Kona Smoke with Freeradical

Two years ago I was searching for a ‘commuter’ specific bicycle. I was lucky to find the Kona Smoke in a shop close to my house. I also got it for a decent deal, $300 bucks out the door.

With gas prices being so high, recreational cyclists are turning to commuting by bike. The 2007 bicycle line up from most manufacturers feature more choices of commuter/utilitarian bikes than before.

Urban X
KHS Bicycles has their Urban Line that feature 3 bikes, Urban X, Urban Xpress and Urban Xtreme. Although not part of their Urban Line, KHS also has a fixed gear bike, the Flite 100.

Diamond Back Transporter
Diamond Back features 3 bikes in their ‘commuter’ line up. The Transporter, Century and Kalos.

Raleigh One Way
Raleigh USA has their Rush Hour and One Way SS/Fixed gear bikes with commuters in mind.

Redline 925
925Redline came out with the 925 last year, this year the well known BMX/Cyclocross company is beefing up their line up with road bikes and comfort bikes.

Some of the Big Companies like Trek and Giant tout their ‘modified’ road bikes and flat bar road bikes as commuter bikes. In my opinion, any bike can be a commuter/utilitarian bike, but in my book, a decent commuter/utility bike has to be durable, dependable and affordable.

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0 thoughts on “Trends”

  1. Shanyn Money says:

    Love your blog, but I think you guys are missing the woman commuter perspective. I am a 46 year old professional who decided to begin commuting by bike in earnest when the university that I work for jacked employee parking permits to over $300 per year at the same time that gas rose to over $3.00 per gallon. Commuting has been a learning experience in many ways, but has crystalized what a professional woman commuter needs in a bike:
    Ways to carry stuff: we carry lots more than our male counterparts, and require panniers, racks, baskets, xtracyles, trailers. And at least one carrier that can be locked.
    Fenders: front and rear.
    Chainguard: to keep us clean from grease and road spray.
    Lights: headlight and tailight. For safety, to see, and to be seen.
    Bell: to alert peds and motorists to our presence.
    Light weight: to do the bus “bike and ride”
    Step through frame: this is huge for most women. We want to dress like girls sometime! Try wearing a suit and riding a “boys” bike! And who wants to change their clothes to run out and get something for lunch?
    Internal gears: minimal maintenence, easy shifting, can change gears from a stop.

  2. Moe says:

    We do have Priscilla “The Bike Princess” that commutes by bicycle. Do a search on her name and you will see her posts.

    Another trend is that manufacturers are making ‘Women Specific Design’ Bicycles for road bikes and mountain bikes, no so much for commuter bikes. My guess is that hybrid/comfort bikes fill that niche.

  3. Nick says:

    Also, people used to call me a woman in junior high.

    Actually, when I set my wife up with a bike, I learned plenty about what she needed vs. what I needed. I set her up with a super-light 43 cm track bike, replaced the fixed gear with a freewheel and added front and rear brakes, plus cruiser handlebars (salvaged off a trashed Schwinn) and a big ol’ quick release basket up front. It’s very light, which is good coming and going from our 4th-floor walk-up.

    Honestly, I don’t think there’s much sense in dividing bike types up by sex. Plenty of chicks want to ride the same kind of bike as I do, and there are more than a few dudes that carry just as much stuff and wouldn’t think of riding without a chainguard. As for me, I change when I get to work. It’s all about your body, personality and riding style. The only advantage to a step-through frame (which are marketed as women’s bikes) is that it’s a little easier to mount in a skirt. Big deal. A bike is a bike. Any anatomical differences can be accounted for with a sex-appropriate saddle.

  4. Moe says:

    Nick, Why would people call you a woman in Jr High?

  5. More importantly, are they STILL calling you a woman?

  6. Nick says:

    No, they stopped. I was growing my hair long, and the school I went to was very small and closed-minded. I was also told by a kid that the standard black Doc Martens I was wearing were girl boots.

    There’s a reason I left New Hampshire.

  7. Bike Worker says:

    I accept that women who commute by bike have different needs than men, especially regarding the frame. But I disagree with some of the other things that Ms. Money talks about.

    Since when do male commuters not care about having lights to see and be seen in the dark?

    Also, the broad generalization “we carry lots more than our male counterparts” may be true for some women who bring a giant purse, but in most other work situations the amount of clothing and accessories by weight is about equal. We don’t come to work in shorts where I work — it’s semi-formal for both sexes. Two pannier bags is enough for pants, shirt, suit, shoes, and all the other stuff in my pocket, which would fill a small purse — wallet, blackberry, cell phone, change, keys, etc. A small makeup kit that a woman might use will not justify buying a trailer.

  8. Well to each his own I say. Personally I like to keep it as simple as possible. RL and have a similar mindset in this. Safety is our first priority, then comfort and any bonus would be nice, but not necessary. I only use one bag when commuting, that’s enough for me. And I just prefer that my bike is light. My Cypress (which has the step through frame)is a lot heavier then my IBEX so even though the cypress is meant for commuting I prefer the IBEX. But that’s just me. I say whatever encourages you to get out there and ride your bike. Go for it! If its bells and trailors then more power to you! Nothing wrong with that.

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