The Uptown Infinity is Breezer’s flagship commuter and Bicycling’s 2011 Commuter Bike of the Year. It builds upon the Uptown 8 (which took the same honors in ’09 and ’10) with the addition of the NuVinci N360 continuously variable transmission. The Infinity is commute-ready with fenders, rack, robust wheels, dynamo lighting system, kickstand, wheel lock, bell, full chaincase, and of course, the bullet-proof NuVinci hub. Michael dubbed the Uptown the “Honda Civic Bike”, which I think is an appropriate moniker; Breezer worked the bugs out of the Uptown series a long time ago.
This new bike rides a lot like the Uptown 8. We’ve had a couple of Uptown 8′s here on extended loan over the past few years, and everyone who rode them commented on how comfortable and easy they are. They may lack the panache of some of the fancier bikes we sometimes ride, but they’re solid workhorses that make excellent car replacements, particularly for those who don’t like tinkering with aftermarket upgrades.
The N360 drivetrain is a major upgrade from the original NuVinci CVP. I tested the original and found it heavy and somewhat difficult to use due to the extremely long throw on the shifter. This new design solves both of those problems. Like the original, the infinitely variable gear ratios on the N360 are a revelation. For those who are unfamiliar with the NuVinci, it doesn’t shift from one gear to another in the conventional manner. Instead, the twist shifter changes the drive ratios in a seamless arc from low to high, not unlike turning the volume knob on an old analog radio. It’s a different experience that I think will be a boon, especially to beginners. An added plus is that from all reports, this hub is 100% bomb-proof.
We’ve only had the Infinity a short while so far, but we plan to ride it a bunch over the next couple of months. Look for an in-depth, long-term review later this fall.
[Disclosure: Breezer is a sponsor of this website and provided the loaner for this article.]