Here is a mid to high end commuter bicycle from Civia in the United States. It comes in three different versions all built around Civia’s frame and Shimano’s Alfine componentry. The base model has a SRAM i-Motion 3-speed hub, the standard build uses a complete Alfine drive train (8-speed hub) and brakes and the top of the range incorporates a Rholoff 14-speed hub. The Hyland web page has full specifications and prices.
Needless to say I’m dreaming about the high end version with the Rholoff hub. Having had a bike with one of these I can attest to the wonderful simplicity of riding with 14 perfectly spaced gears. Other nice features on this bike are the hydro-formed frame components that enable cables to be routed very cleanly (check their web site to see what I mean) and good quality components all over. You can even get Civia branded panniers to go on the nice sturdy rack.
The good news from Civia is that they are in the process of establishing an Australian distributor. I don’t know who that will be yet but I will update this when I find out. PJ from Civia told me they are expecting the first bikes to arrive in Australia in June 2009. If you are at all interested in these bikes I suggest you look around their web site. You’ll find lots of interesting information about Civia and their bikes, some video footage showing you how to do things like remove the rear wheel or adjust the chain and plenty of nice pictures.
The Civia mission sums it up for me:
To spread our passion for bicycles as fun and responsible transportation through our products and actions.
Sadly the Retrovelo Paul has only lasted 11 days as my dream bike. I’ve just discovered a bicycle with similar features and belt drive! No more messy chains!
Harley Davidson have been using belt drive for years. BMW now have it on their 800cc sports and sports tourer motocycles. It was only a matter of time before belt drive came to bicycles and Trek have done with the Soho and the District. In Australia he District retail for $1199 and the Soho for $1699.
Benefits of the belt drive are said to include a whisper-quiet ride, no chain maintenance, it won’t leave grease marks on your hands and ankles and the guard over the belt drive and the construction of the system prevents your pants from getting caught. One belt should last you three years.
Retro styled commuting eye candy
This awesome looking machine is one of the models available from German bicycle company Retrovelo. Imagine cruising to work on one of these. Or cruising anywhere for that matter. With a seven speed Shimano rear hub, drum brakes front and rear and self powered lights this is one stylish easy to maintain commuter. Throw on the optional rear rack and anything is possible.
According to the Ballonbikes web site those fat Schwalbe tyres offer low rolling resistance even at low pressures. They soak up the bumps while you enjoy the ride. More pictures of Retrovelo workmanship.
My commute is about 40km each way. It is pretty much all downhill on the way to work so you guessed it, all up hill on the way home. And by Australian standards the hill isn’t small. Those of you that live near/in real mountains would laugh but climbing “the hill” for me is still hard work and a little help would be nice. That’s why I’d like one of these:
250W of assistance from the front wheel and no chain. What more could you ask for in a commuter bike? It is a shame they aren’t available in Australia.