Monday, November 29, 2010

Norco Corsa 1


Norco also makes the City Glide. The Corsa is a similar 8-speed internal gear hub bike at a similar price.

The Corsa features a 8-speed internal nexus hub, V-brakes, a suspension fork, an alloy frame with internal cable routing, a rack, a dual kickstand and a full chainguard. Compared to the City Glide, it has a steeper geometry, with a 74 degree seat tube angle commonly found on hybrid road bikes. However, the chainguard is more complete than that of the City Glide, and it still has the dual kickstand and nice rear luggage carrier found on the other bike. The Corsa is listed at $660.

The women's version looks particularly nice, and has a rear rack instead of a basket, in this case. The men's version is similar:

Norco Corsa 1

Specifications:

Frame:  Frame7005 alloy frame with internal cable routing 
Fork:  Suntour CR-8V-V2 Suspension fork
Rims:  Double wall alloy black 36 hole
Tires:  Innova city tire 700c x 38c
Spokes:  Black stainless w/ brass nipples
Front hub:  Formula silver alloy hub w/ nutted axle 36h
Rear hub:  Shimano SG-8r31vsa 8spd IGH 36h [non-premium Nexus 8 speed hub]
Shifter:  Shimano Nexus SL-8520 revo shifter 
Crankset:  Shimano Nexus FC-NX75 38T silver 
Bottom bracket:  Cartridge
Rear cog:  Shimano 18T Nexus cog silver 
Chain:  KMC Z-408RB 1/2” x 3/32” 
Pedals:  Comfort pedals resin body w rubber inlay
Front & rear Brake:  Tektro 837AL V-brakes black
Brake levers:  Tektro comfort levers w/ integrated bell 
Handlebar:  Alloy 30mm riser bar black 
Grips:  Brown cork 
Stem:  Adjustable stem black
Headset:  Semi-integrated threaded w/ water seal
Seat post:  Suspension seat post black
Saddle:  Norco City Comfort 
Chainguard:  Full guard
Kickstand:  Dual kickstand
Fenders:  Alloy, painted
Rack/Basket:  Rear pannier rack
Lights:  No
Extras:  Fork stabilizer spring, Bell
Colors:  Cream
Sizes:  15 / 17 / 19
Weight: 36.1 [claimed]

There is also a lower-priced derailer version, the Corsa 2, for $490
Besides the drivetrain change, the kickstand and fork are downgraded. But Norco even managed to put a nearly complete chainguard on the 21 speed derailer system:

Norco Corsa 2

Frame Geometry (Step-Thru)

FRAME SIZE
Seat Tube
Top Tube
Head-T Angle
Seat-T Angle
Head Tube
Fork
Length
Chain stay
Front Center
BB Height
Wheel base
ST - 15
381
560
69.5
74
160
460
457
643
290
1094
ST - 17
432
575
70
73.5
160
460
445
646
290
1098
ST - 19
483
590
70.5
73
175
460
455
650
290
1102
L - 20
508
605
70.5
72.5
180
460
457
659
290
1111
XL - 22
558
625
71
72
190
460
457
667
290
1119

The geometry is fairly standard for hybrid bikes, and steeper than most city bikes in the seat tube angle, thought the head tube is fairly lax on the step-thru versions.
Norco Corsa 2 ST


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Norco City Glide

Norco City Glide 8
Norco is a major Canadian distributor, and also makes a number of good bikes. Unfortunately, they have few dealers for complete bikes in the United States, but there is probably a shop that can order one of these bikes in a major city. Canadians may be able to try one out in person, and get slightly better prices. They may also be found in the UK and Australia.

The City Glide 8 stands out with an 8-speed internal nexus hub, roller-brakes front and rear, and by including a double-kickstand and front fork spring, making it easy to load up a front basket or rear rack. It has a sensible geometry, with 72 degree angles sufficiently slack to get a toe down at stoplights. Unfortunately, the chainguard is not paired with a chainring, so snagged clothing is a slight possibility (though less risky than with most bikes), the gearing is set a little too high, and no lights are included. But at a suggested price of only US$ 665 , you should have a few dollars left to make those changes.

The women's version is less asthetically successful, to my taste, but has a nice front basket, instead of the rear rack, and otherwise has the same specifications:

Norco City Glide 8 W

These specifications and geometry are for the City Glide 8 (men's version), similar to the women's version:

Specifications:

Frame: 7005 Alloy City Glide Frame 
Fork: Chromoly with threaded steerer
Rims: 700c Double wall alloy - Black 
Tires: 700x37c Continental TownRIDE w/Breaker 
Spokes: Black Stainless w/brass nipples
Front hub: Shimano HG-IM40 Roller Brake hub 36hole 
Rear hub: Shimano SG-8R31VSA 8-speed IGH 36hole [Regular 8-speed, I believe, not "red band"]
Shifter: Shimano Revoshift SL-8S20 
Crankset: Alloy 44T - Black 
Bottom bracket: Cartridge BB
Rear Cog: Nexus 20T
Chain:  KMC Z610H
Pedals:  Alloy pedal with non-slip tread 
Front & rear brake:  Shimano BR-IM41 Roller Brake Front and Rear
Brake levers:  Ergonomic brake lever w/integrated bell 
Handlebar: Alloy city bar - Black
Grips: Cork grips - Dark Brown
Stem: Alloy quill stem - Black 
Headset: CH-903SW black threaded waterproof
Seat post:  Alloy - Black, average set-back
Saddle:  Norco City Comfort 
Chainguard:  Partial, without chainring [unfortunately]
Kickstand:  Dual-leg, fold-back
Fenders:  Powdercoated Alloy
Extras: Bell, Rear rack w/ low pannier hook, Front stabilizer spring [Women's has a basket instead of the rear rack]
Colors:  8: Army Green - 8W: Light Blue - 3:
Sizes:  S-18 / M-19 / L-21
Weight: 34 lbs claimed


The 3-speed version costs $140 less, or about $525, and are similarly equipped otherwise (but lacking a dual kickstand, and with calipers instead of rollerbrakes): 



Frame Geometry

FRAME SIZE
Seat Tube
Top Tube
Head-T Angle
Seat-T Angle
Head Tube
Fork
Length
Chain stay
Front Center
BB Height
Wheel base
S-17
432
585
70
72
160
410
457
637
285
1087
M-19
583
600
70.5
71.5
180
410
457
641
285
1091
L-21
533
615
70.5
71.5
180
410
457
656
285
1106
WS-16
406
575
69.5
71.5
180
410
457
627
285
1078
WM-18.5
470
590
70.5
71.5
180
410
457
630
285
1081

The geometry is similar to a Breezer Uptown, with sloping top tubes, reasonably long chainstays, and moderate but not-too-low seat and head tube angles. The bike should be stable and easy to ride hands-free (based on the low amount of rake on the fork, and the slack head tube angle), and it should be relatively easy to get a toe on the ground at stoplights without hopping of the saddle, if you need to, without setting the saddle low.

The Norco City Glide also comes in a Shimano Altus 21-speed derailer version, for $370, lacking the kickstand and rack:

Norco City Glide (Derailer)


If you know a local shop in your city that stocks these bikes for test-rides, or if you have ridden a City Glide yourself, let us know in the comments.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jamis Hudson 3

Jamis Hudson 3 - M


Jamis Bicycles has been featured previously for their popular Commuter series, which have a "fast hybrid" look. This bike is a little more relaxed, aimed at a recreational or around-town audience.

Similar to the Raleigh Circa or the Electra Townie, the Jamis Hudson 3 is a comfort or "hybrid" bike with an 7-speed internal gear hub, upright riding position and relaxed frame geometry, for about $600. Like the Raleigh bikes, it lacks fenders, but has fender and rear rack attachmetd points. It also appears to lack a kick-stand. However, the front chainring and chainguard are well designed and should keep your pants clean. The choice of straight handlebars on a comfort-oriented bike of this type is odd; Electra does the same thing with the Townie, and it feels strange there as well.  The quick-release wheels and seatpost clamps are fine for a recreational or rural rider, but a poor choice in the city. But, at this price, one could afford a few modifications. Fenders, LED lights, a change of handlebars, and a rear rack would still leave the price below $700 for a fully equipped bike for the rest of us.

SPECIFICATIONS

Frame6061 TIG-welded aluminum, Hudson laid-back design with low ride height, 
ForkSR Suntour NEX4600-V2 suspension fork, alloy crown and sliders, 63mm travel
HeadsetInternal cup, threaded, 1 1/8”
Wheels/HubsShimano Nexus-7 rear and Formula alloy front QR hubs,
Alex C1000 alloy rims, 36H, 14g stainless steel spokes
TiresJamis Sport Comfort, 26 x 1.95”, skinwall
ShifterShimano Nexus RevoShift SL-7S10, 7-speed
ChainKMC Z51
CogShimano Nexus, 20T
CranksetForged alloy crank, single 42T chainring, 170mm, with full length chainguard
BB SetSealed cartridge, 68 x 122.5mm
PedalsClassic block-style
BrakesTektro forged alloy direct pull brakes with Tektro alloy comfort levers
HandlebarHi-rise comfort, 15ยบ sweep x 80mm rise x 640mm wide
StemJamis alloy, 180mm quill x 80mm extension
GripsKraton comfort
Seat PostAlloy micro-adjust, 31.6 x 350mm, with alloy QR clamp
SaddleJamis Comfort with memory foam, synthetic suede top, bumper springs
SizesM: S (13”), M (15)”, L (18”), XL (21”) F: S (14”), M (17”)
ColorM: Blue Slate or Pearl White F: Seafoam or Pearl White


Jamis Hudson 3 - W - Step-thru

Geometry


Unlike the Electra Townie, with its "crank-forward" design, the Hudson achieves a far-back, low seat the old-fashioned way, with a slack, 67 degree seat tube angle. This really is superior, since the bottom bracket is at the place where the tubes meet, providing greater strength and better looks, and the angle between the pedals and the seat is the same no matter how high your raise the seat. The shallow seat tube angle puts your legs farther forward in relation to your hips, allowing the gluteus muscles to be better used while sitting in an upright position, compared to a hybrid or comfort bike with a steep (say 74 degree) seat tube angle. It also makes it easy to put a foot down at a red light without leaving the saddle.

Specifications for the Jamis Hudson:

  SIZE        
SEAT TUBE
TOP TUBE
HT ANGLE
ST ANGLE
CHAIN-STAY
WHEEL-BASE
FORK RAKE
BB HEIGHT
HEAD-TUBE

S31357070˚67˚485105745265120
M36258770˚67˚485107345265140
L40061470˚67˚485109945265175
XL47963870˚67˚485112045265210
S-W16057470˚67˚485105745265165
M-W19060170˚67˚485108545265165

The Hudson is also available with a derailleur, and without a suspension fork, for $400, comparable to many hybrid or comfort bikes. This frame has a nicer sweep to it, due to the normal front fork, and front suspension doesn't do much on an upright bike like this, where most of the rider's weight will be over the rear tire. Jamis would do better to give the Hudson 3 a regular steel fork, while adding a suspension seatpost, or to go with wider tires, like the Schwalbe Big Apples or Fat Franks. But if you like its looks currently, it's a good buy.

Jamis Hudson 1 - Pearl Black

Friday, November 12, 2010

PUBLIC Bikes - Metro and Citizen

PUBLIC Metro
Available on November 18, 2010

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