Monday, February 1, 2010

Linus Bikes

Linus makes simple city bikes with 1950s-60s French styling cues. The "bikes as transportation" message on their website makes me smile.
"In most urban cultures bicycles are viewed as legitimate transportation and not merely recreation, but sadly this idea never really caught on in the US. We take numerous little journeys, under 5 miles, as part of our everyday life…. to the store, the pub, to work, etc. Besides the obvious joy of riding a bicycle, these small bicycle trips reduce carbon emissions, congestion, noise pol-lution, and make for a happier, city experience."
The Linus model line-up includes three steel-framed styles in limited sizes that provide an upright riding position. You'll find a mix of 1-speed and three speeds on the Roadster and Dutchi (step through) models. The three speed models come with a rear rack (not shown on photos) and color-matched fenders. The sweetheart of the bunch is the Mixte, which comes only in a 3-speed. I would have liked to see a full chainguard, but the ring-type guard looks pretty sharp (the Dutchi comes with a partial P-shaped guard).

At less than $600 these bikes have a great look for the price, complete with a stem-mounted bell. With some models at sub-$400 I'm sure you're sacrificing some quality somewhere (bottom bracket, brakes, cranks, stem, perhaps?). If I get a chance to visit their shop in Venice I'll post some more about it. If anyone has seen these in the wild we'd like to hear from you.

You can find Linus Bicycles at limited dealers in the US or at their home location in Venice, CA.

Roadster Classic (1-speed):

Roaster Sport (3-speed):
Duchi (3-speed shown):
Mixte (3-speed):


Photo Credit: Mixte photo at top via Calhoun Cycle on Flickr

21 comments:

dreamlet said...

I've test ridden the Dutchi and the Mixte. They're nice bikes but I worry about their longevity. I see a lot of rusted Linus bikes around Venice.

m e l i g r o s a said...

that mixte looks good, wonder if i one day will come across a modern type french-style bike distant cousin to my frenchie :D

Beginner Cycling said...

I really like the looks of the Roadster Sport -- but I wonder how well the ring guard works compared to a more substantial chain guard? Seems to me like any bike with fenders should really have a good chain guard too.

Bridy said...

Unrelated to this particular post but I love this blog and have been flicking through it the last few months dreaming of getting a nice comfortable bike of the likes in this blog but have limited choices in Adelaide, Australia. I have the oppurtunity though to order a bike in the USA and ship it back along with some family-in-law stuff that is being organised in April (I married an American). So I only have a couple of weeks to decide what I'd like and what size to get and I dont have much clue what the best buy would be except that I would like to keep the price low (under $600 perhaps)and I like the look of the KHS Green you mentioned in a January post. Sorry for the long comment but hopefully you can help me. Thanks, Bridy.

Tom said...

Bridy,
If you like the KHS Green, look over the list of bikes listed with the tag 3-speed:
http://bikesfortherestofus.blogspot.com/search/label/3-speed

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the rusted bikes weren't real vintage bikes?

abby said...

Were you ever able to visit the Linus shop? The mixte is darling and appears to be what I'm looking for. I'm in Atlanta, though, where Linus has no distributors, and I hesitate to buy something completely sight-unseen. Also wondering if three gears will suffice for ATL's hills. I've been huffing up them on a single speed for a few years now and am ready for a break!

Tom said...

Abby, I did not get a chance to stop by the Linus Store when I was in Venice.
LGRAB just did an review of the Linus Mixte. See here: http://letsgorideabike.com/blog/2010/09/beautiful-bicycles-linus-mixte/

Rose said...

I bought the Linus Roadster Sport in May from Calhoun Cycle. It rides great and three speeds are enough to get me around Minneapolis (and even on a MN - WI tour!).

The standard seat is pretty awful, so I upgraded almost immediately. Linus does seem to have a problem with their rear wheels. I broke spokes within a month of getting the bike. Linus sent me a new wheel, but that didn't last very long. Linus ended up paying Calhoun Cycle to rebuild my wheel. Since then, no problems. Overall, I really like the bike and get TONS of complements.

By the way, Calhoun Cycle handled the problem really well! I guess the moral of the story is buy the bike from a shop with great customer service.

Anonymous said...

I have fallen in love with these bikes, unfortunately I live in Australia and it doesn't seem possible to buy them here

Anonymous said...

These are nice bikes. There should no worry about their longevity. If you see rusty bikes around Venice, that's most likely because the owner has left them outside for extended periods of time, common thing for beach areas like Venice. Beach plus outdoor storage will rust any bike, Linus or Trek, etc. I am quite the bike geek and have wrenched for 10 years and can say that these Linus bikes are a good value for price and parts and style. I was shopping for a city bike recently and the Linus Roadster was an option. In the end I chose something else only because I wanted more gears, the Linus only come with 3-speeds and I wanted 8.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
What sort of warranty do these bikes come with? Are they manufactured in America?

Thanks,
Olivia

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"I was shopping for a city bike recently and the Linus Roadster was an option. In the end I chose something else only because I wanted more gears, the Linus only come with 3-speeds and I wanted 8."

The Roadster Sport 8 is available - same bike, but with an 8-speed internal hub. Very nice - see it on the linusbike.com site.

Robert said...

I have to echo Rose's experience, unfortunately. I love my Roadster Sport 3-speed in terms of aesthetics and fun-factor but I've had multiple problems with the rear spokes - and my bike is still less than two months old.

About three weeks after buying my bike I noticed it was wobbling considerably. I checked the rear tire and SIX spokes were broken. I took it into my shop (Bikes on Wheels in Toronto) and they replaced the spokes.

Then, another two weeks after that (this weekend) my girlfriend noticed my rear wheel was not spinning in proper alignment. I checked it and sure enough another spoke had broken. I took it into Bikes on Wheels on my lunch break and the mechanic took a look. After tugging on the spokes another one broke! Obviously he said this shouldn't be happening. The shop said they would re-build my rear wheel with new/different spokes that would be more durable.

Like Rose, I'm fortunate I purchased the bike from such a fantastic dealer/shop. However, I'm very disappointed in the poor quality control on these bikes.

Anonymous said...

The Dutchi bicycles are fairly weak efforts that show Americans really do not get the concept of bicycles as a means of transport rather than sport. I rode one and it was OK but several important corners have been cut:

1. No full chain guard. Who decided partial chain guards were an acceptable approach to protecting pants from the chain/gears? "Half-arsed" is the word that comes to mind.

2. No side panels in the back. Those side panels are de rigueur to call a city bike "Dutch". They are very important elements in protecting riders from splashes and dirt.

3. Weak rack. Real Dutch rear racks can support a person, not the paultry 20kg/40lb limit Linus offers.

Anonymous said...

I recently bought a Mixte 8 and totally love it. Very comfortable, so far no problems with the wheels... but I'll pay more attention after reading earlier posts. But I mainly wanted to counter an earlier post about corners that have been cut. I think the chain guard, rear rack and side panels being left out make sense to keep the price down. I seriously looked at true Dutch bikes and if you want more than a 3-speed, you're *always* looking at an investment of at minimum $1500. That is double what I paid for my Linus. 40lbs on my back rack is sufficient, and I got a front rack that allows me to carry more when necessary. The price point is what sold me on the bike in the end. And I'm pleased with the trade offs. What Linus could do is offer these items as upgrades perhaps. Anyway, I'm thrilled with the quality and price --- for a stylish, comfortable and reasonable price.

hjill said...

I wouldn't buy a Linus again. Less than a year and it's got rust everywhere. I was allured by the prospect of a Dutch-style bike that could make it up hills and safely up and down a staircase everyday, two things which didn't seem possible with a 50lb Gazelle. After the bell fell off i was annoyed; then a pedal came loose, the other one chipped, and I replaced the saddle with a Brooks for comfort and bought a few battery-powered lights. Seatpost nut is stripped after only a couple of adjustments. I can't sell it too short tho- it's a nice ride, very comfortable and handles hills well. But the half chaincase = ruined clothing. Lesson: you get what you pay for. After all this I could have bought a Gazelle and kept it parked outside with a few locks, or maybe an Abici which is light enough to carry up and down stairs. The hills, on the other hand... maybe I should just move!

Anonymous said...

My husband wants to get a Linus, but I worry about the reports of rust. I just got a very good condition raleigh sport which is already 40 years old and still going strong. They are a bit heavy, but nowhere near gazelle weight. Can be carried up stairs and such without too much effort. I will upgrade the hub to an 8 speed one.
As for the Linus, I too wonder why they do not have a fully enclosed chaincase? If they are presenting themselves as an all round commuter, then that is key. If one is riding in all weather, the chain is going to get gunked up and rusted canceling out the maintenance free idea. Also the chainguard will not stop your pants from getting gunked up so you still have to put pant straps on. The linus's are expensive enough that they could have installed full chaincases.
Also, the Linus bikes are modeled after french bikes, not dutch tanks, but french bikes would have had strong racks and chaincases as well.

Anonymous said...

I'M a 54 year old male weighing 165 pounds. Add a basket with clothes and lunch and you got a load near 180. I've ridden my Linus Sport for three months but in the last month I broke spokes on three occasions, puncturing the tube in the process. I got very nervous and the shop offered to replace the wheel and spokes for sturdier materials. I will pick up my bike next week, it just can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Overpriced mediocrity.
Specialized Globe, Electra Ticino, Giant Via offer better. So does Kona, all in the same $price

Linus looks nice and clean, but the bike is cheaply built, and priced high.

That said, the ride is still nicer than aluminum. The Electra rides well for aluminum.

The Globe Live is harsh riding, but thats what I ended up buying.

Wish I went with Kona Roundabout , well executed, same price range as Linus.

Anonymous said...

I have the Dutchy 3 and I LOVE IT! I ride it around Portland Oregon for everything. Commute, fun, groceries. It is perfect. And I have never felt the need for more gears. As a matter of fact I don't ever even use the lowest gear. I've been riding it about 20 miles a day for 6 months and it has never needed anything more that air in the tires. As for the rust comments I think Linus took care of that. Their early models skimped on parts and they got lots of complaints. Now they're all upgraded.