By Shannon Mominee
It’s silly, but whenever I think of Redline, I imagine being 12 years old and watching a neighborhood kid named Earl ride his BMX in circles around a tree, yelling “Redline! Redline!” The bike name sounded cool, and as much as I desired one, I never got it.
Redline began producing BMX frames and forks in 1974. These days, the company has extended its line to encompass nearly all forms of cycling and has sponsored many racers and Olympic riders. The Metro 9 is a far cry from neighborhood dirt jumps and Olympic glory, but what it has in common is two wheels that get people outside riding bikes.
The Metro 9 is designed as an urban- friendly bicycle with an upright stance and a riser bar that put me in a position to see the road ahead. Since I was sitting more upright, I was also more visible to drivers. The drivetrain is kept simple with a single front chainring and SRAM 9-speed rear cassette. This 1×9 drivetrain uses SRAM’s X5 rear derailleur and trigger shifter, which functioned flawlessly. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Tektro caliper brakes performed even when wet, and especially in an emergency situation when I really needed to stop. Full coverage fenders are included, making this bike road-worthy in any weather.
My size 56cm tester is the largest that Redline offers. I initially thought the frame would be too compact for me, because I’m used to riding mountain bikes that have a longer top tubes that put me in an aggressive riding position. The Metro 9, however, is not meant to be so aggressive, and according to Redline, the 56cm frame is designed to fit riders over 6’2” tall. The top tube length is suitable for achieving the upright posture, and a longer stem could be added to change the position if need be. That said, I’m 6’ tall and fit fine on this size.
On the road, the Metro 9 had a subtle ride quality typical of steel frames that did a good job of muting road vibration. The narrow handlebar added to the quick steering characteristics and the 40” wheelbase made the bike snappy and able to weave quickly through standstill traffic. It became twitchy when I topped out the gearing and leaned into wide curves. It’s not a traditional road bike, anyway, and opportunities to top out and lean are few and far between.
Slow to moderate speed is where this bike is most stable, which makes sense for life in the city. The bike shines when it’s ridden within its limits on the rail-to-trails, cruising through neighborhoods, or rolling to the store. The gearing worked adequately for the urban landscape and the rolling hills I pedaled across during my 7-mile ride to work. I never felt the need for a higher or lower gear.
Compared to other bikes in the $600-$650 price range, the Metro 9 seems like a fair value for the money. It rides nicely, the 1×9 gearing was a good range for hills and flat areas, and the included full coverage fenders are a bonus. The only problem I experienced was that the bearing seal on the no-name front hub kept rattling loose.
The Metro 9 would be good for someone who doesn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a bike, but wants to reap the benefits of commuting, getting some weekend exercise on the path, cruising the neighborhoods with the kids, and exploring the city to see what others miss traveling by car.
- Age: 38
- Height: 6”
- Weight: 183lbs.
- Inseam: 33”
- Country of Origin: China
- Price: $640
- Weight: 26.2lbs.
- Sizes Available: 44, 48, 50, 52, 54,56cm (tested)