Thursday, July 15, 2010

Torker T-530

This isn't your average US-Market bike. It doesn't pretend to be hip and urban. It doesn't evoke any sort of competitive race. Does it have a fancy colored chain? You can't even *see* the chain!
Now outside the US this kind of Bike For The Rest Of Us is a common sight. Internal-hub gears (7), roller brakes, full chainguard, fenders, rack, etc. Torker does things a little differently with the T-530. It has an Aluminum frame, which can be stiff and unforgiving. They make up for it with a suspension fork, suspension seatpost AND fat 700x38 tires. Overkill? Maybe. You could probably sip a coffee while riding it one-handed though.
Specs (from Torker):

15 comments:

2whls3spds said...

NOW your are talkin'

I have the Redline version of this bike, the R530. Mine has been tricked out to make it a fully equipped city bike. I have been very, very pleased with the bike. Torker has some of the best value for the buck bikes on the current market.

Aaron

Dottie said...

Not fancy or hip, but I'd love to see more bikes this this around. The kind that smartly get one from place to place.

Joseph E said...

I almost bought this bike from a (very) local shop a few blocks from my house. The quality appears good, and the bike has everything you could want in a practical city bike, except for built-in generator lights. I eventually decided to go for a Breezer Uptown 8, since that was available on sale for only $200 more, but at list price the Torker t-530 is a great deal. For the majority of people who don't plan a lot of travel at night, this is a flawless design, and a very fair price. I especially like the chaincase and hub brakes, and the geometry is just about perfect for most of The Rest of Us.

Beginner Cycling said...

I've never ridden a bike with roller brakes -- how do they compare to other types of brakes?

Best,
Rob

Tom said...

They're kind of like hand-actuated coaster brakes. Roller brakes are pretty weatherproof and their performance is not affected by water and snow. They require a bit more pressure than rim brakes to stop and they don't leave residue on the wheels. Just like coaster brakes they require infrequent re-greasing and are prone to heat build-up on downhills. The premium Nexus brakes have a cooling ring to combat the heat. There's no weight or performance advantage over disk brakes, they're just cheaper and don't require a special frame tab.

Beginner Cycling said...

Sounds interesting - thanks for the info, Tom!

Best,
Rob

2whls3spds said...

I agree with Joseph E...

Generator lights would be nice. I did add them to my bike, I had to order the hub from WorkCycles in Amsterdam because a roller brake dyno hub was unavailable from Shimano USA (shame on them!) I did upgrade to a larger roller brake on mine. I am a solid 200# and planned on riding the bike loaded with groceries. Total cost including building up a new wheel was close to the $200 extra that Joseph E spent on the Breezer. The main reason I went with the T/R-530 was availability. None of the shops close to me stock Breezer so I could not see one prior to purchasing.

Aaron

Lovely Bicycle! said...

I was considering (an earlier model of?) this bike when I was first shopping for bicycles a year and a half ago. In the end, I decided to go for a steel frame, rather than aluminum+suspension, and I wanted a bike with a more classic look. But this is nonetheless a good commuter bike option, and I am glad it is out there.

2whls3spds said...

The suspension was almost a deal killer for me. But the suspension seat post was gone within less than 24 hours, and a Brooks B68 installed. I have the front suspension on mine locked down pretty stiff. I prefer steel over the aluminum, but it wasn't a deal breaker on this bike.

Long haul tour bike...steel is real.

Aaron

Walkersdad said...

Nice to see some public exposure at last for this bike. I've had one since April and I love it. The shift is flawless, no trouble with the brakes, and I like the upright position of the ride. It is heavy tho, in spite of the aluminum frame....probably a good idea to see one for yourself before you buy.

Joseph E said...

Aaron, glad you managed to get the lights installed. Does the $200 include the cost of a headlight, or just the wheel and build? I priced it as minimum $210 for the hub (S-A dynamo w/ drum brake, $80), wheel rebuild ($50), front and rear lights and wires ($800), but assembly might have cost more, if I couldn't figure it out myself. And I would not have had internal/fender wire routing like the Breezer. A tire dynamoe setup would have been $100, but more of a pain to use.

I think the Torker is a great deal.
Next year they can get rid of that front suspension, to save a pound and a few dollars, and go to 1.75 or 2.0 inch tires instead, which provide more useful suspension

Perhaps they could also offer a higher-end model with a front hub dyanmo and headlight with rear battery-powered light, or a tire sidewall dynamo and headlight at least, for those who want the option. It would probably still be under $700, if they used the Sturmey Archer front hub instead of the rollerbrake, and went with cheap lights.

2whls3spds said...

That $200 included the head light and the roller brake, as well as the Dyno hub. I built my own wheel. If I had paid for a built up wheel it would have run closer to $300. The headlight is a B&M IQ Fly, taillight is a Spanninga Vector, I also have a battery powered version of the Vector. IIRC it was ~$35. I used old cellphone wall charger wire to wire up the generator and lights.

Aaron

Walkersdad said...

Did anyone receive an owner's manual with their T-530? I didn't, and was told by the lbs that there was none packed with the bike.

I ask this because in a comment above about the front suspension someone says, "I have the front suspension on mine locked down pretty stiff." Now that I look at the front suspension I see that there is some kind of adjustment on each side of the fork. I have no idea whether/how I might adjust this to my liking. I have no experience with suspension issues. Any suggestions?

2whls3spds said...

I don't recall if I got a manual with the bike or not. I would contact SBS or Torker and ask.

I am the one that has the fork almost completely locked out. The fork manual doesn't really tell you much.

I have considered finding a steel fork for the bike, but just haven't bothered at this time.

Aaron

Walkersdad said...

Aaron:

Thanks for the link to the fork manual. I'll try some different settings to see if I can tell the difference.

Jim