Is it only European bike stores that stock bikes for commuting?

Here’s a photo of my ol’ buddy Scoop. Since I am fortunate enough to own two dapper bikes (Velorbis gave me the Scrap Deluxe to review), I am able to loan Scoop a bike to match mine, whenever we head out on the town. He says we look like a middle aged homosexual couple, who have recently taken an interest in roadsters. How so? Out there raising hell, occupying “car parking” space with our parked bikes, me in my pink Rapha T-shirt and Scoop sporting his trademark long sleeve cotton shirt, and a very dashing, full head, of salt-and-pepper.

I interrupt my busy schedule to blog, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about reasonably priced bikes for commuting. There aren’t many around. I know, because I have been helping Scoop search for a bike of his own.

Minimum functional spec: steel forks for comfort; reliable tires; Nexus 7 speed internal hub gearing (I’ve lost my faith in SRAM and have doubts about Sturmey Archer); full chain guard to protect trousers; non-battery reelights (a $70 add-on, that you buy in Australia from these guys); mudguards; and a rear rack. Already you’re looking at bikes retailing for close to $2000, here in Australia—that is, if you manage to find one.

Now let’s think of comforts you won’t regret having: a chromoly frame that won’t crack and is not jarring to ride, like aluminium; an axa immobiliser lock; front and rear drum brakes, that don’t require maintenance and that keep your bike clean; a stand; a bell that doesn’t go ding, but ding dong, or bring; front and rear lights running off of a hub dynamo; and a Brooks saddle or some decent copy.

Extras to help you love riding, and being seen out on your bike, include: a lugged or smooth fillet braised frame, instead of one with clunky TIG welding, plus a few talking points, or additional bling. Higher resistance to surface rust, is always welcome.

Nothing I’ve mentioned suggests we’re aiming to build some kind of show piece. I haven’t mentioned titanium or stainless tubing, Rohloff gears, SON dynamos, customised polished lugs, or even butted tubing to reduce weight. Such considerations would distract me from my friend’s basic needs, that I’m struggling to find met in a mass market bike. So please, send word of any models you know of. I’m compiling a list.

8 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Not steel but aluminium is not that bad, is it???

    http://www.specialized.com/au/gb/globe/GlobeHome.jsp

  2. CsS says:

    While I am yet to receive mine, Pilen bikes are steel, brooks-y, internally hubbed, and cutefully Swedish for closer to one than two thousand Australian dollars. Available in Melbs. Tho I am in Perth and still waiting on my special raw steel lacquered frame to be perfected in Scandinavia.

  3. faith says:

    I’d suggest Achielles, Gazelle, Batavus, Pilen, Pashley, Lekker, Creme, all have 3 speeds around the 800-1200 mark, those which have a 7 speed option go for a bit more. Linus, Specialized and Allegro also have options but not as nicely specced. They’re all available from shops in Aus, in fact they’re all our local shops are selling, don’t know what its like where you are.

  4. tk says:

    have heard the nexus 8 is better than the 7, and after having to adjust my 7 I can confirm that’s it *not* just a matter of lining up the two yellow indicators… or alfine is supposed to be better again.

    • Steven says:

      My new box bike, and my older Velorbis balloon bike, have Nexus 7 hubs, that so far have responded favourably to Dr. Bahooving’s unnatural torque. The Alfine 8 speed hub on my mountain bike has served me royally too. As for the SRAM S7 hub on my 2 year old roadster: darn thing has been shot to pieces. Must make myself a dream bike some day, with the Rohloff etc., though I’m not sure what supreme bikes are actually used for. I think now my only derailer bike is the one I use for racing: that’s what they’re good for. Why are we talking about this, btw? 🙂

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