap this on to help keep it safe.

GP: Are you safer wearing a helmet and overestimating its protection, or going helmetless and riding more carefully?

On buying bikes

BM: Buy the highest quality bike you can afford. For $500-700, expect entry-level components; a frame made of no-frills steel or aluminum; basic wheels. For $1,000 to 1,500, expect mid or entry level parts; a midquality steel or aluminum frame, maybe with carbon fiber mixed in; lighter, stronger wheels. For $1,500 to 3,000, expect upper-level components; a frame made of some high-quality aluminum or steel or midlevel carbon; lighter wheels.

GP: The lighter bike is good for maybe five years before it breaks or you just don't trust it anymore. The heavier one may easily last twenty or thirty years because it can withstand scratches and minor gouges. The more useful steel bike let's you ride tires up to 38 mm so you can ride it over any paved surface with remarkable comfort, because you can lower the pressure in the wide tires. It fits fenders, so it's a year-round, all-weather bike, not a part of the year, good weather one. A weight difference of a few pounds is hard to get worked up over, especially when the "extra" weight makes the bike better.  

On saddles

 BM: Plan on using a firmer, narrower model common to sportier road bikes that will support your sit bones and muscles. You might initially experience soreness while your rear end acclimates to the seat, but that will subside over a week or two of riding.

 GP: Sitting well behind the pedals keeps you from scooting forward on the saddle and putting more weight on your hands, and lets you apply power sooner when you're pedaling uphills sitting down.