By Karen Brooks
We got to talk to Joe Breeze at the Outdoor Demo (as he handed over one of his personal bikes for Josh to ride) – an d it is always a pleasure to speak to such a visionary. Inside, we talked to JT Burke about what they’ve got brewing in the way of transportation bikes. Incidentally, Joe Breeze was years ahead of the recent upswing of interest in cycling for transportation; in fact, he used his status as a founder of mountain biking to push the concept, and has made it a mission to offer practical bikes for transportation since 2002.
So on that positive note we saw Breezer’s new line of affordable transportation bikes, called Downtown. The line consists of three steel-framed models that match their higher-end Uptown line: 8- and 3-speed internally geared and one with 7-speed external gearing, all available in both standard and dropped-top-tube frame configurations.
They’ll have custom-sized racks and fenders, naturally, along with classic steel good looks. Burke also extolled the virtues of having frames designed by a master, for a comfortable but efficient ride. They range in price from $550 to $830.
Breezer is also jumping on the belt bandwagon with the Beltway, a line of high-end commuters that use Gates belt drives. Breezer was an early proponent of fully outfitted, no-compromise commuter bikes with their Finesse models, but the market hadn’t caught up to them back in 2008. Signs are showing that the market has matured, however, and so they’re trying again with the Beltways. There are three versions: and 11-speed Shimano Alfine internal drive, a NuVinci continuously variable drive (like that on the Uptown Infinity that we tested), and a singlespeed. The dropouts on these looked particularly sleek – classic Breezer style, with the bolt at the split (to accommodate a belt) hidden up in the end of the seatstay.