Sneak Peek: 2011 Breezer Uptown Infinity

You may have noticed this is our second “sneak peek” in less than a week. Interbike, the bicycle industry’s largest trade show, is coming up at the end of September, so we’ll have lots of product news for you over the next month or so. We won’t be attending the show this year, but we’ll be reporting from afar as the news comes in from our sponsors and elsewhere.

Now, for the latest from Breezer:

New for 2011, the Uptown Infinity marks another milestone in Joe BreezeÂ’s lifelong pursuit to make cycling simpler, easier and more accessible for more people. The Infinity pairs BreezerÂ’s award-winning Uptown frame and components with a revolutionary, infinitely variable transmission from NuVinci that makes shifting seamless. The Uptown Infinity: infinitely fun and infinitely practical.

Infinity Highlights

  • BreezerÂ’s top-of-the-line Town bike for 2011
  • With a twist of the wrist, riders have an infinite choice of gearing between highest and lowest ratios — a 360 percent range.
  • No more clicking into gear, because there actually are no gears. A smooth-shifting, intuitive dial increases or decreases pedaling exertion. Shifting is as easy as adjusting the volume on your stereo.
  • The transmission is inside the rear hub and is maintenance-free.
  • Full chain case for minimal maintenance and clean trouser legs.
  • Busch & MullerÂ’s dynamo-powered lights — the industryÂ’s brightest — remain lit when stopped for maximum visibility — and never need batteries.
  • MSRP: $1269.
  • Availability: Fall 2010 for standard and low-step versions.

Infinity Features and Spec at a Glance

Frame: Joe Breeze design, aluminum
Shifters: NuVinci Variable Twist Grip
Rear Hub: NuVinci N360 Continuously Variable Planetary Transmission
Front Hub: Shimano Dynamo 3N20 6V-3W
Headlight: Busch & Muller IQ Cyo LED with Standlight, 60 Lux
Taillight: Busch & Muller Toplight XS LED with Standlight
Tires: WTB Freedom Cruz Elite with Reflex, 26×1.5”
Rear Carrier: Breezer Tubular Aluminum with Spring Clip
And More: Full-length fenders, Axa Solid Ring Lock, Kickstand, Chime Bell

The Uptown was awarded Bicycling Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice” for best commuter bike for the past three years (read our road test of the Uptown 8 here). Combining the proven ride-ability and reliability of the Uptown with the bullet-proof NuVinci N360 CVP transmission should make for an even better, fully-equipped commuter.

We’ll have an Uptown Infinity for review this fall.

Breezer

44 Responses to “Sneak Peek: 2011 Breezer Uptown Infinity”

  • Joseph E says:

    Good thing this is out of my price range; wouldn’t want to have buyer’s remorse for getting the 2009 Uptown 8.

    Any word on whether the rest of the Uptown line-up remains the same?

  • Pete says:

    My only regret, seeing the vast selection of great commuting bikes that are now available, is that I don’t need a new commuting bike!

  • Mike says:

    It would sure be nice if that chain case didn’t have a big opening by the rear cog. When are they going to figure out that the big advantage of a chain case is that it can keep the drivetrain clean and dry in foul weather?

  • Chris Morfas says:

    This is hilarious! I remember about four years ago I was with Joe at a small gathering of advocates over at Ambrosia coffee shop at 11th and K. The NuVinci folks had equipped an Electra Townie with one of their hubs, and I later raved to Joe via email how much I had enjoyed riding that bike. He responded with a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo about the superiority of the latest Shimano internal hub. And now…!

  • Alan says:

    @Chris

    I defense of Joe, in my opinion, the NuVinci is just now finally ready for primetime. I reviewed last year’s model (http://www.ecovelo.info/2009/11/27/nuvinci-cvp-hub/) and was somewhat disappointed. The two main issues I had included weight and shifter throw, both of which have been addressed in this new model.

    Alan

  • townmouse says:

    How does that transmission work then? Sounds interesting

  • Alan says:

    @townmouse

    Here you go:

    http://www.fallbrooktech.com/NuVinci.asp

  • Grateful says:

    WOW!! The shocker for me is the price point. I would have expected that with the NuVinci Hub it would be more. This WHOLE bike is less than a Rohloff hub.

    Two questions:
    #1: How reliable is the NuVinci hub?
    #2: Is there a Belt Drive capability?

    Nice looking bike.

  • Chris Morfas says:

    @ Alan

    Yes, the earlier Nu Vinci model was sluggish.

    I AM in need of a new commuter bike and am suddenly feeling about $1269 poorer. :-)

    Or should I go with the Hyland?

    I take it the comparison might look this:

    Hyland: sleeker, more stylish, quicker…a better date bike
    Breezer: sturdier, more fully equipped (love the ring lock)…a reliable, long-lasting commuter bike

    I’m sure you could make a full column out of that choice!

  • Alan says:

    @Grateful

    “Two questions:
    #1: How reliable is the NuVinci hub?
    #2: Is there a Belt Drive capability?”

    1. The N360 is a new model, but it’s based upon their older models which have proven to be very tough.

    2. Nope. The frame would need an opening to accept a one piece carbon belt.

  • Alan says:

    @Chris

    “Hyland: sleeker, more stylish, quicker…a better date bike
    Breezer: sturdier, more fully equipped (love the ring lock)…a reliable, long-lasting commuter bike

    I’m sure you could make a full column out of that choice!”

    Undoubtedly! :-) Both are great bikes. I’d throw the Civia Bryant in the mix as well (the belt drive is intriguing).

    Cheers!

  • Fergie348 says:

    That’s one sleek looking bike. The one choice I take issue with is the suspension seatpost, but that’s easily remedied. At least they didn’t equip it with a Suntour suspension fork!

    Any idea on total weight? I’d guess 32 lbs or thereabouts, but if it’s significantly more that would be a non-starter.

  • Alan says:

    @Fergie348

    “Any idea on total weight?”

    The Uptown 8 is 33.6 lbs. – this one should be just slightly heavier. Keep in mind this includes front and rear lights, generator, fenders, full chain case, and kickstand. Most manufacturers exclude those items when stating weights (or they don’t supply them in the first place).

  • Teddy says:

    What a great looking commuter bike!

  • Reuben Collins says:

    This bike looks fantastic! But…

    Am I the only one that thinks the chaincase is a little cheap-looking?

  • Alan says:

    @Reuben

    I actually like the fact that it’s transparent – it’s nice to be able to see what’s going on in there without having to remove it. On my Pashley, I was always wondering about chain tension, lube, etc. because I couldn’t see inside the case.

  • Pete says:

    No Reuben, you’re not the only one.
    (I’m not fond of the paint scheme, either)

    I think chaincases are a lagging design element in the utility bike renaissance. Chain guards have gotten pretty good – Civia’s is beautiful – but full cases still only look good in classic painted steel. (Now, if all goes according to plan, people will start to post tons of pictures of really nice chain cases! :)

  • John says:

    What would keep me from buying a bike like this is the handlebars. Give me swept back parallel to the top tube bars or drop bars, I hate straight bars or those with little sweep back.

    I know that perhaps for novice riders or those who grew up with MTM/hybrid style bikes that straight bars might be more attractive initially….but I don’t like them and I believe that in the long run most folks would be better off with something else. It seems like the shifter might make it hard to swap out the bars.

    In any case straight bars keep me away from cycles like this…if I was in the market.

  • Stephen says:

    What’s interesting to me is that when I started bicycle commuting ten or so years ago, there wasn’t diddly in commuting bicycles like this, at least outside of New Yawk City and points further east across the Pond. So I built my own, using a collection of parts from Rivendell, eBay, etc. Now, serious commuters have a choice of a dozen or more storebought bicycles, mostly different, but mostly similar in their basic outfit and with a basic design integrity that seems to get more refined by the week. This to this aging dude is a very fine thing.

    Arguments over plastic vs. metal chaincases, synthetic tweed vs. woolen tweed, etc. are amusing and a sign of a real sea change. Very, very cool…

  • Alan says:

    @John

    I don’t know if you’ve swapped bars on a bike like this, but it’s super easy – perhaps a 30 minute job, tops. You could throw some North Road or Albatross bars on this bike without changing a thing – easy peasy… :-)

  • Mike says:

    I reiterate: that is NOT a “full chaincase”. It is an almost-full chaincase. This one has a big hole in it by the rear axle. It’s better than the typical chainguard, and will certainly keep garments from getting grease on them, but it will not prevent dirt and the like from getting on the chain. This is an improvement over a typical chain guard, but it is not in the same class as the Dutch or English bikes with genuine full chaincases.

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    Honestly Mike, it seems to be very nearly the same thing that was on my Pashley. Perhaps the opening at the rear axle is slightly larger on the Breezer’s, but there was a gap on the Pashley as well. Neither are sealed with a rubber gasket in the true sense of “sealed”, but both will certainly keep spray from the wheels and rain off of the chain and sprockets.

  • Alan says:

    @Stephen

    “Arguments over plastic vs. metal chaincases, synthetic tweed vs. woolen tweed, etc. are amusing and a sign of a real sea change. Very, very cool…”

    I agree!! :-) Looking forward to this year’s Interbike…..

  • Dean says:

    @Mike did they change the chain cases? I have a 3+ year old Uptown 8 with this chain case and I can tell you from experience that there are no issues. I just finished changing my chain for the first time after riding thru 3 rough slushy @ salty Canadian winters and the chain was completely clean. The chain case does a great job of sealing from the elements.

  • Mike says:

    I’ve never seen a Breezer in person; I’m just looking at the photo above, and I can clearly see the teeth of the rear cog exposed by a two-inch or greater circular opening in the chain case around the rear axle. I’ve never seen a Pashley, Batavus, Gazelle, or Azor chain case with an opening anywhere near this size. This is a difference of multiple orders of magnitude, unless I’m actually looking at an area of transparent material and not an opening in the case. Dean, does your Breezer have a hole this big in its chaincase?

  • Joseph E says:

    @Mike, my 2009 Uptown 8 has a pretty complete chaincase which looks the same as this new model. Sure, it has a hole on the left side to let the rear axle thru. In practice, I’m not sure that this hole could be much smaller or fit tighter; mine already squeaks against the side of the hub if it is bumped by a rack or bag. The front end of the chaincase has an equally tight fit between the cranks and the bottom bracket and axle. It seems like it will do a good job of keeping out rain or dirt; not much rain around here in the summer, but mine is doing well so far.

    I haven’t seen a traditional Pashley chaincase. Do they manage to seal even tighter by some sort of bearing between the case and the axles?

  • Alan says:

    @Joseph

    “I haven’t seen a traditional Pashley chaincase. Do they manage to seal even tighter by some sort of bearing between the case and the axles?”

    Our Pashleys had gaps there as well, though perhaps not quite as large. The Uptown 8 I had on loan last year had the same case and the coverage was fine. Personally, I don’t think it’s an issue in actual use.

    Alan

  • Mike says:

    The photo above appears to show a chain case with a two-inch diameter hole in the RIGHT side centered roughly on the rear axle. Just take a look at the large version of the photo.

  • Larry says:

    I have a 2006 Breezer Uptown 8. The chaincase got loose very early in the bike’s life; the bracket that holds it on to the bottom bracket got loose, and caused the case to go loose and make the bike unrideable. I had my LBS remove the bracket (and the chaincase) completely, and I haven’t missed it in over 5,000 km of riding.

    My other issue with the Uptown 8 is the shift linkage on the rear hub. There is literally no way to remove and replace that linkage without injury of some sort. There is simply no way to do a field repair of a flat tire, which makes the bike more or less useless for long-range riding. I love everything else about the bike, the ruggedness without excessive weight, the utility for carrying packages, and the dynamo hub. I even like the Schimano Nexus hub, except for the pain and suffering it causes when trying to repair a flat. And, naturally, the only tire that’s ever gone flat on me is the rear — two patch jobs and a tube replacement to date! I wish there was some fix for this!

  • Alan says:

    @Larry

    Over the past few years I’ve maintained a number of bikes with Shimano internal gear hubs and I agree, the cable attachment at the hub could be improved (the SRAM is much easier to use). That said, with some practice I figured out I could rotate the linkage counter-clockwise with a small flathead screwdriver to release tension on the cable, facilitating its easy removal. Once I figured out the technique, it’s never really been an issue. Of course, I need to make sure I carry a small screwdriver in the tool bag on the bikes equipped with those hubs.

    Alan

  • Cecily says:

    When I look at this bike, I think of the specifications and I’m impressed.

    Then I look at the paint scheme and I’m instantly turned off. Maybe it looks better in person? Maybe the women’s model is more sedate?

    Maybe I just don’t get it because I haven’t been commuting all that long, but I can’t be the only one who thinks about aesthetics and specifications when choosing a bike.

  • Stephen D. says:

    @ Larry (and everyone else who doesn’t want to flat with an IGH on the road)

    Tire liners !

    Since installing and using, beginning the early 1980′s, I’ve never had a flat and have quit carrying spare tubes.

    My version of “be prepared” is preventative.

  • thomas says:

    Regarding the Nuvinci hub does anyone think that the fine tuning continuously variable gearing is useful? I test-rode a 2010 model. I tried to ignore the frustrating long throw of the shifter and concentrate on the hub. I found that I prefer the set gear steps of a Nexus or similar hub.

  • Tom says:

    @Mike – my Torker chainguard (looks just like this one) is completely open on the other side. It keeps pants clean but not the chain. There’s less drama to removing the guard to get at the wheel though.

    @Larry @Stephen D There’s no need to remove the rear wheel if you get a flat, just pull out the tube and patch it with a good vulcanizing kit. You can even stage a tube on the frame, I guess, I you’re really worried. +1 on tire liners or puncture resistant tires, though.

  • Pete says:

    @thomas-
    Good question. I hadn’t thought of that. I’d probably drive myself nuts with “a little higher, no, wait, a little lower, oops, overshot, just a little higher..” etc until I crashed into a parked car.
    Now, I’ve never ridden one of these so maybe it doesn’t work that way. But I don’t really mind the idea of having decided my ratios way in advance (when I built the bike) and having to live with them.

  • Derek says:

    @Tom,
    Maybe I’m not following you, but are you saying to potentially stage a tube on the frame so you can change a rear tube without removing the wheel? I’m trying to visualize how that would work. You would need to put a tube around both a seat stay and the corresponding chain stay, wouldn’t you? Then put the wheel on. Unless I’m missing something that seems a little dangerous.

  • Garth Madison says:

    @Cecily
    I think most people consider the look at least a little. I feel like the silver post and handlebars does not match the color scheme. Not sure – I think you’re right, I’d have to see it in person to know if I liked it or not.

    Garth-

  • Derek says:

    A silver rack, brown leather grips and aluminum fenders might spiff it up.

  • louis says:

    Wheel removal is one place where the Rohloff design really gets it right. Everything (even the torque arm, if you’re using one) has a simple quick-release. They’re in a different league price-wise, of course, but the quick release options on the cables should be cheap to emulate if they aren’t patented.

  • Tom says:

    @Derek Yes disregard my staging comment. It wouldn’t work with the rack, chaingard, etc. in the way.

    With my IGH Shimano coaster brake I need three different wrenches (for torque arm, gear bellhouse that’s on the end of the axle, and 15mm for the wheel nuts) to remove the rear tire. Oh, and a screwdriver for the rear lower part of the chainguard.

  • Dean says:

    @Mike I looked at the large photo of the chain case and that does look odd. You can not see the cog like that on my Uptown. The only gap I have is on the opposite side of the chain case but as others have explained there is a gasket there. One thing to mention is the chain has to be sized exactly to center the back wheel with the opening of the chain case. This chain case in the photo may not be set up properly because of this.

  • harry krishna says:

    i was sitting on the fence over a trek soho: liked the belt drive, but worried about the short life expectancy of the shimano internal hub. and the closest one was 350 miles away. this one looks like the ticket, with dealers < 100 miles away.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » September’s Greatest Hits says:

    [...] Sneak Peek: 2011 Breezer Uptown Infinity [...]

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Road Tests on the Horizon says:

    [...] is working on getting us a NuVinci-equipped Uptown Infinity which we should have in-house within the next few [...]

 
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