Two years ago when we first moved to Colorado my wife needed a new everyday commuter bike. Something quick but sturdy for her daily commute that would range from 4 – 11 miles one way at all times of the day and night.
Our criteria for this Denver friendly commuter bike:
- Wider tires
- Slightly upright but not too comfort oriented
- Drop bars
- Pretty (This by far was the most important one)
I had recently left my job as an outside rep for QBP (parent company for Salsa, Surly, All City, Foundry) and personally had an All City Nature Boy that I adored. Naturally I wanted her on a cyclocross bike and the idea of a single-speed was very appealing to me as my wife isn’t the most gentle on her equipment. I wanted her to have less to worry about daily steed and for me to have a basic check over on a weekly basis. Once she saw the purple version of the Nature Boy she was sold. I ordered it up, added better Lizard Skins DSP 2.5mm bar tape for comfort and style, Continental Travel Contact tires to avoid flats and long lasting USB charging lights. When building it I also added 3M white reflective tape to sections of the frame that had white panels. You can never be too safe, right?
First Two Year Review
Depending on her work month she may commute 2-3 times a week. During her pregnancy she didn’t ride at all after her first trimester and so far this season I would guess she has ridden 250 miles. The bike has needed little maintenance other than air in the tires, lube on the chain and the chain tightened after the first 100 miles. The wheels have stayed very true, which is surprising based off my wife’s riding style, and all of the stock components were well thought out for daily abuse.
The best rating I can give this bike, aka Barney, is that my wife loves it. I work in the bike industry and she could have any bike she wants but she adores “Barney”. Even prefers the single-speed mindset unless she is going to the hospital further away which is about 26 miles round trip. That’s a decent distance after working 12-28 hour shifts.
Sure, this bike could be lighter. We could switch out some parts and save pounds but it’s build for durability and I personally like that nothing is too expensive that if it was ripped off we could easily replace it.
We have upgraded and added a couple of things over the two years of riding.
Axiom Streamliner Rear Rack
There aren’t many easy rear rack options for the Nature Boy due to the braze on mounts being inside of the legs. The Axiom is the easiest bolt on system I found and Emily likes it because it is so lightweight.
I wanted something thin and durable for Emily, she wanted something green. We compromised with the Fyxation Gates Thin Platform pedal. They won’t be the most long lasting bearing but for $25 we can replace them every season if needed. A good note to add in here is that Emily rides clip-in style pedals on most of her bikes but not her commuter bikes. This is because she already has a ton to carry into work and doesn’t always have a place to leave things depending on her month. Also, I’m a big fan of everyday clothes for commutes of less than 30 minutes.
We have a couple sets of Monkey Light wheel lights in for review. No photo yet but I really love them for night riding as it catches people attention from the front and sides, and gives your bike personality in the dark!
Disclaimer: The bike was purchased with real money by my family. We weren’t paid or bribed for this review.