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The ultimate commuter bike

by Richard Masoner

This is Joe Breeze with his new Breezer Finesse. Breeze calls this his “dream bike.”

Joe Breeze and the ultimate commuter bike.

This 28 pound dream bike is equipped with Shimano’s Alfine group and has a carbon fiber seatpost and front fork, bright integrated lights (with standlight) powered by the Shimano Alfine front hub dynamo. It’s a beautiful bike and will retail for (wait for it…) $1900. The finesse will be available from Breezer dealers in March 2008.

 
BOB Trailer Sale

39 Responses to “The ultimate commuter bike”

  1. Seems it’s missing something sort of important for the “ultimate commuter bike”: a chain guard. It’d be nice not have to wrap up your leg every time you hopped on your vehicle. Still, this looks pretty smooth. For $1900 it should!

  2. Leee says:

    $1900 for that thing? Surely that’s a joke. The bike looks kind of Walmart Schwinn-y! (Although I don’t find any Breezer bikes to look nice, so that is my bias). Who wants to commute on a $2000 bike?! For that price it should have brooks, nice panniers, and something to wipe your ass for you.

  3. Mike Myers says:

    Why, oh why, does someone as smart as Joe Breeze show a commuter bike with the handlebars that far below the saddle? That’s just ridiculous.

  4. Dr. Logan says:

    “Who wants to commute on a $2000 bike?”

    If I had $2000 to spend on a bike, I might. People routinely spend $60,000 on the car they commute in and no one questions their logic. That said, I agree that this particular commuter appears to be overpriced. If it was a quality steel frame and/or made in the US, then sure. For $2,000 you could get a Rivendell Bleriot or outfit a Surly CC with all the commuting accouterments your heart desires. I think this is geared towards the white collar worker who wants to ease his conscience for owning a BMW 8 series.

  5. Mike Myers says:

    Do a carbon fork and carbon seatpost really make a difference on a commuter bike?

  6. CJ says:

    Um yeah, 2K for that bike. I don’t think so. That bike had better be fabricated and assembeled in the USA by American born or naturalized citizens that make at least 15.00/hr.

    Now, with all that said, I was recently down at my LBS and one of the owners/wrenches was telling me about how new bicycles at normal LBS’s have increased in price over the last 10 years by very little, while car prices and fuel has sky rocketed. I tend to agree with that off the cuff statement as well. Maybe it is time for us bikers to start paying the premium of what our components are worth.

    And finally, Dr. Logan makes a good point by mentioning how one could easily put together a top shelf Surly with all the bells, whistles, and what ever your heart desires for 2K. So there is obviously some discrepency some where here.

    In the end though, dropping 2K on any bike that is used for day to day errands and commuting to and from work is way cheaper then buying a second or third car. Or maybe you could even negate your need for a car at all if you live in a Metropolitan area and you don’t have other who rely on you for transportation on a day to day basis!!

    Sorry to go on and on.

    Peace out!

  7. William says:

    I’m with James on the chain-guard. Strange because Breezer is usually good about these things. I admire Breezer for making bikes that are ready to go off-the-shelf, but I can’t get past the bland mountain-bike style. I wish we had Wanderer (www.wanderer-fahrraeder.de) or Simpel (www.simpel.ch) bikes in the United States.

  8. Jun says:

    What’s with the silly rear rack design. Also, the front light looks inadequately mounted. If the Alfine gruppo is what makes this bike so expensive, then I see why the Brodie Ocho sold out last year at about $1000.

  9. Quinn says:

    for $2k, that bike better be Scandium or better!

    I don’t know anyone that would ride a $2k commuter, to much $$ to get run over or stolen.

    (any one that would, is driving)

  10. Sue says:

    In my book, a chain guard would come ‘way before carbon fork. Does it have turn signals?

  11. Shanyn says:

    Good comment about the turn signals- something needed by commuters. A Breezer bike is like the Subaru Outback of the bike world- simple, reliable comfortable transportation. I own a Breezer Uptown, and ride it every day. Every time I do, I am glad that I don’t have to mess with lights and reflectors and fenders and racks, etc. My bike is ready to go whenever and where ever. If I could have only one bike (I have a few:) it would be this one. 2K for a bike that you actually can ride for transportation/pleasure/shopping etc? I have blown alot more than that on the many cars I have owned in my life. You get what you pay for. I find it pretty funny that folks think nothing of forking over thousands of $$$ for road bikes or mountain bikes, but for an everyday bike that is too much money?

  12. Quinn says:

    any one know where I can get after-market turn signals?

  13. Dr. Logan says:

    Quinn – my little brother used to have them. Do a search for them on amazon, they have a couple options.

  14. Steve says:

    Anyone know where I can get an aftermarket chain guard that will fit a 21-speed bike (KHS Urban-X)?

  15. bikesgonewild says:

    …jun, i’m betting that “silly rear rack design” is based on a bridge truss design, & will thus prove to be both strong & reliable…

    …mr. meyer, yes, a carbon fork & seatpost on a commute bike…they both can offer a great degree of comfort…please don’t mistake the “bling” factor of carbon fiber products for the good qualities that they offer…as regards the totally subjective & adjustable handlebar height, i think that speaks for itself…

    …while the “finesse” doesn’t offer a full length chainguard, it does have a chainring cover & w/ a pant clip or strap, i’m betting it’s a good alternative for a fast commuter…

    …most of you commenting seem to be familiar w/ mr. breeze’s work & therefore i’m surprised by the “tone” of what i’m reading…a bike like this allows one to upgrade the “nature” of ones commute…joe offers, as always, a full & distinct line of transportation bicycles & the new “finesse” offers those of us who like to commute quickly, an alternative to one’s road bike or cyclo-cross bike…

    …joe breeze has advocated the use of the bicycle for all it’s myriad uses, since he was a kid…i think he’s onto something here…

  16. Quinn says:

    Bikesgonewild-

    I just bought a Kona Jake for $850, allowing me to upgrage to Carbon post, stem, bars and fork for under $1500, tiagra grouppo, or buy a JTS for about the same with 105, have the backing of one of the worlds best bikes, a Lightweight bike, and a much better ride than a $2k Road Anchor.

  17. bikesgonewild says:

    …then, quinn, you are set…

    …forgot to mention in response to your’s & others’ original posts regarding turn signals… this is in no way a denigrating comment, but, in this day & age, w/ the preponderance of distractions & seeming lack of attention paid by drivers, the simple act of utilizing arm signals would appear to be much more visible & effective…
    …assuming one uses a good flashing rear safety light, a turn signal is ‘just another little flashing light’ on a very narrow vehicle…hard to decipher by the average motorist…

    …anyway, enjoy your new bike & ride safely…

  18. Quinn says:

    Bikesgonewild,

    my point about the turn signals is that if you use a Hand signal, you may (and often do) have to lower your arm to steer, thus not sinaling any more, confusing and possible pissing off drivers, where as if you had turn signal lights they could stay On, blinking from before the turn until you complete the turn, thus Not confusing drivers as to your actions, and yes light that can be seen in day light are expensive, but even if you only get the lights that can be seen at night that is still a step forward in showing drivers that bicycling is an equal to driving.

  19. Luke says:

    The Finesse looks to be a savvy marketer’s attempt at cashing in on the fashionable carbon component/disk brake stylings currently popular among commuting poseurs. These components add little in the way of value while jacking up the bike’s cost and, presumably, the profit margin.

    And as others have noted: no chainguard – that chainring-guard doesn’t qualify. This glaring omission in a bike presenting itself as a commuter betrays the its true nature: an uptown cafe cruiser masquerading as a utility bike.

  20. Joe Breeze says:

    I went over the Breezer Finesse for Fritz at Interbike and he seemed quite excited about it, so I was interested to see what he had to say here. Calling the Finesse “the ultimate commuter bike” appears as good a way as any to get stones flying. They’re not my words, nor my belief. Surely stones a’flyin’ wasn’t Fritz’s intention.

    When I launched my Breezer transportation line in 2002, I made quite a leap. No doubt I lost a lot of people by turning away from recreational bikes. But my idea was and still is that high-performance, fully equipped, reasonably priced transportation bikes will enrich people’s lives and help the planet. The Finesse is a new addition at the high end that helps bridge a chasm between recreational and transportation cycling. Breezer has had many requests for a bike such as the Finesse.

    What I’m trying to offer is another choice. While it’s great to see some Americans now so adamant about things like chainguards, there are still many more who are not quite there yet. I want to see those people commuting by bike too. (BTW, the Finesse design allows a chaincase to be added.)

    Thank you to Shanyn and bikesgonewild for your support.

    Believe it or not, I’m not doing transportation bikes or any kind of bike to get rich. On the contrary, I’ve stuck my neck way out to do something I believe is critical to the survival of our species (and others): getting more people on bikes every day. Let’s be united in that effort.

    Peace to all,

    Joe Breeze
    Breezer Bicycles

  21. Fritz says:

    Joe, I’m flattered you remember me. Thanks so much for dropping by CBB!

    You’re right that I didn’t mean to draw criticism when I chose that title of “ultimate commuter bike” — I really think the Finesse is a wonderful, fully outfitted bike. You’re right, though, that the title is flame bait; sorry about that. Tim Grahl also told me that that the criticisms were predictable given the title of this post.

    I should note that the photo doesn’t do justice to just how gorgeous this bike is. I’d call this a “performance” commuter, which is the type of riding I do — I especially like those “Joe Bar” aerobars. I’m also not a chainguard person — I actually prefer the chainring cover over a full chaincase.

    This bike has good pavement tires and components and is reasonably light weight while featuring all of the things I personally look for in a commuter: fenders, rack, integrated lighting. Hence, my description of this as the “ultimate commuter bike.”

  22. Mike Myers says:

    Of course, the “ultimate commuter bike” is different for every person.

  23. Quinn says:

    Joe-

    not doing it to get rich? can you lower the $2k price a lil?

  24. Fritz says:

    $2K sounds like a lot, but you get a lot of bike:

    * Some decent 24-spoke Shimano wheels and tires.
    * The Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ Fly Headlight with standlight — this is a very bright LED light that’s worth at least $150 by itself.
    * Busch & Muller Toplight Plus tail light with standlight — that’s a $60 light retail.
    * Shimano Alfine Dynamo Hub to power the lights — probably $200 with the front wheel.
    * Shimano’s Alfine group — hydraulic disc brakes, internal 8 speed hub, etc.
    * The sharp looking and very functional Breezer “sport rack.” Good quality racks easily run to $75.
    * Quality Cane Creek headset. I don’t remember which one, but these run $70 to over $100.
    * Eccentric bottom bracket for chain tensioning.
    * Flat bars with “Joe Bars” for a more aero riding position if you need to switch your position around.
    * Disc brake and rim brake mounts.
    * etc..

    The total is worth more than the sum of the parts, of course, but if you parted this bike out you can see where the cost comes from.

  25. stan says:

    I think most here are familiar with how expensive quality internally geared hubs are. Comparing Alfine to a Tiagra group or even a 105 group is not apples to apples.
    A chainring guard is pretty effective generally; so what if it doesn’t look as swanky or TRENDY as one of those NAHMB numbers. It’s about functionality not posing.
    28 lbs may sound a lot, but when you add a rack, fenders, and lights to most bikes, it isn’t going to be 22 lbs anymore. Joe’s has already done lower priced commuter bikes for ya; don’t bag on him if he wants to make a tricked out one. We all need to have some fun sometimes.

    stan
    riding my previously worth $1500 Breezer Storm hardtail as fast commuter bike

  26. Aneurysm_Boy says:

    As an owner of a Breezer Uptown who uses it as a daily commuter, I’m damn excited about this new Finesse. Do I think it’s over-priced? Absolutely not. Do I wish it had a full chainguard? Yes (but I also know that I could easily add one). Actually, the one item missing from the Finesse that the Uptown does have is the built-in “light duty lock” on the back wheel — I use that lock all the time when I’m just doing a quick dash into a store or to use a restroom somewhere, and I don’t have my big heavy U-lock with me. Anyway, kudos to Joe Breezer for staying in the game and continuing to bring us a kick-ass lineup of great commuter bikes. Maybe I’ll let my wife have my old Uptown, and I’ll upgrade to this sweet-looking Finesse!

    Scott in Middleton, Wisconsin

  27. Jim Lamb says:

    Nice looking bike. I ride a $1,900 cyclocross bike (’08 Specialized Tricross Comp) to work most days so maybe I’m the demographic this bike is targeted at. I had to add a rack, fenders, and lights to my bike but it’s still pretty lightweight even with my panniers (with laptop, change of clothes, lunch, phone, etc.) on it. I like the idea of a bike like this, but I’m not sure if the “Joe Bars” would work as well for me as drop bars do. The disc brakes (mine squeal like a pig), dynamo hub and integrated lights (I’m always worried my batteries are going to give out in the middle of my commute) and internally geared hub (I bent my bottom bracket the first time I fell in the rain) are all terrific features for a reliable commuter bike.

    As far as the price point goes, I park my bike in my garage or in my office when I commute so theft isn’t a concern. On those occasions where I have to make a stop or ride downtown, I take a U-lock with a cable. I don’t mind paying a fair price (and I think this is a fair price) for a well designed and engineered product. My only issue with Breezer bikes is that, here in Raleigh, NC, I haven’t found a dealer who stocks them and I have a really hard time committing to a bike without test riding it extensively first.

  28. Quinn says:

    Last Friday I bought an SE Stout, After get too close to a SUV 1 too many times on my road bike, and realizing that I get trearted differently on a 29er, I am building up the Stout as 2×9, 22/36 x 11-34, can do/will do everything bike.

  29. shotty says:

    call me a idiot… but:

    gary fisher mendota:
    carbon fork and seat post
    avvid disc brakes

    $1099 CDN.

  30. the bike nut says:

    it looks ok.
    but to honest chromo is way nicer for commuting. its a little heavier ,but not so much to really make a difference.
    i am willing to bet i could smoke most people riding it on the 50 dollar garage sale giant hybrid i bought last year.
    i threw some nice lights on it i also got from a garage sale arc disharge headlight. some swabbe slicks and well it cost me a total of 200 bucks after all was said and done.
    looks better than the breezer too.
    theres another eight bikes i could do for the money i saved as well. or maybe two or three nice ones.
    i dont mind being a generation behind when it comes to bike technology.
    so yeah you can keep the breezer.

  31. Dave says:

    Joe said above somewhere in the thread that a complete enclosed chainguard can be added, which I was interested in not so much for my pants but as a deterrent to grit getting into the chain and wearing it and the rings out. Personally, I think he should sell it with it, but it’s not a big deal if it can be added later. Apparently the mickey mouse frame lock is not included, either, which is not a big deal.

    I need to test ride one and get a better feel on its durability, still, to justify the cost. Seemed like a pretty big step in price from the Uptown.

  32. Spokey says:

    The old saying, “You get what you pay for” applies most certainly here. I love my Finesse, from the first look to the first ride, it has consistently exceeded my expectations. The quality of design and component selection more than justify the price, there is just no way to compare it to a lesser bike. If you think it costs too much, I would encourage you to do some research before you leap to that conclusion. As others have pointed out, a less expensive bike has less expensive components and nowhere near the thought/design that make this bike what it is. It’s better than I thought it would be, and that’s saying a lot…

  33. Aphid says:

    Don’t know if anyone’s still reading this thread, but I just bought a Breezer Finesse, and I’m quite happy with it.

    I went with the Finesse because it has things for which I was looking:
    – disc brakes (I’m no expert, but my understanding is that I can expect consistent effort and excellent stopping in all conditions, and I’m very happy w/ them so far)
    – upright/comfortable riding position
    – internal hub (low maintenance, quiet)
    – some sort of damping (carbon in this case) without the loss of too much efficiency

    I also wanted fenders and lights. I know I could have added these and other items to another bike, but the convenience of having the Finesse ready to go (except pedals, lock, hydration, and storage) with integrated/matched components was very appealing.

    BTW, the Shimano Alfine internal rear hub has a better range of effort than any other I tried. Too bad it’s not a belt drive.

    For me, the Breezer Finesse was the best balance between comfort and efficiency and ready components I found.

    Is it worth the price (actually reduced this year)? Well, I bought it. And I’m riding around with a big grin on my face!

  34. David Bjurman-Birr says:

    Wow…it’s interesting to see the negative posts from people who don’t own the finesse.

    I had my local dealer special order one for me a little over a year ago since there are no breezer dealers near me.

    This bike is worth every penny…extremely well designed, fast, fun, & functional…truly a pleasure to ride.

    It’s not really fair to simply categorize this as a commuter…yeah, you can easily commute on it; however, it easily doubles as a touring bike.

  35. good luck with that. says:

    this bike is still not worth the price being asked.
    seriously its a bike for a retiree with a whole bunch of money that does not know any better or care how much things are.
    its just not good value for the dollar.
    really nice looking bike nicely built honestly tho the retail on this bike it way way way way way to much.

  36. [...] get 100 different answers. I caught a lot of heat when I proclaimed Joe Breeze’s Finesse the ultimate commuter bike a little over two years ago. Freewheel likes city bike with internal gear hubs and chaincases, [...]

  37. Tom T. says:

    Joe,
    I have been looking for a sturdy but fast commuter. I was considering several, including some of the equally (or more) expensive European models mentioned in the comments above. (I have lived in Europe and ridden some nice ones, as they do know how to make them.)
    I did not even know the Finesse existed until I saw one today at the bike shop and road it. Dude, you have out done yourself. While I did notice the need for a chain guard (for me at least), and the stem and bars are a tad low (strains my aging neck), but adjustable (or I might consider an extension to raise it a little), the Finesse just kicks butt. It’s fast, nimble, light, but incredibly sturdy. I was amazed how responsive it was, while still feeling like it has some beef beneath you. As for components and gadgets, you put everything on it necessary for me, but still kept it sleek and simple.
    I’ve seen some Finesses on the web on sale for around $1,500. I think I could do that, and I just may. I’m going to look a bit longer, but so far, this is the best bike I think I’ve found as far as fit and feel for me, for my commute rides.
    Tom

  38. John Salerno says:

    I wss very interested in purchasing the finesse for my 40-50 mile a week commuting on both paved roads, gravel and packed limestone trail. The only drawback I see with this new Finesse is the truss rack. It appears that it does not handle panniers. Is this correct? I do not see the rack connect to the rear dropout to give more support and weight for a pannier load. I need to carry panniers to keep my center of gravity low and not use a cumbersome backpack or a inadquately small rack trunk. If Joe Breeze or someone expert is reading this, please respond and assure me that panniers can be used otherwise I will have to look elsewhere for a highend trekking bike. thanks

  39. Karen says:

    The enclosed chainguard on my Breezer Uptown 8 was a lifesaver! Not having to wrap or roll up my pants leg is a time saver and looks more pulled together when I arrive at work, to say nothing of my pant leg being clean. I’m surprised at that omission as well.

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