Please note we’ll be closed all ANZAC Day. I’ll be working on the Little Man’s riding skills, and we’ll be back on deck at 8am Friday as per normal.
Please note we’ll be closed all ANZAC Day. I’ll be working on the Little Man’s riding skills, and we’ll be back on deck at 8am Friday as per normal.
We’ve been stocking Velo Orange parts for about 2 years now and we’ve developed some solid favourites from their range. There are a bunch of their parts we always keep in stock when we can. This is our round-up of favourites.
All of us ride, and we’re all bike nuts, so we all have bikes we like to talk about. As well as commuting we all have pretty diverse cycling interests.
Read on for profiles of the bikes and mockery of the owners.
It seems that all we have time to write about at the moment is holidays – since returning on the 7th Jan we have been incredibly busy in the workshop.
We’ll be open this Saturday 26th from 9 till 1 pm as normal, but will be closed on Monday 28th for the Australia Day public holiday.
We’ll be using some of the time to get ready for Bikefest which is coming up quickly. We’ll be there with Allegro cycles for the Bikefest Treadlie Market running from Feb 15 – 17. On Saturday the 16th we’ll also be running a swap meet. More details to come, but in the meantime, check out the bikefest website http://www.melbournebikefest.com.au/
Hope you have a long weekend too!
After another very busy year, we’ll be taking a break over Christmas & New Years. We’re working right up to Christmas though, so there is still a week to get your bike sorted before we go riding.
We’ll be closed from mid afternoon Christmas Eve to Sunday 6th January, re-opening at 8am on the 7th.
There are still bookings left for the week before Christmas so call ahead to lock in a spot and a courtesy bike.
Finally, we keep getting asked if we do gift vouchers – the answer is yes.
We’re coming up to the Great Vic Bike ride. It’s a fun ride and a good starting point for doing longer your own rides. If you are thinking about doing it there are a few little things you should think about doing to get your bike ready.
We recently built a pair of custom Long Haul Truckers around Rohloffs. Rolhoffs are great for touring and commuting bikes because they offer a wide range of gears in even increments, they can shift gears while the pedals are not being turned, and because all the shifting takes place in the rear hub there are no gear combinations and so no combinations to avoid. They are unbelievably robust and reliable too, needing an infrequent oil change and not much else by way of maintenance.
We’re closed the Monday and Tuesday of the Cup Day long weekend. Back on deck bright eyed and bushy tailed 8am Wednesday 7th November.
Hope you have a break too. Here is some inspiration from two of our customers who picked up their Pug tamden from us on Saturday morning and headed straight to the Warby Trail.
We’re excited to have a Tout Terrain Silk Road on the floor now which is ready to be test-ridden. It’s a tough steel touring bike with a built-in rack and a Rohloff hub. Ours is the Silver model, second to the Gold in quality and in price.
It’s a very German style of touring bike with flat handlebars, internal hub gearing, large tyres and disc brakes.
(Read the rest of this news…)
National Ride to Work Day is approaching quickly on Wednesday 17th October.
For many of us, every day is ride to work day, but this National event is a great opportunity to encourage other workmates to give riding a go. Every year we do something to sweeten the deal.
This year we are teaming up with The Lux Foundry Cafe to offer commuters a free tune-up & safety assessment in addition to free coffee & a banana, or a great breakfast deal. The cafe is located on Hope street, just West of the Upfield bikepath. If it’s nice weather, we’ll be in the courtyard out the front. If it happens to rain, we’ll be sheltering inside. There is plenty of bike parking and the cafe is barely 50m off the path.
All we ask is that you register – this way the statistics are in that people are actually riding on the day. Councils and Government can then use this data to inform their policy making.
One of our customers found a Long Haul Trucker. It’s extremely distinctive so if you’ve lost one give us a buzz at the workshop (9388-1319) and identify it.
Jed, one of the guys that works at Commuter had his bike stolen. If you see it please let us know.
It’s a Surly Crosscheck with an eccentric and ragged mix of parts. It was meant to be unattractive to thieves. Ironic, but not very funny.
We’ve been selling SKF bottom brackets for a while now and we’re increasingly of the opinion that for most people they are the best high-end square taper bottom brackets.
Read on for why.
This is a very blinged-out Surly Steamroller we just built some new wheels for.
Read on for some more details.
We have a new favourite charging device. It’s called the Plug and it’s made by Supernova. It’s like a Stem Captain in that it replaces the top cap of your headset. All the cords run down inside your fork and the overall effect is extremely neat. It takes power from your Dynamo hub and can be used to charge things during the day when you’re not using your lights.
Read on for more.
We’ve got an unusual restoration project on the go – Huw’s father’s penny-farthing. It has been raced by Huw’s father and brother in Evandale but it has a few broken spokes and needs some TLC.
Winter is here again and with it shorter, colder, darker, wetter days. If you want to ride comfortably through the winter that will mean jackets, good lights, mud guards and warm gloves. We’re gearing up to deal with winter, and we’re taking embarrassing photos of Huw and Luke.
Read on for some details, and more embarrassing photos.
We have just received our first order of Jamis Coda Sport bikes. They are a budget commuter bike similar to the Shogun Metros of old that we see so many of still in active service after 10 or 20 years. They are Chromoly hybrids with a sensible mix of parts, room for wide tyres and mud guards, braze-ons for racks and mud guards, and they’re a good looking bike with understated black and silver paint work. They also have a neat system to allow adjustment of stem height without much fuss, so while you’re getting acquainted with the bike you can try out a few positions.
Read on for more details.
We don’t do a lot of Butterfly bars, but for some people they are just what the doctor ordered. This is a Long Haul Trucker build we did using butterfly bars to shorten the cockpit to make a second-hand slightly-too-big frame work for one of customers who doesn’t like drop bars. She’s going to use it as a commuter and do some touring on it.
Read on for details.
After a lot of expressions of interest from customers, we’re going to start running bike maintenance courses on Saturday afternoons. It’s really valuable to have a decent grasp of how your bike works, what can go wrong with it, and how to fix it. For one thing, the adage that a stitch in time saves nine is very true of bicycles, and learning your way around the mechanical side of a bike can help you to identify and fix little issues that could otherwise have flow-on effects. There’s also a certain satisfaction to be had from maintaining and fixing your own things. Finally, mechanical issues can have a habit of arising at inconvenient times, when you can’t easily make it to bike shop, and with a basic grounding in bike maintenance you will be able to overcome small issues on your own. Our series of basic courses aims to give you a solid starting point for this. We will also run a smaller more advanced course focused on wheel building.
Read on for info about both.
Linus bikes are slightly retro city bikes with nice modern parts on them and a classy consistent aesthetic. They fall somewhere in between classic step-throughs and Dutch city bikes, with some of the nicely integrated parts you find on Gazelles, but with fewer accessories and a simpler look.
We stock their Dutchi – a take on the Dutch city bikes exemplified by Gazelles, and their Mixte – a take on the classic French step-thorough design.
Read on for more info.
We’ve got a few of the new Archetype rims from H Plus Son. They look like they might be a new go-to rim for road and randonneur bikes.
We’ve just started stocking an amazing value touring/commuting bike which comes kitted out with spectacular components and a bunch of good quality and useful accessories. It’s the World Randonneur, which has been made by Vivente (and before that Gemini) for a really long time, and which has just gradually evolved over those years. As a result, the 2012 range come with a huge number of nifty little touches and unconventional but smart specs. They come in 3 variations, all of which are amazingly good value with an extremely high spec level for all of the parts, including many accessories that we find ourselves recommending for custom builds on other bikes.
The Melbourne Bikefest is almost upon us. This year the Bikefest will form part of the Sustainable Living Festival. This means that in addition to the Bikefest festivities, there will be plenty of other interesting (non-bike related) things to see and do. It also means that it might not pour with rain for the duration of the festival!
We’re directly involved in a few aspects of Bikefest. Together with Allegro, we’ll have a stall at the Treadlie Market – a three day event nestled within the Sustainable Living Festival ‘Big Weekend’. The Bikefest Treadlie Market will feature everything you need to fuel a life of two wheels (including coffee!).
We’ll have some of our favourite things on display and there is a special track for test riding the Allegro bikes we’ll have built up. The market is at Birrarung Marr will run Friday 17th (12-8pm), Sat 18th (10-6pm) and Sunday 19th (10-5pm). The wonderful “Roll Up” Bicycle Valet crew will be in attendance, so you won need to bring three locks. Find all the details here.
We’re also running a Bike Swapmeet on the Saturday. Together with some other horders we’ll be opening up our sheds to make some room for new projects. Come down to Birrarung Marr between 11am and 3pm and you might just find yourself a bargain.
Of course, there are a bunch of other great events, so make sure you check out the full program here. See you down there.
We have returned from our two week break thoroughly refreshed and excited about 2012. Thanks for your patience while we were closed. Bookings are already piling in and we’ve currently (Tue 10th) got a two day turnaround on jobs. As always, if you book in we can offer same day service and courtesy bikes.
The deliveries are piling up out the back as we hardly have time to open them, but stay tuned for details of the Gilles Berthoud bits we’ve got in, as well as World Randonneur bikes and a new addition to the Commuter dream team…
Huw and the gang
We’ve had a crazy busy year so we’re going to take a smallish break between Christmas and the 9th January to recharge. We’ll be open the Saturday of Christmas Eve from 9am till 1pm as per normal. Have a great Christmas and we hope you all have some time off to sleep in, spend time with family and ride just for the fun of it.
Thanks for your all your support – we look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
We’ve been stocking and using Zimbale bags for a while now and we’re very happy with them.
Zimbale make great canvas and leather bags that are shamelessly modelled on Carradice bags with a few upgrades. They are English-style saddle bags ranging in size from 2 to 18 liters, made in Korea from high quality materials.
We stock all of their canvas bags except the 18 litre bag.
Read on for some details.
We’re very glad to be stocking some new bar tape made in Melbourne by DiPell. DiPell have been making leathergoods for a long time, including pieces for RM Williams shoes, but have only just entered the handlebar tape market. We’re really glad they did. We love Australian made but don’t just stock something for that reason alone – it has to be as good or better than the other options in some significant respect. Fortunately when it comes to DiPell tape, not only is made locally, but it’s better in most crucial respects than the competition.
Read on to hear what’s so good about it.
We have started officially offering frame mods and minor repairs for steel frames.
If there’s something small stopping you using a frame for some particular purpose then we might be able to help.
Read on for some examples of things we can do and have done.
Gilles Berthoud makes some of the nicest parts and accessories for Randonneur and touring bikes. His saddles are the best-made leather saddles we’ve seen, his bags are terrific and his fenders are tough and beautiful.
We’re putting in our first order directly from Berthoud and we’re looking for pre-orders. Read on to hear about some of the products.
We’ve been opening Saturdays for a few weeks now, and none of us have keeled over from exhaustion, so now we’re calling the trial a success. Saturday openings are here to stay, as are the new hours. So now our hours are officially:
Monday – Friday: 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM – 1:00PM
There are a heap of different types of handlebar and getting the right one can make all the difference to how your bike feels. Swapping between them can get complicated with different bars requiring different brake and shift levers, but we have a huge range, and making changing bars for people is a big part of what we do so we can talk you through your options and sow you different examples of bars to get you on the most comfortable ones for you.
Read on for a quick walk-through of some of the options.
As of the 17th of September we will trial opening up on Saturday mornings from 9AM until 1PM. The idea is that we’ll take drop-offs and pick-ups, do retail, and deal with emergency punctures and so on, but we won’t be in a position to do any big same-day jobs. Similarly, we won’t be able to offer courtesy bikes on Saturdays either. If you’ve been meaning to drop by to check out something out, but can’t make it during the week this is your chance.
For the duration of the trial our week-day opening hours will be shortened slightly to 8AM until 6PM. For those who need to drop their bikes off before 8AM we’ll have a drop-box and some envelopes which you can put a key in with your name and phone number, and you can lock your bike out the front. Please do not use this in the evenings though, since the bike will be unattended over night and theft is a real possibility.
The trial will run until the 22nd and we’ll work out whether or not to make it permanent. Because it’s a trial we’d love to hear whether these hours are more or less convenient for you.
For the kick-off we’ll do a BBQ and coffee from 10AM.
We get a lot of nice bikes coming through the workshop, but every now and again one really stands out. A customer of ours who has just moved to Adelaide has brought in two of the stand-out bikes of the last year or so – both beautiful Jack Taylors. The latest was his last project before leaving Melbourne. In the end he didn’t get all the parts that were needed to finish it before he left, but we were able to get it partially assembled and shoot some pictures of it, and that was enough to give a sense of what a beautiful bike it will wind up being.
At more or less the same time, Treadlie magazine borrowed one of our copies of The Golden Age of the Handbuilt Bicycle to feature in the latest issue (which has since hit the stands). Other than an Alex Singer bike and a Toei that both came through the shop, this Jack Taylor is the closest we’ve had to a bike that might feautre in the book or in Bicycle Quarterly, one of our favourite magazines.
Read on if well-integrated pannier racks, pinstriping and smart light mounts are your cup of tea.
We have a new Rawland model in. It’s called the rSogn and for me, it’s the most exciting Rawland to date.
For those that missed our last Rawland post, Rawland are a small American company that design bikes and have them made in Taiwan in the same factory that makes Surly and others. Rawland bikes are always designed around wide tyres, and are meant to be versatile go-anywhere bikes with off-road capabilities, potential for touring and frames light and comfortable enough to be used for long fast randonneur rides. Many of them are designed around the 650b wheel size.
The latest model, the rSogn is typical of their bikes in all of theses respects. It is designed around 650b wheels, with cantilever brake bosses, touring braze-ons in abundance, room for big tyres and fenders, or even bigger knobby tyres and can easily be set up with relatively high handle bars. Read on if this is the sort of bike you’re interested in.
A customer called from Canberra the other day and ordered Nitto Noodles, a Porteur rack, fender parts and Brooks tape. he just emailed us a to thank us when they arrived and included a few photos of his bike.
“Attached are a few hurried shots of the build as requested. The Surly I’ve had for some years in this current config, the addition being the Honjo fenders, VO Porteur rack and stem, Nitto bars, Tektro levers and Brooks tape. I average 2-2.5 commuting hours a day with a couple of rear Brooks panniers to keep the transport weight honest. The Porteur rack will aid significantly in the purchase of ‘on the way home’ groceries.”
It’s a really cool set-up and we’re always pleased to get photos of nice bikes, especially if you’re out of town and we can’t see it in person.
Why would an adult want to spend their leisure time riding round and round a muddy, grassy field on something that looks like a road bike? It defies explanation. And yet, as we’ve said before – Cyclocross is cool.
CX in Melbourne continues to grow and here we have a grab-bag of tid-bits of news about it, photos of bikes we’ve built for it, and info about where to go and do it. Read on if you like the idea of slipping over in the mud and hurting yourself.
We stock Rawland frames and we have been meaning to post about them for a while, but between all the distractions of the workshop we never quite made it. Our hand has been forced though after my Drakkar has gone viral on the internet. I lent it to Angry – one of our customers who organizes some of the best mixed-terrain rides in Melbourne via There Will be Dirt and Melbourne Gravel Grinders. He posted about the bike here. The Rawland site picked it up here, and now Lazy Randonneur has a post about it here. Since it’s old news now we thought we’d fianlly post something.
Rawland is an American brand who specialize in steel frames designed for a mixture of on- and off-road use. They are a little like Surly but newer, smaller, and a little more quirky. Their models all have Norwegian Viking-sounding names and are meant to be go-anywhere bikes which can carry some sort of load and be ridden under adverse conditions.
Hub dynamos and LED lights are two things in the bike world which have seen the greatest technological improvement in the last few years. Recent generations of dynamo hubs are far more efficient than any previous dynamo system, and the lights that go with them are far brighter and far less power-hungry. It has reached the point where the whole system is so efficient that any bike short of a race bike could be fitted with a dynamo wheel and lights and the only real down-side would be the expense.
Retro-fitting a dynamo is straightforward, but it does require rebuilding the front wheel and the hub and light are reasonably pricey, so it’s quite an initial outlay, but it will pay for itself over the years in reduced battery consumption and the ease and convenience of generating your own light. What follows is a brief discussion of some of the dynamos, some of the lights and what is involved in a conversion.
We’ve been stocking Velo Orange stuff for a while now, and we’re really impressed by their gear, as well as their philosophy in general. They do a wide range of parts that are typically inspired by old French touring gear. Everything is well-thought out, well constructed, and a nice mix of old-style looks and modern construction and sizing.
Most of the VO products are versions of old French designs that haven’t been available for years, which they modernize and get made in Taiwan. They are reliably nicely finished, tend to be silver and embody a real understanding of the uses to which they will be put. They also make little parts for really specific purposes that provide elegant solutions or neat ways of mounting things like mudguards, racks and bells. For instance, they make nice little spacers that sit in your headset to mount a bell, and fork crown darumas to mount mud guards under the fork crown when there’s a brake bolt. They also make French headsets and bottom brackets, which have traditionally been the big stumbling blocks for people reconditioning old French bikes.
At any given time we have a good range of VO bells, handlebars, stems, bottom brackets, mud guards, water bottle cages and headsets in stock. We also have bits and pieces of the rest of their range, and we regularly order more, so if there’s something you want we can get it in for you pretty quickly.
For more, check out our webshop - Constructeur.com.au.
As part of the Sustainable Living Festival we’ll be doing a workshop on bike touring as an environmentally friendly alternative to a driving holiday.
We’ll be talking about the suitability of your current bike for touring, what to look for in a touring bike if your current one isn’t going to work out, what sort of gear to bring, and I’ll be going on and on about how nice it is to bike tour in Tasmania. It’ll be very informal with lots of Q&A and show and tell.
It’s on Sunday the 27th of Feb from 2-4PM. It’ll be held here at Commuter Cycles (14 Prentice St.). We’ll have some bikes, parts and luggage for the show and tell, but bring your own bike and any gear you’d like to ask about or show people. Also, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org just so we have an idea fo numbers.
We’re back from the Christmas break and things are pretty busy already. If you are bringing your bike in for a service at the moment, then it’s definitely best to call ahead and book a day. Over the break we moved everything out the back so we could paint the workshop floor. We were expecting the first week back to be quiet enough to get everything back to normal, but we were swamped with repairs and we’ve only just got all the furniture back where it ought to be. Among the things we had to install was a new workstand – stand number three. While we were doing this we took the opportunity to improve the rigidity of two of the three stands.
The other exciting thing we’ve moved onto the floor is our selection of Creme bikes. Check out their site here.
We’re stocking their Cafe Racer models. It is available in a men’s and a women’s version and each comes with two different build specs the more expensive Doppio model and the cheaper Solo. They are all made from steel (our favourite material for bike frames), they have sensible wheels and are intended for regular commuting use and should stand up to it very well.
We’re coming up to the silly season at an alarming rate, so we thought we’d better tell you our hours over the break. It will be business as usual up until the 24th, when we’ll close early. We’ll then stay closed (riding) until the 4th of January (a Tuesday). From then on it’s back to our normal hours.
Speaking of fun times, I just built up a vintage Batavus cyclocross frame that I got from Andy White. The week before, Tristram had put me on to a complete 1992 XTR M900 groupset on eBay. The two were a perfect match – I opted to complete the build with some Mavic Open Pros (our favourite robust road rim, and one of the few high end rims still available in 36 hole silver!). The build came together just in time for a 3 day unsealed road tour to Woods Point and back. Check out the photos here if that’s your thing.
The other bit of news, which we’ll discuss at greater length elsewhere, is that we are now stocking Creme bikes. Check them out here. Their female Caferacer model is especially cool – a classic Mixte step-through with graceful curves, a steel frame with skinny tubes, nice parts and a great front rack for carrying things around. It comes with mud guards, a light and a Brooks saddle.
It’s a great bike for someone who loves their old Repco traveler, but wants a newer bike where everything just works like it should, and is higher quality. The dropouts on the Creme are forged and the rack and mud-guard eyelets are solid and reliable. The brakes are powerful, the wheels and tyres are good quality and robust, it has an internal gear hub that will be reliable and long-lasting and the mud guards and chain guard are thoughtfully placed and secured.
Thanks for all your support this year. It has been a pleasure keeping you rolling.
The Melbourne Bikefest is fast approaching, and we’ll be running a couple of the events. The Bikefest is a celebration of Melbourne cycling culture in all its forms and there are a heap of great events on. It’s one of the only times of year that hipsters, vintage bike nerds, cargo bike enthusiasts and lycra-clad racers hang out together in the same building! Check out the full list of events here: http://www.melbournebikefest.com.au/program
We’ll be running a couple of the events – the Treadly Awards and the (Second) Bicycle Black Market. They’re both free and they’re both events that we’ve previously held here at Commuter Cycles. This year, all the Bikefest fun – including the Treadlies and Bicycle Black Market – will be at 1000 Pound bend (361 Little Lonsdale Street), so it’s even easier to get to, and there will be lots of other interesting bike stuff to check out before and after.
Read on for more info or follow us on Twitter for updates…
We’ll be taking a long weekend over the Cup weekend. Also, one of our ex-mechanics is getting married in Tassy so some of us are going down there for the wedding. As a result we will be closed Monday the 1st of November and Tuesday the 2nd of November, and then we will close early on Friday the 5th.
While you have your diaries out, save the last weekend in November. Cancel honeymoons, births, holidays, etc because we’ll be running two bike evens as part of the Bike Fest!
First up, the Treadly Awards on the 27th of November, which will involve categories like Best Commuter Bike (BCB), Fastest Puncture Repair (FPR) and Best Cycling Outfit Not Involving Lycra (BCONL). Then on Sunday the 28th we’ll be running the second Black Market Swap Meet where you’ll be able to buy secondhand bike stuff. More details to come!
Ride to Work Day is the 13th of October this year, and as always we’ll be offering coffee, breakfast and free tune-ups for anyone riding to work. Drop by between 7:30 and 9:00.
Zero Carbon Moreland will be here too, to talk about what they’re doing.
We just got in out first shipment of Old Man Mountain racks. They are American-made racks that allow bikes without eyelets or braze-ons to be equipped with panniers. As the name implies, the racks are most often used with mountain bikes – in particular to fit racks to bikes with suspension. However, they are also very useful for fitting to road bikes.
If you’ve looked at the Bicycle Victoria site, or gotten the BV newsletter you could be under the impression that the brakes on Long Haul Truckers and Crosschecks sold in Australia are faulty. The way the issue was reported is, unfortunately, both misleading and alarming, and this is not the case.
The issue is that some bikes were shipped from the Australian distributor without a straddle cable catcher. This is a little hook that sits under the straddle cable. It is there so that in the unlikely event that the main brake cable snaps, it can catch the straddle so that it cannot fall onto the tyre. In the worst case scenario without the catcher, the tyre (if it had nobs on it) can grab the straddle and apply the brakes, which could cause an accident.
This is a far cry from BV’s coverage, which, from the way it was phrased, claimed that the brakes supplied with the bikes were faulty. Firstly, the problem applies to only some of the bikes, not all of the bikes. Secondly, the brakes are not faulty, but rather a secondary safety device was not supplied with all bikes – a safety device that does its job if another part of the braking system has already failed.
The majority of the Surlies we have sold cannot be affected by this problem, because mud guards, reflector mounts and fork crown mounted lights all do the job of a straddle catcher. Both stand between the tyre and the straddle and make it impossible for a broken brake cable to cause any harm.
The Australian distributor has announced a voluntary recall (see image). If you have bought a Surly (either from us, or from somewhere else) and you are not sure whether the missing part applies to you, then please drop in. We’ll take a look and if there is a problem we will remedy it.