Monday, May 5, 2014

What makes a Bike For The Rest Of Us?

In a new weekly series, we will be going over the "extra" parts that make a bicycle useful for everyday transportation.

1) Fenders
2) Chain guard
3) Baskets and racks
4) Gears
5) Lights
6) Brakes
7) Lock
8) Kickstand
9) Bell

Over the next weeks, we will be reviewing these one at a time.


Ἀντισθένης said...

None of those is necessary as bought. The following can be upgraded easily and cheaply: 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9.

4, 5 and 6 I'd dispute: LED lights are so cheap and powerful that a permanent dynamo and light set up is an unnecessary expense, likely to be damaged or stolen (bike entire). IHG are nice, but not as smooth, harder to service, and quite a bit more expensive than the number of derailleurs you could feasibly destroy in a bike's life. Rim brakes are much cheaper, and work very well set up right, or with wet-compound pads.

An integrated lock? Well, that works for me in Tokyo, but it would do no good in Toronto, where a thief would just march off with the bike over his shoulder.

Bill said...

Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that those features makes a bike more useful as a transportation bike.

One thing is sure, there is an advantage (especially for a novice getting started) in having everything pre-packaged, and that is that you know that they will fit on the bike. Not every bike can accept fenders or racks. And of course, if you choose to refit brakes, gearing, an IGH, it gets rather pricey.

My own personal opinion is that IGH's are better since you can use them with a full chain case which is better for keeping clothes clean. Also they generally require less maintenance.

Joseph E said...

I considered dividing these into "essentials" and "upgrades" or something of the sort, but I couldn't decide where to draw the line.

It is true that it some things are easy to add later, or can be bought and installed by the bike shop at the time of purchase, but this blog as always spotlighted bikes that come equipped to use right away.

And only some bike frames can take fenders, racks and standard kickstands. A full chainguard is only possible with a single speed or internal gearing.

But I welcome comments and debate about what things are important in a city bike.