Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You'll never see this in carbon fiber...

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of carbon fiber. Sure I've got carbon forks on my high-fallutin' road bike and cross bike. And okay, so my road bike has carbon seat and chain stays - but the main frame is sweet steel. I placed my first bike orders this week and realized, every one of them is steel. And is most cases, not even cro-mo steel, just plain jane steel frames.

I've become a big fan of bikes that can get you to work, store, school. I've also become a huge fan of living where you work. My daily commute is a short 8 minute walk or 2 minute ride (6 minutes if I stop off at Toby's for a great tasting Americano - in my own mug to save $0.25). It is an incredible experience to live where I work. I think more Americans should really try to do this. I can't imagine having to commute hours a day because I lived 40 miles from where I worked.

In the States, all the bikes seem to serve a specific purpose and they really all that attractive to use outside of its intended purpose. The one exception is the cyclocross bike - especially if it has a commuter/touring tilt to it. The worst bikes of all are the hybrids with their really crappy suspension forks and seat posts. However, I do see this all turning around a bit. There are a lot more bikes coming down the pike that seem to be addressing a big segment of wanna be bike buyers. Those who go into a bike shop and don't recognize anything in there as a bike. There is a growing segment who want to buy a nice sturdy bike that has a kickstand, no extra moving suspension parts, and a simple colorway. The non-statement statement, so to speak.

With this information in hand, I ordered me some old world bikes. I'm bringing in a few Electra Amsterdams and some Batavus Old Dutch bikes. I remember being at Eurobike a year ago and talking to one of the owners of Electra, Benno, and commenting about how I wished the venerable Raleigh 3-speed would make a comeback. You know, those bikes of your mom or grandpa that you loved to ride when you were a kid. You wouldn't actually want to own one at the time, but now that you are older, you really wish you had an old reliable bike. All it needed when you went to visit grandpa was a puff of air in the tires and off you went.

At the time I mentioned this to Benno, the Amsterdam hadn't been released, but he made some comment to me like wait and see what we will have at Interbike. Well, that's when the Amsterdam was released to the world and I loved it - 700c wheels and all. Good job, Benno.

Seattle Bike Supply, after being purchased by the European Accell Group is bringing in Batavus bikes. The model that caught my eye is appropriately named Old Dutch. Available in men's frame and, get this, a granny frame. How cool is that! Complete with light, pump, and lock! Nothing more needed. No costume required for your riding pleasure.

Cool granny frame.

What purpose do these bikes serve? Why you just ride them. And no, you won't find these in carbon fiber.