Iíve been researching a new bike for my wife ó a city bike. Her desired list of features is quite short. It should be a step through or mixte frame, it should be simple to shift, it shoudnít be too expensive, and if at all possible, it should be a shade of blue. Seems simple enough, right?
Well, as it turns out, the market is only starting to address this kind of bike. The have the frame right, the cost right, and the color right, but the ďsimple to shiftĒ hasnít quite gotten there. To me, that means an internal hub, which pretty much means some variety of Shimano Nexus. There really are only a few bikes that Iíve found which fit the bill completely, and Iíve been looking a little while. Aside from building up one of the new Soma Mixtes (which apparently have more male-oriented geometry anways, and wonít come cheap), or waiting for the Masi mixte (which looks gorgeous, but where to find?), hereís the list:
1) Jamis Commuter 3.0 ó $550. A lot to like for the price, but canít find any in stock. My first pick as of right now. Swap the suspension seatpost for a nice sprung Brooks, add a rack and some lights, and youíre done. Wish it had the red-band Nexus, but you can't have everything.
2) Bianchi Milano ó Alfine (so iím willing to spend a little more), but just seems to be more style than function. For example, the riding position seems way too aggressive, probably due to the lack of an adjustable quill stem. Ahead has itís purposes, but city bikes ainít one of them.
3) Gary Fisher Simple City 8 - Saw one in a shop. Gorgeous bike, but is it really worth $300 more than the Jamis (or thatís one hell of an expensive front rack) ?
4) Giant Trans Send EX - Hits all the checkboxes I want (Alfine, frame) and some I donít (cheapo suspension forks, weight?)
5) Breezer Uptown 8 or Villager 7 - Must give this more thought. Definitely true city bikes and will probably outlast all of the above bikes, plus a dynohub, but about twice the price of the Jamis.
So, there you have it. Anyone else have suggestions of bikes I may have missed? Seems to me the simplicity of a gearhub combined with the ease of riding of a step-through should be a no brainer. Maybe the market will figure that out next year. As of now, Iíll keep waiting for the Jamis to be in stock.