Monday, November 30, 2015

Breezer Downtown 8

Breezer Downtown 8. Photo courtesy of breezerbikes.com
The Breezer Downtown 8 has a MSRP of $609.

We've talked a lot about Breezer's Uptown models.  They are fully-dressed aluminum commuter bikes that come standard with a full chaincase, fenders, rear rack, internal gear hub, and even dynamo lights.  So it would be hard for Breezer to top that.  Unless...

Unless you really like the feel of steel.  Downtown is Breezer's classic chromoly steel town bike.  It comes with a chainguard, fenders, rear rack, bell, and Shimano Nexus 8 IGH.  The only thing missing is the lights.  It would be even better with lights, but you can add your own battery-powered lights.

Here are the full specs:


Specifications
SizesS (48 cm), M ( 52 cm), L (56 cm), XL (60 cm)
Color(s)Gloss Red w/ Cream
Main frameBreezer Chromoly Steel, Dual Water Bottle Mounts
Rear triangleBreezer Chromoly Steel
ForkBreezer Steel
CranksetBreezer Aluminum, 38T
Bottom BracketVP-BC73C Cartridge-Style
PedalsAlloy Body, Chromoly Axle
Front derailleurna
Rear derailleurna
ShiftersShimano Nexus 8 Revo-Shift, 8-Speed
CassetteShimano, 18T
ChainKMC
WheelsetBreezer Aluminum Front / Nexus 8 Rear 36H Hubs, Vera DPM18 Aluminum Double-Wall GSW Rims
TiresVera CityWide, 700Cx35 w/ Puncture Protection
Brake setBreezer Aluminum Linear Pull, Cold-Forged, Stainless Hardware
Brake leversBreezer Aluminum, 4-Finger Ergonomic w/ Kraton Grip
HeadsetFSA Sealed, 1 1/8", Threaded
HandlebarBreezer North Road Aluminum, 25.4, 26mm Rise, 590mm Wide, 33° Sweep
StemBreezer Aluminum, 25.4, Quill-Style
Tape/gripBreezer Perforated Comfort
SaddleBreezer Comfort
Seat postBreezer Aluminum, 27.2mm
FendersSteel, Stainless Hardware
Headlightna
Taillightna
Rear CarrierBreezer Tubular Aluminum w/ Spring Clip
AccChainguard, Kickstand, Bell
Weight, kg/lbs15.37 kg / 33.81 lbs

*Spec subject to change without notice
Geometry

Sizes

S (48 cm) M (52 cm) L (56 cm) XL (60 cm)
Seat Tube / Center To Top A
480 520 560 600
Top Tube - Effective C
590 600 610 630
Head Tube Length D
140 155 170 190
Seat Tube Angle E
72.5° 72.5° 72.5° 72.5°
Head Tube Angle G
71.5° 71.5° 71.5° 71.5°
Chainstay Length H
457 457 457 457
Wheelbase I
1071.1 1081.8 1092.5 1113.3
Bottom Bracket Height J
271 271 271 271
Fork Offset K
45 45 45 45
Standover Height O
774.8 791.8 824.6 851.2
Stem Length

80 80 100 100
Handlebar Width

590 590 590 590
Crank Arm Length

170 170 170

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Can A Decent Bike Be Found For $200-300?


Huffy cruiser model #26744 goes for $160 and is available at Sports Authority and on amazon.com.  Photo courtesy of huffybikes.com.
From our bikes4restofus[AT]gmail.com inbox, we received this inquiry.  My response follows, and you can respond in the comments.



Hi,

I just recently discovered your blog and think it's the best biking blog I've ever come across.  Reading your posts makes it sound like you're speaking directly to me.

In your post from 2014-05-05 [What makes a Bike For The Rest Of Us by Joseph], you enumerate what makes a good bike for the rest of us.  I completely agree with the criteria that you include.  However, I do request that you consider one more criterion:  value.  People like us who ride bikes to run errands typically don't want to spend $1000+ on our bikes.

I have usually gone with Huffy cruisers for about $130.  Check these out:


They come with chain guards, fenders, racks, and sometimes baskets.  Unfortunately, the build quality leaves much to be desired.  Pedals break, etc.  I've recently resolved to get a better bike, but still aim for maximizing the value I get for what I pay.  Do you have any advice for what might be the best values in city/comfort bikes?  Can a decent bike be found for $200?  $300?  If you could offer such advice in a blog post, I'm sure your readers would greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Desmond

*****

Dear Desmond,

Thank you for your kind words and for asking a really good question about maximizing value.
Let me start by stating two core principles that really are the whole foundation of this blog: (1) bicycles have great value as a form of transportation and (2) the right bike for you depends on your personal preferences. 

Based on point 1, you could justify spending, say $2,000 on an A.N.T. Boston Roadster given that it's a high-quality bike, will last your entire lifetime, and can replace your car for most local trips.  The key word there is "justify."  The marvelous thing about bikes is that they don't really lose their value unless they've been in a crash that has damaged the frame.  Compare a bike to a car.  The moment you drive your new car off the lot, it has depreciated in value.  A good bike will last your entire lifetime.  In fact, if you look at all the English 3-speeds that are still around, in most cases they have outlasted their original owners.  But enough about the value of bikes. For purposes of our discussion, we will work with $200-300.
 
On the second point, the right bike for you is the one you want to ride.  Think of some place you need to go to on a regular basis (work, the store, etc) and think about whether you would want ride your bike there.  For example, if you would look forward to riding your Huffy cruiser to work everyday, then the Huffy cruiser meets this test.


Now to answer your question, can a decent bike be found for $200 or $300?  My answer, based on my bike preferences, is yes, absolutely.

For $200-300, you have quite a few options. You could buy that Huffy cruiser at the big box store or on amazon (On issues with buying bikes from big box stores, read David's post or this one by a local bike shop owner).  You could save a little more and get one of Giant’s Momentum bicycles, which go for just $425.  You could get a membership in bikeshare, if you have that available to you.  

If it were me, I would head out to the local bike co-ops, thrift shops and yard sales in search of a lugged, steel mountain bike from the 1980's or 90's.  Ideally, I would find one that spent years as a museum piece in someone's garage and I would repurpose it into an all-arounder.  I talked about this in Here's the RUB.


A vintage 10-speed might also be a good deal, but I like mountain bikes from the 80’s or 90’s because they can take wide tires, like a cruiser, but unlike a cruiser, they come with a full set of brakes, front and back.  A cruiser typically comes only with a rear coaster brake (read Sheldon Brown on the pros and cons of coaster brakes), and that’s a deal-breaker for me.  It might be fine for someone who rides in flat terrain and warm climates (cruisers are popular in beach towns), but I wouldn’t rely on a coaster brake alone if I rode hills, or in winter weather, or in chaotic city traffic.  All of which I do, year round.


That's my take on how to find a decent bike for $200-300.  What are your suggestions, readers?