Cruising for a New Bike

I've recently developed a powerful lust for a so-called cruiser bike. I'm not sure if there's an official definition of the genre, but to me it's any bicycle that exhibits a combination of mechanical simplicity, out-of-the-ordinary styling, and an emphasis on comfort over speed. It's prettier than a commuter bike and less, um, focused than a mountain bike. A single-speed is desirable; fixed gear is negotiable.

Here are some potential candidates.

  • The Charge Plug Grinder meets the criterion of simplicity, with a rear hub that when mounted one direction is a single speed fixed gear and when reversed provides a single speed freewheel. You can also quickly remove the rear brake and cables to clean up the lines even more. Still, it's not the most stylish choice.
Photo of bicycle

  • The Firmstrong Urban Delux is a monstrous limo of a bike with a retro steel spring fork. I'm guessing it weighs about 80 pounds, and probably handles like a rhinoceros. But it oozes beach-cruiser style.
Photo of bicycle

  • Trek's District Carbon is an enigma. It costs almost four grand, weighs less than 16 pounds, and has high tech race-worthy features out the wazoo, like a handmade carbon fiber frame and 16-spoke aero wheels. But it's a single speed and sports a belt drive. (There is a cheaper sibling, the District, for a third of the cost, but its shiny aluminum frame doesn't match up.) This bike screams "richer than thou hipster."
Photo of bicycle

  • Then  there's the Nirve Cannibal, a bike that meets all the criteria. It's a mixture of high tech (front disk brake) and retro-nasty (3" rear tire, chopper-style chromed fork, and in-your-face graphics). Too bad it's currently out-of-stock.
Photo of bicycle

  • And, finally, for comparison purposes there's the tried-and-true Electra Townie. Most of Electra's bikes look pretty much the same, and they're really too mass-produced to be eye-catching...unless you live in a city like Midland, Texas. However, with a rear derailleur, the bike doesn't meet the simplicity criterion.
Photo of bicycle

I'd love to have the Trek but $3500 is a steep price to pay just to make a statement that most people wouldn't understand anyway. The Cannibal might be a bit too radical, and I've already got one bike that's 10 feet long so the Delux is redundant. The Plug Grinder is too utilitarian in appearance, and the Townie is a cliché.

Maybe I'll just stick with my 20-year-old Red Shred after all.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on April 15, 2010 6:20 AM.

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