By Joseph E
Giant Via 1 W (2011). Widely available, for about $550.
Giant has become, well, a giant among bike manufacturers. According to rumor, their Taiwanese factories also produce many frames and parts used by other brands. They got their start in the North American market making bikes on contract for Schwinn. Later, Giant decided to market it's own bikes, and has had a great deal of success in mountain, road and "hybrid" bikes.
In the last few years, Giant has also offered a few bikes more suitable for the rest of us, such as the Simple Seven and Seek 1 previously featured here. But until now Giant had not offered an upright ride with swept-back handlebars, internal hub gears, fenders and chainguard (all of which were standard on the old Schwinns, of course). Now comes the Via, which has all of these features, plus classic styling, with thin crome-moly steel tubing, curvy Mixte-style lateral stays (even on the "men's" diamond-frame model), and an elegant front basket or rear rack.
Thanks to Taiwanese mass production, all this can be yours for under $550 with a Shimano Nexus 3-speed, or less than $500 with a SRAM derailler and 8 speed cassette. Giant has dealers in most cities, who can easily order these bikes (but good luck on finding one to test-ride).
It's a shame Giant does not offer a version of this bike with a 7-speed nexus hub, or a option to have both the front basket and rear rack installed. The chainguard may be too minimalist to fully protect your pants. But if an 8-speed derailleur or 3-speed hub, and retro steel Mixte styling are what your are looking for, this bike will be nearly as cheap as upgrading a vintage mixte, and much easier to order at your local bike shop.
|Via 1 (Men's)|
|Sizes||Mens: S(17), M(19), L(21), XL(23) Womens: XS(14), S(16), M(18)|
|Color||Mens: Steel Silver/Chrome; Womens: White/Light Green|
|Frame||4130 Butted CroMo Steel|
|Fork||4130 Butted CroMo Steel|
|Handlebar||Alloy, Mid Rise & Sweep, 25.4|
|Pedals||Alloy/Kraton Comfort Platform (Men or Women's specific)|
|Shifters||Shimano Revo, Twist|
|Brakes||Alloy, Dual Pivot|
|Brake Levers||Alloy, Full Finger|
|Cassette||Shimano 20T, 3-Speed Internal|
|Chain||KMC Z410RB 1/2 x 1/8, Rustproof|
|Crankset||Alloy 3-Piece, 44T|
|Bottom Bracket||Sealed Cartridge|
|Rims||Alloy, Double Wall|
|Hubs||[F] Alloy, [R] Shimano Nexus 3-Speed Internal, 32h|
|Tires||Kenda Kwest w/ K-Shield, 700x32 [With puncture protection]|
|"Extras"||Custom Alloy Rear Rack (Men's) or Front Basket with flower stem holder (Women's), Frame Mounted U-Lock Carrier, Fenders, Chainguard, Kickstand|
|SIZE||HEAD ANGLE||SEAT ANGLE||TOP TUBE||HEAD TUBE||CHAIN STAY||WHEEL BASE||STANDOVER HEIGHT|
|Via 1 W (women's step-thru)|
This bike is just now available for sale, but if anyone owns one or has taken a test ride, please leave a comment.