By Maurice Tierney,
Maurice here. I just attended Saddledrive, a dealer and press event hosted by Quality Bicycle Products at its Ogden, Utah, distribution center. Many QBP brands were represented here: Salsa, Surly, All-City, and Civia to name a few. Let’s see what I found…
Wait a sec, this is a bicycle magazine, not “Rat Rod Action”. Sorry.
Civia showed of its line of Twin City bikes, which according to General Manager Burton Avery, are designed for a “New Wave” of neighborhood cycling being enjoyed by “The Creative Class”. Nice poppy colors are the order of the day, with step-through and step-over models ranging from a $545 coaster brake machine to a $995 seven-speed internally-geared model with racks and fenders already in place. There’s also a derailleur-equipped 8-speed model and a five-speed internal in between. They look great!
Another QBP brand, All-City, is growing up. Yours truly had kind of stigmatized them as a fixie brand, but those fixie-kids are moving on into a huge whole world of cycling. Hence bikes like the Macho Man, a geared bike based on the popular singlespeed Nature Boy. The Macho Man rocks the same tight cyclocross race geometry while adding gears. All-City is setting themselves apart from the rest with using their own custom, size-specific butted tubing as well as custom-designed dropouts. Performance, quick handling, and attention to details are the real deal. $1,595 complete.
All-City also showed the Space Horse, its light touring-rough and all-purpose road bike. With new All-City lugs and semi-horizontal dropouts with hard stops (kind of like lawyer tabs but better), the Space Horse is good for 38mm tires with fenders, 42’s without. Rack and fender mounts, internal top tube cable routing? All present. All–City also uses a special coating inside the tubes, negating the need for Frame Saver. $1,450 complete. We have a Spacehorse in the house for a long-term review, so keep an eye out in the magazine.
I also got to check out the Salsa Vaya travel/touring bike, now available with S&S couplers. The big deal on this one the stainless steel frame, which while tricky to manufacture, provides a finish that can be polished up like new anytime it gets scratched and won’t rust. Salsa’s own “Alternator” dropouts provide single speed capability, chainstay-length adjustment, and easy packability. Rack mounts and clearance for 40mm tires without fenders round out the package. I am told the Vaya is the first production stainless steel bike on the market.
I also got to meet some cool people. Take Anna Schwinn here, she’s an engineer for the Foundry brand. She designed these cool Whiskey carbon, disk-ready, thru-axle road forks we wrote about earlier.
Lazer showed off some tweedy-looking helmets.
And I ran into our friends from Freeze-Thaw out in State College, feel the love.
To finish things off I got to ride on Circulus! But that’s another story…Tweet Print
By Maurice Tierney,
Whisky Parts Co. just unveiled the first carbon fiber, disc-brake, thru-axle road and cyclocross forks here at the Saddledrive dealer event in Ogden, Utah.
Road? Cross? Thru-axle? Why yes, it is a stellar idea. Whisky’s mantra is is to make tough and durable parts, and these parts express that emotion rather well.
Being a small brand, it’s easy for Whisky to bring new ideas to the market quickly.
Thru-axles provide consistent, solid attachment of wheels to bicycles, they are a boon for safety, speed, and ride responsiveness. Cross bikes are going to disc brakes, it only makes sense to take it to the thru-axle level for consistent race wheel changes too.
The three forks use a mini Maxle, for standard 100mm road spacing. All steerers are tapered. The cross version has mondo tire clearance, and thee road versions are available in both 43mm and 49mm offsets. They weight in at 430 grams without the axle, which 70 grams or so compared to standard QR’s.
We’re told the road fork will clear a 700x35c tire, and the ‘cross fork even managed to swallow a 29×2.0!
By Maurice Tierney
Yuba unveiled its new Boda Boda last Wednesday at its shop in Sausalito, and I had to be there for free beer and some good company. As you may have already heard here, the Boda Boda is Yuba’s new short/long bike (Mid-tail anyone?).
While I myself have been rocking the Yuba Mundo longbike to its full 450lb, capacity (look for our full review in issue #19) I think they are going to sell a lot of Boda Bodas because they are a bit more convenient, weighing only 35 lbs, and are short enough to fit into smaller places a bit easier. I am gonna say it offers 85 percent of the functionality in a smaller, lighter, less expensive package.
Unlike The one-size-fits-most Mundo, the BB comes in two sizes, a medium, step-through frame to fit riders 5’0″ to 5’7″ and a large, non-step-through for riders 5’7″ to 6’2″
The name Boda Boda comes from Africa, where bikes with back seats have been used as taxis for some time. As you can see, the Boda Boda is perfect for picking up a passenger, while still enjoying a beer. Capacity is 220lbs. plus driver.
Boda Bodas are compatable with all the same accessories as the Mundo, including the Breadbasket front rack and the kid seat.
Congratulations to Lindsay A. She came the closest to guessing what the Boda Boda Cargo Cruiser would be like, and has won herself a new bike! Here is her drawing…
So let the fun begin. Yours truly pedaled the pedal-powered music system…
So Paul could get his Fossil Fool Rap on for our entertainment. Beer courtesy of Lagunitas, A Little Sumpin to be enjoyed.
While the man behind the curtain, Ben Sarrazin, mastered the ceremonies.
Families had family fun, looks like the Boda Boda can still carry a load of love.…
Music was played…
And heck, what good party would not be complete without some pallet burning and fire jumping?
Good times were had, for sure. I really like what the Yuba peeps are up to in Sausalito.Tweet Print
By Maurice Tierney
The folks at Yuba are now on version four of their Mundo longbike. V3 was reviewed in Bicycle Times #7 and the new version features some improvements while still retailing for a mere $1,099. A working class price for a working bike, yessir.
We’ve got the electric version of the Mundo in for test currently. It retails for $2,597. An electric bike? Whodathunk? Having always been an “enthusiast”, “mountain biker” and then later in life a “cyclist” I was skeptical. Would I lose my “Purity” as a cyclist? Let’s see…
That I could bust a move quickly into the flow of traffic even with nearly 500 pounds of mass on board. As any dedicated cyclist will tell you, riding at the same speed as traffic is a hell of a lot safer than being a slow moving vehicle in a fast moving world.
That I can get somewhere in a hurry if need be, at a speed of up to 22mph. This makes it generally easier to choose the bike when in a time crunch.
That I could pick up my “Significant Other” after work and give her a luxurious ride to our evenings activities without breaking a sweat. The Mundo does fit riders from 5” to 6’ 5”.
I could be an aggressive, enthusiastic mountain biker or (Heaven Forbid) road racer and not worry about having the energy to ride for utility on “Rest days”.
Interesting. As we have reported in the past, the Yuba Mundo offers one of the most solid long/cargo bike options out there with its well-buttressed Hi-tensile steel frame, high payload capacity, and affordability.
Standard features include a Sram 3×7 (21 speed) drivetrain, stout 48 spoke double-wall-rimmed wheels, a rear disk brake, and fenders. Accessories on my test machine include the Go Getter waterproof bag for easy grocery hauling, as well as a Soft Spot seat cushion, Hold On handlebars, and Running Boards for my passenger. Must-have is the beefy center stand that makes parking a breeze.
The electric system is by eZee. It’s 400 watt brushless motor will take you 12-20 miles with its 10 ah battery. I have yet to run out of power climbing some of the steepest hills in the San Francisco area. Yes, I did have to pedal. I ain’t no poser, I’m a rider, just trying to get my load around town in the most efficient, car-free way possible. The Yuba Mundo does the trick.
To see our full review, check out Bicycle Times issue #15, which goes on sale January 31.
By Maurice Tierney
Bicycle Times is an “enthusiast” publication, but part of our mission is to bring bikes to the general public, people who just want to get from point A to point B with as little fuss as possible, saving gas and living a sustainable, healthy life.
So maybe a bike should be like a toaster. With a toaster, you push down the lever and it cooks. With the Breezer Uptown Infinity, you push the pedals and it goes, and that’s about a simple as a ride can be.
The NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) transmission is the starting point. Upon first grab of the handlebar-mounted twist-shifter, you notice the lack of confusing clicks. Simply twist toward you for higher gearing and twist away from you for lower.
The illustrative terrain graphic built into the shifter tells you where you are in the gear range—the “hill” gets steeper as the gearing gets lower. Everything about this bike makes it ultra-easy to live with. The chain is completely enclosed, keeping the lube on the chain and dirt off your clothing. And every toaster bike should have front and rear lighting, don’t you think? The Uptown has you covered with a Shimano power-generating front dynamo hub and very bright Busch & Muller lights front and rear. You’ll never have to think about getting caught in the dark when you leave the house. You’ll be getting your green on by not shopping at the battery store, either.
Nor will you have to think about the weather, with full fenders covering the wheels to keep you dry. Other daily needs are taken care of as well, with a springloaded rack to accept the panniers of your choice, strong brakes, and ergonomic handlebar and grips. The wheels are burly 26-inchers for strength and the tires are 1.5”-wide WTB Freedoms that’ll give you freedom to hit a pothole with minimal repercussion. The seatpost is of the shock-absorbing variety.
For icing on the toast we have a built in ring lock that prevents the back wheel from rolling when engaged. It won’t stop someone from carrying your bike away, but it is a nice deterrent and good to have so that you, again, have less to think about. The kickstand and bell are included as well—two more must-have items!
While the Uptown can also be had in the conventional “Boys” frame design, I opted for the “Girls” or step-through frame because sometimes I wear a skirt and other times I am just too lazy to lift my leg—more of what makes this the easiest-ever bike to ride. The saddle is wide and cushy (probably not good for extended touring or long distances), the grips are comfy, and the position is upright and comfortable.
Every time I pedal off, I cannot help but feel a sense of joy at the ease of riding and especially shifting the NuVinci hub. The lack of clicking, grinding or other sound is just great. Best of all, you can shift either while moving or while stopped at a traffic light, thus further reducing your brainwork.
With the Uptown it was always a pleasure not having to think about all the stuff that makes riding a bike difficult. No more money to be spent on accessories, no more time spent installing them. and no more packing up before heading out for rides. The Uptown infinity is a no-brainer for riding around town. But I did test the limits. For starters, there are limits to the rigidity of a single-tube, step-through design, and I tested these with some “aggressive” riding when throwing the Uptown hard into turns resulted in more frame wiggle than desired. My bad for choosing the step-through frame, which without the usual top tube, is missing some of the structural rigidity of a diamond frame.
I pushed the limits of the NuVinci hub as well. While all internally geared hubs have less efficiency than a traditional chain drive system (which is nearly 99% efficient), I did feel a very pronounced loss of energy when climbing hills in the lowest gear, especially with two panniers’ worth of groceries. NuVinci will tell you that this loss is made up for by the fact that the continuously engaged transmission is never in-between gears. But my ultimate realization is that this bike is really less suited for aggressive, enthusiast-style riding and a lot more relevant to making it easier for people to get on bikes, which it does so well.
Here’s to the day when bikes are as simple as toasters. Nice job, Breezer.
- Age: 53
- Height: 6’ 4”
- Weight: 230lbs.
- Inseam: 34”
- Country of Origin: Taiwan
- Price: $1,269
- Weight: 36lbs.
- Sizes Available: Standard: 17.5”, 19.5”, 21.5”, 23.5”; Low-Step: 15” 17”, 19”, 21” (Tested)
- Online: www.breezerbikes.com
By Maurice Tierney
Felt Bicycles showed off their full line of bikes in Irvine, California, last week. Felt offers a huge variety of bikes here in the U.S. and even more in Europe. Road, cross, time trial, mountain, utility, urban, Felt has it all. Funny that the bikes that always catch this scribe’s eye are the “Tank” bikes. These are generally beach cruisers with giant top tubes that look like the pseudo “Gas Tanks” you used to see on newspaper-style bikes of old. But modern hydroforming techniques allow them to get the swoopy lines into a modern lightweight (relatively) aluminum alloy cruiser. Many of the designs are super-custom and with Felt-specific parts like their own 26×3” tires (on some models), Felt’s cruisers stand out. Ever see a New Belgium Brewery cruiser? That’s what I’m talking about.
Star of this presentation was the Carroll Shelby model. Featuring the same Wimbledon White and Guardsman Blue as the original 1965 Shelby GT500:
It’s got the proper logoage and Shelby signature too. It can be yours for $999.
But that’s a current model. Also on hand was a bare frame for the new 2012 style tank, as shown here by Felts marketing Ms. Eva:
Cool Huh? Now let’s get practical. Felt’s has some nice looking offerings in the utility/commuter game. The Verza City line comes in price points from $599 to $1,149 depending on spec, Verza City bikes balance the comfort of a comfort bike with the agility and efficiency of a road bike. Here’s the Verza City 2 with its aluminum frame, disk brakes, and 24-speed drivetrain. Fender and rack included for $749:
And while the Verza line is designed to be speedy and agile, the Café Line represents a more laid-back attitude. The head and seat angles are more laid back for more comfortable, easygoing handling, and so are the prices, at $499 to $649. Take your pick from 7, 3, 8 or 24 gears, in order of price. Here’s the Café 24, including shiny shiny fenders, nice!
I got to look at bikes; you get to look at pictures. Felt has a fixie for you if that’s how you wanna roll. Top ‘o the Felt fixie line is the Footprint. Sure wish I had a photo of that one, it’s a $1,599 carbon fiber fixed gear. Given Felt’s experience at the track, this could be good. But I am guessing the Brougham might be more your speed, it runs $549 and can also be had with a Sturmey archer 3-speed fixed hub for $699. Swell.
And last but not least I gotta show you the single-speed cross bike (Or maybe just Eva’s 2002 in the background, I am envious!). Here it is, the $1,299 Breed from Felt. Enjoy!
Check out Felt’s 2012 mountain bike lineup over at our sister mag, Dirt Rag.
By Maurice Tierney
Our mission as we have chosen to accept it is to get more people on bikes. Make it easy as pie to bring the bike into your everyday life. Wait, who said pie was easy? I mean the crust alone can be considered an art form. We need it to be easier than that. Like ahhh, mmm, hmmmm…. Toast! Easy as making toast. Yea, that’s the ticket! With toast you drop in the bread, push down the lever and you’re good to go. All you need to do is decide which direction to head. Butter? Marmalade? Why can’t bikes be that easy?
In my review in Bicycle Times #12, I call the Breezer Uptown Infinity a “Toaster Bike”. I say this because it is designed to make it as easy as possible to ride your bike for everyday purposes. Step onto bike, push pedal down and go! All you have to decide is where the bike will take you. The possibilities are endless!
Lights, fenders, a chain cover, rack, bell. Solid wheels, a comfy position, and of course the infinitly variable NuVinci transmission all together make the Breezer a Breeze!
What else do you need? The conversation could be endless as well, and I’d like to see it happen here on this web site after you read the review in the print magazine.
For example, I myself have been enjoying the benefits of an easy-to-ride infrastructure outside the door of our new west coast office where these photos were taken, Emeryville, across the bay from San Francisco, California.
Fairly flat, bike Lanes, bicycle paths, bikes on busses, it is all-good. But let’s discuss. I know there’s a need for infrastructure to fill in the gaps, how do we get there?
By Maurice Tierney
The Dahon IOS P8 might be considered the Cadillac of folding bikes with its 24” wheels. Folding almost as small as Dahon’s 20”-wheeled counterparts, the IOS has nearly everything one might ask for in a bike, plus the benefits of the fold.
I spent weeks riding the IOS all around the East Bay and San Francisco area, and not once did I long to be riding my regular bike. The big wheels roll nicely and don’t fall into potholes, the handling is normal, and I’ve even added a rack and panniers for load carrying.
A key reason I was so interested in trying a folder was the Bay Area’s public transportation system, BART, which does not allow bikes on board during certain hours, except folders. The IOS folds up in a few seconds as I transfer from street level to escalator to train platform. (Mind the gap.) Once on board, I don’t feel like quite the second-class citizen I would if I were pushing a full-sized bike, as they do tend to get in the way, especially during rush hour.
More like a full-sized bike than the usual folder, yes. But compared to my usual 700c/29er, it’s like riding a skateboard. Negotiating through tight spots, pedestrians and the like is easy and fun. Folded or not, it’s compact, easy to handle, and quick to accelerate. At 28lbs., the IOS is the heaviest of our three test bikes. It’s also quite a bit larger than the Brompton when folded. If I were carrying this bike to my desk each day, I might be inclined to go for a smaller, lighter option. The IOS is plenty small for me, and drops nicely into the trunk of the Toyota Camry, away from prying eyes. Note here that the pedals fold as well, although I switched them out for some spiky platform pedals because the folding pedals’ rubber surface was a little slippery for me.
The IOS comes in one size to fit most everyone. That means a pretty small cockpit for my 6’4” frame, but that’s OK because I am left nicely upright and able to enjoy my surroundings, rather than being all bent over in the usual aggressive riding position. The seatpost is mighty long, enough to accommodate riders from 5’2” to 6’4”, and the Andros stem has a quick-release mechanism that allows the handlebars to rotate from straight up to low and forward. I ran the stem up high and the seat as well, and found myself highly comfortable and upright, able to take in the sights around me.
The bike I rode was the IOS P8 retailing for $900. The “8” indicates a SRAM GripShift 8-speed external drivetrain. By the time you read this, the P8 may not be available. A P7 ($1,100) is available with a 7-speed internal hub for low-maintenance people. If you really want to get all Cadillac with your bad self, the IOS XL is available for $1,600, which includes a dynamo hub-powered, cell phone-charging light system, fenders, internal gearing and disc brakes, too! And it’s black. The new black.
On the accessory front, I’ve been able to try a few of Dahon’s extensive selection of useful things. The ArcLite rear rack allowed me to use my panniers. The Tour Bag with its removable shoulder strap mounted onto the head tube for smaller, man-purse-style travel. The PostPump, a full size pump, resides inside the seatpost for flat repair. Lights and fenders are available as well. A kickstand is standard equipment, a nice touch for a sweet ride.
Read more about folding bikes in our introduction.
The San Francisco Bike Expo is a consumer bike show with fun, cool events, and bicycle companies in attendance. Bicyle Times will have a booth, so be sure to stop by and say hello. Keep reading to get a better idea of what to expect:
Don’t you know?
It’s the place to go
Where a bike show will explode
Near the San Francisco Bay if I may be so bold
Called the SF Bike Expo
In November it’s summer
It will not be a bummer
It takes place on the 6th
And will be really sick!
(That’s HELLA sick, in Bay-speak)
Cyclists of all styles
Will come for a while
Check out the fashion show
Or the cross race to go
Ride in off the street
It cannot be beat
All the bike peeps will come
You’ll surely have fun!
There will be stunting as well
And lowriders from hell
How about you?
A palace of Cow
Becomes a palace of wow!
(What’s a Cow Palace anyway?)
The Bicycle Times booth
Will feed your sweet tooth
It’s not just a swap
You might blow your top
Try to remain calm At sfbikeexpo.com
While the previously reported Brooks and Pashley factory tours were amazing, the highlight of the whole journey was a hour spent with a 90 year old man by the name of Alex Moulton. I really had no idea what I was getting into as we approached his modest home in Bradford-on-Avon.
What the? Is going on here? Who the heck is Alex Moulton? Turns out Mister Alex Moulton’s great grandfather, Stephen Moulton, brought Goodyear’s vulcanizing process to England back in 1840 or so. Alex himself was also a rubber pioneer, developing the hydrolastic* suspension that, along with the smaller wheel size, allowed the original Mini Cooper to be so mini. We got a look at one such Mini at the Moulton Museum residing on the estate.
In the late 50′s, Alex turned his attention to the bicycle and pioneered a design that would become quite the rage in the early 60′s. And remain relevant 50 years later. Small wheels had not been considered seriously against the then-standard double-diamond “Safety” bicycle, but Moulton was eager to challenge the staus quo after observing the benefits of smaller wheels in automotive use. Thinking that the lower inertia of small wheels made for faster acceleration and an easier-to-mount frame design. And while Moulton’s were not designed as folding bikes, they were easy to disassemble for travel. And if that is not enough, Moultons were fully suspended for a comfy ride. How about that for ahead of your time?
Moulton showed his bike to Raleigh in hopes of licencing the design them to manufacture. But Raleigh was not interested. So Moulton set up his own factory and went ahead anyway. The Moulton bike took off in the early 60′s; their bicycle factory became the second largest in England behind Raleigh (Who I’m told was making like 7000 bikes per day). Moulton sold 200,000 bikes before Raleigh knocked off the idea and took over the market with their RSW series. Moulton wound up selling out to Raleigh in 1967, just in time for the Raleigh Chopper to steal the limelight and rush the market.
That’s the ancient history. Much more has happened through the 70′s and 80′s, yet today the Moulton factory still sits in a former stable on the same property where it all began. Let’s take a look.
Inside the blue door on the right, the Moulton team is hard at work making bikes.
And barely have time to stop for a photo.
With these kind of results. This New Series model is made of stainless steel, and is worth near $15,725 American. It’s called a Space Frame and there’s a whole bunch of little tubes that come together to form one. It’s no wonder they are expensive.
But Moulton, being connected with Pashley, has some more affordable offerings being made in the Pashley factory in Stratford-Upon-Avon, ranging from $19-3600.
But Alex Moulton awaits. We have been granted a one-hour audience with the man. He is 90 after all so we understand. We are led into his great room and gather around a rather large dining table to talk. Whereupon Mister Moulton share some of his exploits. The cat listens in.
Alex shared his thoughts on his first and only mountain bike ride, which left him wondering why anyone would do such a thing as ride down a mountain. Perhaps if he had bigger wheels the experience might have been better? Alex talked about how he didn’t like the crossbar on the conventional bikes of the day. He liked recumbents but found them unstable. Small wheels were the answer. We also heard about the numerous records that have been broken riding Moulton bicycles over the years. And looked through his biography, full of pictures and drawings of his designs.
I myself was in a bit of awe at this guy nearly twice my age. Pretty cool. He’s done so much.
Got to ride some bikes as well, around the test track on the property, a good time to blow off a little steam after so much travelling. And think. About all the people that have influence the bicycle through history. On and on…
* (From Wikipedia) The system replaces the separate springs and dampers of a conventional suspension system with integrated, space efficient, fluid filled, displacer units, which are interconnected between the front and rear wheels on each side of the vehicle. Each displacer unit contains a rubber spring, and damping is achieved by the displaced fluid passing through rubber valves. The displaced fluid passes to the displacer of the paired wheel, thus providing a dynamic interaction between front and rear wheels. When a front wheel encounters a bump fluid is transferred to the corresponding rear displacer then lowers the rear wheel, hence lifting the rear, minimising pitch associated with the bump. Naturally the reverse occurs when it is a rear wheel that encounters a bump. This effect is particularly good on small cars as small wheelbase vehicles are more affected by pitching than long wheelbase vehicles.Tweet Print