Fit to be Tried
Bike Geeks Unite!!!
Get Your Gear On
Beauty of the Beasts
Yeah, you've had some good times. Fumbling with gears that were way beyond your grasp. Stroking a well-built frame. Squeezing on a horn that seemed to scream your name. But, last time you opened the garage door, it dawned on you. That rickety, rusty piece of crap gathering dust in the corner just isn't right for you anymore. And that's when it hits you: It's time to get a new bike! But what bike should you buy? Will you like it? Will it like you? While some problems might be best figured out in therapy sessions, the following nine pieces of eye candy can, at the very least, let you fantasize about your dream ride. And a little fantasy has never hurt anyone, now has it?
BIGHA CASUAL/ADVENTURE BIKE
Big Seat: Aluminum frame with high-density foam. Adjusts for leg length, cushioning, reclining angle and depth. Seat back is full of holes for ventilation and pops on and off easily without losing the chosen adjustments. Built for full-body comfort.
Handlebars: Pivotal-based bars fold easily for storage and shipping. Horn and turn-signal controls within a finger's reach.
Transmission: One-handed gearshift can switch even while the bike is at a complete stop.
Frame: Contains formed sheet metal and CNC machined parts with more than 80 inches of TIG welds. Strong.
Brakes: Disc brakes built to fit specified wheels.
Rear Fender: Carries up to 30 pounds of cargo (that's about 3.75 human heads) and contains the bike's alarm and electronics power source.
Lights: Accelerometer senses unauthorized movement when activated and illuminates brake lights.
Accessories: Polar chest strap to monitor your heart rate, auto rack, baggage system, locking system, fender rack and maintenance stand. Dashboard display includes speed, distance, compass, altimeter, humidity, temperature, headwind, time/date and heart rate (optional).
Philosophy: Are you well over the hill but still think you're 18? This sucker might be just right: Designed as the "most durable and maintenance-free bike on the market," BiGHA means "because" in Apache (that's the tribe, not the faulty helicopter) and weds toughness with comfort for all those die-hard road-rippers with bad backs. It's the sturdily built, less intrusive new Hummer of the bike world.
Can Be Found At: www.bigha.com. Base price $3,000 (including shipping); accessories available.
T 2000 TANDEM
Seat: Bontrager FS 2000/2000 WSD (woman-specific design) is made with a shorter frame and smaller reach ratio. chromoly durable rails and leather surface are specially designed for a woman's anatomy, cause it ain't just the guys who get saddlesore.
Handlebars: Bontrager Race Lite/CX Race provide narrower bars and a shorter extension for a more comfy fit.
Frame: ZR 9000 Alloy is the lightest and thinnest of them all. The triple-butted chromoly fork absorbs vibrations with ease, and the double-butted frame tubing has a wide diameter with thin-walls for that nicely lightweight design. The derailleur hanger uses cold-forged replaceable components and allows multibrake compatibility for the versatile, brand-hopping rider.
Transmission: Shimano Ultegra nine-speed gearshift holds up well with a triple chainring for wider gear options.
Wheels: Bontrager Race X-Lite Tandem hubs and wheelset and 14G bladed spokes incorporate strength, lightweight and aerodynamics.
Philosophy: Stronger than steel (like Superman) and lighter that titanium (like, uh, the Flash), the T 2000 lets you and your best friend pedal in perfect sync (like the Wonder Twins) with twice the power and speed. The new 2000 design is more durable than previous Trek tandems (the T 1000? So totally last century--really!) and the reliable pro-level Shimano components make this ride safe and dependable for road use.
Can Be Found At: The Bike Gallery, 5329 NE Sandy Blvd., 281-9800, and other shops, or at www.trekbikes.com/bikes/2003/road/t2000.jsp. Advertised retail price $3,299.99.
Seat: Super-plush elastomer suspension is light, cheap and low-maintenance. The seat post offers adjustable damping to the control the level of groin shock-and-bounce, while the Body Geometry Milano glove saddle cushions with soft leather.
Handlebars: Ergonomic bars are fitted to the hand to reduce fatigue and numbness (when bent in a clawlike death grip) and are wrapped in custom elliptical tubing for grip and comfort. Top-mounted brake extension levers help those tired thumbs.
Frame: A specialized carbon-3 fiber fork is lightweight and excellent for absorbing potholes and speed bumps. A clear Zertz elastomer damping adds additional shock absorption.
Transmission: Shimano Ultegra 27 speed drivetrain features extra bearings for a longer road-life. Ultegra STI levers complement the lighter aluminum design for a more responsive and precise shifting mechanism. The wide-range triple crankset adds additional spice to your shifting speed and pleasure.
Fenders: Integral rack mounts on both front and rear fenders.
Wheels: Lightweight 26-c Turbo Pro tires sport a Kevlar bead for a lighter-weight ride, and a Shimano New lightweight R-540 wheelset provides high-performance durability.
Brakes: Top-mounted Shimano Ultegra brake extension levers.
Philosophy: Now at 20 pounds (down five from last year's model) and complete with all the safety features a sleepy morning rider would like, this tightly built puppy makes a great exercise/commuter bike. Perfect for a smooth road ride and for quick-stopping steering precision, Sequoia is built for tight-grip comfort and fast-action steering control. Good for hard or hazardous surfaces.
Can Be Found At: River City Bicycles, 706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 233-5973, and other shops, or www.specialized.com. Suggested retail price $1630.
WATERFORD 2200 ROAD RACER
Seat: Flared seat tube custom-fitted to seat-mast socket for a stiffer shell and seat/frame integrity.
Frame: Reynolds' 853 air-hardened steel alloy main tubes and True-Temper OX Platinum stays create a softer, more flexible body. Bottom bracket houses an oversized chainstay and downtube sockets for a stronger frame and more rigid structural integrity. Stainless-steel components resist wear and tear. Tight alignment standards allow absence of dropout adjusters.
Transmission: Advanced lower head lugs hold it tightly together, threaded derailleur cables guide shifting wires with added precision, and spring-loaded barrel adjusters provide speed and instant accuracy in the gearshift. Altogether, this transmission comprises the first STI, Ergo and bar-end system compatible frameset in the world, which makes the ride comfy, slick and efficient. Allows for easy derailleur adjustments.
Wheels: Short wheelbase allows for faster-response steering and snappier climbing, cornering and acceleration.
Brakes: Lugs act cross-string by blending the brake-cable routes with threaded derailleur cable guides and split brake guides. It all provides a faster and more secure brake-room.
Accessories: Stainless-steel investment cast, head lugs and fork crown. Just you try and scratch her.
Philosophy: Stiff frame and rapid-response handling make this road warrior a hard-lining, head-first racing machine. This sucker is quick and compact with zilch for frills and speed for the hills. The few, the proud and the diehard alone can handle her.
Can Be Found At: River City Bicycles, 706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 233-5973, and other shops, or www.waterfordbikes.com. Approximately $1,600.
Seat: Comfy foam with optional alloy suspension. Provides springs for women's models and a protective center indent for men.
Handlebars: Ergonomically designed with optional fully adjustable alloy.
Frame: Lightweight, platinum finish high-ten steel frame.
Transmission: A newly patented automatic bike. Unique AutoShift transmission sports seven gears for flats and seven for hills, shifting automatically in response to rear-derailleur spin-sensors. As RPMs decrease, as on a hill climb, derailleur weights spin more slowly and shift the chain into a lower gear. Forget all that pesky thumb-shift action.
Wheels: Dual-suspension, two-inch all-terrain Kenda tires are tough and adequate. The grips provide traction for trails but low-friction gliding for pavement.
Brakes: Direct-pull linear brakes.
Philosophy: Not that manual r shifting is all that difficult (well, maybe for arthritic-thumbed riders), but an automatic gearshift sure can't hurt if a smooth, simple ride is your cup of tea. Warning: More tiny mechanical parts mean greater risk of gremlins, and the AutoShift design can lock you into a gear you might not like. Those shifty plastic components can sometimes jam up, and replacement parts can be hard to find. Not recommended for off-road use.
Can Be Found At: www.landrider.com. Regularly priced at $599.80.
TREK DIESEL FREERIDE
Frame: Alpha aluminum is heavier but tougher and dent-resistant, while Monocoque construction stiffens the fork/swingarm connection for more responsive steering control. The Boxer race fork and Fox Vanilla DH rear-coil shock keep suspension tight and protective for the pain and punishment you love so much.
Transmission: A buff TruVativ Holzfeller crank resists bends and breaks and always can always take the impact with its heavier design. A double chainring makes the uphill climb less of a hassle so you're ready and primed for the downhill explosion. Shimano Deore XT/XTR nine-speed shifting cranks are built to work well under intense pressure.
Wheels: Sun singletrack disc-specific rims join the tough and scrape-resistant Michelin DH Comp tires. The resulting soft rubber grip absorbs bumps and jolts with graceful ease for the outdoor, mud-diving monster you are. Welded, triple-hollow construction reinforces the wheels for shielding against those unforeseen obstacles.
Brakes: "Brake therapy" floating arm allows active frame suspension for high speeds and quick breaking. The arm doles out a whopping eight inches of shock absorption to allow for extreme, last-second braking. Makes for less roadkill.
Philosophy: Equipped for long-haul, off-road rides but reinforced with full suspension, this sick little puppy loves punishment but won't smack your glutes too fiercely, thanks to the durable design and beefed-up disc brakes.
Can Be Found At: Bob's Bicycle Center, 10950 SE Division St., 254-2663, and other shops. Advertised retail price $4,399.99.
Frame: SuperLite 4130 chromoly frame is tight and light for the simple traveling biker. Patented ChikLok bendable frame technology lets you fold and store the Boardwalk D6 in 15 seconds with the simple flick of a lever. PowerBulge frame tubing bulges vertically near the head tube to allow a stiffer frame on the vertical plane (where the front end of the bike is most stressed) and also permits easier folding. Magnetix latching technology uses magnets to hold the D6 neatly together when folded.
Transmission: Shimano six-speed gearing is the most popular hub gear on earth with its resilience and simplicity. All of the gears are completely enclosed and thus require less maintenance for when your barely off-road excursion goes a little too, uh, off.
Brakes: Power V-brake sports aluminum flex and durability.
Philosophy: It's the best-selling folding bike in the world, and at 26.2 pounds and dimensions of 11 by 22 by 33 inches when folded, this Dahon is especially good for the value. Plus, it's cool to say you're carrying your ride in your suitcase! Compact for riders on the go (even when they're not riding) and great for traveling and vacations.
Availability: Coventry Cycleworks, 2025 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-7723, and other shops, or www.dahon.com/boardwalkd6.htm. $259.
BREEZER TOWN BIKES
Seat: Plush seat and suspension seat post keep your buns softly girded and loose.
Handlebars: Ergo grips shape to fit your hands while front suspension eases the bumps. Also comes with comfy shift levers and a nifty "look out!" bell.
Transmission: Full chain-guard covering keeps grease and road grime from splashing onto your pant legs from the chain. Internal hub transmission houses a Shimano Nexus seven-speed shift with linear progression for easiest possible shifting but tough wear-resistance. Gears are covered and protected to allow both longevity and a more attractive design.
Rear-Fender Baggage Carrier: The oversized stuff-carrier is custom-made for Breezers and consequently weighs less than regular add-on carriers. Non-detachable fenders reduce rattling while keeping you clean and dry.
Tail Lights: Dynamo-powered light is above-average size for greater visibility and housed and protected by the rear baggage carrier. An on-board generator spares time and hassles with batteries. A capacitator-derived Standlight feature keeps lights illuminated even at a dead stop.
Wheels: Reflective sidewall tires for safer evening visibility.
Philosophy: Great soft-core commuter bike is perfect for laid-back shopping or just running errands--you could even down an ice-cream cone while pedaling a sunny sidewalk. The easy-use, no-hassle design comes with a standard ring lock and kickstand for easy parking and security, and the internal transmission and thick fenders keep your leisure clothes clean and your bike sleek and low-maintenance.
Availability: www.breezerbikes.com. $499.
Frame: All Euro. Non-diamond frame design presents a rounded, classier look for that spiffy European aesthetic. It's not designed to be lightweight but works just as well as any other easy-riding/commuter bike with a focus on comfort and steering ease.
Lights: A no-batteries light-generator housed in the bike's hub is powered by the spinning wheels. Pedal until you see the light.
Wheels: Equipped with the "honesty lock" that ensnares the spokes and keeps the wheels from turning when activated. Would-be thieves will be unable to steal and ride your bike away, and must resort to the lost art of "lift it and leave."
Accessories: Kickstand, pump, rack and fenders.
Philosophy: These fully-equipped but sensible commuter bikes are Euro-design-direct from Trek and set for test marketing in Portland via Bike Gallery shops. Perhaps destined for collector's item status, they do make a swift and pretty model with smooth-running and commuter-friendly accessories. Definitely unique to Portland.
Can Be Found At: Exclusively at Bike Gallery locations, including 1001 SW Salmon St., 222-3821. $800-$1,200.