First Look: Breezer Finesse

Breezer Finesse Specs

28 Responses to “First Look: Breezer Finesse”

  • RJ says:

    Huh. Do you know what’s going on with the bottom bracket area of the frame? I haven’t seen bolts like that on the the bottom of a frame before.

  • Steve Fuller says:

    That bike has an eccentric bottom bracket, those bolts are used to hold the BB in position once it’s set. This would be used for adjusting the chain tension since the bike has a rear disk brake and an internally geared rear hub.

  • Steve Fuller says:

    For the record, those awful bar ends really need to be removed from that bike.

  • Alan says:

    To follow up on what Steve explained regarding the bottom bracket, the same thing is sometimes accomplished with sliding dropouts. In the case of sliding dropouts, the disc caliper is mounted on the sliding portion so that it moves with the hub and rotor.

  • Rick says:

    I do like the use of an eccentric bottom bracket for adjusting chain tension as well as the famous Joe Breeze “Breeze-In” drop-outs. In this example the split bracket shell I’ve only seen with steel and Ti. Looks like overkill with three bolts vs. non-split shell and set screws. More elegant would be the use of a Dennis Bushnell double wedge eccentric.

    I’m fine with the “bar-ends” as they look like the short aero “Jammers” I’ve used on road bikes and tandems. Just adds more hand positions and useful riding into a headwind.

  • Alan says:

    Here’s a photo of the Bushnell eccentric…

  • 2whls3spds says:

    Don’t forget to review the headlight ;-)

    I cannot afford another bike at the moment, but that doesn’t stop me from buying some of the components. I am still trying to figure out the fascination with putting disc brakes on everything that moves these days. Everyone I know that has them seems to have issues with them. I could see the possible need for them for a gonzo downhill rider, but for a city/commuter bike I don’t see the need. Must be some more of the technological creep I read about. FWIW I rode (and still do) for years on steel rims with John Bull pads. LOL

    Aaron

  • RJ says:

    Ah! Thanks for introducing the eccentric bottom bracket to me!

    Can you tell me what it’s advantage/performance difference is? :)

  • justeddie says:

    Alan, could you please tell me where those photos of the Breezer were taken. The bike path in the background looks to be really nice.

  • Doug says:

    It’s great to see more and more options out there for the non-racer crowd. This is a well thought out bike for commuters.

    Personally I’m more of a retro grouch and prefer to ride steel. Many of todays aluminum frames (this one included) have some of the ugliest welds. I could never spend my money on anything that ugly.

  • RJ says:

    Do these ‘ugly welds’ only appear on aluminum frames and not steel? Or do steel frames just tend to go the lug route more often? I guess all frames– even carbon fiber– TECHNICALLY start out with lugs.. but none so celebrated as those we see on steel frames.

  • Alan says:

    @RJ

    With any bike that doesn’t have a derailleur or mechanical chain tensioner, you have to be able to adjust the distance between the bottom bracket and rear axle to tension the chain properly. For track bikes, cruisers, roadsters, etc., where there is either no rear brake or the brake is built into the hub, all that’s required is a horizontal dropout that allows you to move the rear wheel fore and aft. Your Stingray with a coaster brake you had when you were a kid was like this.

    It gets complicated when rim brakes or disc brakes are used though. As you can imagine, moving the rear wheel fore and aft even a small amount messes with your brake adjustment. The usual solution is either an eccentric bottom bracket or a sliding rear dropout with a disc brake mounted on the sliding portion.

    An eccentric BB bypasses the brake issue altogether by moving the BB instead of the rear wheel. This is what you’d use if you prefer rim brakes.

    Sliding dropouts with a disc brake mounted on the sliding portion resolve the issue by moving the brake along with the rear wheel.

    Regarding performance, I can’t see any real difference. Not that it’s an issue, but it does seem the sliding dropout design provides a wider range of adjustment than the eccentric BB.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @justeddie

    Those were taken in Roseville, CA. That is one of the trails that traverse the greenbelts that criss-cross the city.

  • Charlie says:

    It’s great to see a high-end commuter bike with components like internal gears and disk brakes that do well in bad weather. But what I don’t get is the exposed chain. Why not a chaincase like on the Breezer New Uptown 8? Why go all out to make it an all weather bike, and then leave the chain out to rust? Perhaps people in California don’t understand what real weather–especially salt on winter roads–can do to an exposed chain.

  • RJ says:

    Ah, that makes sense. Thank you for your thorough response, Alan! I learned something today!

  • Alan says:

    Hi Charlie,

    For the most part, I like the idea of a fully enclosed chaincase (I have one on one of my bikes). The only issue I have, and it’s a pretty big one, is that fully enclosed chaincases can make changing flats a major headache. We may not have the weather, but we have plenty of goatheads here in CA (goatheads = flats). :-) I haven’t seen the chaincase on the new Uptown 8 up close to know whether changing flats is going to be difficult on that bike.

    I’m only guessing, but in the case of the Finesse it may simply be a matter of weight — not something I pay much attention to normally, but something that may have been a concern when designing a performance commuter with expensive carbon bits.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Barbara Kilts says:

    I like that the rear rack uses the vestigial brake bosses, but it appears there are no lower attachment points at the drop outs for panniers. Are the small sides of the rack long enough to keep a bag from swaying into the spokes?

    Yeah – the retro grouch in me doesn’t like the ugly welds on most aluminum frames, either… I ‘spose all the hand filing to make them smooth would make bikes too expensive!

    Barbara

  • Cullen says:

    Beautiful bike!

    Where was that first photograph taken?

  • Alan says:

    @Cullen

    “Where was that first photograph taken?”

    Roseville, CA

  • Rider says:

    Cheezy welds.

  • Simon N says:

    @ 2whls3spds

    It’s mainly a wheel-buckle thing – disc, hub, roller, and coaster brakes allow you to get home with a significant wobble. Also, you can have truly big clearance for fat tires and or fenders without reducing the mechanical advantage of your setup, and you can run lighter rims (no braking surface, compare the weight of Velocity Synergys to Velocity VXCs). Cheap disc brakes can be a pain to dial in, but the better kind have their advantages. I’m planning on building up a Soma Double Cross DC with Avid BB7s and STI levers in the near future.

    @ Steve Fuller

    I’m in agreement regarding the bar-ends (can you call them that if they’re not at the end of the bars?). I mean, I like multiple hand positions, but unless you’re on long stretches of obstacle-free, uninterrupted asphalt, it’s good to have your hands within reach of the brakes.

    @ Charlie

    I recently had an old Hallmark 3-speed (1950s) restored for my gf, and chain cases (or even chain guards) are not the easiest things to come across. Your LBS will probably groan at you if you ask. Not only do you have to find one specific to your chainring/cog setup, but then you have to figure out a way to mount it. It’d be nice to have, sure, but I can understand why they might’ve skimped. 90% of the chaincases manufactured are for 14″ kiddy bikes. You’d more or less have to design and order a custom batch.

    @ Alan

    I too prefer the sliding dropout style. I have a friend with a Red Band Nexus Inter-8 and an eccentric hub, and there’s always this period between notches of EBB adjustment where the chain slackens enough to jump off. Probably just a poor quality EBB, but it sounds like a real pain to live with.

  • Alan says:

    @Barbara

    “I like that the rear rack uses the vestigial brake bosses, but it appears there are no lower attachment points at the drop outs for panniers. Are the small sides of the rack long enough to keep a bag from swaying into the spokes?”

    The rack is designed to carry a rack top bag only. Joe Breeze’s concept for the Finesse is as a “fast commuter” and the aerodynamic benefits of no side panniers won out over carrying capacity. A standard rack could be mounted in its place if one so desired.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Simon N & 2whls3spds

    I’ve had good luck with BB7s – easy to set-up and totally reliable in my experience. The idea of hydraulic discs scares me a little, but I have to admit, Alfines have been 100% reliable, simple to adjust and set-up, and quite powerful. There’s no question that a high quality disc outperforms every other type of brake in regards to sheer braking power. Overall, my experience with discs has been very good. My guess is that we’ll continue to see more and more discs spec’d on utility bikes.

  • 2whls3spds says:

    @Simon N

    I am a huge fan of IGH and internal expanding brakes, regardless of the type. The bike I ride the most right now has Shimano roller brakes on it. I guess I have a problem with the discs in that you have to have a frame that will accept discs, whereas with the rollers, or coaster brakes they can be installed on just about anything without too much hassle. And at less expense than the discs.

    Aaron

  • Simon N says:

    @Aaron

    Yeah, I know what you mean. Front fork is always disc OR cantis, rear is almost always disc with vertical dropouts if it’s disc at all. They’re a pain to get right – but if you like your brakes with bite…

    @ Alan

    Good to get the positive feedback on the BB7s!

  • Luke Elrath says:

    Regarding disc brakes:

    Two major benefits of disc brakes on a commuter bike like this:

    1. All weather performance. There is no decrease of stopping power in the rain or snow.
    2. No rim wear. Several high mile commuters have received sticker shock when they had to have a new rim relaced onto the hub because of pad-induced rim wear. There is only so much life on braking surfaces, disc brakes systems address this by simply having you replace the rotors at a significant cost and labor savings.

    Luke Elrath
    Breezer product manager

  • 2whls3spds says:

    @Luke Elrath

    All the same can be said of Roller brakes…at lower expense, and I have yet to hear of anyone having to replace parts on a roller brake other than cables. Also I can retro fit roller brakes (and do) to any number of bikes in my stable, things like a mid 70’s Motobecane, a 1971 Raleigh 20, etc…can’t typically be done with discs (just playing devil’s advocate here). Also trying to understand why cycle designer/manufacturers always insist on going with the highest tech thing on the market when there is proven technology that will work for less allowing great bikes at good price points.

    Aaron

  • Stephen says:

    Aluminum frames are usually never lugged. Raleigh tried at one time gluing Al tubes into lugs (presumably steel), but this idea never really took off, as epoxy will fracture over time from stress. Carbon fiber can be built up w/ lugs (the tubes are glued in) or w/o lugs, but it’s expensive for a commuting bicycle, and both materials can fracture catastrophically from stress.

    Steel frames are traditionally lugged. Steel frames can be TIG-welded w/o lugs and the welds filed smooth, but most mass-market Al welds are ropy-looking. I would imagine that filing Al welds smooth, assuming that it doesn’t weaken the joint, is very labor intensive. My objection to Al is the ride rather than the aesthetics. That said, I’d like to have a ride report on this bicycle, as well as more info on the quality of the bearings. Breezer builds a cool product that is affordable.

 
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