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Beater Bikes Review

As much fun as it is riding a carbon fibre road bike or a full suspension mountain bike they just aren’t practical for riding in the city with its poor road conditions, theft and inclement weather which can do a number on our bikes. We also need a few things such as fenders, a rack or even reflectors on our ride just to make our commute bearable. Sure there are bikes out there designed for commuting but with prices starting at $500 it may be steep for many potential first time buyers or cyclists. Sure they beat department store bikes in terms of quality and performance but the price tag also makes them targets for bike theft.

Enter the Beater Bike.

Weighing in at $325CND (After tax) this bike is designed to be your bar hopping, wet weather, grocery getting, everyday commuter. There’s a men’s and women’s model and and each one comes ready with an all steel frame, 6-speeds, fenders, chain guard, kick stand, rear rack, and reflectors. Both the wheels and seat post use a solid axle bolt rather than quick release skewers to deter theft as well. Inspired by the commuter bikes of Europe, this no-frills bike is pretty enough to ride but not attractive enough for thieves to eye. Other nice features include 700c wheels rather than 26″ mountain bike wheels, giving you more options for street tyres and better speed as well as V-brakes rather for better stopping power. For anyone who’s interested, the frames have horizontal dropouts in case you’re thinking of turning this into a single-speed/fixed gear/coaster brake/3-speed bike.

However, there are a few draw backs to the bike. The bike only has 1 chain ring up front and 6 gears on the rear which may not be ideal for people who have to commute over hilly terrain. I personally don’t mind since I’ve been riding a single speed for ages now.

Another drawback is the bottom bracket which uses the old school style adjustable-cup-and-cone rather than sealed cartridge bearings. It’ll do the job, but over time the bearings will be exposed to the weather and will need to be regreased.

Beater Bikes aren’t comparable to high end bikes…but that’s the point, they’re meant to be beaten around on your daily commute. I’m already seeing some of these on the street and I’m hoping to see more. For more information visit: www.beaterbikes.ca

Post Script: This was written a year ago and since then I’ve seen a number of them on the street and I even had a chance to ride one and darn are they fun to ride. I love how they are ready to ride without having to dish out extra cash to get the bike commute ready and it seems like many others love them too.



Posted: March 19th, 2010
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Track Cycling!

This is actually a mix of 2 posts from my blog: www.bikeroo.blogspot.com

Good news, spring is in full swing and so is cycling in TO.

Bad news, winter is just around the corner.

Winter here in Toronto with its snow, slush and bitter cold forces many cyclists into hibernation from as early as November until as late as March. For many, this means losing that toned butt and superb stamina they developed over the summer, but it doesn’t have to end there. Imagine being able to keep cycling during the winter in an environment free of potholes, red lights, head winds and angry motorists. The Forest City Velodrome provides a unique cycling experience as riders can ride on an indoor cycling track capable of reaching speeds in excess of 60km/hr. Located 2-hours outside of Toronto in London it has been open for cyclists since 2005 and is one of only 4 existing in Canada. it is maintained by the Forest City Velodrome Association, a not-for-profit organization of passionate volunteers.

Special bikes, known as track bikes, are used to ride on the velodrome. These bikes have only 1 gear ratio which is ‘fixed’ to the wheel, this does not allow the rider to coast. These bikes also lack brakes and water bottle cages. These things aren’t necessary since everyone is going in the same direction and in a predictable manner without any obstacles in the way. Though riding on the track may be a bit scary at first it is actually a thrilling experience shared by cyclists of various ages and levels. The Forest City Velodrome is the shortest and steepest in the world and when you ride it feels like you’re on a human powered roller coaster. Beginners must go through training sessions to understand how to ride a track bike and how to ride on the track safely. The drills are as much fun as they are necessary to enjoy the track.

Aside from the thrill and the speed of track riding it also offers many benefits for cyclists of different styles/disciplines. Track bikes are great for improving pedal performance since the bike forces riders to constantly pedal, often at a high cadence. This helps smooth out pedaling technique and really kick the nasty habit of coasting. Workouts can also be done efficiently without having to stop or slow down for red lights or canceled due to bad weather.

Here are some other photos I took:



Posted: March 18th, 2010
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