As much fun as it is riding a carbon fibre road bike or a trials bike they just aren't practical for riding in the city as poor road conditions, theft and inclement weather can do a number on our bikes. We also need a few things such as fenders, a rack or even reflectors on our ride just to make our commute bearable. Sure there are bikes out there designed for commuting but with prices starting at $500 it may be steep for many potential first time buyers or cyclists. Sure they beat department store bikes in terms of quality and performance but the price tag also makes them targets for bike theft.
Enter the Beater Bike.
Weighing in at $325CND (After tax) this bike is designed to be your bar hopping, wet weather, grocery getting, everyday commuter. There's a men's and women's model and comes ready with an all steel frame, 6-speed rear, fenders, chain guard, kick stand, relfectors and bell. Both the wheels and seat post use a bolt rather than quick release skewers to deter theft as well. Inspired by the commuter bikes of Europe, this no-frills bike is pretty enough to ride but not attractive enough for theives to eye. Other nice features include 700c wheels rather than 26" mountain bike wheels, giving you more options for street tyres and better speed and V-brakes rather for better stopping power. For anyone who's interested, the frames have horizontal dropouts incase you're thinking of turning this into a single-speed/fixed gear/coaster brake/3-speed bike.
However, there are a few draw backs to the bike. The bike only has 1 chain ring up front and 6 gears on the rear which may not be ideal for people who have to commute over hilly terrain.
Also, the bottom bracket uses the old school style adjustable-cup-and-cone, rather than sealed cartridge bearings. It'll do the job, but over time the bearings will be exposed to the weather and wear down.
Beater Bikes aren't comparable to high end bikes...but that's the point, they're meant to be beaten around on your daily commute. I'm already seeing some of these on the street and I'm hoping to see more. For more information visit: www.beaterbikes.ca