Showing posts with label single-speed. Show all posts
Showing posts with label single-speed. Show all posts

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Interview With Spin Dockless Bikeshare

Ready to ride. Photo courtesy of Spin
In September, dockless bikeshare arrived in Washington, D.C., the city that had already proved that a bikeshare station system can work in North America.  Suddenly, in addition to the red Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) bikes, there were the yellow ofo bikes, orange Spin bikes, silver and orange Mobikes, bright green and yellow LimeBikes, and red Jump! ebikes.  Gear Prudence compared the new D.C. bikeshare options to a bag of Skittles

These new bikes are so-called "smart bikes" that are unlocked using each company's apps. The different brands provide options from single-speeds and 3-speeds to ebikes. The Washington Post test rode four of the bikes and provided its first impressions here

An initial issue with dockless in D.C. was where to park them.  They were found inside Metro stations, CaBi docks, blocking sidewalks. David Alpert suggested that the best place to park them was between tree boxes between the street and sidewalk. We'll see if a parking etiquette takes hold.

The big picture question for D.C. and other cities, however, is whether dockless bikeshare is here to stay. Is this really a thing?  To investigate, we sent some questions to Spin. They were gracious enough to provide some answers. 

Spin Q&A

How did Spin get started?  

Spin is the first company to debut the stationless bikeshare concept in America. Dockless bikeshare did not exist in the U.S. prior to 2017 so it was important to build relationships and educate local government on the benefits first. For example, since there was no pre-existing regulations/permits for dockless, Spin worked with the SDOT’S Kyle Rowe (who they recently brought on to their team internally) to create a landmark permit to allow this innovation to benefit both the government and its citizens.

What has your experience been like with the DC launch? How does it compare with what you've seen in other cities where you operate?  

We knew D.C. would be a perfect fit for dockless bike-share. Washington D.C. is consistently ranked among the top biking cities in the country, has a track record of forward thinking transportation policies, and is a city that teaches all students how to ride a bike. As a city, Washington D.C. has ambitious climate change goals which are in favor of alternative modes of transportation.

The big question I keep hearing about dockless is "aren't these bikes going to be stolen or damaged?" How do you respond to this question?  

Unlike other bikeshare companies, Spin has a dedicated staff on the ground in every city in which we operate to ensure that bikes are conveniently and legally placed. Spin will dispatch a ground operations member within 1 hour between the hours of  9am-7pm to deal with bikes reported as obstructing public right of way, with after-hours requests managed the following morning. Spin users and the general public can also report bikes 24/7 via the website or the app. Thanks to our GPS tracking technology, we can anticipate and prevent bikes from piling up.

We've seen pictures on twitter of damaged bikes. How common is this and how do you deal with this?  
Most people are treating our bikes responsibly and with respect. While there are certainly instances of irresponsible use, it’s up to us to be proactive about addressing those issues, through our ground ops team and through community engagement.

The Spin bikes that I've seen are single speeds, have a front basket, and a chainguard. Is that standard for all of your bikes?  

The bikes are all mostly identical. We tweak them as needed for each landscape. For example, we have a customized bike created just for Seattle to be able to handle that particular terrain. But generally, those features are standard. 

[editor note: Subsequent to this interview, Spin replaced its single speeds with 3-speeds]

Do they all have headlights and taillights?


How do you make a bike "weather proof"?

Spin changes the bikes based on terrain so when the winter comes there will likely be an update.

Your blog mentions "rogue" bikeshare operators. What has your experience been with other dockless companies? Has the competition been fair? Is there a market for multiple dockless companies like we're seeing in DC?  
By rogue bikeshare operators, we mean competitors that enter cities without permission. Spin is dedicated to working closely with cities to establish clear procedures for permitting and a pathway to success that benefits both cities and riders. Essentially we want to complement existing systems in each city versus focus on beating out competitors.

When you come into a city like DC, how do you measure success?

We have been deliberate about rolling out and learning from community feedback, especially in terms of placement. One ways we track success is getting data on the number of rides per bike per day. So far, ridership has been incredible.

Will bikeshare spread from cities to less dense towns and suburbs, or is density the key? 
We are currently launching in cities, however, we are extending our focus to other communities and regions as well. One of our values is equitable transportation, so providing affordable bikes to all underserved communities.  We have recently launched on select college campuses located in more rural areas to bring bikeshare to new areas. Spin’s technology allows for bluetooth connection to unlock and ride the bikes when cellular storage and data are limited, so there’s definitely opportunity to bring the bikes beyond city streets.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


The Chief from Heritage Bicycles. Courtesy

The Heritage Chief "City Edition" goes for $1,000.

The idea behind Heritage was to combine handcrafted bicycles, bike repair, apparel, and good coffee all in one shop located on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.  By all accounts, it's been a hit.  In fact, according to CNN, fans of Heritage bicycles include Beyonce, Jay Z, and Jack Dorsey.

Most Heritage bicycles have a simple, utilitarian design.  My pick is the Chief "City Edition", which is available as a singlespeed or with a 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub. It comes with a Wald rear rack.

Here are the specs:

Frame: Heritage Chief
Fork: Crowned Chromoly
Headset: FSA Duron X, ISO
Bottom Bracket: Sealed alloy, 68 x 110.5
Crank: Alloy, 44t
Pedals: Wellgo City
Rims: Alex DM18
Spokes: Sapim Leader
Tires: Schwalbe Delta Cruiser, 700 x 32c
Front Hub: sealed alloy, 36-hole
Rear Hub: KT Coaster, 36-hole
Chain: KMC 410
Stem: Alloy, 25.4mm
Handlebar: Velo-Orange Milan, 25.4m
Grips: Natural Cork
Brake levers: Velo-Orange City
Brake Calipers: Tektro R559
Rear Rack: Wald Chrome
Saddle: Velo-Orange Plush
Seat Post: Alloy, 26.2mm

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Simcoe Bicycles

From the top down: Simcoe Step-Through Classic; Simcoe Roadster Signature; Simcoe Roadster Classic; Simcoe Step-Through Signature. All photos courtesy

The Toronto-based Simcoe Bicycles makes European-style upright steel bikes that include fenders, chaincases, rear racks, and internal gear hubs. A 7-speed Classic goes for about $900; a 7-speed Signature for around $1100.

Simcoe calls itself "the renaissance of the everyday bike in North America."  Momentum Magazine included Simcoe in its gear guide as one of "21 City Bikes for 2015."  Lovely Bicycle tested the Signature Roadster in 2014 and observed that it had "that intangible 'vintage bike feel' in a modern machine."

There's so much to like about Simcoe.  The 7-speeds, whether Signature or Classic, come with a rack.  The Classic is also available as a singlespeed (MSRP $580)  or a 3-speed (MSRP $700), and in a 20 inch or 22 inch frame.  The major difference between Classic and Signature is the brakes. The Classic has caliper rim brakes; the Signature has Shimano roller brakes (which should please David Hembrow). The Signature also comes with a Brooks B68 saddle.

Here are the specs for the Roadster Classic:

Frame Mixed chromoly frame absorbs road vibration and reduces weight. Includes clever braze-ons for Dutch-style rear wheel lock to deter theft.
Paint A four-step paint process, including a phosphate base layer and ultra-durable polyurethane clearcoat, create a highly chip-resistant finish with a rust-resistant undercoat.
Fork High-tensile steel legs with a chromoly steerer tube that naturally absorbs road vibrations.
Headset FSA sealed bearing keeps steering smooth and protected from rain and snow.
Brakes Tektro dual pivot brakes give brand-name stopping power.
Brake Lever Tektro brake levers blend clean lines with excellent power.
Front Hub Bolt-On alloy front hub discourages theft.
Rear Hub One speed hub features a coaster brake while three and seven speeds feature low maintenance, weather resistant Shimano internally geared hubs.
Spokes 13 gauge (14 gauge for 7 speed) rear, 14 gauge front spokes provide lateral wheel stifness and superior stability.
Rims Extremely strong touring-grade rims with double wall construction, 36 spokes and stainless steel eyelets.
Tires Kenda EuroTrek tires have a puncture resistant lining and a reflective side wall for added safety.
Shifters Ergonomic Nexus rotary shifter on three speed and high-tech Rapidfire shifter on seven speeds.
Crankset Samox alloy cranks with fluted details.
Pedals Alloy with boron axle. Rubber top keeps shoes in good shape
Bottom Bracket FSA sealed bearings keeps things running smooth and protected from the elements.
Chain Tough KMC chain for durability.
Stem Kalloy 25 degree rise stem on the Step Through model puts you in an upright position for comfort and control. Zero rise on the Roadster model for a more powerful and agile position.
Handlebar Alloy with a 35 mm rise and Classic Japanese style 50 degree backsweep bend for perfect ergonomics.
Grips Velo grips offer great shock absorption.
Seatpost Kalloy 375 mm seatpost with elegant swan neck.
Seat Durable vinyl saddle with extra springs for added comfort.
Chainguard Alloy chainguard resists rust and provides total clothing protection.
Rack Features on seven speed models the 16 mm rack is extra strong (up to 55 pounds) and features a plate for permanent, theft-resistant light installation.
Fenders Fenders are made of a lightweight alloy and painted to match making them extremely rust and chip resistant. Added features include a fluted silver tip, single alloy stays, and leather washers.
Kickstand The Classic single arm design is both durable and handsome.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Civia Twin City

Civia Twin City 7-speed. Credit: Civia
Civia Cycles' Twin City models range from $450 for a single speed to $800-1,000 for a 7-speed with an internal gear hub.

QBP (the Minnesota-based company that owns Civia, Surly, Salsa, and All-City, among other brands) has revamped Civia so that it now offers affordable steel bikes with racks, chainguards, fenders, wide tires, and internal gear hubs.  The biggest change at Civia is the new affordability.  

Civia previously stood out with its thoughtfully designed, lightweight all-purpose bikes such as the Loring and Hyland. While I'm sad to see the retirement of those high-end models (as well as Civia's really cool cycletruck, the Halsted) it's nice to see QBP's commitment to offering useful, affordable steel bikes.  QBP describes Civia as "devoted to creating bicycle designs for everyday living."  That's what we call "bikes for the rest of us."

Photo credit: Civia Cycles.

Here are specs for the Twin City 7-speed Step-Through:

Frame: 4130 CroMoly steel with hi-tensile top tubes and welded rack
Fork: CroMoly 1" steerer
Brakes: Tektro linear pull, BR-530
Chainguard: Civia Twin City for 38 tooth
Cog: Shimano 21T
Fenders: Civia alloy, 35mm max tire width
Handlebar: 24.5 diameter, 560 mm width
Hub (rear): 7-speed Nexus SG-7R50, 32H
Kickstand: 2-legged stand
Rack (front): Civia Market
Saddle: Civia sprung with steel rails
Shifter: Nexus Revo shifter
Tires: Kenda Kwest 700 x 35mm

Monday, May 19, 2014

Legacy Rambler

When we last talked about Legacy Frameworks (it was last year), the Chicago framebuilder had put out two thoughtfully designed complete bike models - a diamond frame and a step-through. Now Legacy has refined those models with the Rambler series, which includes a step-through, a diamond frame, and a disc brake model. They go for around $1,750, but you should contact Legacy for details.

Rambler Step-Through.

Rambler Diamond

Rambler diamond with disc brakes. All photos courtesy of Legacy Frameworks.
There are some nice touches here. The following come standard: belt drive, full fenders, drum or disc brakes, rack options, double-walled rims and (are you there Edwin?) hub-generated lighting.

Busch and Muller LED headlight. Taillight also included.
Check out that powder-coated finish. Legacy offers these as singlespeeds or with up to 15 gears with internal gear hubs.

Nice looking bikes, and they're designed, manufactured, and assembled in Chicago.

Friday, November 8, 2013

#2 Al's Quella

Al's Quella single speed.
A few words from Al:

hi, this is my ride, my first single speed, i live on the isle of wight so 

you have to work hard, i got the quella because its all made here in the UK.


Sandown, Isle of Wight

Monday, June 10, 2013

Legacy Frameworks

Legacy Model 2. Courtesy: Legacy Frameworks.
Legacy Frameworks makes handbuilt city bikes in Chicago.  A basic singlespeed model, ready to ride, starts at $1,100, and belt drive models start at $1,360 (orders can be submitted online).  As pictured above, they are available as a diamond frame and as a step-through.

These are simple yet elegant steel bikes that allow for an upright ride.  Levi Borreson, who founded Legacy in 2011, describes the thinking behind the design:

took my experiences from riding in the city and translated them into a bicycle design that puts the fun and comfort back in riding, lessens the load up flights of stairs and as all readily available parts that can be maintained or replaced by anyone. Also keeping in mind the cost, and keeping it down to a reasonable level.
The step-through model debuted at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show and can be fitted with a Gates carbon belt.  The NAHBS model also included a dynamo hub for lights, drum brakes, and powder-coat paint described as "retro-reflective."

Here are a few specs that Legacy describes as standard: 

- Cartridge bearing bottom bracket and headset
- Alloy Crank with replaceable chain-ring
- Single speed or Internal hub compatibility
- Double walled 700c rims, stainless spokes and alloy hubs
- High quality puncture resistant tires
- Stainless steel brake cables
- Cantilever Brakes for great stopping and fender room.
- Alloy stem, seatpost and handlebars.
- True Temper Double Butted Chromolly Steel Tubing
- TIG Welded construction combined with Brass and silver brazing
- Powder Coated finish for durability
- Upgradable with highly available aftermarket parts. No proprietary interfaces

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dutch Bikes - Delivered?

More Local Bike Shops are offering practical transportation bicycles with classic styling in North America every day. There are now many US brands that offer practical transportation bikes, but for some there is no substitute for an imported fully dressed Dutch Bike. US Shops like Clever Cycles, Dutch Bike Co, and Adeline Adeline are importing Dutch Bikes to the US and providing a high quality retail experience to go with them. Unfortunately most of us don't live within driving distance of these shops.

What if you could get Dutch Bikes delivered right to your door? There's great risk it buying a bicycle sight-unseen, but perhaps if you've had a chance to ride one elsewhere you'd be more willing to take the plunge.

Two direct-ship Dutch Bike suppliers, And Dutch and Dutchie Bikes offer such direct-to-consumer services. In addition to a line of contemporary city bikes, kids bikes (including kids classic styles), chainless bikes and folders, And Dutch offers Burgers brand classic town bikes starting around $700 (with free shipping). The best part is that they have a variety of sizes, styles and gearing combinations (up to 8 speed). These bikes have all of the standard features like locks, lights, chaincase, steering stabilizer, racks, coatguards, etc; And Dutch assures me that these bikes include front brakes (not shown in photos). It seems reasonable that you'd want to swap out the front wheel for a dynohub/drum combo at some point, though.

And Dutch Bikes - Burgers Cargo Gents (below), Burgers Nostalgia Basic (above):
Dutchie offers two models starting at $600 (shipping starts at $49). You can choose between a loop frame and diamond frame, with single speed or 3-speed gearing. In the diamond frame you can get any color and size you want as long as it's black and 57cm. Dutchie bikes are equipped with dynohubs and front rim brakes.

Dutchie 'Chic' model:

What about quality? We can't speak to the quality of these bikes, but maybe we can get some models to test and post a full review. If you mail order you won't be able to take the bike to a local dealer for a post-purchase tune-up. What are your thoughts about the availability of fully-dressed city bikes in your area? Would you buy Dutch direct?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Biria Easy Boarding

Biria Easy Boarding Superlight 8

Biria imports reasonably-priced city bikes, designed in Germany and manufactured in East Asia.  This distinctive bike, with a very low, step-through aluminum frame, was one of the first models exported to North America, called the Easy Boarding series.

Through the use of a single, oversized aluminum tube for the front half of the frame, the Easy Boarding bike manages to have a "standover" height of only a few inches. The top of the frame is lower than the pedal in the horizontal position! 

Although not everyone appreciates this distinctive styling, the lack of a high bar, or even a regular "step-over" top tube found in a classic women's frame, means this bike is easy to get started even for people who have difficulty bending their hips or knees. The low frame and adjustable stem make it possible for most people to fit this bike, even though it is comes in only two sizes, though riders who are over 6' may need a taller seatpost and stem

Biria Easy Boarding Top 3

The series includes basic 3-speed "Top 3" for under $500, and the 8-speed "Lite 8" Shimano Nexus hub version for under $750, as well as a top-of-the-line "Superlight 8", which adds a front dynamo hub and a full dynamo-powered light system for about $840, one of the better prices for a bike with these features. There is also "easy 7" Shimano derailler version and a single-speed "cruiser," both under $400, which still include a partial chainguard and rear rack, and an Electric version, with a 3-speed Shimano Nexus rear hub, lithium battery pack, and 220 watt brushless front hub motor

Biria Easy Boarding - Easy 7
The components of the top-of-the-line Superlight 8 are below:


Frame:  Aluminum 7005
Fork:  Hi-Ten unicrown
Rims:  Aluminum, double-wall, 26"
Tires:  26x1.75
Front hub:  Shimano dynamo hub [Superlight 8 only]
Rear hub:  8-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear hub
Shifter:  Shimano nexus twist shifter
Handlebar:  City cruiser [Alloy]
Stem:  Adjustable Aluminum alloy
Grips:  Brown
Pedals:  Platform, rubber
Front & rear Brake:  Linear-pull cantilevers [Rear coaster brake on Top 3 and Cruiser]
Saddle:  Brown, with springs
Chainguard:  Full guard
Kickstand:  Single
Fenders:  Silver
Rack:  Rear alloy rack
Lights:  Front and rear dynamo-powered [Superlight 8 only]
Colors:  Aqua Blue, Black [Superlight 8];
Sizes:  40 cm (15.5"), 46 cm (18")
Weight:  36 lbs [claimed; single-speed is 30 lbs, 3-speed is 31 lbs ]
Biria Easy Boarding Electric

I look on this bike fondly, because it indirectly got me into commuting by bike. My boss bought the Lite 8 after a bike tour in Europe, and started riding it the 4 miles to work. I was shocked to see it in her office, but after hearing her explain how fast and easy it was to ride to work, I decided to try it myself and am now a daily commuter.

We have also previously reviewed two other bikes by Biria: the Newport 3, a shaft-drive 3-speed, and the Classic Dutch (sadly no longer available, though some dealers may have one in stock.)

The Easy Boarding Top 3 was reviewed by Bike Commuters in 2008, and it appears the 2011 model is unchanged.
Ding Ding Let's Ride had a test ride of the Top 3 in August 2010.

Biria Easy Boarding bike at the Grand Canyon

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kona Humu

It's a simple bike with big fat tires, a sturdy steel frame and some cruiser bits and pieces for good measure. The Humu from Kona has a double triangle frame with a sloping top tube that reminds me of the Worksman Newsboy. Those tires are Kenda 26 x 2.3!

This bike is more for fun around town or on the trail than anything else. It's Kona's answer to the Swobo Folsom in many ways. If the Folsom is the tatoo-clad bar hopper then maybe the Humu is more the surfer on the way to the bonfire party.