Sunday, December 23, 2012

Velo Orange Campeur


Velo Orange is now offering a complete bike assembled right in Annapolis, Maryland.  The Campeur is a camping bike made to carry heavy loads and be reliable when you are off the beaten path.   The frame is a Velo Orange design and has a level top tube, lugged fork crown, canti-brake mounts, pump peg, three water bottle mounts and room for 38mm tires with fenders.  The complete bike looks the VO part with a leather saddle, leather bar tape, 9x3 Shimano Deore drivetrain and a bunch of  quality parts.   The Campeur has some hard-to-find features:
  • Level top tube, classic fork bend
  • Quill stem
  • Kickstand plate
  • Dia-Compe friction bar-end shifters
For all of you kickstand lovers who are every-so-gently mounting your double-legged kickstand on your Surly Long Haul Trucker with rubber and clamps, this is your bike.   Seriously, the ride of the Campeur is supposed to be great, I can't wait to hit the road on one of these.    

Read more about the Campeur here and here.  The current price of the complete bike is $1600 (plus shipping).  Don't forget to add the new Campeur Racks to complete the build.


Campeur Complete Bike Build List:


  • Campeur Frame & Fork:
  • Sizes: 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61 (Please specify size in the comment box.) More info here.


  • Rear Wheel:
  • Grand Cru 135mm Touring Hub, Diagonale Rim 36 hole


  • Front Wheel:
  • Grand Cru High Flange Hub, Diagonale Rim 36 hole


  • Tires:
  • 700x35 Panaracer Tourguard


  • Shifters:
  • Dia-Compe Bar-Ends, Friction


  • Crankset:
  • Grand Cru Triple 48x34x24, 165mm (sizes 51 & 53), 170mm (sizes 55 & 57), 175mm (sizes 59 & 61)


  • Bottom Bracket:
  • Grand Cru 124mm, English thread


  • Cassette:
  • SRAM 9 Speed 11-32T


  • Rear Derailleur:
  • Deore 9 speed


  • Front Derailleur:
  • Sora Triple


  • Chain:
  • KMC X-9


  • Headset:
  • VO Roller Bearing


  • Stem:
  • VO Quill 90mm (sizes 51-55), 100mm (sizes 57-59), 110mm (size 61)


  • Handlebar:
  • Grand Cru Course Handlebar, 44cm (sizes 51-57), 46cm sizes (59 & 61)


  • Brakes:
  • Tektro CR720 Cantilevers


  • Brake Levers:
  • Tektro RL340


  • Seatpost:
  • Grand Cru 27.2


  • Saddle:
  • VO Model 3 Touring, Brown


  • Handlebar Tape:
  • Tressostar Cotton, Brown (not installed)


  • Pedals:
  • not included




    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Nashbar Steel Commuter Bike

    Courtesy Nashbar.
    The Nashbar Steel Commuter Bike is on liquidation sale at Nashbar and Amazon.com for $350.

    I love the name of this bike because it matches the beautiful simplicity of the bike itself.   It's a clean, logo-free, all-chromoly bike with wide tires and an 8-speed Shimano nexus internal hub. It comes with a rear rack and fenders, although I would swap out the fenders for some that provide full coverage. 

    Specs:


    FRAME:
    Chromoly, lugged
    FORK:
    Chromoly, 1" steerer, 14mm taper, 60mm offset
    HEADSET:
    1" threaded
    REAR SHOCK:
    N/A
    CRANKSET:
    38T chainring, 170mm length
    BOTTOM BRACKET:
    Square taper
    SHIFTERS:
    Nexus Revo SL-8S20
    LEVERS:
    Tektro RX1.0
    HANDLEBAR:
    525mm, 38° backsweep, 64mm rise, 25.4mm clamp
    STEM:
    22.2mm quill, 80mm extension, Length: 150mm (52cm frame), 180mm (56/60mm frame)
    FRONT DERAILLEUR:
    N/A
    REAR DERAILLEUR:
    N/A
    CASSETTE:
    Shimano KSMGEAR16S 16T
    BRAKES:
    Tektro R559 Dual Pivot
    WHEELSET:
    36H, 700c 36h anodized silver rims with CNC-machined sidewalls, Alloy front hub, 8-Speed Nexus internally geared rear hub
    TIRES:
    Kenda K-193 700x38
    PEDALS:
    Alloy
    SEATPOST:
    250x26.6mm (Medium), 250x27.2mm (Large)
    SADDLE:
    Velo
    CHAIN:
    KMC Z-410RB
    GRIPS/TAPE:
    Velo

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Pashley Princess Sovereign



    A Pashley Princess Sovereign comes with a wicker basket.  Courtesy: Pashley Cycles UK.
    The Pashley Princess Sovereign retails for about 545 British pounds, which is roughly $867. In the U.S., however, expect the cost of this import to be over $1,000.  There are a growing number U.S. Pashley dealers, including Bicycle Space in Washington, D.C. 
     
    A reader named Mary recently contacted us to ask about this bike because she saw one in her size on ebay.  In ebay parlance, that's a "find."  The Princess Sovereign is a lugged steel 5-speed (the Princess Classic is a 3-speed) that is basically the Rolls Royce of bicycles.  Among other luxuries, it comes with a wicker basket, Brooks B66 sprung saddle, dynamo headlamp, chaincase and fenders, a rear rack, and prop stand.
     
    Although we've discussed Pashley on Bikes For The Rest of Us, we've never discussed the Princess.  This bike, however, has been a hot topic on other blogs.  Here are a few to check out:
     
     
     
     
    Here are the specs per Pashley Cycles:
     
    Frame sizes
    17.5", 20" or 22.5"
    Colour
    Buckingham Black or Regency Green
    Frame
    Traditionally lugged and brazed
    Fork
    Tubular crown hand brazed
    Gears
    Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub gears
    Wheels
    26 inch with polished rims
    Handlebar
    Chrome plated raised bar
    Brakes
    Sturmey Archer hub brakes
    Pedals
    Alloy non-slip
    Saddle
    Antique brown Brooks B66s
    Tyres
    Schwalbe puncture resistant Marathon Plus with reflective sidewall.
    Features
    The Princess Sovereign features a traditional lugged frame and five speed hub gears with full chaincase, gold-lined mudguards, ding dong bell, hub driven dynamo headlamp, LED rear light, tubular alloy rear carrier, propstand, frame fit lock, skirt guards, leather sprung saddle and a wicker basket
    Inside leg
    17.5" frame suits 27.5" - 31.5" inside leg. 20" frame suits 30" - 34" inside leg. 22.5" frame suits 32.5" - 36.5" inside leg
    Options
    Leather accessory range
    Terms and Conditions
    Specifications and quoted prices may change without prior notice. Pashley Cycles terms of supply apply to all orders.


     
    A Princess in Regency Green.  Courtesy Pashley Cycles UK.

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Papillionaire Bicycles

    Papillionaire Classic.  All photos are courtesy of Papillionaire Bicycles.

    Papillionaire Bicycles was founded in Australia, but is now offering its chromoloy Dutch-style bikes in the United States and has opened a retail shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

    Papillionaire's Classic and Sommer models feature internal 3-speed Shimano hubs, fenders, chainguards (they describe them as "half chaincases") and leather saddles. Both bikes sell online starting at $549, currently with free shipping to celebrate their USA launch.

    Specifications: Classic

    Frame and Fork: Lugged chromoly (CRMO) steel
     
    Frame size: 52cm (20.5″)
     
    Gears: Nexus Shimano 3 speed internal hub.
     
    Brakes: Tektro dual-pivot front and rear caliper brakes
     
    Tyres: Kenda Kwest 700 x 35c (cream or gumwall)
     
    Protectors: Mudguards and half chaincase
     
    Finish: Crafted, durable leather saddles, grips, toe clips and other accessories

     

    Papillionaire Sommer




    Specifications: Sommer

    Frame and Fork: Lugged chromoly (CRMO) steel
     
    Frame size: 43cm (16.9″)
     
    Gears: Nexus Shimano 3 speed internal hub.
     
    Brakes: Tektro dual-pivot front and rear caliper brakes
     
    Tyres: Kenda Kwest 700 x 35c (cream or gumwall)
     
    Protectors: Mudguards and half chaincase
     
    Finish: Crafted, durable leather saddles, grips &am other accessories


    The new Papillionaire shop in Brooklyn.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Who Lights Up Your Life, er... Bike?

    Lezyne's mini-drive is small, but puts out up to 100 lumens.  Credit: Lezyne.
    Is it true that Debby Boone was singing about her bicycle?

    It's hard to keep up with the latest bicycle light technology these days (see my updated, yet already outdated, Bright Lights post), so I'm not even going to try.  Instead, why don't you tell us, in the comments, how you're lighting up your bike these days.

    UPDATE: Last January, Mountain Bike Reviews did a great job reviewing and rating bike lights. If you're shopping for lights, it's a great place to start your research.

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Bianchi Strada Metropoli

    Metropoli Alivio

    Metropoli Acera

    Metropoli Acera Dama
    The Strada line from Bianchi USA includes the three Metropoli models pictured above.  The Metropoli Alivio has 24-speeds (triple chainring + 8-speed rear cassette) and hydraulic disc brakes. The MSRP is $900.  The Metropoli Acera and Acera Dama are both 21-speeds (triple chainring + 7-speed cassette) with V-brakes.  The MSRP is $700 for an Acera.

    Robert W., who told us about Virtue bikes, wrote us again recently about the Bianchi Cortina he was checking out.

    Turismo Cortina.  All photos courtesy of Bianchi USA.
    The Cortina is a nice enough bike, but it doesn't have the fenders and rear racks that the Metropoli models have, and it doesn't look like the Cortina is designed so that you can easily add racks and fenders.  Hopefully, Robert W. will send us a review of the Cortina after he test rides it.

    The Metropoli and Turismo models are all Bianchi Strada bikes, which are Bianchi's "comfort bikes."  I've never been comfortable with the term "comfort bike."  I mean, who wants to ride a bike that's not comfortable?  But if "comfort bike" means an upright riding position with wide tires, then knock yourself out Bianchi, churn out more comfort bikes!

    The Metropoli Alivio seems to be built for hilly country, or maybe San Francisco.  It has lots of gear combinations to get you up the steepest of hills, and powerful brakes so you can avoid hitting a streetcar at the bottom.  Here are the specs on the Alivio:

    MODEL Metropoli Due Alivio 24sp Hydraulic Disc
    CODE Y2BB8U
    COLOR Black
    SIZES 43-47-51-55
    FRAME Metropoli Triple-Hydroformed, Butted Aluminum
    FORK Bianchi Aluminum 1 1/8"
    HEADSET FSA ZS4 Custom
    SHIFTERS Shimano Acera
    REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Alivio
    FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Alivio
    CRANKSET Shimano Tourney 48/38/28
    CHAIN KMC Z72
    CASSETTE Shimano Acera 8sp 11-32T
    BRAKES Shimano Alivio Hydraulic Disc
    WHEELS Alloy double-wall, 32H
    TIRE Spectra S-Amber 700 x 37
    STEM Bianchi alloy
    HANDLEBAR Bianchi alloy, 20mm rise
    BAR TAPE / GRIPS Herrmans Primergo Flite DD22B ergonomic
    SEATPOST Tec Obvius alloy
    SADDLE Selle San Marco Elba Arrowhead
    PEDALS VP-516A

    The Metropoli Acera models have sufficient gear range for most terrain, and V-brakes have powerful-enough stopping power for most riders.  Here are the specs on the Acera Dama:

    MODEL Metropoli Uno Dama Acera 21sp
    CODE Y2BB0U
    COLOR Gray
    SIZES 43-47
    FRAME Metropoli Triple-Hydroformed, Butted Aluminum
    FORK Bianchi Aluminum 1 1/8"
    HEADSET VP-A42E
    SHIFTERS Shimano Altus
    REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Acera
    FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Altus
    CRANKSET Shimano Tourney 48/38/28
    CHAIN KMC Z51
    CASSETTE Shimano Alivio 7sp 12-32T
    BRAKES V-Brake
    WHEELS Alloy double-wall, 32H
    TIRE Spectra S-Amber 700 x 37
    STEM Bianchi alloy
    HANDLEBAR Bianchi alloy, 20mm rise
    BAR TAPE / GRIPS Herrmans Primergo Flite DD22B ergonomic
    SEATPOST Tec Obvius alloy
    SADDLE Selle San Marco Elba Arrowhead
    PEDALS VP-516A

    Your thoughts?

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

    Opus Ivan

    I first spotted Opus Bikes in a small shop in Canada.  The Opus Ivana, the loop-framed version of the bike above, appears on an ad on the back of Momentum Magazine this month.   The Opus Ivan, pictured above, is an Aluminum-framed city bike with upright geometry and a large front basket.  I think you'll agree it has a unique style that's somewhat contemporary while honoring the classic lines of a city bike. 

    The really exciting news is that Opus bikes are coming to the USA!  They have a large selection of practical transportation bikes.  Most of them have an Aluminum frame, which helps keep down the weight for those who have to carry their bike or climb hills.  As someone who rides a traditional city bike that weighs north of 50lbs, I find it appealing to have all of the city bike features in a more lightweight package.

    Opus Ivan specs (provided by Opus):


    Frame
    Meta 10
    Al-6061
    Wheels
    Shimano HBIM40 & SG7R46
    Alex Z1000 26" Black
    SS spokes
    Colour
    Dark Silver
    Weight
    35.5lbs
    Fork
    ORA Urban
    CrMo
    45mm - 1-1/8
    Headset
    CH-918TW integrated sealed
    Handlebar
    ORA Urban 70R X 50S
    Stem
    ORA 158, 80o, TIG,  25,4
    Black
    Grips
    VLG617 Synth. leather - Brown
    Shifters
    NEXUS SL-7S10 REVO
    7 speed
    Tektro CL330 BL - LF
    Brakes
    Shimano Nexave BR-IM50
    Roller brakes
    Bottom Bracket
    CH-46-E
    Cartridge
    Crank
    PRO-A36
    Single
    36
    Pedals
    Wellgo LU-206T Flat
    Front Derailleur
    N/A
    Rear Derailleur
    Shimano Inter 7 Nexus
    Internal gear
    Cogs
    Inter 7 Nexus
    7 speed
    Chain
    KMC-Z610
    Tires
    Innova 218 - 26"
    Black 26 X 2.0
    Saddle
    Ora Voyage
    Black/Brown
    Seatpost
    Ora 242 Aluminum
    Micrometric 27,2
    Miscellaneous Parts
    Fenders/rack/chain cover/kick stand

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Virtue 6

    Virtue 6 out and about. Photo courtesy of Virtue bikes.

    The Virtue 6 sells for MSRP $ 399.

    Special thanks to Robert W. for letting us know about Virtue bikes. Here is what Robert had to say after a test ride:

    I took a Virtue Six for a test ride today. It’s a sweet bike, but not quite right for me. I love the look and it was a fun, smooth ride, but it weighs 28 lbs [with fenders] and is a 6-speed. I want a lower low gear to get around in San Francisco. I’m also of two minds about the lack of quick release wheels. They’re less likely to get stolen, but I’d need to carry a wrench. I also wish it had a chain guard. But the price is hard to beat — $425 for the one I tested. 


    Virtue 6 with rear rack. Courtesy: Virtue Bikes.
    I contacted Virtue and got the inside scoop from owner William Mulyadi.  He said he designed Virtue's first bike, the Virtue One, which came out in the mid-2000's, after asking bike shop customers about their ideal bike.

    "It seems Pashley Guv'nor is the winner," William said.  "Knowing that many like the character and feel of the bike but quite limited on the budget, I designed the bike with that idea in mind. Then many requests came for gears [which led to the] Virtue Six; then ladies versions Curve 1 and Curve 6, etc."



    Virtue Curve 6.  Courtesy: Virtue Bikes.

    William explained that Virtue can keep its prices low (the 6-speeds are $399 and the 1-speed is $299) because they actually own the factories.

    Here are the specs on the Virtue 6:

    Gloss black full chromoly frame and fork (sizes: 52cm, 56cm, and 60cm)
    Fender clearance
    Alloy porteur handlebar
    Alloy riser stem
    Brown Velo stitch grips
    Brown Velo riveted saddle
    Silver alloy single crankset 46T 170mm
    Silver alloy chain guard
    Tektro CL530-RS brake levers
    Tektro V-Brakes
    Wellgo road pedals
    Shimano SIS thumb shifter
    Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
    Shimano 6 speed freewheel 14-28T
    Double wall black rims
    700x32C Cream Kenda Kwest tires
    Silver KMC chain
    Front and rear fenders
    Silver brass bell
    *please note that size 52 and 56 come with quill stem, silver rims, and rear rack
    *previous batch of Virtue Six with brown/white 700x32 Kenda tires and wide townie handlebar are still available
    William has given me a preview of some other interesting models -- including a cargo bike -- that Virtue will be coming out with soon.  

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Rivendell Betty Foy

    A complete Betty Foy. Credit: Rivendell Bicycle Works.
    Rivendell sells its Betty Foy mixte frameset for $1,050.  A frameset includes the frame, fork, headset, and bottom bracket.   A complete bike, without saddle or pedals, is estimated to cost $2,200, depending on parts.

    While we're on the subject of mixtes, it seemed like a good idea to include the Betty Foy.  As with other Rivendell frames, the Betty Foy is high quality steel, with investment lugs.  The frameset is currently available in three sizes: 50, 55, and 60 cm.

    Here is what Rivendell, i.e., Grant Petersen, has to say about the Betty Foy:
    Clearance is key to the Foy.  It has enough to fit tires up to 40 mm wide, so it's good on rough roads.  It has clearance to take fenders easily, even with 40 mm tires, so it's the ideal foul weather commuter.  What you can do on a bike, you can do on your Betty Foy.

    The name "Betty Foy" comes from a character in the Wordsworth poem "Idiot Boy" (go ahead, read it!).  This is a nice touch, given that there is something poetic about mixtes.

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Advice Requested: Lightweight Step-Through

    One of our readers is seeking some bike-buying advice.  Any ideas for her?

    Hi,

    My name's Jez, I live in London and need some advice on a bike for commuting. I'm looking for something with a step-through frame and with a lightweight frame. I know it doesn't need to be lightweight for speed as I'm only commuting but the bike I currently own is a hybrid and is really heavy and it's killing me carrying it up and down the steps to my home every day!

    So light enough to carry, a step through frame and preferably not a sit-up and beg.

    Any advice you have on a bike I could buy in London would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks,
    Jez

    Monday, July 30, 2012

    Raleigh Clubman Mixte

    2013 Raleigh Clubman Mixte. Credit: Raleigh USA
    For 2013, Raleigh is offering its Clubman as a mixte.  At this point, the price is TBD (check with your local Raleigh dealer).

    Back in 2008, when this site was just getting underway, Raleigh USA decided to recapture Raleigh's glory days by producing some steel models.  Every year since then, Raleigh has come out with a "new" steel model.  In 2010, it was the Clubman, a name that harkens back to the all-steel era of Raleigh.  (Peter Kohler has an article on the original Clubmans here.)

    There are many vintage Raleigh Clubman mixtes still on the road, and in a quick internet search I found a few for sale.  The old Clubman mixtes were quality bikes, as demontrated by the fact that they're still around after 50 or 60 years.  Nevertheless, when Raleigh decided to reintroduce the Clubman, it did not offer it as a mixte.  That oversight will be corrected in 2013.

    We talk a lot about step-through bikes, but the term "mixte" has a more technical meaning.  Here's how Sheldon Brown defined "mixte":


    A style of lady's frame in which the "top tube" consists of a pair of small diameter tubes running more-or-less straight from the upper head lug, past the seat tube, and on to the rear fork ends. A mixte frame thus has 3 sets of rear stays, instead of the usual two. A variant on the mixte uses a single, full sized top tube running from the upper head tube to the seat tube, but retains the middle set of stays. A lady's type bike that lacks the middle pair of stays is not a mixte.
    Mixte frames are stronger than conventional lady's frames, particularly in resisting the tendency of the seat tube to get pushed backward in the middle when ridden by a heavy rider.
    In French, "mixte" is pronounced "MEExt", but normal U.S. bicycle industry pronunciation is "MIX-ty".
    The 2013 Clubman MEExt has some nice retro stylings, such as a lugged fork, matching painted fenders, and a Brooks Swift saddle.  Given the retro-cool vibe I think Raleigh is going for, I'm a bit surprised that it comes with STI levers.  I would have gone with something more retro (what's wrong with downtube shifters?), but I'm sure that places me in the minority.  In any event, as I said before, you can still find vintage Clubman mixtes if that's what you're after.

    Here are the full specs on the 2013 Clubman mixte:


    Sizes: 50cm XS, 53cm SM, 55cm SM/MD, 57cm MD/LG , 59cm LG, 62cm XL 

    Frame: Reynolds 520 Butted Chromoly Tubing 

    Fork: 4130 Chromoly Lugged Road  

    Cranks: Shimano Tiagra FC-4650 2pc 50/34t 

    BB: Shimano Outboard Bearing 

    F.Derail: Shimano Tiagra FD-4600 

    R.Derail: Shimano Tiagra RD-4601 

    Shifter: Shimano Tiagra ST-4600 10spd STI, Shimano SP41 Shift housing  

    Br.Levers: Shimano Tiagra STI 

    Brakes: Tektro R539 Dual Pivot Long Reach w/Cartridge Pads 

    Gear: Shimano Tiagra CS-4600 10spd (12-30t)  

    Rims: Weinmann TR18 Double Wall 

    Tires: Vittoria Zaffiro 700x25c 

    Pedals: Steel Clips w/Leather Straps 

    Handlebar: Classic Aluminum Drop 26.0 

    Stem: Alloy 3D Forged Ahead 26.0 

    Seatpost: Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2x350mm 

    Seat: Brooks Swift w/Chromoly Rails 

    Headset: Ahead 1-1/8" w/Alloy Cup

    Colors: Ivory
     
    Chain: Shimano Tiagra CN-4601  

    Hubset: (F) Shimano Tiagra HB-4600 QR 32h (R) Shimano Tiagra HB-4600 QR 32h Cassette   

    Spokes: 14g Stainless MAC w/Alloy Nipples 

    Grips: Gel Tape 

    Extras: Fenders, Rack and Fender Mounts, Water Bottle Mounts, Cateye Reflector Set, Clear Coat, Owner's Manual  

    Note: Specifications are Subject to Change



    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    TransIt Cameron

    2010 Transit Cameron. Credit:Performance Bike
    In this guest post, Adam Zipperer gives us his first impressions of the 2010 TransIt Cameron, which was on sale at Performance Bike for $549.  He had been considering the Torker Graduate "for the hub, non-rim brakes, and price." He felt that the Cameron might have a better hub.  Here is Adam's report:

    Alright just got it in and immediately took it for a 10 or 12 mile ride.

    At this price, the competition in my mind include the Torker Graduate and the Breezer Downtown.

    The Transit Cameron features the following:

    SRAM iMotion 9 IGH with grip shift Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes (the left brake lever has an integrated bell, cool!)

    Full set of plastic fenders Chain guard Mount points for rear rack (I think a front would have to share the rear/bottom holes with the fenders, or mount with the skewer)

    Adjustable angle stem

    Performance has these on closeout right now for $550. I also considered the Graduate, but not the Breezer because it has rim brakes. I was really looking for something that was weatherproof. I think I'd prefer the Torker's drum brakes to these discs, but I can't pick too much.

    So the pros and cons on my admittedly short first impression.

    Pros:

    inexpensive (especially considering the hub)
    semi-weather-proof brakes
    pretty light frame
    Comes with a bell
    Comes with a chain guard, just a metal bar on the top part of the chain
    Good gear range
    Good upright riding position
    Adjustable stem

    Cons:

    Disc brakes make noise (when not braking). I'll try adjusting them to see if they do any better. I'm really not impressed with the braking power of the discs, they may get better with break in though

    It has fairly wide tires (700x38), but the fenders just barely cover them width wise. We'll have to see with some rain how good they do.

    The leather saddle looks neat (like a knock-off Brooks). It's REALLY hard now, and from what I hear, I can't expect much break-in

    The black leather "grips" are cheesy, they slip and slide around

    The bars are a bit too swept back for my taste, but I may get used to that.

    The frame is stiff. Maybe it's just the stiff saddle, but I swear its the stiffest bike I own

    In summary, I'm going to give the bike a few more days to convince me, but I think I may be returning it for a Torker Graduate.

    Thanks, Adam. We look forward to an update!

    Update from Adam:

    After riding the Cameron a few more times, I decided it was not the bike for me. I'm not saying it's a bad bike. It's just not quite what I was looking for. As luck would have it, the LBS that sells Torker happened to have a Graduate on the floor and it happened to be my size (they haven't had a single Graduate since I've been looking for ~5 months). I'm very happy with it, excited in fact! It fits me better and that's important to me. 


    There is no question in my mind that the SRAM 9 speed IGH on the Transit Cameron is a superior hub to the Sturmey Archer 5 speed on the Torker Graduate. The SRAM hub shifts smoother and has a wider gear range. They're also closer together making it easier to find the "right" gear. However, in my opinion, the Cameron needs probably a few hundred more dollars in parts and upgrades to provide the out-of-the-box goodness that the Torker does. For example, it would immediately need a new saddle and grips. Also, the disc brakes were pretty lousy. The drum brakes on the Torker Graduate are buttery smooth and provide superior confidence when riding in traffic. The Torker frame/wheel/tire/saddle combination is also significantly more comfortable as far as vibration is concerned. That could be entirely related to the better saddle on the Torker than the one I complained about on the Cameron, but I liked being able to buy a bike and immediately ride it (and plan to for months if not years) without making any changes whatsoever. Well, other than a Wald basket for "groceries" (and by that I mean exclusively beer).

    I'd like to make a couple comments on the Torker Graduate, as I'd read a good many reviews before deciding on that bike. Firstly, I love the bike. It is awesome and makes commuting an enjoyable experience and not just a chore before getting to work. It's very comfortable, great upright (but not too upright) riding position. The bars are the perfect width, rise, and sweep for my style. The brakes are quite good, I can't wait til it rains so I can appreciate the lack of wet-rim-brake-squeal. I'm sold on the idea of IGH's for commuting bikes, shifting at a stop light/sign is just so nice. The only complaint I have about the bike is the Sturmey Archer 5 speed shifter. It shifts well, very direct and obvious engagement. But, the travel is a bit long, and mine is somewhat difficult to get into 1st gear. Just needs a little more effort than the others. That could just be the one I've got, or it could go away with break-in, time will tell.

    All in all, for those on a budget, I would say the Torker Graduate makes the ideal commuter.

    I'll leave you with this question: why don't more commuter/town/urban bikes have drum brakes? They seem perfectly suited for that application, but I really don't see them on any bikes!

    Happy Riding,
    Adam

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Novara Transfer

    REI's Novara-branded bikes have a reputation of being tough and reasonably priced.   The Transfer is one of their "fully dressed" transportation bikes.  The bike includes fenders, rack, dynamo-powered lights, chainguard, etc.   --pretty normal for a bike sold in say, Germany, but rare in the US.

    Not much has changed in this model since we mentioned it back in 2010.  This year they've added a single-speed option, Transfer One, with a coaster brake at a lower price.

    I had a chance to ride a Transfer this spring.  I found the ride to be surprisingly upright and can be adjusted via the honest quill stem.  The internal hub is an older Shimano 7-speed but it's well suited to the bike and the shifts were solid and quick.  The 35mm tires were more narrow that I would have preferred, but least they have a reflective strip and are puncture resistant.   The frame has an unusual love-it-or-hate-it step-through shape, is made of steel and comes in three sizes.  As you may know I have a thing for step-through frames so naturally I love the Troll-like shape.





    Monday, July 2, 2012

    All City Space Horse


    All City Cycles is reportedly selling its new Space Horse for $550 as a frameset or $1350 for the complete bike.

    Nick, a new reader, brought the Space Horse to our attention. He said he discovered it in his search for a good all-around bicycle "to replace my racey road bike and bridge the gap between it and my mountain bike, consolidating down to a single cycle." It sounds like Nick has found The One.

    According to All City, which also makes the popular Nature Boy, the Space Horse "is the most versatile bike in the AC lineup. It can handle front and rear racks, fenders, and has clearance for 42c tires. It also has our new custom semi horizontal dropouts which allow it to be set up geared or single." Hmmmm... perhaps it is The One.

    Here is a review by Prolly is not Probably. And here are the specs:

    Frame | All-City Space Horse 100% full 4130 ChroMoly steel. Double butted down, top, and seat tubes. Externally tapered, ovalized, and dimpled chain stays, tapered seat stays 130mm rear spacing, 1 1/8th headtube, English bottom bracket, 27.2 seatpost

    Fork | All-City Space Horse 100% 4130 ChroMoly tapered fork blades, lugged crown and matching dropout.

    Headset | Cane Creek S-10 Silver

    Stem | Kalloy Silver, four bolt, 1 1/8th threadless, 31.8 clamp

    Handlebar | Kalloy Silver, Classic bend, 31.8

    Tape | Velo Cork Black Shift

    Brake Lever | Shimano Tiagra 4600 10 speed

    Front Derailleur | Shimano Tiagra 4600

    Rear Derailleur | Shimano Tiagra 4600

    Brake | Tektro R520 Silver

    Crankset | Shimano Tiagra 4600 Silver, 50-34t

    Bottom Bracket | Shimano

    Seatpost | Kalloy Silver, 27.2mm

    Saddle | All-City Gonzo Black

    Cassette | Shimano Tiagra 12-30t, ten speed

    Chain | Sram PC-1031 Silver

    Hubs | Tiagra Silver

    Rims | Alex DA16 Silver, 32 hole

    Tires | Continental Contact 700 X 37c, steel bead

    Tubes | Cheng Shin 700 X 32 Presta Valve

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Pilen Lyx

    Lyx in red and in black. Courtesy: Pilen
    The Pilen Lyx, available as a step-through or diamond frame, is about $1,230 at J.C. Lind Bike Co. in Chicago.  It is not sold online.

    Pilen Cycles, founded in 1999, develop and assemble their bikes in a family-run factory in Sweden.  According to their website, "a Pilen is a bike for those who need a reliable friend in life that you can always trust. If you cycle to work, to a picnic with your children, or enjoy touring, then we believe Pilen is the best choice for you."

    Lyx has become one of Pilen's most popular models.  There have been plenty of reviews to check out:

    Portlandize

    Velocouture

    Lovely Bike

    LGRAB

    Here are the full specs:

    ColorsYou can choose between 4 colours. Black, red, green and blue.
    FrameHeight: 56 cm. Chrome molybdenum steel. Powder coated.
    ForkChrome molybdenum steel with cast crown.
    MudguardsStainless Steel. Black powder coated.
    Bearing and Chain WheelThe bearings come from Kinex and require no maintenance. Aluminium crankshafts.
    Chain and chain guard108 links. Anti rust processed chain. The chain guard has a layer of Zink before powder coating.
    Rear hub
    Transmission44:20
    Rear hub alt. 1Shimano zero-gear. Coaster brake.
    Rear hub alt. 2SRAM Automatix 2. Coaster brake. Automatic Shift.
    Rear hub alt. 3SRAM T3. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
    Rear hub alt. 4SRAM P5. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
    Rear hub alt. 5SRAM S7. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
    Rear hub alt. 6Shimano Nexus Inter 3.Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
    Rear hub alt. 7Shimano Nexus Inter 7. Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
    Rear hub alt. 8Shimano Nexus Inter 8. Rollerbrake or Coaster brake. Handlebar Gripshift.
    Rear hub alt. 9Shimano Nexus Inter 8 with rollerbrakes. Handlebar Gripshift. Front and rear brakes on handlebar.


    Front hubShimano DH-2R35-E-with rollerbrake and hub generator.
    Gear shifterHandlebars Grip shift (except Duomatic 2).
    TiresSchwalbe Citizen 47-622 with Puncture Protection. For heavy persons (+85) kg, we recommend Schwalbe Big Apple.
    Wheel28 inches (47-622) double bottomed aluminium rims, targeted spoke holes, eyelets and strong spokes in stainless steel. The rear wheel have reduced spokes.
    SpokesStainless steel 2,36mm. Reduced in the rear wheel.
    CarrierStable carrier made of steel tubing with stainless steel clamps. Painted black.
    LockABUS high security lock (class 8).
    BrakesCoaster brakes or rollerbrake (rear rollerbrakes only on Shimano Nexus Inter-8).
    SadelBrooks B66 leather with springs. Available in colors: Black, Brown and Honey.
    Front lampBusch & Müller with 2.4 watts H3-lamp. Excellent light for even the darkest road.
    Rear lampLED. Automatic light activated by low light and movement. From Spanninga.
    ReflexesReflex sides on the tires, in the rear and front lamp and on the basket (ladies model).
    BellStainless steel.