Monday, April 28, 2014

Biria CitiBIKE

Biria CitiBike 700C Step-through 3 Speed - Orange
While priced the similarly to most entry-level hybrids ($545 shipped from an online shop), the Biria CitiBIKE is much more useful, due to the inclusion of a front rack and rear rack, full fenders, a kickstand and a chainguard, with a 3-speed internal gear hub. A 7-speed derailleur version is also available. The components are not the most expensive, but should be reliable if looked over by a quality local bike shop. And the steel frame, especially the step-thru version, has a timeless look, and should last if you don't leave it out all winter.

Like this diamond frame, the step-thru is also available in a lovely sky blue; the fenders are also painted on that model, unlike the silver fenders on the diamond frame model:

Specifications:

Frame:  Hi-ten Steel, with cromoly seat tube
Fork:  Steel Unicrown
Rims:  Aluminum, black with CNC wall, 700c
Tires:  700c x 32 mm, Tan or black
Front Chainrings:  Single
Rear Hub: Shimano 3-speed
Pedals:  Platform
Front & rear Brake:  Alloy V-brakes
Shifter:  Revo Grip Shifter
Handlebar:  Aluminum alloy
Stem:  Aluminum alloy, threadless
Grips:  Brown
Saddle:  Brown cruiser w/ springs (Lady's), Brown unsprung (Men's)
Chainguard:  Chainring only on Men's, partial chainguard and chainring on Lady's
Kickstand:  Yes
Fenders:  Yes; painted metal
Rack:  Front and Rear (Lady's only)
Lights:  No
Colors:  Black, Sky Blue, Dark Green
Sizes:  44cm, 48 cm (step-thru), 46cm, 56cm (diamond)
Lady's Sky Blue - Lovely!
[But note the real bike has linear cantilever brakes, not roller brakes]
We previously mentioned the unusual looking Biria Easy Boarding bike, which is also still available.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tern Link P7i and Swoop D7


Tern is a new folding bike company, which split from Dahon. They now offer a wide range of folding bike designs. Similar to Bike Friday and Brompton folding bikes, there are meant for people who want to travel with their bike, who need to keep a bike in small space, or who have a multi-modal commute which does not allow standard-sized bikes.
Tern Link P7i
The Link P7i, "The equipped one" as they say, comes with almost everything you could want. Dynamo hub and lights, a Shimano Nexus 7-speed internal gear hub, rear rack, fenders, and chainguard  (attached directly to the chain) are included. There is a bracket on the front of the frame to attach a bag or front basket, which does not affect the steering. It is available for $1200 at Clever Cycles and other shops.
Tern also sells the Swoop d7i for $1000. It also has a rear rack and optional dynamo lighting, with a 7-speed hub, and a standard chainguard.
Tern Swoop d7i
And at the high end, they offer an Alfine 11 speed IGH equipped bike with disc brakes and dynamo lighting, the Eclipse S11i:
Tern Eclipse S11i
Reviews: 
NYCEWheels Video - Eclipse S11i
Lovely Bicycle - Swoop d7i
London Cyclist - Link
Turbo Bob - Link

Specifications: 

Link p7i
GENERAL INFO
Color: (Black/Grey)
Wheel Size:20 inch wheels
Speeds:7
Weight:14.2 kg
Folding Time:10 sec
Folding Size:38 x 79 x 72 cm
Frame Sizes:One size
Gear Inches:33" - 81"
Rider Height:142 - 190 cm
Max Rider Weight:110 kg
FRAME
Frame:6061-Alumnium
Fork:Aluminum, 6061-AL
COCKPIT
Handlepost:Physis T-Bar, aluminum, 
Stem:Andro
Headset:cartridge bearings
Handlebar:K6061-AL
Grip/Bars Tape:BioLogic Arx
Saddle:BioLogic Como PRM
Seatpost:BioLogic PostPump 2.0
Seatpost Clamp:Syntace, stainless bushing
BRAKES
Brakes: V-brakes
Brake Levers:BioLogic integrated bell


WHEELS
Front Hub:BioLogic Joule II dynamo
Rear Hub:Shimano Nexus 7 
Spokes and Nipples:Stainless steel, brass nipples
Rims:Kinetix Comp by WTB, doublewall, CNC sidewalls, powder finish
Tires:Schwalbe Marathon Supreme, 42-406, RaceGuard puncture protection, Reflex
TRANSMISSION
Shifter(s):Shimano 7 spd twist
Crankset:Kinetix Supra, forged 6061 cranks, 6061 chainring, CNC chainguard
Cassette/Freewheel:SRAM for hub gear
Bottom Bracket:Cartridge, sealed bearings
Chain:RustBlock, GST coated, 3/32"
Pedals:Suntour folding, alloy body


EXTRAS
Chainguard:BioLogic FreeDrive
Kickstand:Premium single, aluminum
Clip System:Magnetix 2.0
Luggage Socket:Yes
Front Light:Valo, HiLux LED with StandLight
Rear Light:Spanninga Premium, LED
Fenders:SKS, stainless hardware
Rack(s):BioLogic Portage 20, tubular aluminum, KlickFix compatible




Eclipse
GENERAL INFO
Color: (Black/Polish)
Wheel Size:24 inch wheels
Speeds:11
Weight:14.7 kg
Folding Time:10 sec
Folding Size:42 x 89 x 76 cm
Frame Sizes:One size
Gear Inches:30" - 120"
Suggested Rider Height:148 - 195 cm
Max Rider Weight:115 kg
FRAME
Frame:7005-AL TIG welded 
Fork:aluminum, 6061-AL
COCKPIT
Handlepost:forged aluminum
Stem:Andros,
Headset:cartridge bearings
Handlebar:double-butted 7050-AL
Grip/Bars Tape:Ergon GP1 BioKork
Saddle:Kore Sola for Tern
Seatpost:7050-AL
Seatpost Clamp:Syntace, stainless bushing
BRAKES
Brakes & Levers:Avid Elixir

WHEELS
Front Hub:BioLogic Joule HG, disc
Rear Hub:Shimano Alfine, 11-speed
Spokes and Nipples:Double-butted 18/10 stainless,
Rims:Kinetix Pro, niobium alloy
Tires:Big Apple 50-507
TRANSMISSION
Shifter(s):Shimano Alfine, 11 spd.
Crankset:FSA Vero, ISIS BB, CNC Guard
Cassette/Freewheel:Shimano for hub gear
Bottom Bracket:American Classic, ISIS
Chain:RustBlock, GST coated, 3/32"
Pedals:MKS EZY QR
Shifter Cable & Housing:Shimano
EXTRAS
Chainguard:BioLogic FreeDrive
Kickstand:Premium single, aluminum
Clip System:Magnetix 2.0
Luggage Socket:Yes
Front Light:Valo, HiLux LED with StandLight
Rear Light:Spanninga Premium, LED
Fenders:SKS, stainless hardware
Rack(s):BioLogic Portage Racks

Monday, April 21, 2014

Brompton

While not made in the USA, like the Bike Friday folding bikes, Brompton folding bikes are often touted as the bike with the most compact folded size and a very quick fold. This makes them a good option for people who need to combine a bike trip with trains or buses which do not allow full-sized bikes, or who want to fly with a bike when visiting another city. They fold down to a package that is a few inches larger than their 16 inch wheels.


The bikes and most of the special components are made in England, and there are many customization options, including all of the options we like here at Bikes for the Rest of Us: fenders, dynamo hub and lights, rear rack and a front bag or basket. Most are sold with a unique 6 speed drivetrain which combines a 3-speed internal gear hub with a tiny 2-speed derailleur.


There is no kickstand option, because the bike itself is designed stand up when folded, and there are small wheels on the rear carrier to allow it to be rolled around like a shopping cart when taken into a store. The front bags or basket attaches directly to the frame, above the small front wheel, instead of to the fork or stem as with most front baskets. This means a front load does not affect handling, and a surprising amount of cargo can be carried on one of these bikes.



Bromptons are also designed with surprisingly quick handling and a slightly leaned-forward position. This combined with small wheels, which accelerate quickly and light weight make it handle more like a road bike than a traditional city bike. The frame is meant to accomodate a range of riders, so taller people will have a more leaned-forward posture, and shorter riders are a little more upright. This can be partially counteracted by different handlebar options.
The most expensive options, including a titanium frame and fork, can cost over $3000 (above).
But the complete bike at the top of the page with 6 speeds, dynamo hub, lights, fender and the addition of a rack is under $2000. The most basic model is just over $1400.


For people in some cities, bike sharing systems, and access for full-size bikes on buses and trains, have made folding bikes less essential for multi-modal trips, but they can still be the perfect solution for some people, so it is no surprise that Clever Cycles in Portland has trouble keeping Bromptons in stock.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Kettler Berlin Royal

Kettler Berlin Royal

Kettler bikes do not seem to be available via many local bike shops, but this German manufacturer will sell direct to consumers. We previously reviewed a few of their models.

They now offer several well equipped bikes with dynamos and lights, internal gear hubs, racks, chainguard, fenders and kickstand at reasonable prices. 

Kettler City Cruiser

The Kettler City Cruiser has a 7-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hub with coast brake, front v-brake, dynamo hub with lights, chainguard, rack and fenders for only $729.

The Royal Berlin model has a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub, disc brakes, dynamo lights, rack, rear panniers, chainguard, and fenders for $1500. There are several other models with variations between these price ranges, including some with rollerbrakes.

The Royal is also available as an e-bike model

A commenter reviewed the standard Kettler Berlin Royal:
Only two commutes in on the Kettler Berlin Royal, but I wanted to share my first impressions. 
This is an imposing bike--very handsome and very large, with prewar motorcycle styling and oversized wheels and tires. It gets lots of compliments.
It's like riding a magic carpet. You ride above traffic where you can see and be seen, and the balloon tires and sprung seat ensure that bumps are only seen, not felt. The city bars with leather ergo grips are ergonomically sound, eliminating the numb wrist I get on other bikes. Handling is stable and relaxing.
The LBS was impressed at how rugged and well-built this German-made bike is, but puzzled why it's equipped with Dutch valves that can't be filled by US compressor hoses. (Luckily, screw-on adapters seem to work.)
The Kettler is fully equipped with everything needed for commuting: front and rear lights (with standlight) powered by a dynamo hub (no batteries required!), chain guard, fenders, bell, oversize pedals, internally geared 8-speed hub, tires with reflector sidewalls, weatherproof roller brakes with enormous cooling fins [edit: the current specifications list disc brakes], and coolest of all, a rack built into the bike itself (not some unsightly add-on rack) with matching pannier. Nothing to remember, nothing to bring, just hop on and go. 
Now the downside. Despite its aluminum construction, this is a heavy bike (about 40 pounds). And the same features that make it a great commuter (from the IGH to the upright seating position) also add a lot of drag. So you'd expect low, city-friendly gearing...nope. I'd gladly trade its very tall 8th gear for a lower first gear to get up the nastier hills.

Specifications: Kettler City Cruiser
Price $729 shipped
  • Frame: Durable 6061-K1 hydroformed aluminum frame
  • Fork:Lacquered unicrown construction rigid fork
  • Stem: Adjustable alloy quill stem
  • Handlebars:Humpert City alloy riser handlebars
  • Grips:Ergonomic Herrmans Moza ERGO comfort grips
  • Shifters: Reliable Shimano Nexus 7-speed shifter
  • Brakes: Exclusive KETTLER V-brakes
  • Rear Derailleur:N/A
  • Front Derailleur:N/A
  • Crankset:Exclusive KETTLER aluminum City 3-piece Beta crankset
  • Gear Ratio:38/19
  • Front Hub: Shimano DH3-N20 front dynamo hub
  • Rear Hub:Shimano Nexus 7-speed rear hub with coaster brake
  • Cassette:19 teeth
  • Rims:Mach 1 alloy double walled EXE rims with safety line
  • Tires:Robust yet nimble Continental City Ride tires with Puncture ProTection (42-622 & 47-559)
  • Headlight:Basta Pico 15 LED headlight
  • Taillight:Basta Ray Steady taillight
  • Saddle: Selle Royal Sky comfort saddle with built-in Royalgel
  • Extras: Front and rear fenders, center mounted kickstand, bolt-on luggage rack, resin chainguard
  • Motor System:N/A
  • Battery:N/A
  • Color:Matte Brown


Specifications: Kettler Berlin Royal
Price: $1499 including shipping
  • Frame:Durable 6061-K1 hydroformed aluminum frame
  • Fork: Lacquered unicrown construction rigid fork
  • Stem:Adjustable Humpert Kobra Vario Eco alloy stem
  • Handlebars:Swept back Humpert Stuttgarter alloy riser handlebars
  • Grips:Ergonomic faux leather comfort Ergo grips
  • Shifters: Reliable Shimano Nexus 8-speed shifter
  • Brakes:Powerful Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes
  • Rear Derailleur:N/A
  • Front Derailleur:N/A
  • Crankset:Competition SL Belt Drive 3-piece polished crankset
  • Gear Ratio:46/24
  • Front Hub: Shimano front dynamo hub
  • Rear Hub:Shimano Alfine 8-speed rear hub
  • Cassette:24 teeth
  • Rims:Mach 1 alloy double walled NEO rims with safety line
  • Tires:Schwalbe Big Apple balloon tires (55-622)
  • Headlight:B�chel Retro LED headlight
  • Taillight:Compact Spanninga Pixeo LED taillight
  • Saddle:Velo City sprung faux leather comfort saddle
  • Extras: Front and rear fenders, center mounted kickstand, bolt-on pannier rack, resin chainguard, Exclusive KETTLER Berlin Messenger Bag/Pannier, large metal platform pedals, faux leather water bottle cage, metal bell
  • Motor System:N/A
  • Battery:N/A
  • Color:Matte Graphite

Monday, April 14, 2014

Batavus Flying D

Unfortunately, Batavus bikes are no longer being regularly imported to North America. But for a period in the mid 2008's they were available through several local bike shops. I became the second owner of a Batavus Flying D, after my first good city bike, a Breezer Uptown 8, was stolen.

Batavus is a dutch company from the Netherlands, but the frames are made in Taiwan or China. The Flying D model has a traditional "Dutch Bike" geometry and appearance, but is made with thick aluminum tubing and modern "29er" wheels.


The wheels have deep rims that are laced in a modern-looking pattern, paired with huge 2-inch thick city tires. This can make it difficult to hang up on a bike hook in a train, but it certainly gets attention. The front hub is a Shimano dynamo plus roller brake, the rear is a 7-speed SRAM hub with coaster brake, with the chain inclosed in a full plastic chaincase with futuristic styling. The bike came standard with a leather Brooks saddle and matching vinyl grips, rear wheel lock, and dynamo headlight.

I later added a dynamo taillight and rear rack to mine, which made it much more useful. The standard metal fenders are a little short, and need rubber mudflaps to be added for full protection. The 7-speed hub is a little finicky, making it difficult get the shifting to work smoothly when the rear wheel is removed and replaced for repairs, and you have to let up on the pedals while shifting, as with most 3-speed hubs (but unlike the Nuvinci and Shimano 8-speed hubs).

The riding position is very upright even with the handlebars at the lowest setting, and the large heavy wheels make acceleration and hill climbing feel slow. But this also means it rides right over potholes without a shudder, it feels like riding on a full suspension. The upright postion feels regal, as you loom over cars and other bike riders, and a tail-wind feels like a magic carpet ride. Just watch out for headwinds and hills, the aluminum frame does not make this bike light-weight.

If you want a "Dutch" bike, I would recommend looking for a Gazelle or Workcycles bike, instead of a Batavus due to the better build quality and looks of those bikes. But this was an affordable option in the used market, which came along at the right time. It originally retailed for about $1100 in 2008 to 2009, and now would be worth about $500 to $600 used.


Specifications:

Frame:  Aluminium
Fork:  Aluminium
Rims:  Deep-section 700c ("29er"), black with silver sides
Tires:  Chinese imitation of Schwalbe Big Apple tires 29x2.20 (52mm x 622 mm); reflex sidewalls
Spokes:  Stainless, 36
Front hub:  Shimano dynamo plus roller brake
Rear hub:  SRAM 7-speed with coaster brake
Shifter:  SRAM twist shifter
Handlebar:  Cruiser-style, riser bar with swept-back grips
Stem:  Alloy
Grips:  Vinyl, leather-look
Bottom bracket:  Sealed
Rear Cog:  18 (I recommend changing to 21t for lower gearing)
Chain:  
Pedals:  Rubber block
Front & rear Brake:  Shimano rollerbrake (front), Coaster brake (rear)
Brake levers:  Right (front) only
Saddle:  Brooks B67 brown leather with springs
Seat post:  Alloy
Chainguard:  Full chaincase, thermoplastic
Kickstand:  Long alloy plus rubber single kickstand
Fenders:  Metal (black painted alloy?)
Rack:  Not included (added on mine)
Lights:  Halogen B&M (replaced on mine with LED headlight and taillight)
Extras:  Bell
Colors:  Matte black