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2011 Raleigh Clubman Bicycle: Full Review

6 2010 Raleigh Clubman Review

Raleigh Clubman Steel Bicycle

MSRP: $1150

Main Features: Tiagra 9speed, full fenders, Brooks Swift leather saddle, Lezyne pump

Other Notes: I reviewed a 2010 model, the only changes to the 2011 are the paint (now green) and the wheels from my understanding are now 32h instead of 28

Over the past year I have been able to review a ton of great product.  A product that I started to review for Commute By Bike and was put on hold during my fear of riding on the road is the Raleigh Clubman.  As this bike is one of my reliable and one of the most eye catching frames in my fleet I want to make sure to give it a full review for all those interested or looking at purchasing one.

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2011 Airborne Goblin 29er: On Review

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MSRP: $1,199.95 A well built bike for  5 cents under $1,200.   For the person looking to upgrade their entry level bike, getting into 29ers or simply a deal finder that will upgrade the parts as they need. (I fit in the latter.) Weight: 18 inch is 28 lbs Key Parts: Aluminum hydroformed (shaped) frame, SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain, Avid Elixir R brakes, RockShox Reba RL fork, WTB Trail 29 wheels.

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Why Women’s Specific 29ers Don’t Work

27 Women's 29er Geometry

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test ride on a local trail a few women’s specific 29er mountain bikes.   As I had mentioned in the past I was very excited about this new idea of women’s sizing  in 29″ technology but that is where my research ended.

The idea of fitting smaller individuals (men or women) on to the larger wheel technology has been something that I’ve had hopes for.  A few years ago when the 650b movement started I was completed behind it for that reason.  The 26″ wheel, to me, is not the solution for everyone based on how they ride and where they ride.  People deserve options, an example of this is why 3″, 5″, 7″ and 9″ suspension systems exists.

Back on topic, riding women’s specific 29ers

I didn’t have the ability to check saddle fore and aft, saddle to handlebars or any specifics other than seat height.  Now that my disclaimers out of the way….

The bike didn’t handle well.  I don’t know how else to say it….   The geometry of it all doesn’t make any sense.   Take a normal size 29er, keep the wheel base the same length and shorten the top tube.  What you get is a very slack, very flip flop, very slow handling bike thanks to changing the head tube angle to something that would mimic a 5″ travel “all mountain bike”.

Women's 29er Geometry

To a point I understand why they did this.  Shorter top tube to fit women with shorter upper bodies.

My Opinion : How to fit women on 29ers

My bike fit is 140% female.  I have a super long inseam and super short upper body, even my arms are short.   This is my take on fitting my own personal 29ers.  Longer top tube than I would ride on a 26″ bike, and an inch shorter stem. My effective length from saddle tip to handlebars hasn’t changed, but how I achieve it has.  My handling is changed to make up for the bigger (heavier and larger) front wheel and often more raked out fork.  Faster steering is achieved with the shorter stem and my front wheel isn’t tucked up under me either.

Your Bike, Your Opinion

Fitting mountain bikes is a very dynamic effort. It’s not as straight forward as fitting someone on a road bike.  You take everything that you know from fitting road bikes, tie in your own mountain bike experience and then tie in the person RIDING the mountain bikes own feedback.   Test ride, try out things, and repeat.

Depending where you ride, how aggressive you ride, and your own body type (size, shape, fitness, strength &  flexibility) every bike will fit you different.  A bike out of a box most likely won’t fit you.  How the mechanic that built the bike probably won’t be how you need it to fit.

The above feelings about how the 29er women’s specific bikes rode is my own experience, I ride aggressively, I push my bike and body every time I’m out riding.   The handling of the bike was too slow and did not excel for technical riding.   Inquire with your local bike shop, talk about bike fitting and your own needs!

My Surly Long Haul Trucker Touring Bike

5 Surly Long Haul Trucker

In the weeks, months and hopefully years to come, I’m going to start yapping about touring, camping and all things “adventure biking.”   First thing up is of course the bike!

Welcome my Surly Long Haul Trucker

When I started this build I originally started it as a short distance commuter. The front end was very upright and not very efficient for the long haul, no pun intended. As my commute and need for a longer, faster, ride I swapped out the front end of the bike for a mountain bike flat bar, Ergon grips and longer stem.

The bike has been changed for a week and I’m really enjoying it.  The first test will be a sub 24 hour overnight this weekend (S24o) when I ride to a nearby park to go camping.

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Bike Rides and Bike Shopping

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As I work in a bike shop day in and day out I have the blessing, sometimes the curse, to play with all the latest and greatest bike parts.  This adds a ton of complication to bike shopping for myself.  I’m able to help anyone that walks in the door, calls or emails to find their perfect bike but as my goals of cycling or life change, my bike wants do as well.

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Video : Unboxing the Raleigh Clubman

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We recently took delivery of a 2010 Raleigh Clubman. In this 6 minute clip we go through the basics of unboxing a bicycle. A full review will be available on http://www.CommuteByBike.com soon.

A walk through building a bicycle up from the boxed form.  This is how most bikes show up to a bike shop, except for those boutique, build from scratch variety.   We skim through some sections in order to get you through the whole unboxing, which normally takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Unboxing

Tools

The basic tools are used were :

Park Tool Allen Wrench Set

Feedback Sports – Sport Repair Stand

Park Tool Cable Cutter

Photos of the Build Day

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom

Batavus BUB : Initial Thoughts

0 Batavus BUB

This was originally published at our sister site, Commute by Bike. As the bike is a step through design and fits in well with trying to get more women on bicycles, I’ll be cross posting the review on both sites.

When the Batavus BUB rolled into my bike shop a good amount of thoughts rolled into my head with it.  It looked heavy, was it? Where were the hand brakes or gears?  Could I take it down my 4.5 mile daily commute with a decent size hill in the middle?  (My worry was going up and down on it.)

Riding the BUB


I quickly checked the BUB over and rode it home that 4.5 mile commute.  The step through design was very handy and made me crave for one in my daily ride.  Very easy to get on, plus I didn’t worry about ripping my jeans as I didn’t have to throw my leg over the back of the saddle.  The handlebars and saddle seemed to me much like what we consider in the US as a Beach Cruiser.  For the entire first ride I was fighting with finding a position I felt efficient, yet comfortable in.  If I was comfortable on the saddle, it would start to rub my inner thighs.  If I was comfortable with the handlebars I was in a weird laid over position grabbing half way down the long swept back bar.

It took me a week to really grasp the ride of the BUB.  It truly is a bike for folks that maybe don’t ride everyday, or are looking for something on the end of the spectrum from their mountain/road bike.  You can easily hop on this and go, you won’t be going very far or very fast but it is easy and comfortable.

As I mentioned, initially I couldn’t get comfortable on this bike.  Mainly due to the length of my long legs and once I was home I raised the stem a good amount in order to sit more upright than leaned over.  In the end it fit a wide height range, for my 5′10 height down to my 5′5 girlfriend just as well.

The Prototype BUB & What I Would Change

The bike that I was reviewing was a prototype of sorts, it didn’t have the 3 speeds that the standard BUB will.  Gears would of helped keep me in a comfortable seated position on the small climb I have coming from my work.  I also wish it had some sort of rear or front hand brake to assist with the coaster brake, but that was also mainly me as I’m not used to riding a coaster brake bike.

All the options were installed on the test BUB.  Front and rear racks, as well as front and rear lights.  The racks had an interesting mounting design, it is non-standard and you’ll have to rig up your favorite rack to work on this bike if you wish.  The racks felt very strong and stable, a small child could sit on the front, but would completely wreck the steering of the bike.  The tubing on the rack is oversize, to the point a standard pannier clip system (of all types) doesn’t fit without bending or modifying.  Out of all my panniers in my collect only the Basil bags that you drape over one side of the rack to the other worked.

The lights weren’t anything too special.  Yes, a little different in looks but if you already have lights from another bike, save them and reuse them on the BUB.

Small Details

This bike turned heads, and caught many eyes.

The unique paper clip design made people ask questions and want to ride it.  The only other bike I own that causes such questions is my Xtracycle.

The “mood meter” seemed like a joke to me.  This little dial under the top tube that you are supposed to move dependent on your mood.

New pedals are needed unless you are rolling this bike in only fair weather.  There is no grip on them and several times when wet I slipped off the pedals.

Full Chainguard, good fenders, strong wheels, and reflective Schwalbe tires. The small details that many “commuter” bikes are left off with weren’t forgotten here.  I just fear they over thought the design aspect of the bike, leaving it very limited to accessories.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out

Batavus BUB Review : Introduction

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Batavus BUB

Batavus BUB

A quick introduction was posted over at CommuteByBike.com to introduce the Batavus BUB I had teased about a couple weeks ago.  The BUB is a watered down version of most Batavus bikes.  It’s for the person wanting a true city bike but not all the bells and whistles like full chain guard and generator lights.

We are fortunate enough to be one of the first bike testers for the prototype Batavus BUB.  The bike we had in for review was a one speed with a coaster brake.  Slowly I’ll be unveiling my own thoughts, along with a friend who is a pretty new cyclist/commuter.  Let’s start with an introduction from a shop called Renaissance Bikes that was our contact for the BUB.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Batavus BUB on the Way

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A very well talked about bike at Interbike in the upright, euro style, bikes was the Batavus BUB, or Batavus Utility Bike.  The bike has a “paper clip” look to it but holds all the function and design that we know of Batavus.

From Bespoke :
The Batavus BUB is the classic omafiets-meets-Rem Koolhaus. Expressively modern, the Batavus BUB (Batavus Utility Bike) deconstructs the classic Batavus omafiets while constructing a more cosmopolitan – yet equally iconic – iteration of the classic Batavus bike.  True to the essence of the original, classic Batavus bike, the BUB keeps clothing clean, the rider comfortable, and maintenance to an absolute minimum while eschewing nostalgia. The Batavus BUB design presupposes the currents present in Dutch architecture, urbanism, and contemporary design and establishes itself as a new icon.

At a mere $550 the BUB is pure Dutch quality. Everything is present. The chain is completely covered. The gears and brakes are completely internal. The riding position is straight-up, allowing for clear safety sightlines and less visits to the chiropractor. The frame is light enough to take indoors, but durable enough to be stored outside all year in a tough Northeast winter. Like an Eames chair, the design is thoroughly urbane, recalling the clever tricks of Dutch architects and a measure of frivolity admist stern Calvinist practicality. A smashing success in previews throughout Europe, the BUB challenges North American designers to innovate function into form while pushing the native Dutch bike industry to challenge its inbred insularity.

Shortly, Bike Shop Girl will have a BUB for our reviewing pleasure.  Be bopping downtown, the daily commute and the daily life is what the review will be about.  If you have request, questions or any thing else you would like out of the review please let us know!

Links for your reading/research pleasure:

Los Angelos Cycle Chic
Bespoke
Joe Bike