Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Bike to Ride Home On 

After going to the Toronto Bike Show, I'm as confused as ever about what bike to get this spring for commuting. These are my criteria: an upright bike, either single gear or 3-speed internal gear hub, chain guard and fenders, front or rear rack. Also, it must look great. That last little parameter, "must look great" is obviously flawed, subjective and apparently adds about $250 to the cost. Really, no kidding. You can get plenty of bikes that fit that description for over $1000 but you'd be hard pressed to find one like that between $500 and $750.

This is the bike I'd like:

The Creme Cycle Cafe Racer, approximately $1100

Which is very similar to this bike I'd like:

The very affordable Public D3 is about $700 + $125 for shipping (within the US only). UPDATE: The Public D3 is now available in Toronto from Cycle Couture on College Street at about the same price point.

Of course, if I'd like to ride around like your average Dane, I'd ride this Velorbis Churchill Classic:

So stylish at around $1200 (let's not mention that satchel/pannier is probably $300).

You could even find something nicely mainstream like this urban bike from Trek, called the Soho S:

Priced reasonably at under $700, the "S" stands for Single-speed. To modify it to a 3-speed would probably add $300.

Still, the geometry of this bike is still too "aggressive" for my liking — I'd have to ride one to see for sure.

A cheaper alternative would probably be to modify a KHS Urban Soul:

Priced under $500 it's even more affordable than MEC bikes, which is saying something.

The MEC Skyway is an affordable and great looking bike at around $750, but has no braze-ons for mounting racks, fenders etc.

The MEC Braze-on-less wonder. They also offer an 8-speed "Desire" for about the same price but it's obvious they can't meet the numbers that would bring the price down.

It comes down to this. If you want a super simple and great looking bike, you're probably looking at a single-speed with a more forward geometry and you might find one for sub $700. If you want a practical upright with 3-8 speeds, you're over $1000. It's not that I don't think a bike is worth $1000 or more it's just I can't leave a bike in that cost range outside for long or even put it through the brutal rigors of everyday city riding and not worry about it all the time. When I ride my (costly) Specialized Tricross Comp, I never leave it, I never even have to lock it up because I'm always on it. But if I ride to work, stop for groceries, tend to errands around town I'm always off and on my "beater" (the one I can't keep because it's wrecking my knees). So what to do? I see a lot of bike visits this spring, trying different bikes, looking for a deal. I see myself putting a lot of miles on my Bianchi 10-speed in the meantime with one eye on the road and another on a deal.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Adrienne said...

OK, that Public D3 looks amazing. I've never heard of this company and went to their website and fell in love. Too bad they're in SF. Does anyone in Toronto sell these? Exactly what I am looking for.

10:11 PM, March 18, 2011  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Can those Public D3 bikes be found in Toronto? It looks amazing!

10:13 PM, March 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

Public bikes only ship within the U.S. The closest thing I've found in Toronto is the "Creme" bike sold at Sweet Pete's on Bloor, the Batavus Classic sold at Curbside Bikes (also on Bloor) or just get a custom build done through Urbane on John St.

12:13 PM, March 19, 2011  

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