A little while back I went to Resistor Gallery to check out the Beater Bikes with a friend of mine. I liked the bike’s ruggedness and simplicity which would be ideal for city commuting. A few months ago, my dad stumbled upon my review and decided to buy a Beater Bike which he has yet to actually use, during that time I took it upon myself to use it as my commuter bike and get some mileage into it.
Ditching my track bike with its aerodynamic positioning and the need for speed for an upright bike that favours comfort and style was definitely a weird shift that took me some time to get used to. Once I did get used to the bike I really began to appreciate the upright position during my 14km commute and the 6-gears were a relief during my climb up the Bathurst St. hill between Dupont Ave and St. Clair Ave W.
The Beater Bike on a grocery run
On the second day of commuting with the Beater Bike I dropped it on the drive side (right side) bending the derailleur hanger out of place. Fortunately, the steel was soft and durable enough to be bent back into place and was able to bend it and go on with my day. I have so far put nearly 400km on it and have commuted in both fair and rainy weather, though it has kept up all this time there have been a number of things about the bike that bugged me.
The Beater Bike fork has a 1 1/4” threaded steerer which is a really odd size considering the industry standard is either 1” or 1 1/8”. That means finding a replacement fork or stem would be close to impossible since you won’t find any 1 1/4” components. The seatpost is also a weird size at 25.4mm compared to modern steel bikes which used 27.2mm. All of this odd sizing makes customizing the bike (such as a longer or taller stem) to fit the rider much harder.
Another big issue for me was the actual assembly of the bike. During the first few rides I noticed several small noises coming from the bike and I would often have to pull over to tighten different nuts and bolts that were obviously not tightened enough. Everything from the handlebar clamp bolt on the stem to the rack and fender bolts came loose in the first few days of riding. I even had to repack the bottom bracket as it came loose on one ride. Though these were quick fixes for me I know that commuters who don’t have the special tools or the know how to do it would be stuck with having to take the bike into a shop to do it which would cost money and time.
The cup-and-cone bottom bracket
The Beater Bike is still a nice bike for the money in comparison to what department stores have to offer in the same price range. I know they are in the process of designing a new model of Beater Bikes and I hope that in the future they look at standardizing the specs on their parts and take the time to properly assemble everything.
Posted: June 28th, 2010
Filed under: Review
Tags: Beater Bike, bicycle, commute | 6 Comments »