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First Look: Redline R530 Comfort Commuter

by Commute by Bike

Redline Bicycles have designed the R530 to be a comfortable urban bike for daily use. It has been spec’d out specifically for those looking to stay dry and clean on their daily commute and enjoy an upright riding position.

Since internal hubs are all the rage, the R530 has the Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub. The bike is stopped with roller brakes and comes stock with a fully enclosed chaingaurd, fenders and rear rack.

The frame is 6061 aluminum and comes with a shock absorbing fork and seatpost for a more comfortable ride. The 700c wheels are double walled for strength and come stock with puncture resistant tubes.

The retail price on this bike looks to be $599 and will be available through any Redline dealer.

What do you think of this bike?

Redline Bicycles R530 Commuter Bike

Redline Bicycles R530 Commuter Bike

 
The Chariot Summer Sale - 2013

15 Responses to “First Look: Redline R530 Comfort Commuter”

  1. Justin says:

    Thank god someone has figured it out. Still slightly expensive for a lot of people, but looks good overall.

    Quibbles:
    1: Suspension Fork and Seatpost? I think most commuters would find that to horribly annoying, as it sucks up all your acceleration. I rode with a suspension post for a bit, it stinks. My sprung saddle is quite nice though, I’d recommend that upgrade out of the box.

    2: A front basket would have been nice to see. I personally get far more mileage out of my Wald than I ever did out of a rear rack. It simply is easier to pack and carry stuff up front once you get over the slight riding curve.

    3: Give up on the puncture-resistant tubes and go with kevlar tires. If the glass never gets to the tubes, then you never have to worry about it.

    4: NO LIGHTS STANDARD? Let alone a generator. Boo.

    Niceties:
    1. Sounds like a nice strong wheelset with a sweet hub. Less maintenance = win for commuters.

    2. Any rack is always nice to see. Same with fenders and fatty tires.

    3. Adjustable stem is nice, since those aftermarket adjustments can be made without going to the bike shop and/or buying a new stem for your brand new bike since the bike shop guy obviously won’t get it right for you.

    Dunnos:
    1: Chainguard looks slick but how practical? Is it cheap plastic?

    2: Price might still be a little high for some people.

    Overall:
    Looks promising, hopefully we’ll see a version with some lighting built in and a basket for the same price.

  2. Logan says:

    Not too shabby. Looks just like the Jamis commuter but it’s more expensive.

  3. fixedgear says:

    Needs lights, but the price point is just about perfect. I couldn’t care less about suspension, but people love complications like that, so, sure, why not.

    We can all drool over the resurgence of the townie at the NAHBS, but $5K frames an yes, $599 custom racks are not gonna put people on bikes. This might.

  4. K6-III says:

    Full chaincase makes a lot of sense. It wouldn’t hurt if they offered a simpler model without suspension.

  5. Dwainedibbly says:

    Suspension? No thanks. It’s too bad because this otherwise looks like a nice commuter. I wonder how much lower the price would be without the suspension bits. Certainly it would be lowered enough that the buyer could purchase decent lights, or to have them included as a standard feature.

    Otherwise I pretty much agree with Justin, especially the tires/tubes.

  6. JoelGuelph says:

    I love the chaincase. Way to go Redline. For the number of times that the rear wheel will need to come off these bikes, the hassle is worth the cleaner drivetrain.

    I think the suspension will help get people on the bike. They may realize they don’t want it after they actually commute on it a few times, but I bet it will help make the sale. And OEM suspension forks of that quality don’t cost much more than rigid forks.

    No comments on the roller brakes? They seem like a great idea in theory, but I have never ridden them myself or really seen many ‘in the wild’. Anyone know how strong/reliable/weather resistant they are. My guess is that they aren’t a strong as discs or v-brakes in dry weather, but they are consistent through all weather conditions.

  7. Mike says:

    Justin makes some good points. My personal peeve with the US bike industry on these types of bikes is that they are specified to have the most “features” a sales person can talk about. Well, by these types, I mean more affordable bikes in the sub-$1000 range and all styles. When I used to design/spec bikes, my sales manager would have had a cow if I proposed any bike in the comfort/hybrid category (this was before the industry affixed “commuter” as a style), without a suspension fork or seat post. Features, we have to have features.

    So, what happened is that bike shops also saw this and having these “features” made it easier to sell. It is infinitely easier to sell a bike based on features you can touch rather than features that are intangible – like its fun to ride a bike.

    Back to this bike, lower end suspension forks and suspension seat posts are heavy and clunky. Maybe look good on a sales floor, but after a while, their function falls way off. Who wants to spend $50 to overhaul a fork that originally cost the manufacturer $15?

    With the riders’ weight fairly rearward biased, the suspension fork doesn’t really do much. With the riders’ weight fairly rearward biased, the suspension seat post pretty much stays loaded. There is probably more “travel” in that seat than in the post. The best thing that they can do on this bike is to use a good tire that will give you your overall ride quality by virtue of its air volume.

    On a bike like the Redline (which is a very nice bike and a great move for Redline), it is very close to being a stellar commuter. However, what Redline did was essentially take their hybrid and add a rack, fenders and chaincase. Now if they could ditch the suspension bits, adjustable stem, add a dynamo…it would be a stellar move.

    Did I just rant? :-)

  8. James says:

    I would trade the suspension for some lights.

  9. Dave Lloyd says:

    I also think that a front suspension with 38mm tires is overkill. I’d also trade the suspension seatpost for a good sprung saddle, too. Plus, the front suspension will make it pretty difficult to mount a rack to the front. I think you may be limited to a handlebar basket there.

    The site lists tektro brakes up front, but only saw what looked like roller brakes up there. My Trek L200 has V brakes on the front and a roller brake on the back. The roller brake doesn’t have that grabby feeling, it’s a lot more progressive than that. Overall, it might be a bit less powerful than caliper brakes, but nothing that I’d really notice. I can still skid the rear tire if I want to. The nice thing is that it always works the same in the dry, rain, snow, ice, etc. A big plus for a car replacement in my book.

    As far as the chain case goes, I can pop the chain case on my L200 with a flat blade screwdriver or a house key, so it takes about 30 seconds tops. On the other hand, removing the rear wheel is a bit of a PITA (my L200 has a Nexus 8). After having done it a couple of times at home to adjust the non-drive cone and to add the studs for the winter, I could probably get it on and off in about 30 minutes. It’s not that it’s overly mechanically complex (well a little), but it is a bit fiddly. Basically, the procedure is pop the QR cable out of the roller brake, remove the bolt that holds the roller brake reaction arm to the chainstay, shift to 1st gear, rotate cassette joint (shifter on the hub) around to release tension and remove cable, use needle nose pliers to remove cable from cable guide into the cassette joint, loosen nuts on wheel with adjustable wrench, remove chain if necessary (I end up removing from both the chainring and the rear cog as the L200 has track dropouts) remove wheel. Installation is reverse of disassembly. Tools required are phillips head screwdriver, adjustable wrench and needle nose pliers for guiding the shifter cable into the cassette joint cable guide. My personal opinion is that any shop that sells its customers a bike with a gear hub should show them how to remove the rear wheel. Either the customer is happy and learns something, or the shop gets extra business because the customer brings it back to them every time they get a flat.

    I also agree that puncture resistant tires are the way to go. As time consuming as it is to remove the rear on a Nexus setup, Schwalbe Marathons of some variety should be standard.

    All that said, I’m just pleased as punch that someone else is offering a full chaincase gear hub bike. This would be a great car replacement for trips 3-5 miles and under if you want to wear plain clothes.

  10. Ghost Rider says:

    The Nexus roller brakes are perfectly fine…not as incredible as discs, but they do the job. I rode a friend’s Giant or Specialized “city bike” when Nexus hubs were brand new to the market, and I remember that adjusting the roller brakes was a bit of a nightmare once the cable stretched, but otherwise worked fine.

    Looks like a good bike with decent (and perfectly appropriate — Redline is listening to us!!!) accessories near the right price point. Right on, Redline!

  11. Dave Lloyd says:

    I guess I should also point out that Bakfiets use the Nexus roller brakes. If they can stop a 90 pound bike plus (up to) 200lbs of cargo, they’ll probably do OK for this bike.

  12. 2whls3spds says:

    I just purchased an R 530…I have been cycling for over 35 years. I agree the suspension seat post is not necessary nor the suspension fork. I replaced the stock seat post and saddle with my usual Brooks B-67 and an alloy seat post. I would have much rather had an on board lighting system. AFAIK they don’t make a generator hub that is compatible with the roller brakes. I have chosen to piece together my own lighting system using the B&M DLumotec Oval N Plus headlight (LED w/ Standlight) a Spanniga Vector Xs tail light (LED w/standlight) and a B&M sidewall generator. I have considered ditching the suspension fork, switch to V brakes and using a Nexus generator hub….but I really like the all weather ability of the roller brake. Sturmey Archer makes a drum brake/generator hub combo and I think Shimano is missing the boat by not offering one. I still feel that the R 530 is an excellent value for the dollar, and Redline dealers are much easier to come by than Breezer. The closest stocking Breezer dealer to me is over 12 hours away. FWIW this bike is a “replacement” for my old Raleigh Sports that has been my most used bike for over 25 years. I wanted something off the shelf, and not outrageously expensive. I consider the price of the R 530 to be fair in comparison to similar models from other companies, and with in range (inflation adjusted) of what my Raleigh cost new in the early ’70′s.

    Aaron

  13. Excellent ideas here, have emailed my mum so expect a big reply!!

  14. 2whls3spds says:

    Update on my Redline :D

    Still rolling it. I did manage to source a dyno hub for roller brakes from WorkBikes in Amsterdam, NL.

    Still working on ditching the suspension fork.

    I posted a bit over 3 years ago. I am still happy with the bike. Unfortunately Redline and Torker have discontinued it.

    Aaron

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