Tag Archives: Disc brake

Bike for Life plus one

I’ll start with the confession. My Bike for Life is now¬†Bike for Life plus one. Yes I have bought another bike ūüôā

However, this should not be understood as a failure of my Bike for Life either as a project or the specifics of my Shand Cycles Stoater Plus. In fact quite the opposite!

My Shand is so delightful to ride (while being the most incredibly reliable, low maintenance and practical form of transport ever) that it has kindled more love and enjoyment of just riding my bike. Hence, for the first time in my life, I have joined a cycling club. The Syston Syclers¬†are new this year and have their “Sygnature” rides on Saturdays which suits me very well.

What I have, unsurprisingly, found is that a fully equipped Bike for Life is fine for the slower groups. So I have been one of the ride leaders for the steady paced 30 mile rides where we average around 12mph. The next group up which is now moving to 45 miles and around a 14mph average is rather harder work. On those rides many of the practical, comfortable, low maintenance features of my Bike for Life make it more difficult to keep up with everyone else on road bikes.

If I could be bothered to adapt my Bike for Life it is perfectly suitable for keeping up with these rides. But I would need to save weight and windage by removing

  • steel mudguards (with leather mudflaps),
  • front low rider racks,
  • front handlebar bag rack,
  • rear rack,
  • huge bell

I’d also move to faster tyres than 40mm Marathon Plus and possibly drop handlebars instead of my comfy Jones Loop H-Bar.

Of course that is not practical on a regular basis. So with a big 50th birthday this year, with permission, I started looking.

If money were no object then I’d have gone with a custom Shand Skinnymalinky (custom in order to have hydraulic disc brakes) with the electronic Shimano DI2 gears. That would have given me another beautiful British steel frame but aimed at fast day rides.

I looked at a number of bikes. The Genesis Equilibrium Disc is very nice. I also looked at the Charge Plug (4 and 5) and lots more.

In the end, thanks to a very knowledgeable and helpful lady at Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative in Manchester I looked at and fell in love with a Whyte Suffolk.

SuffolkIt is a British brand even if not manufactured here. It is an aluminium frame which was not my preferred choice (mainly due to higher environmental cost). But it looks great, has unique cable operated hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano 105 gear/brake levers and rear derailleur. It also comes with 28mm tyres with room for bigger and they also have a matching mudguard set.

So I now have three bikes for use each week:

  • Bike for Life: Everyday transport, Leisure, Family rides, Touring
  • Whyte Suffolk: Club rides, fast unladen day rides, exercise
  • Bullitt Cargobike: Shopping, Transporting stuff for work

Surplus to requirements (open to good offers) Giant Full Suspension mountain bike.

 

Why I love my Bike for Life when it is 11pm and I’ve 10 miles to home with strong headwind and heavy rain

It is a long title “Why I love my Bike for Life when it is 11pm and I’ve 10 miles to home with strong headwind and heavy rain” but I feel I need to explain why I had a grin on my face as the rain got a lot heavier as I was riding through Burton on the Wolds last night.

It seemed to me that when you are out riding in bad weather late at night 3 things allow you to grin and enjoy it.

  1. You need to be wearing the right clothes and have the right food and drink at hand.
  2. You need to be confident that your bike can cope and it not going to let you down in any way.
  3. and it really helps if you know that when you get home you don’t need to worry about cleaning the bike or doing any work on it because of the conditions you are riding through.

This is the route last night:

So for me last night I was able to grin because

1. Clothes/Food/Drink

On the top half I was wearing a thermal t-shirt (don’t know the brand, it is old but still effective), a very old short sleeve cycling top and a new Dare 2 Be shell long sleeve top. It was all warm and kept me feeling dry.

On the lower half I was wearing a cheap pair of old cycling shorts and a pair of winter cycling tights from Altura (at least 5 years old). Again very comfortable and warm.

On my feet I was wearing¬†Shimano MW81 Gore-Tex Winter Mountain Bike Boots, these keep my feet dry upto a few hours of riding in heavy rain and usually warm after that. That is helped by the full mudguards and mudflaps which mean I don’t get much water splash onto my feet.

trail42-packflaskTo drink I had just finished some great hot filter coffee (Cameroon Hosnia from tankcoffee) which has been kept warm in a Trail42 Pack Flask. I’ve only had this since Saturday when I used it for the ParkRun support ride. This time I did make sure the coffee was really hot, using the microwave, before putting it in and it was still a good temperature after nearly 2 hours.

Plus also a bottle of water and a couple of energy gels which I ended up not needing.

2. Confidence in the Bike

At that time of night I find it impossible to enjoy the ride, however comfortable I am, if I having any nagging doubts about the Bike. I find it easy to let nagging doubts drag me down and so in the past instead of enjoying the ride I would be worrying:

  • are my lights going to last to the end of the ride
  • am I going to get a puncture
  • am I going to damage a wheel in a pothole hidden by a puddle
  • are my brakes good enough or do I need to slow down on the downhills
  • am I so tired that I will run out of gears uphill against this headwind

I am sure that you are not like me and don’t let these things cross your mind or get you down. But they have spoilt rides for me in the past. If you have to stop to fix the bike or walk home or call home for a lift then you quickly switch from being warm and comfortable to cold and wet.

While I was fortunate and didn’t get a single puncture on my 2012 LEJoG¬†I also knew that Jane was available in the car not far away from me with full tools, parts and even a spare bike. Even so my Trek Pilot didn’t leave me feeling as relaxed about finishing a ride as my Bike for Life does.

The confidence comes from:

  • The Schmidt Hub Dynamo that you know has been so carefully engineered to last and last.
  • LED front and rear lights powered by the dynamo. The only maintenance they have needed since new is to wipe the lens clean.
  • The Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, 35mm front, 40mm rear. Incredibly puncture resistant and big enough volume to not worry about pinch flats on unexpected potholes etc. So far I’ve had no punctures ever on a Marathon Plus.
  • The wheels are handbuilt, they have stayed true for the first 4,000 miles. As I use disk brakes the rim has not been worn at all and it wouldn’t matter if they got a bit buckled on this ride as it won’t affect the brakes.
  • There is nothing better than hydraulic disc brakes for inspiring confidence that they will get you home. You can stop reliably and controllable right to the limit of the tyres grip no matter what the weather. These are Hope Tech E4’s and they have been superb from day 1. I wore out a complete set of new Swissstop brake pads on my Trek in the first half of LEJoG (and I mean fully worn out). I wrote about this in¬†A bike for life: Cascading decisions.
  • As the Trek had got older I used to worry about the Carbon fork a little, you read scare stories about forks breaking. This is one of the many reasons why the frame and forks of my Bike for Life are all steel (although it is a very fancy steel that Shand Cycles use). So the whole frame inspires confidence that it is not going to suddenly fail.
  • One of the beauties of the Rohloff 14 speed hub gear is that I have a mountain bike range of gears (wider than a road bike). It is brilliant because, however tired you are you are, all you do is twist and there is another gear available. It is very rare that I get to use first gear (I certainly didn’t last night) which is great. That feeling when you are in first gear and struggling up a hill against a headwind is a horrible one and one I have never had with the Rohloff.
  • h10_loopbar_alFinally, the Jones Loop H-Bar¬†is also great in these conditions. You can put your hands close together on either side of the loop (depending on how tired you are) getting a much more aerodynamic position than you would expect on a fairly upright bike. I find this makes a huge difference in strong headwinds and is much more comfortable than riding in the drops of my Trek was. This really helps remove the impact of a headwind on my morale.

3. The Bike after the ride.

The combination of Gates Belt drive and the Rohloff means that when you finish a ride in horrible conditions you can simply leave the bike alone. There is no chain to go rusty, there are no derailleurs that are going to have been clogged up. No wheel rims or brake pads to clean or check. Again compare that to the state of my Trek after LEJoG.

It is so nice to ride your bike without having to think about the maintenance you will have to do afterwards. There will be no guilt because you simply put it away and lock it up. Late at night that is a very good feeling which again keeps the grin on your face.

Summary

I love my bike and it means I can be 10 ¬†miles from home with a strong headwind, heavy rain at 11pm with a great big grin on my face ūüôā

A Budget Bike for Life?

Following my last post A Bike that defies categorisation I started to wonder whether a budget bike for life was possible. So I have started to look around and build a specification.

As I looked, at least for the moment I had to rule out a Gates Belt Drive. I couldn’t find a budget steel frame with support for a coupler in the seat stay. That will have to come in the future. So a chain and chainguard is needed instead.

This is what I have so far, it comes out at around £1,500 at retail prices including shipping.

roadrat-gritstone

  • Frame: Cotic Roadrat with Fork¬†¬£300
  • Rear Wheel with Alfine 8 speed hub, Mavic Disc rim ¬£200
  • Front Wheel with Alfine Dynamo hub, Mavic Disc rim ¬£100
  • Alfine Chainset ¬£55
  • KMC 8 Speed chain ¬£10
  • On-One Mary Handlebar + stem ¬£25
  • Headset ¬£60
  • 2 x Avid BB7 cable disc brakes ¬£130
  • 2 x Brake Lever ¬£15
  • 2 x Ergon GP1 Grips ¬£25
  • Quality Brake Cables ¬£10
  • Front and rear LED Dynamo Lights ¬£170
  • Rear Rack ¬£35
  • Flat Pedals ¬£25
  • Carbon Fibre Seat post + clamp ¬£60
  • Saddle ¬£30
  • 2 x Full Length SKS Mudguards ¬£35
  • 2 x Inner Tubes ¬£8
  • 2 x Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyres 700c x 35mm ¬£46
  • SKS Chainboard ¬£15

That sounds to me like a pretty nice reliable workhorse bike that will be good for reliable transport in all weathers. It won’t be as quick as a “road bike” but from my experience it will be possible to commute up to about 10 miles each way in ordinary clothes (especially if you are willing to change your shirt when you arrive at work). It will be able to handle shopping, towing kids in trailers or a childseat. It will be able to handle most Sustrans off road routes and won’t disintegrate on poor quality cycle tracks and roads. The only routine maintenance will be to clean the chain.

H’mm, wondering how that sounds to other people? My guess is that a manufacturer would be able to sell these at the Cycle to Work Scheme magic figure of ¬£1,000

A Bike that defies categorisation

David Arditti¬†has written an excellent post¬†Vole O’Speed: A post about bikes. In one part of the post he compares the category of a “Road Bike” and a “Hybrid Bike”. My Bike for Life is a¬†Bike that defies categorisation in these ways and deliberately so.

In my opinion the categories of bikes sold in most British shops do not reflect the needs of reliable, convenient, long lasting, pleasant transport.

  • “Road Bikes” are impractical, their 23/25mm tyres do not cope with cycle tracks, potholes and daily use carrying loads. They are designed for speed, not comfort and so you rarely see anyone riding them in normal clothes. They come without mudguards (and often without the space for mudguards to be fitted), racks, lighting and pedals that can be used with normal shoes.
  • “City Bikes” are poor relations of real Dutch bikes. They frequently don’t have the features that make Dutch bikes reliable, long life, comfortable and practical. Eg chain guards, hub gears, dynamo lights, hub brakes.
  • “Mountain Bikes” are also impractical for transport in many ways. They come with knobbly tyres which while often quite puncture proof are very slow on roads. They come without racks, lights, mudguards and chain guards. They have low gears designed for climbing a mountain off-road but irrelevant for getting to the supermarket or work.
  • “Hybrid” is such a vague term that it can include what is essentially a road bike with flat handlebars (and with nearly all the disadvantages of a “road bike”) or a mountain without knobbly tyres, to a more traditional town/city bike (although typically without hub brakes or lighting).
  • “Dutch Bikes” we are starting to see a number of places selling Dutch Bikes, these are much closer to being what is needed. However, Dutch bikes are not perfect everywhere in the UK. Many designs assume fairly flat terrain (heavy and few gears) and good quality infrastructure (typified by not enough volume of air in the tyres and by a very relaxed riding position which I think works best when in a more cycle friendly environment).

It was partly in response to this that I came up with the phrase “A Bike for Life” when I started looking for a practical bike that defied these categories.

By a “Bike for Life” I mean:

  • A bike that will last a lifetime
  • A bike that is completely practical for everyday life
  • A bike that is reliable for everyday life
  • A bike that enhances life

Lets look at the features of that make a bike for life fit these criteria:

Last a Lifetime

  • A steel frame because unlike Carbon or Aluminium it can be repaired (plus with the added bonus of a lower environmental cost)
  • Components that are chosen for long life that can be serviced and won’t break. So handbuilt wheels with big tyres, hub gears, hub dynamo lighting, disc, hub or roller brakes (that work for ages without adjustment and which don’t wear out rims)
  • Security fastening of wheels etc so that the bike can be quickly locked more securely (I use Infinity3D)

Completely Practical

You need to be able to ride all year round for normal tasks in normal clothes. This implies:

  • Hub Dynamo lighting: always there, automatic, maintenance free. I use a Schmidt hub dynamo and eDelux front light¬†(on two bikes) and a B&M rear light (on my Bike for Life).
  • Racks: Ideally front and rear. I have chosen Stainless Steel racks from Tubus for strength and long life.
  • Either a chain guard (to keep oil off your clothes) or a belt drive (no oil in the first place). I chose the belt drive.
  • Full length mudguards, preferably with mudflaps to keep you dry.
  • A stand for easy parking.

Reliable

  • Puncture proof tyres on strong wheels. So 35/40mm tyres with loads of puncture protection (I use¬†Schwalbe Marathon Plus).
  • Hub gears which last far longer and require far less maintenance than do derailleur gears. My (expensive) preference is for Rohloff for performance and reliability (amongst other things moving the indexing into the hub reduces gear cable problems)
  • Hub, Roller Brakes or¬†Disc brakes (hub gears are the lowest maintenance, disc brakes the most powerful)

Enhances Life

This will be more subjective, but for me it includes:

  • The bike being great to ride, so not frustratingly slow or heavy.
  • The bike being comfortable despite the poor road conditions and infrastructure (big tyres, seat post suspension, ergo grips, Jones Loop H-Bar handlebar).
  • Supporting local manufacturing which helps with community, with our own economy and the environment. For me that included¬†Shand Cycles, Hope, Middleburn, Brooks, Carradice, Atomic22, BridgeStreet.

Bikes for Life

I would be so happy if a shop would start selling “Bikes for Life”, by using less exotic components than I chose it should be possible to achieve the magical ¬£1,000 Cycle to Work Scheme limit.

A day for cycling progress

Lots of nice cycling things today.

Some good maintenance/upgrades progress and a nice ride with Jane on her new bike.

The ride first.

We drove over to Rutland to kill lots of birds with one stone. This included a nice ride with lunch.

Or view on Strava.

As proof here is Jane on her new bike (with new helmet from Rutland Cycling as well):

P5170055

For anyone interested that is a Ortlieb Front Roller Plus pannier which is a great size for carrying just a few things on a day out. Sorry for the lack of colour coordinated water bottle ūüôā

We had both lunch and a after ride coffee at the Harbour View Cafe ūüôā

Anyway, we had a nice ride with only one idiot driver who decided to beep us as he zoomed past on a very minor road.

Maintenance stuff

There were a couple of other reasons for going to Rutland.

First, I had dropped off my Shand Stoater, Bike for Life at Rutland Cycling yesterday. I have had trouble properly bleeding the rear brake. Turns out the hose had got damaged and so was leaking slightly. They are going to replace that and bleed it for me.

Second, I have also been having trouble with the brakes on my Bullitt Cargobike, they have been getting less powerful, more squeaky and hard to bleed. So we took the Bullitt with us, for the first time finding it is possible to fit it in the car:

20130517_115521

That is handy to know ūüôā

Anyway the main problem is with the rear calliper which is leaking badly (the front going the same way). I decided to tackle the problem with an upgrade. I don’t particularly like the Shimano disk brakes. They use a very expensive mineral oil and I would appreciate more power when hurtling downhill fully loaded.

So Rutland Cycling are fitting Hope Tech M4 brakes to match my Bike for Life, only on the Bullitt they are going to use Braided Hose which should provide a further improvement.

This means both bikes will need the same replacement seals and use the same brake fluid which is DOT 5.1, available from any garage.

So it looks like my problems with bleeding the brakes are due to hose or calliper problems, future maintenance easier for me to do myself.

Anyway for perspective. We have 3 bikes with¬†hydraulic disk brakes that have done 1,000’s of miles in all kinds of weather. These are the first replacement parts and the 1st professional service ever needed. Still absolutely my favourite type of brake (for power, controllability, reliability and maintenance), especially as it is possible to buy excellent British made hydraulic brakes from Hope Tech.

 

Bike for life shows how it is done

Today was a delight, 47.3 winter miles showing exactly why I made the choices I did for my Bike for Life. Particularly the combination of:

  • Gates belt drive (silent and no need to worry about oil being washed off, or grit wearing it out)
  • Rohloff hub gear (reliable, huge range, smooth, weatherproof)
  • Schmidt dynamo with Schmidt EDelux front light and B&M rear light (very bright, there all the time, reliable, foolproof)
  • Jones loop h-bar (so comfy with options of two more aerodynamic positions for headwinds)
  • Brooks B17 Select saddle (well worn in and so comfy)
  • Hope Ceramic bearings bottom bracket (reliable, silent, smooth)
  • Schwalbe Marathon City Plus tyres (comfy, puncture proof, fast, bullet proof)
  • Hope Tech Evo V4 hydraulic disc brakes (so powerful and smooth)
  • Shand Cycles Stoater frame to hang it all on (looks fantastic, all the right fittings with internal electric cables and beautiful brazing & paint)

Together they mean that the bike copes with rain, floods, potholes, grit all over the road, darkness etc without any problems at all. In fact more accurately with beautiful composure.

This is what I had wanted. A bike you can just get on, that you can rely on for any journey whatever the weather. I maybe one of the slowest riders in the Festive 500 challenge, but I am certainly the one needing to do least maintenance and least worried about British weather. ūüôā

A city bike for my wife

Our search for a new city bike for Jane, my wife, is over. We decided, we bought (from a localish shop) and have collected the new bike.

You can read about the search at Choosing a city bike for my wife part 1 and Choosing a city bike for my wife part 2.

In the end we chose a Ridgeback Avenida 8 Open Frame. Jane’s previous bike was a Ridgeback Storm and that has given us many years of good service and that has now been passed onto our youngest son.

Some of the things we like about this are:

  • At Freewheel Jane was able to have a test ride of a similar model in the range and she really liked it.
  • Alfine 8 speed hub gears (around here there seems to be a lot of¬†scepticism about the Nexus range for reliability – although the Dutch seem very happy with them on many models). Anyway Jane much prefers the trigger shifters to twist grip
  • Lowish step through but reasonably rigid frame thanks to the large profile aluminium down tube.
  • Disk brakes (roller brakes would have been first choice but not offered).
  • Reasonable chain guard (certainly on her first rides at home Jane has not needed anything to protect or hold in her trouser leg)
  • Good mudguards, good tyres size.
  • Quite nice pedals (metal but with rubber inserts for grip and to be soft on shoes)
  • Nice height adjustable¬†handlebar with ergonomic grips.
  • Just what Jane wanted for seating position with a little weight on her arms
  • Pretty good front basket that can be easily unclipped
  • Fittings for a rear rack
  • nice and¬†light
  • price
  • British company

Of course I would not pretend that it s perfect (or that it would be right for everyone). We have a few niggles:

  • It has arrived with a fairly buckled front wheel. The disk brake is not rubbing so not immediate problem but we will get this straightened at the first, free, service.
  • I would prefer a simpler chain tensioner than the derailleur style¬†pulleys (eg horizontal dropouts,¬†epileptic bottom bracket).
  • I would have preferred a complete plastic chaincase so that none of the chain is showing and getting dirty.
  • Mounting front lights is a bit tricky due to the basket

So far Jane is totally delighted. She has been for a couple of very short rides since we got home and is very pleased with the comfort and handling. Unlike her previous bike she can get on and off from either side.

More later.

10 tips to making riding your bike normal

The greatest thing that helps me ride my bike more often is making it easy to do so. So some tips:

  1. Ride in normal clothes. If you have to change to ride your bike then change the bike.
  2. Fit flat pedals only. You need to be able to ride in whatever is on your feet. For me that generally means trainers, smart shoes or crocs. If you wear high heels then get pedals covered in rubber. Do not have toe clips or clipless pedals that need special shoes.
  3. Fit excellent mudguards (fenders if you are American). If you cannot go for a ride in good shoes and no coat immediately after heavy rain, when there are plenty of big puddles about, then you need better mudguards. Consider adding mudflaps to the ends of the mudguards to stop spray onto your feet or the person behind. To keep your clothes properly clean a chainguard or better a chain case helps a lot. Second if you like long coats, jackets, skirts, scarves etc then fit a skirt guard to keep them clean and stop them tangling in the back wheel
  4. Have big tyres (I think 32mm is absolute minimum but 37mm a more sensible minimum) that have the very best puncture resistance available. In the UK cycle paths have lots of glass on them that never gets cleared up. With leaves and puddles abounding you are not going to see either glass or potholes so big tyres keep you rolling.
  5. Make it quicker and easier to get your bike out than your car. Keep the car keys somewhere inconvenient (good security measure), also put your bike keys on the same keyring as your house key with the car key separate . Make sure all you need for the bike is on it or right next to it. Sort out where you keep the bike so it is really quick to use.
  6. Make sure you have simple ways to carry stuff. It might be a full cargobike or a front basket and rear rack with panniers. Or simply practice riding with bags hanging from the handlebars. If you can carry stuff then your bike is suddenly a lot more useful for more journeys.
  7. Invest in dynamo lighting. The lights and dynamo are¬†fixed to the bike and so are always available (ideally they can come on automatically when it gets dark). Best if they have standlights so they don’t go out (for a few minutes anyway) when you stop. Make the bike visible so you can wear normal clothes.
  8. If security is a problem then invest in things to make it hard to pinch parts of your bike, particularly wheels and saddle (see  Pitlock or Infiniti3D security which might be even better soon) then just use a really tough U-lock to lock the frame to something fixed to the ground (make sure it is not a post that the bike can be lifted over).
  9. Get a really reliable year round bike . For me that means hub gears (or if you are strong then no gears ie a fixie) and hub, roller or disc brakes. If you can get on with them then Coaster brakes (the sort you operate by back pedaling) have the least to go wrong. The bike must be ready to go without checking it or fixing it.
  10. Make it a habit. Challenge yourself to ride your bike every day so that it becomes natural and normal.

Giant Escape N7

I recently bought a new bike for our middle son for basic transport. The Trek Pilot 1.2 that he and I have shared for a few years is not suitable for him to ride around an urban area (Leicester). He needed flat bars, mudguards & rack. I needed him to have low maintenance (as that ends up being my job).

So to fit the trend I am trying to follow I looked for Hub gears and non rim brakes. Not a lot of choice in anything a teenager wants to ride. In the end we came across a Giant Escape N7, it is no longer made but we found one in stock at AJ Cycles in Higham Ferrers.

I have added Giant Mudguards (not really recommended as the stays are too long and need to be cut). Still they are reasonably effective.

I treated him to a Tubus Locc rack as it carries Abus U-Locks. Sadly though the new Abus lock came with a different fitting that is not compatible with the Tubus (fortunately we don’t use the Trek and Giant bikes at the same time too often so normally we can share the lock we already have that fits this rack).

His reactions have been good, finding it an easy and comfortable ride. Works well for someone who has no interest whatsoever in the technical details of a bike but just wants it to be available and work.

Concerns

The only concerns I have with this bike relate to the roller brakes and Nexus 7 speed hub.

Roller Brakes

When I mentioned the Giant Escape N7 in 42: Best Upright Bike back in March 2006 I got a number of negative remarks about roller brakes. I have since test ridden a few other bikes with roller brakes and decided that they were worth trying. Tonight I went for a ride on the Giant Escape N7 from Carnon Downs Caravan Park in Cornwall. From here everything is down ūüôā So I went down to Restonguel Point, Loe Beach and back via Trelissck and Playing Place. That included 14% and 17% descents on wet roads in the rain. The roller brakes were excellent. I could lock the rear brake if I wanted but they gave good control and feedback, held the speed where I was happy and allowed me to stop where ever I wanted. They are not as powerful as disk brakes or well setup v-brakes but are perfectly adequate. I suspect that some people are so used to the outstanding performance of disk brakes that they find anything less powerful scary. These are not the brakes for races aiming to get to the bottom of a steep hill as quickly as possible and stop instantly with no notice. On the other hand they should work for years with little or no maintenance.

Nexus 7 Speed Hub

This seems to have a relatively poor reputation for reliability. My feeling is that for the use my son has it will probably be fine. If it fails then I’ll look at either a Nexus 8 or an Alfine (8 or 11) hub with roller brake. The bike frame and everything else were good enough value that it would make sense to put a better hub in it if this fails.

On my ride tonight I was able to ride up the 17% hill from Loe Beach with no problems – well other than a lot of heavy breathing ūüôā The hub changed gear reliably, although the changes are¬†noticeably¬†less well defined than those on my Alfine 8 speed hub on my Bullitt. Time will tell as to the reliability but the performance to date is perfectly acceptable.

Conclusion

I think it is a pretty good choice for general urban use in the UK. In countries with a better cycling infrastructure you would not need some of the mountain bike influences (26″ wheels with big tyres, heavy duty forks etc) but in the UK with a teenager they seem sensible. Now this is not available I am not sure what the best alternative would be.

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