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2009 Top Commuting Products : Bicycles

by Bike Shop Girl

Going into the year of 2009 there was high hopes for the alternative solution to automobile use.  The 2008 Interbike was full of transportation bikes, electric bikes and all levels of accessories to get people to use their bike daily.  Once the gas prices settled back down most people also stopped using their bikes, and went back to their old bad habits.

2009 Top Commuter Bicycles

Ones that inspired, motivated and gave people the chance to go by bike.

Swobo Otis

Swobo Otis

This bike has a front disc brake, internally geared 3-speed with coaster brake, aluminum frame and a great color for locking up in the city. It also comes in a step through model for those ladies or folks with bad hips.

Trek District
Trek District

Belt drive with orange wheels. You’ll either love it or hate it and with the $1099 price tag, you’ll better love it! We brought in a few of these at the Trek Store of Charlotte and they sell well.  Now that Trek has released a whole District series it is easier to find one to suit most people.

Kona Ute
Kona Ute

Cargo hauling bikes is the newest thing sweeping the market.  The first was the Xtracycle, and then others followed.  The Ute has a great price tag but is limiting on the accessories, unlike the Big Dummy or Xtracycle style.

Pashley Princess Classic

Pashley Princess Classic

Inspiring a long list of women to get on their bike in high heels and pretty dresses.  With features like fender skirts, full chainguard and the beauty of lugged steel, there is no wonder why women want this bike and are inspired to ride.

Raleigh Detour Deluxe
Raleigh Detour Deluxe

A large manufacture making a true commuter bike. Built in dynamo, internally geared hub, disc brakes and aluminum frame, all making this bike worthy of the hardest commute.

Fast Boy Cycles

Fast Boy Cycles

Ezra has an amazing story and builds amazing bikes.  Based out of NY and a craftsman of the trade leaves these bikes with amazing lines, details and everything thought out.  Pictured is his wife’s light hauler.

 
Burley nomad 229

19 Responses to “2009 Top Commuting Products : Bicycles”

  1. Kevin Love says:

    OK, of these alleged “commuter” bikes, the first two do not even have fenders. With the exception of the Pashley, none of them have chainguards or coatguards.

    I do not see a bell on any of the bikes, except the Pashley. This makes it illegal to ride them in many places, including where I live in Toronto.

    With the exception of the Pashley and the Raleigh, none of the bikes have lights. Which makes it illegal to ride them after dark in many places, including where I live.

    And good luck commuting anywhere except a desert without fenders, chainguard and coatguard. Where I work, arriving covered in mud is frowned upon.

    In short, only one of these bikes is a real commuter, the Pashley. None of the others has even got the basic safety equipment that makes it legal to ride.

  2. Kevin

    All great observations but remember all the things you noted are easily added on and normally are added on to your liking.

    Many of my commuter bikes don’t have fenders, also many Americans trying commuting won’t be riding in the rain regardless.

    The point of my Top Bicycle list are the movers and shakers of the ’09 season. Any bike can become a qualified commuter bike in your eyes by adding lights and fenders.

    What bikes would of you suggested?

  3. Kevin

    While your remarks are perfectly valid, one must take in account the difference between the “official” specs.. and real life retail configs

    In France where I leave, lights are mandatory (for legal reasons) so retailers provide lights even with bikes that are not equiped with such items. For example the Trek District is sold in France, and here when you buy one you get also a legal light equipment.

    A pair of fender cost a few dollars so choosing a bike based on the fact it has or not fender is not in my humble opinion a good option.

    Luc

  4. Raili says:

    Thanks! I’ve been looking at commuter bike options. I started riding mostly full time about seven months ago and would like a bike geared more “commuting/city riding.” It’s good to see what’s out there!

  5. Kevin Love says:

    Since you asked, the Batavus line of commuter bikes is excellent. The Pashley commuter bikes are also excellent. I myself ride a Pashley Sovereign Roadster.

    My experience with add-ons (particularly things like fenders) is that they are never as good as what was designed into the bike in the first place. For those who are into fashion, colour and style matching the fenders (and other add-ons) is also very difficult.

  6. Kevin Love says:

    “…many Americans trying commuting won’t be riding in the rain regardless.”

    My employer has this peculiar expectation that I’ll show up to work no matter what the weather is doing. And the roads can be wet for a long time after the rain is over.

    If everyone was only riding when the weather was nice, it would be necessary to have an entire alternate transportation system only for rainy days. Ouch!

    To some extent this does happen where I live in Toronto. The subway and streetcars get more crowded when the weather is bad. So the City is encouraging more winter cycling through better clearing and gritting of bike lanes, etc. A lot cheaper than building more subway lines.

    The City has even produced a brochure to encourage winter commuting. See:

    http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/bikewinter/pdf/bike-winter-brochure.pdf

    Note the bike on the cover of the brochure. Looks to me like a classic Batavus commuter bike.

    More City stuff at:

    http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/bikewinter/

  7. Andrew says:

    These are great! And I agree with the responses to Kevin. I just bought a Swobo Otis and purposely went without the fenders they offer as a discounted add-on because I wanted to customize with my own. What I liked about the Otis (and Swobo’s other offerings) is that it’s sort of a blank canvas on which to build my vision of a perfect commuter. Now, if I can only get a new job to commute to…

  8. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    My winter bike is a Trek L200 (no longer sold) euro bike. A real shame as it is almost as sexy as the Pashley bikes… After nearly 5 years of bike commuting I have really become a euro bike lover… although I do have a few lite and fast bikes too…
    As much as I hate to, those cheap department store bikes do start to alot of us cycling, but they need stickers that point out they are only to show bikeing is possible….

  9. All -

    Commuter bikes are becoming more function meets style as we go forward but we are still lacking. I hope bikes like the Batavus BUB makes bike designers think “oh yeh, we need fenders/lights and a rear wheel lock.” Just as we are behind with the US cycling infrastructure we are also behind on bike design.

    A side note about fenders .. all of the bikes above come with fenders other than the Otis and District. The Otis also has the option to add fenders at checkout.

  10. Frank Carlucci says:

    My commuter bike is a Pedego. I can travel 15 miles in less than an hour because I have the benefit of electric power to help me along. Instead of riding my bike to work a few times a month, I now ride a few times a week. I figure I am saving $50-$75 a month in gas plus enjoying my commute. Only problem is I get involved in too many conversations with curious observers. My Pedego is ORANGE with creme colored FatFrank tires and looks really cool and rides great. Cost me $1,800 bucks but is the best investment I have ever made in a bike. It replaced an Electra Amsterdam which was a great bike but was stolen out of my garage when my kid left it open.

  11. Dennis says:

    Amongst all the great things about the Ute is that it comes standard with front and rear fenders and a bell!

  12. BluesCat says:

    Unless they came standard with the bike, I don’t see a lot of people riding with fenders in Phoenix, Arizona. You simply do not need them. Even if you get the 3-drops-per-square-inch which qualifies as a “torrential downpour” in Phoenix, by the time even a 20″ wheel does one complete turn it’s dry.

    Now, all kidding aside, if you ARE riding in Phoenix during one of our violent monsoon storms, fenders are the LEAST of your concerns.

  13. tom says:

    The Swobo Otis is similar to a bike I built a couple years ago. An afternoon in the hospital convinced me that a disc brake on the front wheel is essential for a safe all-weather commuter. I welded a disc brake tab on a 700c fork, built a disc brake front wheel, built a 3-speed 700c rear wheel and put them on an old Takara frame found in the trash. The main difference between this one and the Otis is that the frame is steel, which I prefer. I’m lucky in that the frame fits me right. With mustache bars and fenders this takes me where I want to go and stops when I want it to. The Otis would be a good choice for riders that need to brake in any weather conditions.

  14. Deenie says:

    I’m curious about the Pashley Princess (and similar Dutch-style bikes). Yes, they look great, and make the rider look great, but what about hills? I briefly owned a cruiser bike, and it was great for short, flat trips, but I’d never dream of riding it the five miles to my office.

  15. anonymous says:

    id rather buy a bike at wal-mart and have it fall apart on the road than be associated with rich hipsters.

  16. anonymous says:

    then again, maybe a fucking WOODEN HANDLEBAR is going to fall apart anyways.

    ‘reviews’ like this represent everything that is soulless and wrong.

  17. hipster loser says:

    sorry we can’t be as cool as you lame hipster dude. get a life.

  18. nick says:

    wow! if i had a dime for every time some anonymous hater railed against “rich hipsters” in the comment section a bike blog, i’d be able to afford something built by fast boy.

  19. bikes says:

    I’m lovin’ the Trek District. I haven’t seen that in the UK.

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