Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Rise of the Simple Bike

The blog post I've been unsuccessfully trying to write for the last month is about distillation, the idea of getting one's life down to a maintainable level of simplicity in order to focus on what matters most. I see it in the minimalism movement. I see it in a lot of the millennial generation's more endearing traits. And, not surprisingly, I am seeing it in bicycles. (I know, I see lots of things in bicycles.)

I've written a great deal about Detroit Bikes. Their first model, the A-Type is my favorite bike they offer. This manufactured-and-assembled-in-Detroit bicycle is all about distillation if you want a regular bike to get around on. Just look at it:


It has a simple and low maintenance three-speed hub, fenders, a rear rack, a coaster rear brake and a caliper front brake. In the last year, I have come to love a three-speed hub. Here in Lubbock you just don't need 21 or 24 or 27 different gears. Three speeds keep it really simple and they are super-low maintenance. If I were to buy this bike, the only addition I would need is front and rear lights; otherwise, this thing is absolutely ready for a daily commute. Would it fit your needs? ($699 plus $50 shipping) (Check out the B-Type if you'd rather have a step-through.)

Or would you like one even simpler? Well, check out the Republic Studio. This thing is very simple cool:

Ah, the simple life!

So, what makes it so simple? First and foremost, it can't get a flat. It runs airless tires!
And it has no greasy chain - it has belt drive. And it has some really killer Shimano Roller brakes that are inside the hub. And it has the same Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub as the A-Type above. And it only weighs 26 pounds. This is a get-on-it-and-go bike. It's even shipped ready-to-ride. (This one is $799 and shipping is $99. It also comes as a step-through.)

Since this is Mesquite Hugger, you may be asking yourself Where are the simple electric bikes?

Well, I've covered a few in recent months - bikes like the Vilano Core, the Sondors Thin, Populo, the Propella, and the Karmic Koben, but today I present to you the most simple and beautiful e-bike I've seen - the Budnitz Model E. (One small warning - this one falls well outside the budget of us poor boys and girls, but snagit, it's cool!)

Gorgeous!

Still gorgeous!

The Zehus all-in-one-hub motor and belt drive

The Budnitz Model E in these pics is the Titanium version. Before shipping, this one runs just shy of $9,000, but those of you with thriftier budgets can get the painted steel model for $4,000. Cool in this case is not cheap, but it's sure easy to admire the simple elegance of this machine. Budnitz claims that this is the lightest e-bike on the market and that it can acheive 100 miles per charge if you pedal hard enough.

Well, I guess it's time for me to hop on the old Huffy and head home.

May you achieve your own distillation and find that simplicity can be wonderful.