Bicycle Times Issue #33 has mailed to subscribers and will be available on newsstands soon. In this issue we feature $1,000 Bikes for Work + Play, interviews with Ben Harper guitarist Michael Ward and Santa Cruz custom guitar maker Jeff Traugott, plus our regular awesome product reviews.
All this and more, now available through paper and our digital editions. Print subscribers should start receiving their copies next week. You can always visit better book stores and bike shops to buy a copy, or order one online now.
Ignorance is Bliss: A suicidal urge to cycle a game reserve becomes a five-day odyssey into Africa’s Nyika National Park in Malawi. Words and photos by Logan Watts.
Couch Potater to Fifty Stater: How a retired university professor found cycling, love and friendship. By Murray Fishel.
Drinks With: An interview with Michael Ward, a guitarist for Ben Harper and Gogol Bordello who brings his Ritchey Breakaway bike on tour around the world.
Vintage Velo: A custom Gary Fisher mountain bike built for Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir and our Staff Playlist, a group of tracks that inspire us to ride.
… And They Ride: We chat with Jeff Traugott, one of the most sought-after custom guitar builders in the world and and a cyclist in Santa Cruz, California.
Made in Taiwan: We tour the factories of some of the largest component makers in the industry, and meet the people that build your bikes and components. By Gary Boulanger
$1,000 Bikes for Work and Play: We ride a very diverse group of six bikes that hit right at the magic $1,000 price point. We were surprised at what we found. By the Bicycle Times staff.
Plus: reviews of the latest from Niner, Brompton, Bike Friday and more.Tweet Print
Editor’s note: Here at Bicycle Times we are as mindful of price as you are. So we gathered together a group of six very diverse bikes to showcase what you can find right now at the $1,000 price point. See our introduction here.
When it comes to road bikes, I like mine comfortable, practical and versatile. Enter the $1,095 Greenway Elite. My contact at Breezer tells me: “Whether you’re riding for exercise, transportation, off-road recreation, or anything in-between, the Greenway is your do-it-all machine.” Roger all that.
The tall stack of stem spacers raised the bar, which helped to put me in a comfortable, upright riding position. As did the appropriately-short top tube. Speaking of comfort, the stock Ergon grips are a personal favorite. Note the Trelock Bike-I Uno LED headlight (dynamo hub powered, with standlight feature). Safety first!
Here’s a look at the Shimano 3-Watt Dynamo hub that powers the front/rear lights. Yep, that’s a disc brake rotor on the opposite side of the hub. This baby’s got Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes front and rear. A bike that’s designed to “do it all” rates a set of hydros, in my opinion.
Ample fender coverage gives the Greenway foul weather capability. The Trelock Trio Flat tail light has standlight functionality, and rocks steady (as opposed to blinking). The Greenway’s rear rack ticks a critical box on my “do it all” checklist. To do it all, you gotta haul.
The SRAM VIA Centro 2×10 drivetrain provides a wide gearing range, which matches the versatile intentions of the Greenway Elite. I’ve already put those gears to use, while hauling panniers filled with groceries. All the while daydreaming of loading those same satchels with overnight gear and heading for the hills. Very tempting.
Breezer’s D’Fusion hydroformed aluminum tubing used on the down tube and top tube has a D-shaped cross-section that helps diffuse the stresses that occur near the head tube joints without the need for reinforcement or gusseting. The rear stays use D’Fusion tubing as well. Look closely and you’ll notice a plastic cover bolted onto the concave underside of the down tube. The plate cleverly hides and protects the cables and electrical wiring.
From my first ride, the aluminum frameset and fork impressed me as feeling very solid and responsive. The Greenway provides very direct and clear feedback from the tires’ contact patches. I would not call the ride overly stiff, but it’s certainly not a buttery experience by any means.
Ah yes, the venerable Breeze-In dropout. A piece of mountain bike history that’s a welcome feature on any bike, and worthy of ogling. Light, stiff, and elegant.
I’ll have to admit that the Greenway Elite looks ready to rumble, even when it’s casually leaning on its kickstand. Never fear, the bike’s found a willing partner in yours truly. Keep your eyes peeled on the print version of Bicycle Times #33 for my full review, after I’ve racked up the miles. In the meantime, learn more at breezerbikes.com.
The new year draws near, and for the first issue of 2015, we’ve rounded up six bike in the $1,000 range as a representative sample at this popular price point. We’ve found it to be common dollar amount for a first “good” bike, or adding a second bike (or third or fourth, etcetera) to the stable. Here’s the rundown with some basic stats, expect more in depth First Impression posts to follow soon.
Weight: 24.8 pounds
Frame/fork material: Aluminum
Drivetrain: Shimano Sora 3×9
Brakes: Promax Render R mechanical disc brakes, 160mm rotors
Tires: 700x35c Schwalbe Road Cruiser
The Lombard is a listed as a “cyclocross utility” bike on Marin’s website, and is a great way to categorize this bike. An aluminum frame and fork keeps the weight down, while reflective decals and rack and fender mounts should make this bike a willing companion on local commutes or long tours.
Specialized Diverge A1
Weight: 24.2 pounds
Frame/fork material: Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum frame with Specialized FACT carbon fork w/ Zertz
Drivetrain: Shimano Claris 2400 STI, with SunRace 11-32 8-speed cassette, KMC chain, and Shimano Claris 50/34T, 175mm crankset
Brakes: Tektro Spyre mechanical disc
Tires: Specialized Espoir Sport 700x30c
The Diverge line is new for Specialized, and illustrates the diffuclting of finding the correct way to label modern drop bar bikes. Disc brake road bike? Utility cyclocross? light touring? Adventure bike? We are slotting this in the disc brake road bike category, with its compact road crank and 30mm tires.
Weight: 39.4 pounds
Frame/fork material: Aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM 1×8
Brakes: Mechanical disc brake front, V-brake rear
Tires: 26×2.0 WTB Freedom Cruz
As far as we know, this is the least expensive, complete, long-tail cargo bike on the market today. This is a pretty stripped down bike at this price, and will need accessories to really take advantage of the cargo capacity. Yes that is a lot of seat post. Our reviewer has a lot of leg, and Yuba offers the Boda Boda in only two sizes: one a step-through, and the step-over pictured here.
Raleigh Clubman Disc
Weight: 27.4 pounds
Frame/fork material: 4130 butted chromoly
Drivetrain: Shimano Tiagra 10-speed, 50/34 crank,
Brakes: Shimano BR-R317
Tires: Kenda Karv 700×28
The Clubman is a long standing model for Raleigh, and we were glad to see it move to disc brakes for the 2015 model. The full Tiagra 10-speed drivetrain and Shimano discs are a great spec at this price point. And those painted to match metal fenders give the bike a whiff of NAHBS.
Breezer Greenway Elite
Weight: 31.5 pounds
Frame/fork material: aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM VIA Centro 2×10 speed
Brakes: Shimano M355 hydraulic disc
Tires: Vittoria Adventure 700×32
The Greenway Elite from Breezer comes stock with a solid year round commuting set up: fenders, rack, bell and even a kickstand. The best part? A set of front and rear Trelock lights running off the Shimano dynamo front hub.
Framed Minnesota 2.0
Weight: 34 pounds
Frame/fork material: aluminum
Drivetrain: SRAM X7/X5 2×9
Brakes: Avid BB5 mechanical disc
Tires: Framed 26×4
Framed is a newer bike company, and besides the a full range of fat bikes, bmx and urban bikes, it is also first to market with a women’s specific model, and sells a kid’s 24-inch fat bike as well. It seems fat bikes are becoming more and more popular as a second or third bike, and not just for snow and sand. The big tires seem to strike a chord with a wide range of riders, for a wide range of uses.
The full feature review of all six bikes will appear is the first issue of 2015. Don’t miss this, and the rest of the great content, subscribe now!Tweet Print
It’s hard to imagine a more unassuming guy than Joe Breeze. Unlike his contemporaries Gary Fisher or Tom Ritchey, who are easy to spot in a crowd, Breeze could be the guy standing in line in front of you at the grocery store, or your friendly neighbor who always greets you with a wave and a smile. Of course, if you live in Fairfax, California, there’s a good chance he is both of these things.Tweet Print
The Downtown 5 from Breezer is a fun little townie bike with lots of included features for not a ton of dough.
My typical ride involves riding to the grocery store, about a mile away. This is the perfect type of trip for the $550 Downtown 5, as the upright riding position and easy turning give you good line of sight and maneuverability in places like full parking lots. With an easy twist shift and five gears to choose from on the Shimano Nexus 5 speed internal hub, there is just enough gearing to make things easy and not so many shifting options to make it confusing.
Full front and rear fenders grace this sweet, teal blue beauty and there is even a full, retro-styled chain guard to keep you trousers clean. Touch points like grips, saddle and pedals are all of nice quality and have a refined, retro feel that’s is aesthetically pleasing to me. Even the Breezer brake levers, with rubber finger pads, feel nice when engaging the linear pull brakes. The Downtown 5 also comes with a bell, kickstand and rear rack, making this stylish and comfy bike quite utilitarian to boot!
All in all, I’m really pleased with my time aboard the Breezer Downtown 5. Look for my full review in Issue #27 of Bicycle Times.Tweet Print