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.


Unknown said...

It is purty and has a lot of nifty standards but is missing one I now consider essential - a dynamo-powered light. I'd take the 8 without the matching basket and with a light over the version they have out.

Anonymous said...

I think the Simple 3 has a little darker shade of Aqua the that ugly color that Bianchi insists on using their bikes. At least in the pic here. And agree with Joel, give me a choice of a Black 8.

Lazy Lowrydr

David said...

I can't argue against a dynamo, but I can defend Celeste. But I won't.

Matt said...

I have Pletscher kickstands on three bikes and they're wonderful things, though I paid about $50 each for my most recent 2. Fenders have come into fashion, chainguards may be getting there, but "serious" cyclists remain dismissive of kickstands. Any good utility bike should have one, the more legs the better.

Dynamos are cool too, and the Busch + Muller Retro headlight is both effective and charming.

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Anonymous said...

Is it possible to put a rear rack on the 3-speed model? Does it have the appropriate "braze-ons"? (Not that I know what "braze-on" means, I'm new to this game.)