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  1. #26
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    My bike shop carries Linus. I'll go check them out, now I'm interested.
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  2. #27
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    Has the Electra Amsterdam been mentioned yet? They list around $900 w/8sp internal gear hub but they can be had new for less. Like $300 less. I do not advise the o.p. to mail-order a bike and then take it to an LBS for assembly. It will be far more useful in the long run to buy a bike from said LBS, have them customize it to your needs and establish a relationship that may last for years. Not that they won't do the same thing for your mail-order ride but they'll feel so much better if its one of their bikes they are helping you with and you will feel better about asking for the occasional free adjustment or tweak. FWIW.

  3. #28
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    I wouldn't buy any bike you can't ride first;fit is pretty much the most critical point in determining what the best bike for a person is. I've owned/ridden enough bikes that I can just compare the geo charts to bikes I already own/have owned,but if you're just starting out you need to actually take the bike for a spin to see how it fits.

    For locking in DC,unless it's a high-dollar bike,you just need to make sure it's locked properly. Most of the bikes stolen around here weren't locked right or not at all. Use a good U lock and cable,don't use QR anything,and take anything removable with you.
    correctbikelock.jpg

    BD makes cheap and high end bikes. I had one of their Ti cross bikes(only bike I've had stolen,done by a pro) and it was my favorite bike. Not as nice as a Moots,but all good parts,and a nice frameset. I've had a couple come into my clinic,and there wasn't anything wrong with them. BTW,had a lady bring in a $3k+ Rivendell;not only did it have issues,but that bike def was not worth that kind of money.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

  4. #29
    Senior Member
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    I have a Public D8i I've been 100% satisfied with. It's been perfect for commuting, and looks fantastic. If I switch out the handlebars I'm good to go for a long 50 mi fast ride. And it's handled a full set of panniers and heavy load for a weekend bike/camping trip. (I don't particularly like the handlebars it comes with, and switch out moustache or Cruiser Bars depending on my mood)

    It's heavy but not superheavy like my old Electra Amsterdam, and rides much faster/nimbler than it. (Although still waaay heavier (literally and figuratively) than a carbon forked CAAD10 or similar)

    That said I did go to their store in Oakland so i could ride it before I bought it. I just wouldn't feel comfortable buying something i couldn't test ride first.
    "The world will end, not with a "bang" but with a "do'oh!""

  5. #30
    tcs
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    Since I've saved some money and this bike is partly a gift, my budget is around $1000 ideally including add-ons.
    A thousand bucks should get you a Breezer Uptown 8 with a hydroformed aluminum frame additionally equipped with full chaincase*, bell, generator lights & wheel lock.

    My bike lives inside my apartment at night, and when I get to work it is locked to a bike rack inside a parking garage. The garage is not the most secure place in the world, but there are people watching who goes in and out and I haven't heard any anecdotal reports of bike theft from the garage. My fellow bike commuters have some pretty nice bikes.

    What I'm worried about is locking my bike when I use it for transport around DC.
    Hmmm. Since I don't know if you're a Republican or a Democrat, I almost hate to suggest this.


    *BTW, many city bikes advertising a chaincase actually have only a chainguard, partially or entirely open on the back side!
    Last edited by tcs; 01-18-14 at 10:37 AM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  6. #31
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    I think you get what you pay for. Really. If something is much lower-priced than something else, like a free lunch, it's not likely to be an amazing value.
    That does seem reasonable, doesn't it, and our inclination to believe that is used by marketeers and brand managers.

    Reading product tests in Consumer Reports over the last 45 years suggests to me that some items punch well above their weight, while others are expensive for no discernible reason.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  7. #32
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    tcs, that is sometimes true. I don't find it to be true with bikesdirect bikes or any other mail order bike. A friend had me overhaul his high-end bikesdirect bike. It had high end components, but it had a really crappy BB that practically exploded. They cut a lot of corners to bring the price down.

    Bikes don't carry a bit profit margin, so there aren't a many ways to reduce the price. His outlook was that there was no other way to get a bike that good. It wasn't as good as he thought it was. It was worth what he paid for it, not what the high-end components suggested, i.e. what other bikes with Dura Ace stuff on it go for.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  8. #33
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Has the Electra Amsterdam been mentioned yet?
    We were leaning heavily towards getting a couple of the 8i's. They're kind of a strange geometry though. We test rode quite a bit on two occasions thinking we'd get use to them, but could never get comfortable on them. As we learned more about them we were really glad they felt strange. They don't have stainless hardware, have a cheaper paint job, cheaper seat and tires, flimsy rear rack, no option for a front rack, rear lite isn't dynamo, no option for a frame mounted child seat behind the handlebars.

    The guy at the bike shop kept saying he could put on a better rear rack, seat, tires, and other stuff, but by the time he was done they would have cost more than getting much better bikes that already had everything to begin with. They're appealing because the 'look Dutch', but that's as far as it goes (as long as you don't look too long).

  9. #34
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Reading product tests in Consumer Reports over the last 45 years suggests to me that some items punch well above their weight, while others are expensive for no discernible reason.
    I think with bikes, if you want quality, you'll have to pay. On the other hand, paying doesn't mean you'll get quality so you still have to sort it out a bit. Not everybody needs the same quality though, I know a lot of folks who have cheap single-speed beach cruisers that they're quite happy with. Kind of the idea I think is to get what's best for you for a given budget.

    In some other product areas you're more likely to find things punching above their weight. I was an audio engineer for a number of years and will occasionally help bands and churches with recommendations. Behringer always had a poor reputation, but recently they came out with a desk that competes extremely well with Yamaha's LS9, better in some ways, but about a third the price.

  10. #35
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    A friend had me overhaul his high-end bikesdirect bike. It had high end components, but it had a really crappy BB that practically exploded. They cut a lot of corners to bring the price down.
    Fair enough, but let's not overlook the other major corner 'mail order' bikes cut: retail shop/sale. There is a definite added cost to this step; added value is open to question, specific to individual instances.

    You told a story; I'll tell a story. The last bike I bought at a local retail shop was on their sales floor with too tight wheel bearing cones, mis-aligned stem, one brake adjusted tight and one brake adjusted loose, an out-of-true wheel and sketchy alignment on the index shifting. I pointed these issues out and they took my money and told me to come back in three days. Upon my return, despite them announcing the bike was 'ready to go' none of these issues had been corrected.

    Why pay more for locally sourced incompetence?
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  11. #36
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    If the OP still is looking for a mixte, why not consider a used one? Solid rides for a third of a new one. I've sold many reconditioned mixte bikes from Northern NJ, to buyers from NYC, Brooklyn, Boston, Phili, North Carolina, Poughkeepsie, Princeton, Long Island, and NNJ. They arrive by car, train, bus, and even ferry!

    These aren't IGH, but are fine for charity rides. One buyer recently did a 40 mile ride on her reconditoned 1980's mixte.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
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  12. #37
    Member squeakyschwinn's Avatar
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    http://detroitbikes.com/

    It hasn't been mentioned here yet and the internal hub may have less gears than you are looking for, but I think the Detroit Type A is worth checking out. Especially since them and Shinola are doing great things for the city....
    '13 Fuji Roubaix 3.0 LE
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  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    The only shops in DC I won't recommend are the Big Wheels locations. For the others,it's pretty much who's working that day,and what kind of day they're having.
    I actually stopped into the Georgetown Big Wheels shop last week because I needed to buy a tube for my flat tire, and definitely didn't get a great vibe. Thanks for the heads up that it's probably not worth trekking out to the Arlington location.

    I'll definitely look into the bike co-ops, although it seems like they are mostly closed for the winter.

    Thanks for the info!

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Well, that is also a broad question (which is easy, which is hard). I'm tempted to say if you have to ask, then it's all too hard. But that would be unkind and possibly inaccurate. Tell us what mechanical things you have done successfully. Tell us what mechanical things give you trouble. Building a bike from frame and components is very easy for some and impossible for others.

    No, not unkind at all. I'm embarrassed to say that I only learned to change a flat last week, and have never done it myself. I'm going to have to opt out of the actually building, but am seriously considering having a bike shop build something.

  15. #40
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    Thanks for all the info everyone. Last weekend I headed over to the Daily Rider and test rode a Biria CitiClassic e8 (http://www.biria.com/bicycle/citiclassic/e8), a Breezer Downtown 8 (http://www.breezerbikes.com/bikes/details/downtown-8-us) as well as a Gazelle and the Pilen Lyx. It was great to finally try out the classic city bike style of the Gazelle, which was great fun to ride, but also to confirm that this is not for me. I couldn't even lift it, let alone carry it up the stairs to my apartment. And while it was actually much easier than expected to get up hills, I just don't think I'm eager to have my only bike be such an upright tank.

    The Pilen was similarly tall, but with a very different feel. If it also wasn't so heavy and so very pricey, I'd be a bit torn about that one. Even with the heaviness and the very fat tires, it felt so easy to just keep going with it.

    The Breezer Downtown 8 was probably the most in line with what I've been looking for: 8 speed internal hub, comes with chain guard, fenders and a rack, but it just didn't stand out to me. It felt fine in terms of gearing, and once we adjusted the saddle height and angle it was pretty comfortable. But the step through was very high, almost like a mixte, which seemed odd for a bike like this. The looks don't do it for me, though I know that's not the most important thing. And though the bike could handle bumps, I felt them more in my hands and body than I do on my old Maruishi. I don't think the Breezer will be the bike for me.

    The CitiClassic was surprisingly tempting though. It's almost exactly the same frame design as my old bike, and I do like that sporty but upright positioning. It has 8 speeds but no internal hub, it only comes with a three speed internal. The bike is light, felt good on the road, and really fun to ride. It is putting me into a bit of a crisis as to whether I really need to insist on having internal gears. The other city style bikes I had tried with derailleur gearing (specifically a Bobbin) felt like they didn't shift smoothly. This was easy and smooth and felt great. The easy step through is exactly what I'm used to: low enough that I step through to dismount while in motion, but not all loopy and dutch-bike-esque. This style is new from Biria last fall, and I can't find any real reviews online. Anyone have any info on it? At $630 this is well within my price range, and I could afford to add a nice saddle and maybe change the grips to match.

    I also found out that they could build me up a Soma Buena Vista with an 8 speed internal or an external gear setup there. I'm waiting on some quotes from them, but they seemed to think they could get it to come in at the $1100-$1300 point, which isn't much more than the Public. I'm really excited to see what they come up with.

    I also tested out the Linus again for a little longer, and am still not sure what I think. Everything feels fine, but I didn't walk away from this test ride feeling super excited. Despite the mixte look, the bike doesn't really feel livelier than my old three speed (see photo), and I realized that stepping through a mixte frame is a bit tricky. It is definitely speedier though! And the 8 gears are great.

    10473_971511281451_904438408_n.jpg

    Basically I'm feeling totally confused and conflicted. Do I really need to stick with the internal gearing in order to commute year round? I didn't bike today in the snow because DC drivers are terrifying in any out-of-the-ordinary weather and I wanted to give the city a day to deal with the roads before I put myself in their path. It only snows three or four times a year here anyway, so it's not like my bike has to deal with a lot of snowy/icy winter conditions. If I am careful to do maintenance, could I stick with a derailleur setup year round? I know internal hubs are recommended for city/commuter type bikes for reliability, but what do you all use? What has your experience been?

    And does anyone have advice on how to step over the bar on a mixte without getting tangled??

  16. #41
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    I feel your pain! I'm in a very similar situation. Every time I find a bike that has everything I want it is either too heavy or too expensive. The Soma Buena Vista looks great and is a good price, but it's a mixte not a step-through. I've thought long and hard about that bike and might end up going that way. Mixtes work well for riding in skirts and dresses once you are on the bike (the dress drapes nicely). The problem, as you've pointed out, is getting on the darn thing! My current bike has a sloping top tube that meets the seat tube about 25" off the ground. That's about the same as the Buena Vista. I have to tilt it pretty far before I'm able to step over the top tube. On an unrelated note: I'm also not crazy about the colors. Soma used to make a nice blue frame for that bike, but now it's either gold or white. This isn't my top concern, but I do wish I liked the paint better.

    Here's the bike I'm looking at now: http://www.achielle.be/NL/louise.php. I'd love to have it in red. I have no idea if it will end up being affordable. Waiting to hear back from the bike shop now.

    Edit: there's an update about the Achielle bike in post #11 over on this thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ght-be-in-love
    Last edited by Giant Doofus; 01-22-14 at 02:56 PM.

  17. #42
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unaleona View Post
    It is putting me into a bit of a crisis as to whether I really need to insist on having internal gears. The other city style bikes I had tried with derailleur gearing (specifically a Bobbin) felt like they didn't shift smoothly. This was easy and smooth and felt great.
    One thing to keep in mind is that when bikes are shipped to the shops,they've only been slapped together. The shops have to do all the finishing touches including adjusting the shifting. Quite often,the shops don't have the time/manpower to get everything perfect before they put the bike on the floor;that's why when you buy a bike they almost always go over it just before they let you take it home. I've test ridden many bikes that didn't shift right;in the future try asking the shop to tweak it and go on another test ride.

    Because DC is so hilly(I live across from the Cathedral),I personally prefer a 2x or 3x derailleur drivetrain. They do require a little more maintenance,but they offer a much wider gear range,are much lighter,and rear wheel removal is much easier. By swapping rings/cassettes,you can also widen or narrow your gear range,as well as raise and lower the top and bottom gears,even do both at the same time. IGH's can only raise or lower the entire gear range. I've commuted on bikes with Nexus and Alfine 8spds and an i-Motion 9spd,but after about a week missed my 3x9.

    Quote Originally Posted by unaleona View Post
    And does anyone have advice on how to step over the bar on a mixte without getting tangled??
    I'm tall,I just swing my leg up over the saddle. YMMV.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

  18. #43
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    Great write-up on the bikes and your impressions.

    Quote Originally Posted by unaleona View Post
    Do I really need to stick with the internal gearing in order to commute year round?
    The advantages of IGH are almost zero maintenance/adjustment, very reliable, can withstand all weather without problems, very quiet, and allows for a full or partial chain case. It's all how important these are to you. If you don't mind doing some maintenance, don't ride on the crustiest days, and don't need a chain case then you should be fine with derailleurs.

    For all of my routine riding I'm very thankful for the reliability of IGH and being able to have a fully enclosed chain (to keep both it and my pants clean). My road bikes are derailleur though and on them I do like the wide range of gears.

    As to getting on the mixte, that's why city bikes are designed with the low curved top tube. Easy to step over regardless of dress and heal length.

  19. #44
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unaleona View Post
    No, not unkind at all. I'm embarrassed to say that I only learned to change a flat last week, and have never done it myself. I'm going to have to opt out of the actually building, but am seriously considering having a bike shop build something.
    Don't be embarrassed! It's excellent progress. Everyone should learn to fix flats. Practice at it, because you will need to do it on the road one day. Then after that, it won't be so bad, even though you'll get more flats. I guarantee.

    We like helping folks and walking them through repairs, building skills. Just ask.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  20. #45
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    So I've just received the quotes for a build of the Soma Buena Vista. The external derailleur system will cost $1300, the IGH would be $1425. I sent them the build list from one of the Buena Vista builds reviewed on lovely bicycle (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7516215@N03/5769994010/in/set-72157624361907035/) as well as the two posts she did about them http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/searc...ma+buena+vista for reference. It seems like these builds are generally in line with what I'd sent and what I'd be looking for, but I'd love your more experienced eyes on them.

    The prices are about in line with what I was expecting, though I was hoping it might be down in the $1100 to $1200 range. It's not out of the question to spend this much, but it's still a bit hard to wrap my head around spending $400-$500 more than the Linus bike for something I can't even test ride! On the other hand, it's only about $200-$300 more than the public one, and with the public I know that I'd probably eventually end up paying for a better saddle and different handlebars, which would quickly cover that ground. I'm also wondering if now that I am open to considering external gearing whether there are other bike options I hadn't considered when I was dead set on IGH.

    I've started to consider the alternative of rebuilding a vintage mixte since it seems like it might be a more affordable option to get higher quality components than the Linus/Public but less expensive than the Soma, and have been talking to C&V folks in this thread
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/931613-Schwinn-LeTour-Mixte

    Thanks for any thoughts and advice:



    External Derailleur System Internally Geared Rear Wheel
    Frame/Fork Soma Buena Vista Soma Buena Vista
    Headset TH Industries TH Industries
    Stem Dimension 90mm X 107d Dimension 90mm X 107d
    Bar Velo Orange Tourist Velo Orange Tourist
    Grips Dimension Cork Dimension Cork
    Shifter Shimano Deore 9 Speed Shimano Nexus 7 Speed
    Brake Levers Shimano Alivio Shimano Alivio
    Brakes IRD B76 IRD B76
    Wheels Shimano LX/Velocity Shimano LX/Nexus/Velocity
    Tires Panaracer 650B X 38C Panaracer 650B X 38C
    Tubes Q Tubes Q Tubes
    Rimstrip Velox Velox
    Crank FSA Metropolis FSA Metropolis
    Bottom Bracket Shimano UN26 Shimano UN26
    Pedals Dimension Touring Dimension Touring
    Chain SRAM 9 Speed SRAM 9 Speed
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Claris n/a
    Cassette Shimano HG20 n/a
    Seatpost Kalloy 27.2 Kalloy 27.2
    Saddle Cardiff Cardiff
    Fenders VeloOrange 45mm Hammered VeloOrange 45mm Hammered
    Rack Soma Deco Rear Rack Soma Deco Rear Rack

  21. #46
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Unaleona,
    I'm wondering if you're still considering the Breezer Uptown 8?

    Checking the gear ratios and using Sheldon's gear calculator for a Nexus8, we get the following for the 26"-wheeled Uptown, which has a 38T chainring and an 18T cog (in gear inches):

    87.8, 77.1, 66.5, 54.4, 46.3, 40.7, 35.0, 28.6

    Those are plenty low for climbing, and high enough for cruising at quite a clip.

    If you want another shop to talk with, I'd highly recommend Papillon Cycles out in Arlington, off of Columbia Pike. They aren't a big shop, and have a very high degree of customer interest and customer service. I thin kthat they cater to commuters and daily riders. They carry the Breezer line, and would be more than helpful in addressing your concerns.

    Anyway, I live and ride around the DC area, and really appreciate how the guys at Papillon are different, in a refreshingly good way.

    Good luck,
    Phil G.
    Last edited by Phil_gretz; 01-28-14 at 11:14 AM.

  22. #47
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    Thanks for the info. For whatever reason, I didn't particularly love the Uptown 8. I felt like I should, since it met so many criteria, but it just didn't click for me. It seemed sort of in between different styles and functions, and not quite right for any of them. I appreciate the Papillon Cycles recommendation, and they aren't too far from my office. Generally I've been looking at stores in DC since I don't have a car and struggle with Arlington's hills on my bike, but I could give them a try. On their website they seem to only mention carrying Giant and Breezer, do they have other brands?

  23. #48
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    I've owned a bikesdirect Windsor Kensington 8 for a year and a half and I think it's a great value. I've been more than satisfied with it. It's fun to ride and, for the most part, I feel the components are of similar quality to a Linus or Public bike (certainly all of the "branded" components like the Shimano hub are the same). I test-rode the Linus Mixte 8, the Electra Ticino, and the Breezer Uptown before taking the plunge to buy the Kensington 8. I haven't had any problems with it at all. I've been riding it more frequently lately instead of my Workcycles Fr8, as my daughter is riding more often on her own bike, so I only need a "one-child" bike. I've used it to haul both a trail-a-bike and a trailer and been impressed with its stability. I've also taken it on long 20-30 mile rides, usually with my son in his Bobike mini seat in the front. It's hard to find hills in Sacramento, but I've also taken it to San Francisco and was able to get up all but the steepest hills (again with a 30 lb 3 year old perched on my handlebars). If I lived in a particularly hilly city, I'd probably have a lower "lowest" gear put on. That's the "good"; the "bad" and "ugly" about the bike would be: (1) while the paint looked beautiful when I got it, it scratches very easily; only the red color was available in the size I needed when I got it, maybe the paint scratches wouldn't show as much in a different color; (2) the fenders are pretty chintzy; (3) the stock brake pads should probably be replaced if you're going to ride a lot in hilly terrain, they don't seem very "grippy" to me; and (4) the front rack should be slightly longer to better fit panniers--I can fit panniers with the Ortlieb system on the rack, but with any other panniers, the hooks are too far apart (this is a really minor complaint).

  24. #49
    Senior Member Giant Doofus's Avatar
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    I seriously considered the Windsor Kensington too: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ensington8.htm. It's not what I ultimately went with, but it does look like an awfully good deal. At $500 you could make lots of after-market upgrades and still save a lot of money over the Linus or Public bikes.

  25. #50
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    If you're going to go with an IGH build,I would highly suggest spending the extra dosh for an Alfine over a Nexus 7. In addition to the extra gear,it's a much nicer hub.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

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