Bike Recommendations For A Friend
One of my mates, Mike, is a style-conscious chap about town. He wears a tweed waistcoat, often sports a beard, and runs an advertising agency. Don’t hold the latter against him - he’s a top bloke for advice & fat-chewing when you’re in a fix (and also has an eye for design, copy and brand-building).
So I was more than happy to return the favour when he came to me for bike buying advice. His wife’s been riding for a couple of years, getting around town (I guess), and has a Van Moof:
Mike got in touch a couple of weeks ago (just about the time it started to snow), asking me for recommendations for a bike for him. He was initially looking at this £490 Johnny Loco Londoner, which I’ve used as the template to look for alternatives:
- A cruiser-style bike - style is important!
- Big wheels
- Integrated lights (which his wife’s bike also has)
- Chain-guard & mudguards to keep your clothes from getting mucky
- Three speed Shimano hub gear. Mike lives at the bottom of a hill, so gears might be important.
Alternative #1: Bobbin Daytripper - £365:
- More traditional-looking steel frame - ideal for the chap about town. In Newcastle, this might not be bang-on fashionable though, but this may also make it less desirable for would-be thieves.
- 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub gear
- Mudguards & chain-guard
- Rack included - handy for some light shopping or a briefcase
- Big wheels, but narrower tyres for less rolling resistance
- Needs lights
Alternative #2: Specialized Globe Daily - £400:
- A more modern take on a traditional format - the butcher’s bike!
- Sleek-looking aluminium frame combined with steel forks
- Shimano 3-speed hub gears
- Mudguards & chainguard
- I can see that rack on the front being really useful, especially with a small elasticated cargo net added
- The riding position is more aggressive though (handlebars lower than saddle), which means comfort has been compromised for some speed
- Needs lights
Alternative #3: Creme Glider 3 - £370:
- Back with that cruiser look
- Chainguard, but no mudguards - budget £50 to get a set of these & have them fitted
- Three speed Shimano gears
- Rear brake is a coaster (like on the Londoner) - pedal backwards to engage. Might take a little bit of getting used to
- Prop stand already fitted
- No lights
Alternative #4: Pashley Guv’nor - £845 (eeek!):
- OK, so we’ve just doubled the budget. But it IS the Guv’nor!
- No mudguards, no chain guard, no lights. I’m not even sure if it has the eyelets for your to fit these items. (You’re obviously paying for that Pashley label)
- Three speed Sturmey-Archer hub gears & hub brakes that won’t let you down in the rain
- Lots of bling details in the paintwork, shiny bits, and Reynolds 531 tubing for the frame
- Brooks Titanium B17 saddle
- To my mind, this is the sort of bike that a modern day rake or cad would ride
So those are the four I’d consider. What would you add to the list?
From Sally’s comment - Alternative #5: The Paper Bicycle - £930 with all the gizmos:
From Mr Monkey’s comment - Alternative #6 the Batavus BUB XL - £547: