Friday, November 12, 2010

PUBLIC Bikes - Metro and Citizen


PUBLIC, known for steel mixte bikes with 8-speed internal hubs for $890 (or 3 speeds for $750), plus shipping, has now come out with a pair of recession-priced city bikes. They have almost all the features of their pricier siblings, but save money with regular fenders and rims (instead of stylish powder-coating to match the frame), cheaper tires and tubes, a unicrown fork, and a 7-speed rear derailer instead of internal gearing. However, they includes just about everything else you would need, except for a rack or basket (matching ones are sold separately).

Here's what PUBLIC says about the Metro and Citizen:

  • Comfortable: Steel tubing and accurate frame geometry make for a softer ride than with other materials. Seats are designed for normal clothing.
  • Ergonomic: Upright handlebars keep you looking forward, not down. They're also kinder to your back. [The Metro is particularly upright, though the seat tube angle is steeper than on a "dutch" bike - BFTROU]
  • Practical: Kickstands so you don't have to prop your bike up against a lamppost. And chain guards to keep grease off your fresh, clean clothes.
  • Modern: The Shimano 7-speed rear derailleur and Revo twist shifter brings state-of-the-art technology to the shifting system. Changing gears is done with a simple twist of the wrist.
  • Safe Braking: Powerful alloy brakes combine with lightweight alloy rims with machined brake surfaces for quick, safe and controlled stops. [Caliper brakes limit potential tire and fender width, and are less powerful than linear-pull cantilevers, but should be fine for most, and look nice - BFTROU]
  • City Smart: 35 MM tires are wide enough to handle curbs and potholes but narrow enough for speed.
  • Feet Friendly: Pedals designed wide enough to ride with boots, pumps, flip-flops, or anything in between.
  • Durable: The Chromoly steel frame will last a lifetime, if cared for properly, and is guaranteed for life. [Don't leave it out in the rain to rust - BFTROU]
  • Serviceabliity: Durable seven-speed Shimano derailleur can be maintained by any bike shop.
The loop-frame Metro is paired with a diamond-framed bike, called the Citizen, which also sports a 7-speed rear cassette and derailer. Besides the slightly different frame shape and geometry, the two bikes are very similar. And both are relatively affordable, at $495 (plus shipping). And until these bike are available, the previously reviewed Mixte and diamond-frame models are available with a $50 discount (free shipping), until Nov 16th.

PUBLIC Citizen

Components for Metro and Citizen

Frame: PUBLIC 4130 chromoly steel frame, with fender and rack braze-ons, integrated kickstand bracket
Fork: PUBLIC 4130 chromoly steel fork, with fender and rack braze-ons
Handlebar: Steel commuting bar, 25 deg back sweep, 590mm wide, 25mm rise, 25.4mm clamp
Stem: Forged alloy quill stem, 25 degree rise, 25.4mm clamp
Headset: 1" threaded steel
Grips: PUBLIC triangle grip, 125/90mm, closed end
Freewheel: Shimano 14-34 tooth Mega Range 7-speed freewheel
Crankset: Alloy crank set, 39 tooth chainring w/alloy outer chainring guard
Bottom bracket: Square taper BSA English threaded cartridge bottom bracket
Chain: KMC Z50, 1/2" x 3/32" rustproof
Pedals: PUBLIC Butterfly alloy platform pedal, with rubber pads, 9/16" axle, ball bearings
Front & rear brake: Alloy caliper brake, long reach (55-73mm), EN Standard brake pads
Shifter: Shimano 7-speed Revo Shift twist shifter
Brake levers: Alloy 4 finger caliper brake lever
Saddle: PUBLIC seat, 165mm wide, steel polished rails
Seat post: Alloy 27.2mm
Seat post clamp: Alloy 1 bolt
Tires: 700x35c, 30TPI, tan skin wall
Inner tubes: Schrader valve
Rims: Alloy, 32 hole, 700c, machined brake surface
Front hub: Alloy low flange 32 hole, nutted bolt-on axle
Rear hub: Alloy low flange 32 hole, nutted bolt-on axle
Spokes: Stainless steel 14G
Chainguard: Alloy chainguard
Kickstand: Alloy center mount
Fenders: Alloy full fender
Colors: Powdercoated in bright orange or dark green

I emailed PUBLIC Bikes to ask about the geometry of the new frames, and this is the table they sent me:

Metro Loop Frame Geometry

FRAME SIZESeat Tube mm Top Tube mm Head Tube Angle Seat Tube Angle Head Tube mm Chain stay mm BB Drop mm Wheel base mm Front Center mm
S 45 535 70 74.5 200 450 70 1055 615
M 50 560 71 73 230 450 70 1055 615
L 55 590 71.5 72 260 450 70 1068 627

For comparison, here's the geometry of the M3 (Mixte) frame:

Mixte Frame Geometry

FRAME SIZESeat Tube mm Top Tube mm Head Tube Angle Seat Tube Angle Head Tube mm Chain stay mm BB Drop mm Wheel base mm Front Center mm
S 46 535 70 74.5 110 450 70 1048 608
M 51 560 71 73 140 450 70 1052 611
L 56 590 71.5 72 170 450 70 1067 627

Approximate sizes:
Small 4'10" to 5'2", Medium 5'2" to 5"7, Large 5'7" to 6'

PUBLIC Metro with rear rack and front basket

Both the Mixte and the Metro have  standard Amercian hybrid seat tube and head tube angles, moderately long chainstays, a good bottom bracket drop (for a reasonable seat heights), and sensible top tube length and wheelbase. The Metro's loop frame provides a higher headtube, which will make it easier to set the handlebars higher for a more upright seating position, compared to the slightly lean-forward position encouraged by the Mixte's frame. Fortunately, the threaded quill stem gives you plenty of options for changing handlebar position to suit.

Hopefully PUBLIC will consider supplying the Metro loop frame with a 3-speed internal gear hub option, next year. It should only be a few dollars more than the 7-speed derailer, and would add to the bikes "Dutch-ness", and would also compete more directly with the Linus Dutchi.

PUBLIC Citizen with rear rack and basket


Dmitry Gudkov - BikeNYC said...

Those are some handsome bikes. But I can't help but think they'd be even nicer with the internal hub. They just look... wrong somehow with the derailleur.

Velouria said...

Looking at the new loop frames and the mixtes, 3 things come to mind:

1. They should have put the 1x7 derailleur on the mixte and the IGH on the loop frame, as is more traditional. The way they chose to do it instead, both bikes look a little off - particularly the loop.

2. The 3-speed mixte models have unicrown forks as well, at least the ones I have seen in a local store

3. A 74.5 degree seat tube angle for an upright loop frame bike is surprising.

I am curious to read some owner reviews of these.

jitahs said...

The same length chainstay on all three sizes is a mistake. It's a cost-cutting mistake, but does not allow for consistent ride quality between sizes.

1. It's more traditional but this is a Left Coast-based company.