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.