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Old 05-24-08, 09:31 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Madison, WI
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Short version: I am a happy woman. The new bike and I are a much better match. Baskets are underrated.

Long version:
I had a choice between Topeak, Basil and Wald baskets, depending on which shop I went with. The Topeak one has a fine gauge mesh but can still handle a cargo net, unlike the Wald and Basil fine mesh baskets. The Topeak is removable but uses a custom mount. Wald baskets are fixed. Basil ones that I'd pay money for use a Klickfix mount, so they're interchangeable with a lot of other bar bags. The plastic mount is suitable for up to about 10 lbs (for both Basil and Topeak). This made the Topeak fine for what I wanted, and since it was the basket at the shop where I bought my bike, Topeak it is. I think if the Topeak mount fails, it would be relatively easy to convert a mesh basket to work with a decaleur/rack system for a more weight capable basket.

In use, the basket makes the bike feel a hair heavy up front. My lock does not lay flat on the bottom of the basket, so my wheel likes to flop if the lock is the only thing in the basket (this is *only* when the bike is stationary - at even a walking pace, the balance improves). A smaller lock would probably solve the problem. For light and bulky loads, the basket is ideal. Since I wanted it for things like keeping swiss chard and rain jackets out of my panniers, it's a win. It makes an impulsive decision to wander off for fun easier too. It holds a rain jacket, sweater, purse, lock, book and snack easily. The basket should work well for trips to the pool too.

I ended up with a Breezer Villager. The budget would tolerate a plain Uptown with no upgrades, or a Villager with a Brooks and a basket. I'm sad about the lack of red, generator hub and full chaincase, but happy that my rear end doesn't hurt. On a day to day basis, I'll probably care more about my rear end not hurting anyway. I emailed Breezer, and they say that the Uptown chaincase is not compatible with the Villager frame. Sad. Replacement chainguards and chaincases are available which should reduce Murphy's Law problems.

The bike is very manageable on stairs, even with my helmet and lock in the basket. The flat bar at the base of the U frame makes a convenient carry handle, and it didn't take much practice to get the hang of keeping the front wheel stable.

I went with a B-17S for the saddle. I thought about a Flyer or Flyer S, but suspension saddles to me seem to go with unsuspended seatposts. The rails are the same length as the Breezer stock saddle, so I'm not losing any adjustment options. The stock saddle and seatpost worked ok, but wouldn't have worked for a 20 mile trip. The Brooks and stock seatpost are fine for 20 miles, even tho the Brooks is brand new. The shorter nose hasn't been a problem on the bike, and off the bike, it means I don't have the nose poking me at long traffic lights. If it ever warms up enough that I can wear a skirt, I'll report back with how it works. (since I bought a skirt capable bike *and* have skirts that fit, I'm not holding my breath for this year)

The semi-bad news is twofold. My Axiom Seymour panniers are starting to tear. It's a fabric issue, not a stitching issue. They're still usable, but this means they're likely to fail soon (I'm eyeballing it at 1 year or less, instead of the 3-5 I'd been hoping for). Also, they're not very compatible with the Breezer rack design. On my JANDD rack, I'd loop the bungee cord around the bottom rack strut and hook it to one of the D rings on the bag. This was very secure, and I never had trouble with the panniers coming loose. I can't do the same trick with the Breezer rack, and I've had the panniers try to come lose as a result. A higher quality pannier would not give me these problems, but a rack design with a bottom rack strut would improve things too.

I haven't done any real social riding with it, so my partner and our friends haven't had a chance to misplace me yet *g*. For errands, the gear range is fine.

Cellphone camera photos to come, if I can figure out how to get them off the phone *g*.
Torrilin is offline