Bike Weight and Multi-Modal Commuting

Lifting a Bike

With the popularity of European-style commuting bikes on the rise here in the U.S., the average weight of a typical transpo bike is also on the rise. U.S.-style hybrids, mountain bikes, and touring bikes, all commonly used for commuting here, averagely weigh in the 30-35 lb. range (for example, my fully outfitted Surly Long Haul Trucker weighs 32 lbs. with front and rear racks, kickstand, fenders, and lights). On the other hand, many traditional Euro-style city bikes tip the scales at 40-50 lbs. or more. This extra 10-15 lbs. is largely inconsequential for those who have point-to-point commutes over relatively flat terrain, but it can be a real problem for those who take their bike on transit as part of their commute.

Commuters and utility bicyclists are rarely accused of being “weight-weenies”; afterall, a 30+ lb. bike is anything but “light” by today’s standards.

Here’s a case in point. A friend purchased a Dutch city bike to use as her primary commuter. She liked the upright seating position, internal gears and brakes, full chain case, integrated lighting, and overall style of this type of bike. It’s a lovely bike that appeared to be perfect for her intended use. It was a little difficult to hoist onto the train, but she parked the bike in the aisle and all was good—for a while. Eventually, the conductors tired of too many bikes in the aisles (it’s a safety hazard) and they started making everyone place their bikes in the vertical wall racks. As it turns out, the bike is too heavy for her to hoist onto the racks, so now she’s looking at lighter weight alternatives.

Commuters and utility bicyclists are rarely accused of being “weight-weenies”; afterall, a 30+ lb. bike is anything but “light” by today’s standards. But, there are some circumstances where excess weight can be a real hindrance, even to the point that an otherwise perfectly matched bike becomes a mis-match for its intended use. So while we aren’t ready to start counting grams any time soon, it does behoove multi-modal bike commuters to keep an eye on overall weight when outfitting a bike that will be taken on trains and buses.

None of this is a dig at Euro/Dutch-style bikes. They’re wonderfully appointed and make perfect commuter/utility bikes for many people. They’ve been refined over many decades in some of the most bike-friendly countries in the world, and their functionality transfers well to many U.S. cities. They do tend to be heavy though, and since there’s a trend in commuting and transpo circles to show little-to-no regard to weight, it’s not a bad idea to remember that a bike can be so heavy as to severely hinder its functionality in a least some circumstances.

55 Responses to “Bike Weight and Multi-Modal Commuting”

  • K6-III says:

    Well, transit/bike commuters are the perfect demographic for folding bikes, many of which are likewise available with the same fenders, racks, chainguards, and dynamo lighting of their non-folding dutch cousins. (Dahon Ciao, Glide, D7HG, Citizen Barcelona)

  • Yant says:

    The Dutch do very simply get around this problem by having two bikes. One at each end works well when you have the infrastructure at either end. If not a Brompton is an ideal multimodal bike.

  • Joshua Brown says:

    I’m sorry this is somewhat off topic but, what color is the bike in the photograph? I have been trying to locate this paint to put on my Centurion frame. Great site, great photos, keep up the good work.

  • Tali says:

    Living in England, I wouldn’t bother trying to travel on commuter trains with a full sized bicycle, no matter how lite it is (it can be done, but I’d find it stressful). Trains here just don’t have the space (although what space there is doesn’t require that you do much more than lift the bike off the platform and into the carriage).

    It works OK for weekend recreational cycling where time isn’t critical and there are fewer passengers.

  • Alan says:

    @K6-III & Yant

    Bromptons and other folders do indeed make excellent multi-modal commuters.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Joshua

    Unfortunately it’s a discontinued Surly color from a couple of years ago (on the Long Haul Trucker).

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Tali

    That can be an issue here at peak times as well, though more so during the summer than in the winter.

    Alan

  • David Bolles says:

    Thanks for posting this Alan! And yes, lovely color on that LHT.

  • Bob B says:

    Alan, it seems like the folding bike is the ideal multi-modal bike. Perhaps a 20″ wheeled model if you are covering more miles. I love the the ride of my heavy urban bike, but I don’t like lifting it any more than I don’t have to.

  • Tom says:

    I ride a 50 lb city bike to work. I just got a folding bike for those times I want to take the Metro or take my car partway, etc . There’s no comparison to the rise and cargo capacity of the Dutch bike though.

  • Bob says:

    Breezer’s Uptown series of Euro bikes weigh in at 29-35 lbs depending on the model. That is with rack, fenders, and lights. They are a great option for someone looking for a Euro bike they need to lift.

  • Erik says:

    Don’t forget the added weight of carrying a load on a multi-modal commute. After having spent the last fifteen years commuting with either a messenger bag or large-capacity backpack (in which I carried upwards of 25 pounds), I recently broke down and bought a rear rack and panniers. The relief provided by taking the weight off my back and nether region and putting it onto the bike is indisputable. The trade-off, however, is the difficulty hoisting my bike and loaded panniers up the steep steps of the local Caltrain. Thankfully, I only have to take the train once or twice a month, and on such rare occasion I now resort to taking off the Ortlieb panniers before boarding, and then awkwardly carrying them over my shoulder with the provided straps while portaging the bike (on the same shoulder).

  • kfg says:

    Bike at each end. Taking bikes on trains, even folders, is for travel, not regular commuting.

  • Erik says:

    Having a bike at each end for a multi-modal commute is ideal. Here’s the reality on Caltrain in the SF Bay Area.

  • Alan says:

    @Erik

    I too find it difficult loading and racking a loaded bike. I’ve had good luck with the convertible backpack type panniers (I personally use the Arkel Bug, but there are others). If you can get your full load in one pannier, it’s much easier to carry as a backpack as opposed to carrying by a handle.

    That Caltrain photo is unbelievable. Is it that crowded all year ’round or just during the peak season?

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    For those of you who are using a bike at each end of a transit run, what type of storage options are you using?

    Alan

  • kfg says:

    “what type of storage options”

    If you can work it out a cheap bike and expensive lock next to an expensive bike and cheap lock works best. If everybody is trying that you can always try staying deep in the bait ball, but that can be a pain in and of itself.

    Ultimately I found the best solution was to give up that sort of “lifestyle,” but that isn’t for everybody, which is why it doesn’t go away I guess.

  • Alan says:

    @kfg

    “If you can work it out a cheap bike and expensive lock next to an expensive bike and cheap lock works best.”

    I like this approach, but it doesn’t always work out. Right now there’s a frame locked to the bike rack at my train station that has been totally stripped bare. It was there for a few nights before the parts started disappearing, but it didn’t take too long.

    I’m fortunate enough to have access to a couple of fairly secure bike lockers.

    Alan

  • arevee says:

    I experienced this with a lovely Workcycles bike. It had a great ride and everything one could want was already attached to the bike. But it was so big it would not even hang on the train hook. Hills were difficult to climb and descend (drum brakes aren’t very strong) and stop and go was a bear because it took so much effort to get that baby rolling. Needless to say, it was bye-bye beautiful, stylish Dutch bike. I now have a Rivendell Sam Hillborne which I would guess weighs about 30 – 33 lbs. It’s a sizable bike, but it’s comfortable and manageble. I’ve been riding it for well over a year and still really like it for 90% of the things I do on a bike.

  • Erik says:

    Alan,

    My next pannier will definitely be a convertible type. One of the few shortcomings of the Ortlieb bag is its relatively thin shoulder strap and what amounts to an afterthought of a pad. And yes, getting everything into a single bag makes the whole portaging the bike and bag exercise more manageable.

    Regarding Caltrain: I’ve found that it is often packed in the mornings and just after work, though the service has made great strides accommodating cyclists over the last few years by adding additional bike cars as well as increasing per car bike capacity when usage is heaviest. Rain, depending on the severity of the storm, sometimes thins the herd. As for the photo: It was taken in November at just after 8 on a Thursday evening, not what one usually considers peak commute time.

  • kfg says:

    @Alan – \it doesn’t always work out.\

    That’s why I don’t worry ’bout thing because
    Nothin’; no nothin’
    I said nothin’s gonna turn out right.

  • dwainedibbly says:

    Folders are great, having a bike at each end is wonderful if you can afford it and have safe storage.

    For me, reducing bike weight is always nice as long as it doesn’t mean resorting to carbon. It’ll be interesting to see how much my in-progress VO Polyvalent/Alfine-11 build weighs when it’s done. I do have a substantial hill (500ft) on my commute, so weight has been on my mind.

    I have been using an Ortlieb Downtown bag for ~6 months now and really like it.

  • Fergie348 says:

    @dwainedibbly – ‘For me, reducing bike weight is always nice as long as it doesn’t mean resorting to carbon.’

    I’m wondering where this comes from. I’ve heard this from other transpo bikers that they want to keep carbon parts off their bikes. What’s the rationale? If it’s durable and light (which carbon fibre is in many applications), why is it singled out for scorn? Is it a style thing or is there something else there?

    I’m also wondering if the classic Dutch bikes mentioned in the piece that weigh 40-50 lbs are made of pipe steel. Man, that’s a load for a single bike. My commuter weights about 27 lbs fully equipped with fenders, lights, rear rack etc. And it’s a 58 cm. Why are they so heavy? I would think with modern materials there’s no reason for a pavement bike that doesn’t have an electric motor to exceed 40 lbs in any circumstances.

  • Tim D says:

    My commuter bike weighs about 40 lbs. with my normal load for going to work, around 35 without bags. I just ride it, though. There isn’t much public transportation in the middle of Missouri. You just ride everywhere…whether 5 miles or 20.

  • CedarWood says:

    Watching my 50 lb. Dutch cargo bike being winched into a work stand via block and tackle was rather laughable the other day. But I would hate lifting it at arm’s length for the bus racks — wouldn’t fit anyway. Enter bike number two…

  • sonya says:

    @erik what are those yellow tags on the bikes in the photo for?

  • townmouse says:

    I used to do the bike+park+train option in London. For storage, there were covered racks at the station – I picked one with good line of sight to the CCTV camera although I didn’t hold out much hope of that helping. I secured both wheels and removed my lights. On another commute I used to leave my bike at the other end overnight uncovered locked to a sturdy rack. Over about 4 years the only problem I had was stolen light brackets, rubbish placed on my rack (baskets used to attract worse) and the occasional very unpleasant smell. I was probably lucky but it does help to have a robust and ugly looking bike with no really nice components (Brooks saddles are out), park it next to a shinier bike and not leave it unattended for too long at a time. Oh and don’t do this with a bike it would really hurt to lose

  • Alan says:

    @Fergie348

    Some of the classic roadsters are made from straight gauge hi-ten, then galvanized before powder coating. They may also have steel fenders, chain cases, and even rims in some instances. They’re designed to sit outdoors 24/365 and withstand the weather, which means lots of stainless as well.

    Alan

  • kevin says:

    Alan -
    I commute daily with one of three bikes: a 30-pounder Schwinn World Voyageur; a 30-pounder Riv Bleriot, and an 18-pound Cannondale CF road bike, all of which have to be hung on vertical stands. Couple of points:
    a) Weight is definitely an issue, particularly when the train begins to move and you have to deal with the swaying bike’s inertia, as well;
    b) It’s a great, if short, workout for the abs and arm muscles; and
    c) It really, really makes you appreciate the wonder of carbon fiber. After several days wrestling my 30-pounders onto the hooks, I feel like I can flip my CF road bike onto the stands with one hand. (In fact, I bet I could…)
    All the best,
    Kevin

  • Micheal Blue says:

    In my opinion folders are the way to go for multi-modal commuting. Even when not folded they take much less space than full-size bikes. I’ve taken my Dahon on the subway, unfolded (and folded on a street car). There was plenty of space around the bike for people to move by. With a full-size bike people would have to squeeze by.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    I agree with your post 100%.

    A 50lb Dutch bike was designed to be ridden, not lifted. It was not even meant to be dragged in and out of doors, but locked outside or parked in a garage/shed. This is a real factor to consider for those who are drawn to the allure of these bicycles.

    I have an older Dutch Gazelle that is hands down the most cushy, divinely comfortable bicycle I have ever ridden for transportation. But it is a pain when it comes to dragging it up and down the stairs – even though I live on the 1st floor and don’t have that far to go. And taking this bike on public transport or any kind of train is out of the question.

    I also have a lighter (30lb) Italian city bicycle by Bella Ciao, and it is a world of difference as far as accessibility goes. Not as cushy over bumps as the Gazelle, but more convenient in most other ways for transportation in the greater Boston area.

  • D'Arcy says:

    I commute on a “heavy” Danish bike and it’s the smoothest riding most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned. It is tough taking it on a train though but I do that so rarely the occasional slight inconvenience of weight doesn’t really matter.

    The other beautiful feature of European bikes especially the Dutch ones is their dependability. With everything enclosed they require virtually no maintenance even if you ride in the winter. Also, because they have good fenders, coat guards and mud flaps, you can wear normal office clothes while riding. No need to carry an additional outfit.

  • Jennifer says:

    I have a Workcycles bike and take Capitol Corridor every day. Alan, your friend is right, it’s difficult to hang- and you need to hang it from the rear wheel because the hook is too low for longer bikes. When I can, I get on the last car with 4 wheelbenders. When I can’t, I either park it in the wheelchair area and move it if necessary or struggle to hang it. I have a folder but I find it uncomfortable, troublesome to carry all the junk I ‘need’ to bring to work :) and it doesn’t have the extras I want like a chain guard & generated lights. I also try to make a point that riding is ‘normal’ and honestly the folder doesn’t strike up conversation with regular/ nonbiking women like my Dutch bike does. So I see what train I get and figure out how I can store the bike!

    If any folks here take Capitol Corridor, they’re doing a bike survey.

  • Don says:

    The weight issue does not only pertain to multi-modal use, for which folding bikes are indeed ideal. There are many cases in urban use of occasionally needing to navigate small barriers, flights of stairs, storage, and general moving around — a kind of everyday cyclocross — for which a not-too-heavy bike is perfectly fine. Maybe this is more of an east coast thing.There is a tendency in our culture to leap quickly to thoughts of “the ultimate.” I would like to reinstate an appreciation of the “good enough.”

  • peteathome says:

    Many cities in the USA have more hills than typical European cities, making heavy Dutch-style bikes harder to ride. Also, for theft and other reasons, people often want to bring their bikes inside. Many apartments will require carrying the bike up steps, an area where weight is also important.

    In my case, I live in very flat Southern New Jersey and am blessed with a garage for my bike. My commute bike, which started as a moderate weight hybrid, probably weighs about 50 lbs with everything on it and typical loads of tools

    I have considered switching to a lighter arrangement for multimodal reasons.

    On rare occasions I use a bus as part of my trip. All buses in our region have bike racks in front, but lifting a 50+ lb bike onto them is not pleasant.

    I often use our local rail system. Many stations require going up two flights of steps and that you lift your bike over the turnstyle. Not easy with a heavy bike.

    I regularly cross the Ben Franklin bridge between NJ and Philadelphia. On the NJ side you have to go up several flights of steps to get onto the pedestrian and bicycle path – bikes are not allowed on the roadbed. There is a narrow ramp along the steps to push the bike up, but pusing a 50 lb bike up two very long and step flights is also not pleasant.

    So, yeah, sometimes a lighter bike is nicer.

  • kfg says:

    @peteathome – “Many . . . typical”

    Do you work for Morton-Thiokol or something? Your logical units mismatch has caused your rhetorical syllogism to crash on a metaphorical Mars.

    Let’s try it this way; Typical American cities were founded on the flattest piece of land that could be found, which they then smoothed, because they could. Streets in these cities could be made broad and straight. Excellent for cruisers.

    Whereas many European cities were founded on a defensible hill top or deep crevasse, which they then made as difficult to traverse as possible, because they had to. Streets in these cities are narrow and windy and rather poor for cycling at all.

  • D'Arcy says:

    While cycling in Copenhagen, a very flat city, I used a 3-speed and it worked beautifully. Many of the locals also rode single-speeds. Cycling here in Toronto, a fairly hilly city, my Danish bike is equipped with 8 speeds, and it pretty much handles every hill I climb.

    Bikes are one of the most elegant designed pieces of machinery ever designed. Part of that elegance is because they can be easily adapted to suit local conditions. Whether your city has hills or not is a non-issue.

  • peteathome says:

    No offense meant. I should have said that the iconic Dutch and Copenhagen single speed bikes work well in those very flat areas that they were developed for but may be troublesome in some of our hillier American cities like San Francisco, Little Rock, parts of Boston and Portland, etc. In those cities a lighter bike and/or more gears might be appreciated.

    We DO, in the USA, have a lot of cities that grew up in the railroad age and are located far from flat regions of river valleys and oceans. And many developed their road system in the automobile age so that roads that might have been more graded in a horse-drawn wagon era instead go more steeply up hills.

    Yes, I’m well aware of all the small European defensive towns built on mountain tops. But most of the large cities are built on the ocean or river ports in very flat areas. Rome is somewhat of an exception in terms of flatness as is Edinborough. I’m sure we can think of others.

    BTW – Americans I have biked with complain that the Dutch bikes are hard to ride over the numerous humpback bridges in Amsterdam. Even I don’t have a problem with that.

    And, yes, I do work for Morton-Thikol and inhale the fumes regularly. How did you know?

  • kfg says:

    “No offense meant.”

    None taken in the sense you likely mean. I’m an American who lives in an area hilly enough that the idea of Boston, Portland (The Whitehead not withstanding) or Toronto being hilly makes me giggle. Jiffy Lube & Brake Job country, because they have to be done at about the same regularity. The mountains aren’t bad, but the glacial scorings will kill ya.

    “. . .most of the large cities are built on the ocean or river ports in very flat areas.”

    Like NYC, Boston, Charleston, New London, Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago, the entire state of Florida . . .

    “Rome is somewhat of an exception . . .”

    You obviously didn’t take part in the Invasion of Italy, or the Spanish Civil War, or the No Fuchin’ Way We’re Invading Switzerland Let’s Go Through The Netherlands.

    “Americans I have biked with complain that the Dutch bikes are hard to ride . . .”

    I ride a European style bike of the “lightweight” sort (less than 50 pounds) that amazed Americans who took part in the invasions because they were so much easier to ride in such hilly European country compared to the heavy and cumbersome bikes of American bikes designed for its flat cities.

    At least I do when I’m not riding a cruiser.

    “And, yes, I do work for Morton-Thikol and inhale the fumes regularly. How did you know?”

    Your aversion to recognizing the metric system as a legitimate system of units. :)

    That’s the part I took offense at.

  • Roland Smith says:

    @Fergie348

    Carbon composites can indeed be light and strong and stiff (but only in the length direction of the carbon fibers; these kinds of materials are inherently anisotropic!) But durable against wear is another matter. E.g. a steel chain rubbing against a carbon fiber frame could eat a hole in it pretty quickly.

    The fibers and processing are quite expensive. Another reason why you see it on high-end racing bikes, but not so much on commuters.

    Failure behaviour is another issue. Steel and aluminum tend to deform when overloaded. A carbon part will fail pretty much without warning.

    When one is desiging a carbon fiber composite part, one has to design the part and the material together (you can vary the properties of carbon fiber material by changing the number and directions of the fiber plies lay-up), and think about manufacturing aspects. This can be quite complicated, and the knowledge and experience to do it is not widespread.

    Making the parts is also a process that requires knowledge and experience. Besides, looking at a finished part it is pretty much impossible to see with the naked eye if the part does not contain flaws. You need x-ray or ultrasonic scans for that.

  • JT says:

    “I’m wondering where this comes from. I’ve heard this from other transpo bikers that they want to keep carbon parts off their bikes. What’s the rationale? If it’s durable and light (which carbon fibre is in many applications), why is it singled out for scorn? Is it a style thing or is there something else there?”

    The primary practical reason is less related to durability and more related to the failure modes for each material. When carbon (or aluminum, for that matter) fails, it does so quickly and in spectacular fashion, rendering the failed part completely inoperable. When steel fails, it does so slowly, and typically in such a way that will allow the rider to identify the problem before injury occurs. A lot of times, the failed steel bike can still limp to the rider’s destination, even though the frame or part will eventually need replacing.

    Of course, style and aesthetics play into this as well–a lot of riders (myself included) prefer the lean look of nice thin steel tubes.

  • kanishka says:

    “kfg says:

    Bike at each end. Taking bikes on trains, even folders, is for travel, not regular commuting.”

    i have to disagree with this statement. folders are a breezy on daily commutes on train. been doing it for a while now.

    on a related note, the core issue with folder acceptance is not the ride (as most people say) or any other serious usability issue (folding size, weight, ….), it is purely people too embarrassed/self-conscious to ride a small wheeled bike. i just wish more people were willing to admit this.

    -kanishka

  • Erik says:

    @sonya

    The yellow tags allow cyclists to make public their destination. This makes it much easier for other cyclists on board to decide where or where not to place their bikes in the chaos that occurs as they embark and disembark. If, for example, you see a rack of bikes with SF tags (the last northbound stop), and you’re planning on getting off at an earlier stop, you won’t bury anyone by placing your bike on the top of that stack. Most of the time the system works fairly well.

  • kfg says:

    “kfg . . . I have to disagree with this statement.”

    Somebody always does. For what it’s worth, I don’t mind.

  • Mona says:

    I work 35 miles from home and started multi-modal commuting by bus and my light weight aluminum road bike last summer. I added a rack, basket and kickstand, but there was not enough clearance for fenders. My road bike was comfortable and a fantastic ride when it wasn’t loaded down with a briefcase or pannier. I must admit it wasn’t bad when loaded down either, but I really wanted a real city bike. I bought a ’70s Raleigh Sprite step-through off of Ebay and had it upgraded with a new wheel set with 8-speed IGH and dynamo hub, lights, sprung Brooks saddle, etc. I probably could have gotten a stock build LHT for what I spent. The Raleigh is a beauty but I have a time getting all 40+ lbs of it on the bus bike racks. I am a little lady. The drivers look annoyed and one of them actually said, “You should get a lighter bike.” It figures.

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    I guess I’ve always been somewhat of a weight weenie, but a practical one? I have a decent climb coming home so I feel the weight. My Rawland (with dynolights and Rohloff) is about 28 lbs, last I checked. Not featherlight by any stretch but not bad considering it’s a full blown commuter with bombproof wheels, disc brakes, and a Brooks saddle.

    The problem is, to get a fully kitted commuter to be light (say, under 30lbs) you’re either going sacrifice durability or spend a lot of money. I chose to do the latter, but it seems that most people just live with the weight and call it a day, which is probably the more sensible choice.

    FWIW, I also try to minimize what I bring along. I don’t use cycling-specific shoes, and if it’s not raining I ride to work in my work pants, only changing shirts to minimize sweatiness. SImply not bringing an extra outfit saves quite a bit of weight.

  • dwainedibbly says:

    Most of my reasons for disliking carbon fiber for non-racing applications have been stated by other posters, but I’ll add one more: exposure to UV rays while a commuter bike is locked up outside all day can’t be good for CF. (Until recently I lived in Florida where this might be a real issue.)

    We really don’t know what the long-term durability of CF will be, but I doubt we’ll see much 40 year-old CF, whereas I see 40 year old bikes all over the place here in Portland.

  • Mark says:

    The buses in my town (Santa Barbara, CA) have bike racks on the front, but front fenders can interfere with the rack’s front-wheel locking mechanism. At least it doesn’t rain much here so no fenders is not so bad.

  • Doug P says:

    There is no heavier burden to carry than the weight of smugness.

  • Fergie348 says:

    Yes, the smug does weigh the soul down a bit, but I find that it doesn’t impair my ability to climb hills..

    Agree that a CF frame probably won’t make it to it’s 40th birthday but if I can get 10 years out of my commuter I’m plenty happy. Planned obsolescence isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it opens up new design possibilities. Every 10 years or so I need to try something new in the bike world anyway – things are always changing and mostly for the good, so there’s always a passel of reasons to build a new bike now and again.

    I mostly wanted to write this post to get us ever closer to the 50 comment mark – a mark of a truly participatory blog posting, which Alan keeps turning out.

    Alan, let’s do a post on clothing sometime. What’s your ‘must have’ piece of bike wear. My nomination – DeFeet Wool-E-Ator socks, high top style. Best socks ever..

  • dwainedibbly says:

    Don’t forget that that CF frame (or fork, or stem, or handlebars, etc) won’t be recyclable, either. If you want a new bike in 10 years, it would be nice if someone else could enjoy it when you’re ready to move on. What will the cool kids ride in 2050? :)

  • Liz says:

    As an older cyclist, weight and especially gears matter to me. Where I ride in N. FL where there are a lot of hills. So I have several bikes – from aluminum to Cromoly steel. I prefer the way my cromoly steel bikes ride and they aren’t as sensitive to weight shifts. I have several vintage xtra-lite bicycles that have more gears and are faster than the new Cromoly steel loop frame mixte I purchased with an internal 3-speed hub this past year. The weight is about the same and both are lighter than the Dutch roadsters.

  • Alan says:

    @Fergie348

    “Alan, let’s do a post on clothing sometime. What’s your ‘must have’ piece of bike wear. My nomination – DeFeet Wool-E-Ator socks, high top style. Best socks ever..”

    Will do. Funny that my favorites are socks too; in my case, pretty much any mid-weight sock from SmartWool.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Fergie348 says:

    The increasing use of composites, especially in aerospace applications has greatly accellerated the pace of innovation for composite recycling technology. See here for the current process for CF recycling: http://www.reinforcedplastics.com/view/1426/recycling-carbon-fibre-composites/

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say that my carbon fiber bike will not be recyclable in 10 years time. The cool kids in 2050 will almost certainly be riding some form of composite bike.

  • Rick says:

    I think the folding bike is probably the best option for multi-modal commutes. Montague Bikes make several folding models that are all under 30 pounds and use full size wheels and industry standard parts. Great for the commute.

 
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