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Urbana Bikes: First Look

by Richard Masoner

Jerome Roy of Montreal, Quebec is a committed year round bike commuter. “I know what makes a bike work at 20 below after an evening at five,” he says. He’s carried drill presses and children on his bikes. “I think a bike can often replace a car.”

Roy has designed bikes for fun: bikes with reinforced frames and big suspension to launch through the forested trails of Vanocouver’s North Shore.

This vision of a bike as both utilitarian and fun inspired Roy and Paul Harris to create Urbana Bikes, “the real sport utility velo!”

Urbana Bikes (blue)

Urbana sells complete bikes designed around a rugged, one size fits most aluminum U frame, with a very long seat and “offset seat tube” accommodating riders from 5′ to 6’6″ tall. The high rise handlebar on a BMX stem also allows for a wide adjustment range. The slack frame angles and big 26×2.6″ Nid De Poule balloon tires results in a compliant ride. Unlike most step through bikes, however, the reinforced frame has a torsionally stiff frame for efficient sprinting through traffic.

In case you missed it, I just wrote this commuter bike is laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

Urbana Bikes

Urbana Bikes are available with several build options. Standard are the plush saddle, high rise handlebar, and custom balloon tires designed specifically for this bike. Gearing options are singlespeed, 3 speed internal gear hub (IGH), 7 speed derailleur, or 8 speed IGH. SKS fenders and extra sturdy RNR rack (120 pound capacity!) are available add ons for this bike. Perhaps most interestingly, Urbana makes this bike available in 12 different colors.

Urbana is currently available only at shops in Canada, but they are planning to expand in the United States.

Shimano Nexave Roller Brake

I received a full on commuter bike build with Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub, Shimano Nexave rear roller brake, Avid front disc brake, fenders and rack in a 40 pound, bright pink package. I’ll put this bike through its paces and report here in the coming weeks, but I’m happy to report right away that Urbana did an excellent job combining utility with fun in this bike.

More at Urbana Bikes.

 
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