A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Commuter Bikes

About a month ago, in a Bike Journal post, I mentioned the void among bicycle manufacturers regarding a dedicated commuter bike. Several readers disagreed and pointed to various offerings by several companies. Some bikes come close, but lose the cigar on price.

Today, I read a post on Bike Commuters that essentially decries the same issue. It seems as though bicycle manufacturers are selling "life style" as much as equipment. They do not really understand the needs of the bike commuter.

Every bike commuter has their preferences, sometimes strange, like my affection for handlebars purloined off a kid's BMX bike. Other items and factors should be standard. Durability and reliability should be paramount. Carbon forks are out. Spokes are in, plenty of them. Kevlar belted tires should be standard. Eyelets for mounting racks and fenders? Standard. Hell, make the racks and fenders themselves standard, although many riders will have their own preferences. How about a chainguard? Would there be anything wrong with making lighting that is integrated in the bike and therefore relatively theft proof available on a commuter bike? How about an integrated locking system? Finally, make it affordable, and replaceable if it is stolen.

There is a lot of room for improvement in the production of dedicated working bikes, and the market is wide open. All it takes is a manufacturer listening to it's customers.



Blogger lee n. field said...

Mine approaches that.

A Schwinn Vouyeger loaded touring bike, vintage 1990 something. Installed gooseneck stem, flat handlebar and thumbshifters (Non-indexed, alas). Zip-tied a milk jug type plastic basket to the rear rack, so I've got a decent amount of room and don't have to wear a backpack. And installed a pair of kevlar belt tires.

We shall see how it survives the winter.

7:21 PM  

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