Thursday, January 15, 2009

Giant Bicycles' SEEK Series


Giant's tag line for this series of bikes is:

Seek is the city-savvy bike styled for go-getters, to match your life on the go.
Well alright, let go! There are three bikes in the series. All feature an aluminum frame and a rigid (that is, non-suspension) steel fork. The top tube slopes in a mountain-bikey fashion, and the flat-ish handlebar and stem will put most riders in an athletic riding position: back/spine at 45-60 degree angle, off the ground, and a modest reach to the bars.
  • Seek 3 is a 24-speed derailer bike with disc brakes front and rear, for about $600.

  • Seek 2 has a 27-speed SRAM drivetrain and Avid Juicy 3 Hydraulic disc brakes - it's about $700.

  • Seek 1 is the bee's knees: it's got the 8-speed Shimano Alfine internal drivetrain in addition to hydraulic disc brakes. You get what you pay for, usually, and you'll pay about $1025 for this bike.
All three bikes come with sensible platform pedals, and have mounts for front and rear racks and fenders. You'll have to work the accessories around the disc brakes - a minor hassle and an the only obvious problem with these bikes, on spec. The aesthetics are clean, colors muted. I was going say these are "Just the facts, Ma'am," bikes, but that sounds a little stodgy - these are "no non-sense" bikes. And each one comes with a bell.


Thanks to the Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop in Denver, CO, for bringing these bikes to my attention. They were clearly impressed, evidenced by their use of the Seek 1 in their rental fleet.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Used Bikes

So far, we've been featuring only the latest models on this blog. Of course, if you're looking for a utilitarian bike, there's a whole other world out there worth exploring -- the world of used bikes.

Many used bikes are quite elegant, and are equipped with baskets, racks, fenders, and chainguards. And, best of all, you can find some really great deals. Therefore, I'm republishing here Gene Portuesi's classic article on buying a used bike (see Sheldon Brown for more from Portuesi's cyclopedia).

Click for big.





What are your favorite bikes from past years?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Batavus Old Dutch


Let's face it: the most utilitarian yet elegant bikes are the ones that are being pedaled everyday as basic transportation in Old World Europe. Just take a look at the blogs Amsterdamize and Copenhagenize. Europeans ride a whole lot more than Americans and they look good while doing it.

As some of us Americans have clamored for more "bikes for the rest of us," companies such as Batavus have tried to market their bikes here. The women's Old Dutch, pictured above, retailed for $829.99 at City Bikes, but it's currently not in stock.

Old Dutch is a 3-speed with an SRAM hub, making it ideal for cruising around a city. It comes with a "theft prevention chip" and a lock, but I would strongly suggest double locking it in underground parking garage. This is a bike that attracts attention.

Specs

Frame: High Tensile Steel (sizes 50-56)
Luggage rack: Steel
Taillight: Manual with battery
Tires: CST Traveller with anti-leakage layer
Bell: Chrome
Crank: Steel, chromium plated
Grips: Batavus comfort
Headlight: Traditional battery-powered
Pedals: Plastic anti-slip
Brakes: Coaster
Lock: Trelock RS420
Carrier Straps
Spokes: Stainless steel
Mudguards: Steel
Stand: Batavus Safety adjustable
Handlebars: Steel, chromium plated
Rims: Stainless steel
Saddle: Selle Royal 8274

Yes, that's a lot of steel. The Old Dutch weighs in at 19.7 kg, or about 44 pounds.

This is, in so many ways, the antithesis of most bikes being marketed to Americans today. Maybe, some day, our bike shops will look like this one visited by Dave Hembrow in the Netherlands. Until then, many of the best "bikes for the rest of us" will come from Europe.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Scattante Emerald City Single Speed


Performance Bike is selling the Scattante Emerald City Single Speed Road Bike for $500 right now. It's hard to find a stylish ride at that price, but this one, with its mustache handlebars with leather grips, certainly qualifies. Unfortunately, the frame does not have rack mounts. It would also be nice to have a chainguard to go with the flat metal fenders.

Scattante sounds Italian, but don't be fooled. Scattante was the house brand for Supergo, which once called itself "America's Largest Cycling Superstore." Supergo has been bought up by the Performance/Nashbar chain.

Specs:

Cassette: 16T Steel

Seatpost: Alloy, 250 x 27.2mm

Stem: Alloy, 26.0mm clamp

Handlebar: Aluminum, 560mm width

Frame: Chromoly

Tires: Kenda K-176, 700 x 28c

Chain: KMC Z410, Steel

Crankset: Lasco Hi-Polish Silver, 46T Alloy w/ Chainguard

Rack Mounts: None

Rims: Alex R500 Alloy, 32H

Front Hub: Formula Alloy w/ Anodized Silver,TH-50\

Rear Hub: Formula Alloy w/ Anodized Silver, TH-51, Flip Flop

Headset: Ritchey 1 1/8”, Steel

Bottom Bracket: Steel Cartridge Sealed

Brakes: Tektro 510A Dual-Pivot Caliper

Levers: Tektro RX1.0 Alloy

Fork: Triple Butted Chromoly

Grips/Tape: Velo

Saddle: Velo VL-1205 w/ Steel Satin rails

Pedals: Wellgo Alloy Platform w/ toe clips and straps