August 13, 2008

Waylon Lewis’ favorite Commuter Bicycles.

 “elephant’s handy guide to buying an everyday bicycle for commuting: save money, save time, lose stress, get in shape, enjoy life.” 

Commuter Bike Smackdown: Masi vs. Kronan vs. Biomega vs. Paul Frank vs. Bianchi Milano vs. Jorg & Olif vs. Electra Amsterdam vs. A.N.T vs. Simple City oh my.

First among contenders for that elusive “ideal commuter bike”—Jorg & Olif. Pricey, but looks to be well worth it. Heavy, but gorgeous. Handlebars reach a bit far back—making the riding position almost too upright—but overall Jorg & Olif has gotta rate 9/10. My new fave, however, is the just-released Gary Fisher Simple City. I gotta save up for that one, right now I’m on the Electra Amsterdam, which is sweet but heavy and needs a trip to the shop every other week (literally, just ask ’em). So why’d I buy such a clunker? I love the style, I love the company…and, oh yeah, my Bianchi Milano (in black) got stole.

Qualities of the ELEPHANT FAVE COMMUTER BIKE winner will combine 1) upright riding position and practicality in riding and hauling groceries, schoolbooks etc. 2) style 3) at least 8 gears 4) details: gotta be compatible with rack, fenders (as well as bell and lights, which are always easy for any bike). Internal hub is nice: less maintenance, and seamless shifting.

Any qualities we should look for that we’re missing, just comment and we’ll add ’em in. Any bike suggestions, just comment with link if possible. New to this list: the slick cool Paul Frank City Bike. Only three gears, but sweet-lookin’—in fact, our stylee videographer, Alex King, rides one he bought at Boulder’s Full Cycle.

Update: just met the lovely Masi Urban commuter bike, it’s the coolest yet–light enough like the Bianchi Milano to jump off a curb and not feel like half the bike’s gonna fall apart—stylish enough to give the Simple City a run for its money, affordable, cool Brooks-like seat, metal fenders (super-stylish), rack-compatible, cork (yes, cork) handlebars…barely a chain guard, which ain’t ideal, but it’s enough to keep your pans or skirt from turning black—an internal crappy hub (hopefully they’ll go Nexus next time ’round) and quick, but grippy tires fit for summertime and the biking is easy or winter and black ice is lurking ’round every bike path corner. I’m in—going to save up and buy prontomissimo, if I go another month on my lovely but heavy and fragile Electra Amsterdam I’m gonna hafta buy a little violin and play it constantly.

Two newbies to the list: Biomega (gorgeous, if you love the Apple Air [which is kinda eco, btw] you’ll love this, high-priced, fancy, hard to replace parts since it’s so unique) and Kronan (gorgeous, 5-speed max, colorfully classically European, stylee, like Jorg & Olif, super-heavy).

Update: now I’m loving the Civia, Spot, Linus and Shinola.

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