Long gone are the days when the commuter bike was an old-school mountain bike with a potpourri of parts and a rear wheel that was only roughly true. A rise in people looking to build fitness, lower their carbon footprint or simply have fun while getting around has created a big market for commuter bikes. Here are some of our favorites for 2014.
Feel the need...the need for one speed
Single-speed bikes have recently enjoyed a comeback in popularity due to their straightforward aesthetics, ease of use and relative lack of maintenance. Although not ideal for hilly areas, single speeds are excellent for urban riders because of their simplicity: they have no derailleur, no gears, and with fixed-gear bikes, no freewheel mechanism (the thing device allows riders to coast, leaving them to use their legs to slow down in tandem with a front brake — some daring types run no brakes at all, using only their leg power to stop the bike).
With the warm weather upon us and more people than ever hitting the streets for their commute to work — or the bar — it’s about time you got in on the action. Here are our 10 favorites. We’ve left no gear unturned, including everything from the most hardcore, feature-laden commuter to the most bare-bones fixed-gear track bike.
Your new chariot awaits
Across the cycling categories, excluding perhaps the penny-farthing, we seem to be in the middle of a boom in popularity. Cities are adding bike lanes and bike programs, all the cool kids are riding fixies, mountain bikes are gnarlier than ever — and the rest of us are riding road bikes. The popularity of road cycling owes in part to the low barriers to entry (everyone has roads), in part to the variety of awesome bikes available for riders of different skill levels and desired recreation, in part to the rise of the sportive or gran fondo — a cycling event that emphasizes participation over competition — and in part to all the really boss neon lycra. As part of our week-long series on bikes to celebrate the launch of Limits, we’ve picked out five great road bikes for all manner of rides, from entering your first century ride with friends to sasquatching a local crit.
The few, the proud, the Packard
The seventh installment of our Staff Favorites series features Mr. Scott Packard. Scott is thoroughly defined by his 20 years of service as a Marine Corps infantry officer; you’ll see this clearly throughout his staff picks. But to imagine that this is his sole character trait is entirely foolish. He’s an excellent writer, enrapturing GP’s audience with Defense Journals and other articles packed full of ethos and well-studied logic. Scott’s also an active athlete (his favorite pastimes include bicycling, surfing, skiing and even, recently, motocross); a craft beer enthusiast who frequents many of the great tap rooms in his home of San Diego with his wife, who he says enjoys beer even more than he; a passionate cook; and a father and husband. He is, in short, the Most Interesting Man in the World’s older, wiser brother. We’re proud to have this experienced character on our staff. He’s proud of some awesome gear.
Let's get cyclical
The dictionary defines a bicycle as “a vehicle with two wheels in tandem, usually propelled by pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, and having handlebars for steering and a saddle like seat.” That certainly covers the gist of the invention, but after centuries of design evolution, the world of bikes has grown…
It’s safe to say that very little has changed on bicycles since they first became popular at the beginning of the 20th century. So, when I saw the new Trek District and Soho, I instantly thought “GAME CHANGER.” Trek has gone all Mavericky on us and dropped the ubiquitous chain for a new carbon fiber belt…