Last night we got together with Abbotsford Cycles and held a Dynamo Demo night to showcase and compare our favourite dynamo lights. It was a great opportunity to analyse the lights in action side my side in a controlled environment (unlit, closed road with no car traffic).
Soma have been making fantastic steel framesets for years, but they have only recently launched a range of complete bikes based around their most popular models - the Double Cross Disc CX bike, Saga Touring bike, Buena Vista Mixte and Smoothie ES ‘relaxed’ Road Bike.The first shipment has just landed and is available exclusively through Commuter Cycles. We’re having a party to celebrate their arrival and show them off. Come and test ride all the models and sizes, and have a beer on us.
Jan 2015 Update - We've just received stock from the second production run! Most are presold, but we have a few left in sizes 52cm, 56cm, (maybe a 58cm) and a 60cm. With the deteriorating Australian dollar vs the USD the price for the frameset is now $950. This is all the stock we could get for Australia so be quick if you want one.
The Jamis Coda is our favourite 'budget' commuter bike. They are Chromoly City Bikes with a sensible mix of parts, room for wide tyres and mud guards, braze-ons for racks, and they're a good looking bike with understated black and silver paint work. For someone riding more than 3 or 4 days a week, we think they offer fantastic value.
We are having a Garage Sale on Saturday September 13th. It will run all day in line with our new Saturday opening hours of 10am to 4pm. There will be a range of parts and accessories on sale - all are new. We need to make room at the workshop for our full range of SOMA complete bikes that are arriving soon, so we're clearing out old stock, discontinued lines, products with damaged packaging or things that are incomplete, but still useful as spares or singles items.
Vivente is a small Australian bicycle company, and we've been stocking their World Randonneur models for a long time. They represent excellent value for money in a loaded touring bike, and also suit themselves very well to the dedicated commuter cyclist. The brains behind the company, Noel, is constantly tweaking them to make sure every detail is considered, from the frame features, right down to the choice of spokes. The brand new 2014 bikes incorporate some big changes, many of which are upgrades, or associated with the introduction of a Rohloff internal gear hub model.
We have just received our second batch of SOMA Grand Randonneur framesets. These are a fantastic multi use bike, just at home on gravel as on the road. Designed around 650b wheels, the front end geometry is low trail to handle front loads, the tubing is light and supple to lend a smooth ride, and it has all the bottle mounts and braze-ons for building up a 'proper' randonneur. This frame was designed in conjunction with Mike Kone from Boulder Bikes who have been building fine randonneur frames for many years and still builds under the Rene Herse moniker. At $700 for the frame and fork, we think it is the best value 650b Randonneur bike available today.
We’re big fans of Revelate bikepacking bags and a number of us have been using them for some time now. We’re pretty excited to now have a decent stock of them for sale in the workshop. For those who haven't stumbled upon it yet, "Bikepacking" is the recently-coined term given to off-road touring of the type that requires a fully-fledged mountain bike. Revelate Designs is an Alaskan company who make bags for this purpose.
We do a few frame modifications here at Commuter Cycles and we like to do things properly. Installing water-bottle bosses so the holes are spaced and aligned correctly can be a little tricky. If the holes aren't in the centre of the tube, the bottle sits off to the side. If they're not aligned with the tube, it sits on a twisted angle. The best way to align the holes is with a drilling jig which takes into account all of these sources for error.
If you've been wondering what all the fuss is about cyclocross, or you've had a dabble but are keen to work on your technique, Commuter Cycles is running a skills session on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd June.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.