Showing posts with label chaincase. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chaincase. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Koga Miyata LiteAce

Koga-Miyata sells this model as a comfort bike, but I think it would meet all city bike needs. The frame is aluminum, but it's hard to find fault with the rest of the specs. A Nexus 8-speed hub, real leather grips and AXA wheel lock round it out.

Model LiteAce (G)
Segment Comfort
Season 2010
Frame sizes 50-54-57-60-63cm
Frame description Completely hand-built Super Smooth TIG-welded frame. Tubes manufactured in triple-hardened and triple butted 7005 aluminium. Down tube with integrated shifter and brake cables. Equipped with integrated headset, rear carrier and basements for all accessories and unique Koga chain tension system
Front fork Koga Feather JF2-Koga-24 - Lightweigt - Ball bearing guided suspension fork - Travel 35 mm
Head set Tange Seiki ball bearing -Integrated in frame
Color Hazelnut brown/Warm gray//
Handlebar Koga Touring alloy - Lightweight - Silver color
Stem Koga Locusta one bolt adjustable stem
Grips Koga Ergonomic genuine leather
Brake (front) Shimano Rollerbrake BR-IM80
Brake (rear) Shimano Rollerbrake BR-IM80
Shift/Brake lever (r) Shimano Nexus Tap fire with optical gear display
Brakelever (l) Shimano Nexus
Brake cable Stainless steel inner cable -Flexible outer cable with teflon tube for light braking
Shifter cable Stainless steel inner cable -Flexible outer cable with teflon tube for light shifting
Chain KMC Z610HX for smooth shifting and riding
Front Hub Shimano DH-3R30 6V/3,0W - Low rotating friction - Quick Release
Rear Hub Shimano Nexus-8 Premium - 8 internal gears in hub - Premium: High driving efficiency and increased service life
Tyres Schwalbe City Lite 37mm - Puncture Protection - Side reflection
Tube Koga - 36 mm valve
Rims Koga KM19-622 Strong alloy - Double wall and double eyeletted 36 holes - Durable finished - Silver color
Rim tape Hermanns innertube protective
Spokes Sapim stainless - Cold forged reinforced
Saddle Selle Royal Wave - Royal Gel inside - Scuff guards - Koga logo
Seat pillar Satori alloy - Shock absorbing - Safety Clamp construction - Travel 30mm
SeatclampKoga alloy

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Breezer Uptown

Breezer Uptown 8.  Courtesy Breezer.
Uptown 8 step-through.  Courtesy: Breezer.

It's been more than two years since we've mentioned Breezer here. Commenter Jonathan recently wrote: "IMO, the 2010 [Uptown] model is enough of an update over the 2008 model that a new review might be in order. There really are very few bicycles for less than $1000 that come standard with rack, dynamo lights, full chainguard, and fenders. I'm just sayin'."

Thanks, Jonathan. You just wrote the review for us. Rack, lights, full chainguard, fenders, PLUS an internal 8-speed hub that should require very little maintenance. Big Wheel Bikes sells the Uptown for $899. They also sell the less expensive 7-speed and 3-speed Breezers.

Here are the 2010 Uptown 8 specs:

Sizes (Step-Over) (Step-Over) 17.5, 19.5, 21.5, 23.5"

Sizes (Step-Through) (Step-Through) 15, 17, 19, 21"

Color (Step-Over) (Step-Over) Black/Blue

Color (Step-Through) (Step-Through) Silver/Black

Main frame Breezer custom butted alloy, integrated head tube, down tube hydroforming, single water bottle mount

Rear triangle Breezer D-Fusion alloy, Horiz-In dropouts

Fork Breezer cromo fork w/ cromo steerer, v-brake mounts

Crankset Shimano Nexus FC-NX75 w/ 38T chainwheel

Bottom bracket VP-BC73C cartridge style

Pedals Wellgo CO98 alloy body w/ Kraton top, cromo spindle

Shifters Shimano Nexus Revo 8-speed

Cassette Shimano, 18T

Chain KMC Z-51

Front hub Shimano DH-3N20-NT dynamo, nutted, 6V 3.0W, 36H

Rear hub Shimano NEXUS, 8-speed internal, 36H

Spokes 14G Stainless Steel

Rims Alex DH19

Tires CST C-1393P - 26 x 1.5

Tubes Kenda Schrader

Brake set Tektro 857AL V-Brake

Brake levers Tektro CL530

Headset VP-H692W

Handlebar Breezer alloy 26mm rise 570mm wide

Stem Breezer alloy, quill style

Tape/grip Breezer Lock-On ergonomic Kraton rubber

Saddle Breezer w/ steel rail

Seat post Breezer suspension alloy 40mm travel

Seat clamp Breezer alloy 31.8mm

Fenders Polycarbonate w/ integrated lighting conductors

Headlight Basta Pilot Steady Auto LED w/ standlight feature w/ sensor feature

Taillight Basta Ray Steady LED w/ standlight feature

Rear carrier Breezer tubular alloy w/ spring clip

Other Axa Defender RL ring lock with plug in chain capability

Weight, lb./kg. 33.63/15.25

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Torker T-530

This isn't your average US-Market bike. It doesn't pretend to be hip and urban. It doesn't evoke any sort of competitive race. Does it have a fancy colored chain? You can't even *see* the chain!

Now outside the US this kind of Bike For The Rest Of Us is a common sight. Internal-hub gears (7), roller brakes, full chainguard, fenders, rack, etc. Torker does things a little differently with the T-530. It has an Aluminum frame, which can be stiff and unforgiving. They make up for it with a suspension fork, suspension seatpost AND fat 700x38 tires. Overkill? Maybe. You could probably sip a coffee while riding it one-handed though. 

Specs (from Torker):

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Batavus in the USA: The BUB

Batavus has been making bicycles in the Netherlands since 1917 and they know a thing or two about making bikes for the city. Dutch bikes are different from the typical Trek Hybrid here in the US. The drivetrain is hidden away behind chaincases and hubs so that they don't rust when left out in the rain. The metal parts are all treated to withstand the weather. Brakes are typically coaster or drum, so that they're not affected by bent or grimy rims. Most have a rack on the back that can hold an extra passenger. Oh, and they are mostly black and all pretty heavy by US standards (40lbs+).

In recent years Batavus has hoped to capture some of the export market by making bikes with wider appeal. Some, like the Breukelen, are Aluminum-framed modern interpretations of the more classic bikes like the Old Dutch. The BUB is a different animal because it doesn't try to look like any bike you've seen before. Oh, and it costs about half of the typical Batavus.

What makes the BUB so special by US standards?
  • It has a cool paperclip-shaped frame that has won the prestigious iF Award
  • Well, if you needed to Google "iF Award" like me then let me just tell you that it makes Aluminum tubing look really good
  • It comes with a wheel lock for dashing into your favorite Kebab place for carryout
  • You can get it with front/rear lights and front/rear racks
  • The tires are big and wide but it's not for beach cruising
  • You sit upright to see over the backs of bent-over fixie riders ahead of you.
  • You're tempted to add reflectors to the bike because of the cool colored plastic bits they offer
  • It costs $600 and it's not made in China
You can get a BUB this spring at your local Batavus Dealer. If you actually have a local dealer with Dutch bikes you are incredibly lucky. So head to your local Clever Cycles, or Renaissance Bicycles or Copenhagen Cyclery or Bikes@Vienna and give a Dutch bike a ride.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Elusive Chain Guard

There isn't a feature on a Bike For The Rest Of Us more essential and elusive than the chain guard. 

Why elusive, you ask? 

Just walk into your local bike shop and count the number of bikes with chain guards. Yes, plenty of kids bikes have them, but they seem to vanish when you get to wheel sizes over 12 inches. And if you do happen to have a chain guard sighting it will probably be a partial coverage one that just covers the top half of the chain.

Torker T-300 Partial Chain Guard

On some new bikes the chain guards are so tiny that you'll probably miss them at first glance. These 1-inch strips of metal are very much the thong of the chain guard world providing only the minimal amount of coverage and not obscuring the circular lines of the front sprocket and chain.

Electra Tincino's Low Profile Approach

Now there's no question in my mind that chain guards are essential. They keep your pants clean and remove another barrier from just hopping on your bike and riding. OK, so there are other solutions that people have suggested like cuff rolling, pants strapping and knicker wearing. But a BFROU is about using your bike for transportation. You wouldn't think about special clothing modifications for driving your car, so why should your bike be any different?

Chain guards have other functions like keeping the lube on your chain and the dirt off of it. If you're really lucky you'll find a bike with a chain case. Chain cases enclose the chain on both sides and keep the weather out, extending the life of the drivetrain. Dutch bikes are commonly equipped with chain cases because, like our beloved cars in the US, are made to sit out in the weather for many years without frequent maintenance.

Mighty Batavus Chaincase
Chain guards and chain cases are not without their drawbacks. They add an extra step to removing your rear wheel. Access to your chain for inspection, cleaning and lubrication will be hampered as well. At one time chain guards were fashionable and made to enhance the appearance of the bike; however, now the bare lines of the chain are the desirable visual cue thanks to the dominance of fixie and track bikes.

I'll mention that if you want to add a chain guard to your existing bike they're hard to find and can be a challenge to retrofit. They range from the very functional and plastic
(SKS) to the handcrafted and unique (Velo-Orange). Soma even has a modular one that they say works with front derailleurs. With the resurgence of internally-geared transportation bikes we hope to see more chain guards and more BFROU along with them.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Point of View

Many of the latest city bikes (and bikes we have focused on here) feature internal gear hubs and chainguards or chaincases. This makes it easy to hop on and ride no matter what you're wearing. However, the blogger at Planetary Gears (a Minneapolis bike shop owner) offers his view that these types of bikes are not necessarily the best option for the practical cyclist. Check it out.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Specialized Globe

Is Specialized getting serious about bikes for the rest of us?

In an interesting development in the bike industry, Specialized has put all of its BFROU models into a "stand alone brand" called Globe. According to Specialized, Globe is part of the "dream of a world where bikes are the majority - where cars come with labels that say 'Use Sparingly'."

Not long ago, the Specialized Globe was the name of a single model - a basic hybrid offered to fill all the needs of the everyday cyclist. But now, rather than a Globe model, there's the Globe brand, which includes:

The Vienna series, which seems to have been scaled back from the prior models which we discussed here;

The Roll, which is your basic fixed gear/single speed urban "assault" model;

Haul, a nice-looking 8-speed cargo bike;

Carmel, a beach cruiser/comfort bike; and finally...

The Globe Live models, which appear to be the flagship Globe models, "for riders wanting an option for every whim." Notably, the Live 3 model is built on an aluminum frame and comes with belt drives, fenders, a chaincase, and porteur racks. The Globe Live 1 goes for $580, the Live 2 for $940, and the Live 3 for $1550. The Live 1 and Live 2 are also offered as mixtes.

Here are the specs for the Live 3:

FRAME Globe A1 Premium Aluminum cargo design, fully manipulated custom tubing w/ fender and rack braze-ons, integrated kickstand mount

FORK Globe Live straight-blade aluminum fork w/ custom forged crown and porteur basket/rack system

HEADSET 1-1/8" threadless, integrated, semi-cartridge campy style bearings

STEM Forged alloy, 2-bolt, 15 degree rise, 25.4mm clamp

HANDLEBARS Alloy, 25.4mm, 610mm wide, 43 degree up, 57 degree back sweep

TAPE Globe City 140mm

FRONT BRAKE Tektro Auriga Comp, hydraulic dual piston, w/160mm rotors

REAR BRAKE Tektro Auriga Comp, hydraulic dual piston, w/160mm rotors

BRAKE LEVERS Auriga Comp brake levers

SHIFT LEVERS Shimano Alfine tap fire, 8-speed

CASSETTE Gates belt drive cog, 24t

CHAIN Belt drive, 122 links

CRANKSET Sugino EX-1 aluminum, w/ alloy chainguard

CHAINRINGS Belt drive, 50t

BOTTOM BRACKET Cartridge bearing, square spindle with crank stop right side and capless bolts

PEDALS Classic full alloy pedal

RIMS Globe RHD 700c, alloy double wall disc specific, 36h

FRONT HUB Hi Lo flange, loose ball, QR, 36h

REAR HUB Shimano Alfine internal 8-speed, 36h

SPOKES 2mm (14g) stainless

FRONT TIRE Specialized Infinity Armadillo, 700x32c, 60TPI

REAR TIRE Specialized Infinity Armadillo, 700x32c, 60TPI

INNER TUBES Schraeder valve

SADDLE Specialized Body Geometry Fitness, 143mm width, front and rear bumpers

SEATPOST Alloy, 2-bolt forged head, 12.5mm offset, 27.2mm

SEAT BINDER Globe Chevron forged alloy, chrome plated

CHAINCASE Globe aluminum chain guard for internal gearing

KICKSTAND Pletscher double leg kickstand

RACK Globe porteur front rack/basket w/ wood bottom, 25kg recommended max capacity

FENDERS Globe classic aluminum fenders, long, 700C x 35C wide

If you buy or try out any of these models, let us know what you think in the comments!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dutch Bicycles

This week, the New York Times did a fashion piece in which it declared the glossy black Dutch bicycle "the new It object." Although still pretty rare, I am starting to see these on the streets of D.C., and apparently they have become common sights in Manhattan, Seattle, and Portland.

The Dutch Opa pictured above (Oma is the women's step-through model) is sold by the Dutch Bicycle Company in Seattle for $1589. They will ship it anywhere in the continental U.S., and they estimate that it costs between $330-365 to ship an Opa or Oma. According to the New York Times story, the Dutch Bicycle Company will soon open a store in NYC.

Dutch bikes, of course, have both style and function. Fenders, chainguards, rack carriers, headlights and taillights are standard. Here are the specs on the Opa:

Frame: Powder coated, hi-tensile steel, available in 57, 61, & 65 cm sizes

Hub: Shimano Nexus eight-speed, sealed, internally geared hub

Headlight: Shimano Nexus hub mounted dynamo powering headlamp and tail lamp
(no batteries needed - ever) 

Saddle: Brooks model B67, sprung leather

Brakes: Front and rear roller

Accessories: Center stand, fenders, mud flap, cargo rack and pump, rear wheel skirts/spats - spoke guards (keeps your skirt or suit clean), fabric and chrome chaincase cover, integrated rear wheel locking system

By the way, the Dutch Bicycle Company also sells German Velorbis models like the one pictured in the very first post on this blog.

In addition, Biria has come out with a Classic Dutch Series that includes this 21" Classic Dutch Men's:

The specs are similar to the Opa:

Frame: Hi-Ten Steel, 52 cm (21")

Fork: Hi-Ten unicrown

Rims: 28" steel black

Tires: 28x1.50

Gear: 3-speed Shimano Nexus

Brakes: Rear Roller and front v-brake, Alloy

Colors: black, dark red

Standard: full Chain guard, fenders, front and rear lights with generator, kickstand

Finally, don't forget the Dutch and Dutch-style bikes that we've already discussed on this blog, including the Batavus Old Dutch, KHS Green, and Electra Amsterdam.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vienna Deluxe, by Specialized

Remember the S.A.T.? Trek is to Coke as Specialized is to Pepsi. Just as good. Maybe better. But not quite as popular.

The Vienna series is Specialized Bicycle Compenents' Bike For The Rest Of Us, and it's a good'er. The base model is the Vienna 1, offering:
  • A relaxed but sporty riding position,
  • More gears than you'll ever need,
  • Full fenders,
  • Rear carrier,
  • Bell (of course),
  • Kickstand, and
  • Front and rear lights, powered by a dynamo hub!
The dynamo hub is part of the front wheel, and contains a small electric generator that powers the headlight and taillight. No batteries needed, ever. No more taking-your-lights-with-you-so-they-don't-get-stolen. No more stolen lights becasue you forgot to take them with you. No more stolen lights at all! The taillight has a stand-light, which means that even when you stop, the light will stay on for several minutes. This is handy when you stop for traffic lights and stop-signs... You do stop for those, don't you?

Here is the step-through version:

I think it's got nice lines. The "diamond-frame" version too, which is distinctly not diamond-shaped, has a fine aesthetic sensibility. I'll stick with "relaxed but sporty."

If you've got the dough, the Vienna Deluxe 3 is a terrific upgrade. The biggest change is that the external drive-train of the Deluxe 1 is replaced by a Shimano 8-speed internal gear-hub. You don't have as many gears, but you DO have a virtually maintenance-free gear system with enough gears for almost any purpose, a single shifter you can use anytime (stopped, coasting, or pedalling), and a full-coverage chaingaurd. Other upgrades include:
  • Puncture resistant tires with reflective sidewalls, very cool,
  • A slightly nicer saddle, maybe some other bits here and there, and
  • Double wall rims.
Teachable moment!

Here's the difference between a single wall rim and a double wall rim:

On the left, single wall.
On the right, double wall.
On the left, weak.
On the right, strong.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Batavus Old Dutch

Let's face it: the most utilitarian yet elegant bikes are the ones that are being pedaled everyday as basic transportation in Old World Europe. Just take a look at the blogs Amsterdamize and Copenhagenize. Europeans ride a whole lot more than Americans and they look good while doing it.

As some of us Americans have clamored for more "bikes for the rest of us," companies such as Batavus have tried to market their bikes here. The women's Old Dutch, pictured above, retailed for $829.99 at City Bikes, but it's currently not in stock.

Old Dutch is a 3-speed with an SRAM hub, making it ideal for cruising around a city. It comes with a "theft prevention chip" and a lock, but I would strongly suggest double locking it in underground parking garage. This is a bike that attracts attention.


Frame: High Tensile Steel (sizes 50-56)
Luggage rack: Steel
Taillight: Manual with battery
Tires: CST Traveller with anti-leakage layer
Bell: Chrome
Crank: Steel, chromium plated
Grips: Batavus comfort
Headlight: Traditional battery-powered
Pedals: Plastic anti-slip
Brakes: Coaster
Lock: Trelock RS420
Carrier Straps
Spokes: Stainless steel
Mudguards: Steel
Stand: Batavus Safety adjustable
Handlebars: Steel, chromium plated
Rims: Stainless steel
Saddle: Selle Royal 8274

Yes, that's a lot of steel. The Old Dutch weighs in at 19.7 kg, or about 44 pounds.

This is, in so many ways, the antithesis of most bikes being marketed to Americans today. Maybe, some day, our bike shops will look like this one visited by Dave Hembrow in the Netherlands. Until then, many of the best "bikes for the rest of us" will come from Europe.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Xtracycle Radish

If you're looking for a perky radish, you can't go wrong with the one in Henri Rousseau's Pink Candle (see above), but since you're here at Bikes-For-The-Rest-Of-Us, I have to assume these aren't the droids you're looking for.

How about this Radish, from Xtracycle, One-Of-Our-Favorite-Companies-Ever:
The Radish is Xtracycle's latest creation: a full longtail bike that comes in one box, with everything you need to ride in style. I posted about it previously, but there is some new information from the Xtra-folks. They've designed the frame and chosen the components so that riders of various sizes can be comfortably accommodated with only a change of saddle height, so it's a one-size-fits-most arrangement. (If they're as smart as we think they are, they'll spec a bolted seat-post binder, or a wee cable to keep combat the black-market in seat-posts and saddles.)
The Xtra-folks have also disclosed these not-too-specific specifications:
  • Xtracycle-specific steel frame, mated to a matching Free Radical (powder coated, we assume),
  • Steel fork with V-brake in front,
  • Rear disc brake (cable-actuated, we assume),
  • 7 or 8 gears with "insane" range,
  • Swept-back bars and overall laid-back styling,
  • A good all-around component set (with a freehub and stout wheels, we assume),
  • Fat-G street tires (Schwalbe, we prefer; Kenda, we expect), and
  • Loads of standard accessories, including a chainguard, fenders, and the full Xtracycle longtail kit with Freeloader bags and traditional Snap Deck.
Price tag: $1199.
Radishes are almost available. Get on the Radish mailing list by emailing your contact to . I did.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A couple from Dahon: Curve D3 & Glide P8

Stop, Drop, and Fold
Folding bikes have a bit of a stigma for some hardcore cyclists, but darn if they aren't good for lots of things. Shall we list some? Lets. You can:

There are several companies that make good folding bikes, but if you use US Dollars, and are on any kind of budget, you're as likely as not to end up with a Dahon. I've pictured the Curve D3 and the Glide P8 here, and Dahon's website has all the specs'n'stuff on them and on the company's other models as well. Dahon's goal from the start was to enable people to use bicycles for everyday transportation - to integrate bicycling into their lives - and since the company is celebrating its 25th Annivarsary this year, I thought it would be appropriate to profile the company.
David Hon started the company in 1983, after trying and failing to get established bicycle makers interested in his ideas and designs. Since then, Dahon has produced over three million folding bikes. For 2008, the website lists 24 models available in the US, with varying in features and affordability. From a practical perspective, the affordability element may be Dahon's best feature: the Curve D3 retails for about $400, and it's not at all the least expensive.

In addition to Dahon-branded products, the company designs/builds bikes under contract to other companies, such as Breezer, and licenses its technology to many more. The company claims that over 95% of folding bicycles on the market use at least some Dahon technology. In 2002, Dahon won a lawsuit in Taiwanese criminal court against former employees and their company, Neobike, who were producing inexpensive imitations and infringing on Dahon patents (other leading folding bike companies have had similar problems with intellectual property rights). It doesn't stop there however - the company continues to develop innovative techonology and designs, including the Mu XXV, a 16.5 pound anniversary model.

The models pictured here have been selected based on purely subjective criteria: (a) I saw a Curve D3 the other day, (b) it's red, and that's my favorite color, and (c) I like the curvy frame and practical accessories on the Glide P8. The Curve D3 and Caio P8 (on your left, and the Glide's twin sister) are available at:

Note: the basket pictured on the Glide is not included. Dahon has two bad habits: picturing bikes with non-included accessories and an archaic inventory system and delivery schedule. I have bad habits too, but I'm not going to list them here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Redline R530

European Sophistication and Practicality
Lightweight 6061 aluminum frame that is specially designed for utilitarian use. Shock absorbing Suntour front fork with 50mm of travel. Quiet, “maintenance free,” easy shifting Shimano Nexus 7 speed drive train & highly efficient roller brakes. Easy fit handlebars & stem adjust for comfortable upright riding positions. Sturdy aluminum double wall rims with stainless steel spokes, with flat resistant tubes for trouble free adventure. Comes fully dressed with fenders, rear cargo carrier, full chainguard, & shockabsorbing seatpost. Available in a step thru & 4 diamond style frame sizes (S-XL).
FRAME - 6061 alloy 130mm spacing
FORK - SR Suntour 50mm
HEADSET - Tange threaded 28.6mm
F.DERAIL - none!
R.DERAIL - none!
SHIFTERS - Shimano Nexus 7
CRANKSET - Alloy 38T
BB - Square taper
PEDALS - Alloy comfort
WHEELSET - Alloy double wall rim , alloy nutted hubs, 14 gauge stainless spokes
TIRES - Kenda 700 x 38
BRAKE - Shimano Nexus Roller
BRAKE LVR - Tektro
BAR - Alloy 55mm rise
STEM - Alloy adjustable
SADDLE - Comfort
POST - Alloy comfort suspension 27.2mm

EXTRAS - fenders, rear cargo carrier, full chainguard
David's comments:

This is a good looking and practical machine. Although it's a bit more expensive, internal hub gearing is really the way to go for urban utility: you can shift while waiting at a stoplight, and use a full chaincase (which Redline has wisely provided), saving your pants or skirt. In addition to the other useful accessories that come standard, this bike has nice high handlebars for a casual posture and good traffic spotting, and the step-through version has a nice deep scoop. 

The bike does have two design flaws. First, the quick-release seat collar is a terrific way to get your seat stolen. It's easy to switch the quick-release collar for a regular bolt-on collar (you may be able to replace just the bolt itself). Second, and not as easily fixed, is the suspension fork. This thing is heavy, detracts from the handling of the bike, and probably isn't absorbing much in the way of shock or vibration (most of that is done by the tires, properly inflated).

Now get some lights, and a Basil bag or basket, and you're all set. Make sure you get a taillight that can be mounted on the back of the rack where it will be much more visible than if mounted on the seatpost or elsewhere.