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Out of the Box: SE Lager

by Commute by Bike

This post will be the first in a series of posts that will serve to give my review of this commuter offering from SE Bikes. In this post I will provide you with the overall specs of the bike and my thoughts on the bike straight out of the box.

SE Bikes is known primarily for their BMX offerings, however I was pleasantly surprise to find that they also have three models available for street use and a 29 inch mountain bike (currently being reviewed at our sister site, twentynineinches.com).

The three street models (with prices) they offer are:

  • Draft – $275
  • Lager – $520
  • Premium Brew – $1050

For this review I opted for the midrange priced Lager.

SE’s BMX background gives them considerable experience in making strong, tough bikes and that is obviously what they went for in the Lager. The frame and fork is made of Chromoly steel which is known for it’s strength and durability. It also gives a much more comfortable ride than a comparable aluminum frame.

SE Lager

The bars on the bike are of the bullhorn variety and this will be my first time riding this type. The wheels on the bike are made up of Alex R500 double-walled rims and 14 gauge spokes. As with most of these commuter bikes, the rear wheel comes with the flip-flop option of riding single speed or fixed. However, the bike does not come stock with a cog on the fixed gear side of the hub.

SE Lager
SE Lager

Out of the box, the bike looks nice with it’s darker brown paint and silver highlights. And the weight of 21.5 pounds isn’t the lightest you’ll find, but isn’t over the top considering the steel frame/fork.

SE Lager

The things I find lacking on the Lager are the “options” often looked for in a commuter bike. It will accept fenders, but does not come stock with them. There are no braze-ons to make a front or rear rack an option. And the tires are your basic Kenda 700 X 28c, but have no reflective attributes or claim any puncture resistance. With more and more commuter bikes hitting the market, I’d like to see SE step it up with more commuter specific options on the Lager.

I made a couple customizations to this box for my riding. First, I pulled off the toe-clips that come stock. I’m not a fan of clips so I’m just riding with the flats. Secondly, I added a set of Reelight lights, so if the black strips you see on the spokes and the front and rear lights do not come with the bike, I added them myself.

Below are the full specs for the SE Lager and stay tuned for my First Impressions post.

SE Lager
SE Lager
SE Lager
Frame
Fork
Headset
Handlebars
Stem
Grips
Brake Lever
Brake(s)
Seat
Seat Post
Seat Clamp
Crankset
Chain
Pedal
Rim
Front Hub
Rear Hub
Tires
Extras
Colors
Weight
 
Burley nomad 229

45 Responses to “Out of the Box: SE Lager”

  1. Fritz says:

    Last year’s Lager was a cream color that looked very sweet. One of my buddies in the area rides one. It’s a nice looking bike and indeed is a good ride.

    Say hi to Allen and his SE Lager:
    allentomdude

  2. Quinn says:

    My LBS is an SE dealer, I have gotten to ride a lot of their bikes (Stout, Lager, OM and others), the Lager is the most comfortable road bike I have ever ridden. and the bullhorns especially.
    Oh and, my LBS sells about 3 fixies a yr(previous yrs), they sold 7 ’07 Lagers.

  3. joel says:

    When I saw the spoke magnets I got excited and thought the Reelights were part of the bike. Not that I need another one, but I like the look and included Reelights might have been the tipping point. I have them on my commuter (’74 Schwinn 3 speed) and love them.

  4. Marrock says:

    I like what I see but a link would be helpful.

  5. _Russ_ says:

    Thats awesome that you are reviewing the SE bikes. I have seen them before but have been skeptical. The Se Draft comes in at under $200 at most stores. A new bike at that price seems to be a bad decision, so I am excited to se a review of the Lager.

  6. Quinn says:

    The Draft is cool if you want to pedal a 27 lb fixie.

  7. Tim Grahl says:

    Yeah Quinn, but at $200 I think the fear is a bike breaking over the weight. If SE built a solid commuter bike for $200 then I think it’s worth the 27 lbs.

  8. Steve says:

    Bear in mind that the Lager is a faaaaaaar better bike than the Draft.

  9. Quinn says:

    Steve-

    Draft- Hi-ten
    Lager- Chromo

    Chromo Please!!

  10. Steve says:

    I’ll take ummmm, Cromo with room for cream and one of those cranberry thingies. Thanks, doll! Draft- single-wall rims Lager- double-wall. The list goes on. The Draft is a beater, no question. Hats off, though, for bringing it at under 200 duckets. Apples and Oranges…

  11. Mike says:

    I just purchased the 2007 Lager from Performance on Saturday. So far I love the feel of the bike, especially for the price. $335 after clearance price and the 20% holiday sale. This leaves room for some minor upgrades.

  12. John says:

    I also purchased the 2007 lager from Performance on clearance.. i got mine for $280 after all of the discounts!

    the bike is a really nice ride, although I have changed almost every component on the bike minus the headset and BB… still, $280 for this nice frame/fork was a bargan in my mind.

    My girlfriend got the Draft for $180! – and has only changed the bars on it (added bullhorns). she loves it, and i have ridden it, it is a very nice ride. It is significantly heavier than my lager, but she rides it with the freewheel (i ride fixed) and its a great little commuter/beater bike, especially at that price.. also, its a good looking bike..

  13. Blake says:

    I own a 06 lager (cream color). Its been a great bike since I bought it about 6 months ago. I upgraded/changed things around though. Changed the crank set to a white industries ENO. Got rid of the freewheel and screwed on a 17 tooth surly cog. ditched the rear brake and lever. Been through many sets of tires, but the kendas that came with it sucked. Right now I have a soma everwear on the back and a vredestein on the front. The somas are GREAT for skidding because hey are so thick (5mm).

    The only thing about this bike that doesn’t make any sense at all is the seat post size. 26.0. Try finding a decent new 26.0 seat post besides a 100 dollar thompson.

    If you want a quality frame, the lager is where its at. If you expect to be satisfied with the components that come with it… then buy a different bike, or better yet build your own.

  14. melee757 says:

    I bought the ’07 Lager in tan from a guy on CL who only had it a month and got a vintage fixie he liked better. Good for me because I don’t have the time to hunt down parts to build up a bike that I would like nearly as much as I do the Lager. I’m sure I will change a few things down the road when I get some spare cash, but for now this bike is way better than I could have hoped for the $300 I spent.
    I’m currently running with a fixed cog 42/16 and it works quite well for Austin, TX. I have yet to remove the freewheel and the rear brake because I feel like as soon as I do I’ll want to ride it as a SS for a while, but I doubt that will ever happen.
    I guess my only complaint with the bike is that the crankset is kinda funky, so that will be the first thing I replace. I was skeptical about the bullhorns at first, but now I have to say they are the best bars ever.
    I highly recommend this bike if you want a good solid ride without getting drained of your cash. I did a good bit of homework… I rode the Redline 9-2-5, Swobo Sanchez, SE Draft, Specialized Langster, Raleigh Rush Hour, Bianchi Pista, & the Masi Speciale Fixed all before I rode the SE Lager and when it came down to it the Lager was the best bike for the price in my opinion. I had two more on my list to test ride: Surly Steamroller and the KHS 100, but after finding this deal I couldn’t imagine that I would want to spend an extra $200 for either of those. It goes without saying that I don’t know how they ride comparably, though.
    Hope that helps anyone who might be shopping around.

  15. Justin says:

    I had purchased the Draft in the fall, and converted it to fixie, I was pleased at first, but the bottom bracket is American (the think kind) not European and now the one piece crank is wiggling around, not a good buy, I though cool $240, thats an easy convert too. Now I regret it as I purchase a new frame with European bottom brackets so I can replace the crank with a good track crank and chain wheel. Just be aware of it if you plan on upgrading.

  16. jim says:

    I bought the Draft last year. One of the best most solid bikes i’d ever ridden.(mostly i always rode mountain bikes). Anyway, it fit me great and rode nice. My only complaints were some noise from the freewheel and that the brakes didn’t seem to work that great(could have been the tuning). Anyway, I recently broke a spoke on the back wheel and decided to change to a coaster brake set up and drop the hand brakes altogether. The ride is quieter, and the look of the bike is way more streamlined and even simpler to ride and maintain(best set up I’ve ever had)

    My crank set up has been fine. One small problem with noise initially which the shop worked on and it appears to be solved now.

    In the Lager review they stated no braze ons for rear rack, but on my Draft there were two small holes to screw a rear rack onto right by the dropouts. I fit a rack on it with minimal work. only complaint would be that they should set up the bike with a chainguard….if you ride to work, or ride out to lunch while at work, it would make things easier and cleaner. i would like to test ride the Lager to see the difference in ride. Looks like component set up is better.

    Worth $250 I spent. I would just recommend really riding the one you are about to buy and look for any small defects in the ride or set up.

  17. I purchased by first single speed over the weekend and I got the 2008 SE Lager, 48″, dark brown. The bike is retailing at Valencia Cyclery in San Francisco for $520 (Valencia and 22nd). From last I checked, there were still a few 2007 SE Drafts (blue/gray) and Lagers (matte black/cream), but they’re going fast.

    If you’re looking a single speed in a SE model, the Lager is the way to go. It is BEAUTIFUL, efficient, simple, and FAST. Also, if you enjoy the comfort of bullhorn handlebars, you’ll love riding this bike.

    Ask for Galen or Babs and tell them Conrad sent you. They’re great help!

    Hours:

    Monday – Saturday 10-6
    Sunday 11-5
    April – September until 7pm Thursdays

    Sales Showroom: 415-550-6600
    1077 Valencia

    Repair Shop: 415-550-6601
    1065 Valencia

    (Both stores between 21st & 22nd Streets)

  18. Ed says:

    I bought an 07 draft based on a test ride last year, the bike just fit me so perfect i had to have it (i have always been riding bmx and mountain bikes before this).

    I rode the bike all summer in 07 and had a blast on it, i thought it would be nice to upgrade it (or downgrade depending on how you look at it) to a fixie for this coming summer. I got my hands on a new set of deep-v’s at a decent price and i havent been able to stop since.

    My biggest problem was upgrading the crank. The bottom bracket is old school bmx size, so i had to get my hands on a conversion kit which proved to be quite difficult as most people had no idea they even existed. But thanks to eric at bicycle habitat i was able to get a 3 piece crank on there.

    Another issue i encountered was when i attempted to upgrade the seat post to a lighter one with bottom bolts, its current post is 25.6mm which is not a common size and is limiting my options.

    Next upgrade: carbon fiber fork maybe? An aluminum head stock?
    Although this bike is nowhere near perfect it is becoming quite the project bike for me and its loads of fun.
    This is what it looks like so far:
    http://www.chickensandrobots.com/draftmod.jpg

  19. imareader says:

    Ed your bike looks amazing, I think I’m going to get the black lager tomorrow. How much did the wheel set cost you?

  20. [...] bike. If you haven’t already, check out my first two posts I did as part of this review (Part one and part two). Also be sure to read the comments on those posts as several readers left their [...]

  21. KevDread says:

    How is that bottom bracket conversion kit working out for you?

    Kevin/

  22. Ben "where's my bike" Jammin says:

    ah black SE Lager I miss you. Awesome fun.

  23. Porter says:

    What year is the black lager?

  24. Fritz says:

    I think 07 Lagers were available in black and cream. 08s are brown.

  25. TBLJ says:

    I just bought the Lager and so far I am very pleased.

  26. [...] ride the SE Lager single speed.  I also found two reviews for this bike written by Tim Grahl.  1st and 2nd [...]

  27. DefJuxJunkie says:

    I bought the draft a month ago and I really enjoy it. It’s a fast bike for the price. My bike is all stock except for a water bottle holder and I added a kickstand because I be mobbin everywhere. I know it’s not the fastest bike but it will do because my legs are fast and strong.

  28. SE Lager Bottom Bracket vs. SE Draft Bottom Bracket

    I pulled the crank and bottom bracket off my little brother’s SE Lager. Please note that the bottom bracket of the SE Lager and the SE Draft are different. The SE Draft uses the oversize BMX bottom bracket shell and the SE Lager uses a British 68mm bottom bracket shell, which is compatible with components like the Sugino 75 bottom bracket.

    There seems to be some confusion about the distinction between these two bikes’ bottom bracket shells. The kind fellows at The Freewheel (Mission District) and American Cyclery in San Francisco were also misfed this information.

    http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_STOR20.cgi?Action=Details&ProdID=1101

    http://www.thebikebiz.com/product_p/bk-trk-fuji05.htm

  29. Shawn says:

    Just picked up a 2009 Lager. Comes in white and black. Black is matt black with anodized rims etc.

    Comes with a flip flop hub with cogs for free wheel and single speed. Decently priced and worth the extra premium over the Draft.

    Found some pics here:
    http://www.highsnobiety.com/news/2008/10/03/se-bikes-lager-2009-edition/

  30. [...] Comments So all this talk about bikes lately and I have yet to show mine off. Here’s my new 08 SE Lager. I’m still riding freewheel but I am still on the fence about switching to fixed soon. [...]

  31. noel says:

    nice solid bike. 2008 model se lager. i’m a roadie and find this bike as a throwback to the good ol’ days when biking was fun !

  32. [...] However, it’s also the same exact frame as the 2008 SE Lager.  [...]

  33. [...] However, it’s also the same exact frame as the 2008 SE Lager.  [...]

  34. Don't drink cheap beer Demps says:

    Was lucky enough to walk into a LBS and lo and behold a 58cm new 2006 tan Lager had a $400 clearance price tag on it. Sure beats the $650+ for a 2009. Don’t know how this one stayed around for three years without being sold. Perfect fit, the bullhorns allow a nice stretch on long rides and lower center of gravity for hills. Carry a spare tube and pump. The thin, stock Kendas are subject to flats. Pleasant surprise–the chain on a single speed is easy to keep immaculate; this provides an almost silent ride. Who wouldn’t want a beer-colored bike! The paint color seems to have been discontinued. That’s a marketing mistake.

  35. Boland says:

    I recently bought the 2008 Lager off my friend and gave it a good paint job, new wheels and a few other mods like a cut down headset. She’s quite the looker.
    [IMG]http://i38.tinypic.com/34gm35d.jpg[/IMG]

  36. BM says:

    If you knew anything about bikes, you would understand that the wheel breaking has nothing to do with the bike itself. SE doesn’t make the wheel… Cheap bike, cheap wheels. Thats why you upgrade………….

  37. Quinn says:

    I first blame the shop for not truing the wheels before they sold the bike to you, Secondly did you keep the air pressure up in the tires? Thirdly how hard did you actually ride the bike?
    like BM said they are not the best wheels, buying a low priced bike isn’t gonna get you high end part!

  38. Adam says:

    Dont do it!!

    I brought one of these bikes it was a repacment for another bike that stolen, incidently that was also a replacment.

    Anyway to the point, i was excited to get the bike as i single speed bike and was keen to try one out on a daily basis (my 3 mile commute to work). After a month of darting around the city of London on it i had finally become used to the brown bike and really felt like i understood it.

    Just around this time i was cycling home on a busy road and must have hit a little bump in the road when the front wheel just bent straight in half and threw me on the rd head first and in front of the bus comming up behind me at 40mph luckily it stoped intime not to mangel my body into the cold hard tarmac. Needless to say this was 1 month after i brought the bike.

    Furious i contected my shop and demanded that the bike be refunded 6 months later and 30 -40 emails later i am still being messed around by SE. To make matters worse my shoulder is still f** up.

    My advice is to stick to the little bikes SE you got it wrong when you with this. You SUCK!!

  39. Adam says:

    Yes your right BM the SE lager is a cheap bike, it does not mater how much metal you put into the frame, if its a cheap bike then its not going to perform or last.

    My advice to anyone looking to buy a new bike is to spend a little more and get a bike that is reliable and not going to let you down.

    Remember if your not on the track then your on a road up against cars trucks and busses. This bike is not somthing you can rely on to keep you in one piece and alive.

    This is not a rant but a warning.

  40. blackedout says:

    i have been riding the 09 se lager for about 9 months. I ride it about 10-15 miles a day to school/work/bars all round sf. im very happy with the frame. just need new rims and crankset…they are shitty

  41. blackedout says:

    oh and if youre riding it fixed…get a stronger chain than the stock..it snapped on me bombing a hill and i dont have a front break

  42. Draft Rider says:

    I bought an 09 draft last summer. I changed out the wheels and tires and put new bars and seat on it. I think it’s a great bike for the price and the changes I made would have been made on whatever bike I bought.
    I don’t think having a 27 pound bike which is now about 23 pounds is all that much different than having a 21 pounder, besides with the beating that I’ve given it I would have felt bad with a $500 or $600 bike.
    But if you have to have Chromo or Aluminum then this is not your ride!

  43. Lager owner says:

    These bikes are cheap, but they really suck. You get what you pay for.

    I have had issues with my bottom bracket since purchasing one. It’s cheaply made and I have already ended up spending more on components than the original price of the bike. My advice is to stay away. Get something that is nicer like a Linus, or a Republic Bike. SE street bikes are definitely something you will regret purchasing.

    Oh and the customer service from SE is non existent. They just send you to the bike shop, which is never helpful. SE customer service couldn’t even tell me what components work on their bikes. They have no quality control at their Chinese factory, they have no interest in helping people. I don’t know why they even have customer service? It’s truly a waste of money as they will only waste your time.

    You were warned.

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