Passing not far from the Amsterdam "central", many visiting cyclists frown with displeasure: so many bicycles, and all as one - antediluvian. Have you seen them? Dutch youth sometimes have fun after an extra glass of beer - they drown these bikes in the canals. Say, is it not surprising? Well, how to look. Surprisingly, this cheap, single-speed, very basic bicycles are plentiful across Europe. One gets the impression that only such cars are used there. Is it really out of poverty? Not at all.
City bike - an ode to practicality in life, utility. This is a means of transportation from point A to point B, which has sufficient characteristics for this at the lowest possible price. You will always find a different type of bike that surpasses the city bike in all respects in any terrain and in any situation. For all but one thing: you will never find a bike as affordable. And for no other great will you be so calm, leaving it somewhere unattended.
At the same time, perhaps, only a city bike has that unique charm, it is a bearer of the classic style, accessible to everyone. Other models are sports or sports games. Neither a girl on the trunk to ride nor a basket of fruit from the market to bring - boring things. The urban bike will not make you change, he is not interested in your tight-fitting shorts or pumped-up calves. Tight trousers, fashionable glasses, a light dress - anything will do. The bike will take you for who you are, and together you will look like a great couple. Wealthy Europeans have already appreciated this. The fashion for the classics will also reach us - do not hesitate.
The market tries to complicate things so that the consumer retains a sense of the exclusivity of the chosen product. Hence, there are so many classes of bicycles that are similar to each other. For the sake of simplicity, we will propose to classify as urban models also called comfortable models, and even cruisers. They have differences, but more in common: these are fairly simple bicycles for short trips, with an elementary drive and, as a rule, without shock absorption, as utilitarian as possible in urban conditions.
At the same time, cruisers are larger, sluggish, but softer. However, the main principle is observed: their territory is a city, in another area you will not be so comfortable together, and you will look ridiculous.
Frame material Urban models
The cycling world has practically abandoned steel in the production of various types of advanced frames: preference is given to carbon, at worst - aluminum (in the budget segment), and boutique brands with a hint of vintage tend to use titanium.
Steel does have its drawbacks: it is heavy, not rigid enough (from a cycling point of view), and rusts in the end. But what difference does it make if we're talking about real city bikes? Steel is durable, able to withstand the stress and hardships of life in the absence of any maintenance, while the steel frames are very moderate. We can say that city bikes with steel frames are the informal of the modern cycling world, which have declared a total protest against a system that creates more and more complex and expensive (often unjustifiably) models. City bikes seemed to have remained in that distant time when they were too big for us, and we had to crawl under the frame while leaning on the pedals with all his might.
This does not mean, however, that all steel bicycles have to be cheap. There are too many nuances: the question is both in the quality of the components used and in the type of steel. Usually, there are not many options used in bike design. For example, chromium-molybdenum steel is considered stronger than conventional carbon steel (Hi-ten), it is also lighter and less susceptible to corrosion. High-end chrome frames can be expensive.
Carbon or titanium is not used for such models, as well as too expensive components - not according to feng shui, it is not practical. A city bike is a street bike. And if a big one stands like a car (even a very old and used one), then it's like a lady at a yard party: everyone is conspicuous, and you won't leave one alone.
But you can find aluminum models. They are more expensive, but they do not rust and weigh less. However, there are also disadvantages. The first is, of course, the price. The cost of aluminum is large, all other things being equal, will differ by one and a half times - this must be taken into account. The second nuance is the design features of aluminum frames. The material for bike building is indeed very suitable, but the tubes that make up the frame will always be thicker than their steel counterparts. Not that this is a big problem, but the look of the classic city bike is still lost: this can scare connoisseurs of purity of style.
The classic diameter of the wheels of the city is large (read - road) - all the same, 28 inches, 700s. And this is a logical explanation.
But the market is sensitive to consumer desires. To some, classic wheels seem too big. In short, if you wish, you can find almost any wheel diameter, including 26 and 27.5 inches, which have always been classified as miners.
In fact, bicycles on such reduced wheels are adapted mountaineers of the budget segment, which were never created for sports purposes, and from the very beginning were aimed at a wide range of consumers. We scold mountain bikes in the city for what, remember? Mud tires on the asphalt are illogical, strange, meaningless. Here you go - the manufacturers reacted, began to put city, smooth tires on bicycles, transferring the models to another class.
Likewise, for the sake of the market, the number of spokes in the wheels is reduced, which affects the strength and reliability. The bonus in the form of the so-called weight reduction seems speculative: it is strange to save on knitting needles if the whole structure pulls 15 kilograms.
In general, the wheels of any bicycle need to be treated very carefully: they may be primarily about how you ride and how you feel in the saddle. Choosing the right rubber is not a whim, an important contribution to vehicle capabilities. Spoke about the reliability and ability of the wheel to withstand the load, including from curbs in the city. Hardly anyone likes to regularly take their wheels to a bike mechanic for straightening since this work is difficult to do on your own.
The general trend here is the use of disc brakes, although, in the case of city bikes, such an upgrade seems to be justified.
Remember the same old-fashioned "adult". The brake was a foot brake, which made it possible to perform spectacular deceleration with a skid, frightening friends and bystanders.
Gradually, the bicycle industry began to move away from this mechanism, more often using rim brakes with handlebars. This made it possible to break with two wheels, and even dose the effort - an unconditional step forward on the path to technical excellence. The evolution of rim brakes, working with pads has really produced amazing results. We've never heard of a complaint about mechanical rim brakes, whatever the conditions.
The advent of disc brakes in many types of bicycles is an artificial process, dictated more by manufacturers who need to sell new models than by consumers. Are disc brakes more efficient? If we are talking about high-quality Hydraulic Disc Brake, then yes, more productive. Is this fundamental to a big city? There is no such confidence. Disc mechanics, in turn, is a rather controversial definition, and hydraulics increase the price of a bicycle, which in this case is of fundamental importance. The profit may not be as significant. Urban models do not use carbon wheels and rim brakes are not very comfortable, especially in the rain. And for aluminum, these brakes worked perfectly, so you need to look for something better?
But the market in this respect does not say that discs will replace all other types of brakes. The only question is when it will happen. It's up to you whether you need to keep up with the times or sit in the last carriage with the sign "good old".
The classic city bike doesn't have a lot of speeds. Most budget models generally have one speed. In principle, this is enough to move around our relatively flat landscape. Option for the thrifty.
Something worth looking into is bicycles with planetary hubs. That is, gear shifting, in this case, is carried out not outside, but inside, in the hub - the heart of the wheel. This will add a minimum of 3 gears to the bike, and in more expensive models - 7-8 speeds and even more. More than enough for the city. Such a mechanism is more expensive but more convenient for those who do not like to service their bike on their own. "Planetarka" is a closed construction that does not need frequent maintenance. There is no need to be afraid of it, the mechanism is reliable and has proven itself even with increased loads.
Well, there is an option, already familiar to everyone, with external shifting, which, as a rule, is cheaper than a "planetary", but at the same time is able to give the bike a wide choice of gear ratios. Switching is carried out using switches, which can last quite a long time but need to be cleaned since the system is open and clings to dirt from the road.
In general, manufacturers like to set more speeds, since in this case, the bike is easier to sell. Don't get fooled by numbers. There will be enough 1-2 stars in the front in the city, but in the back, you are unlikely to find less than 7, so there will be plenty to choose from. Since the system is not integral, it is easier to service it, changing the consumables separately if necessary.
A fresh look
The traditional city bike - big and heavy - has its drawbacks for those who have to drag this stuff to a high level in a narrow elevator that still doesn't work from time to time. Some lack dynamism, others lack modernity.
Brands are responding to this with a fresh take on what a modern city bike should be. It is a structure on a rigid base without any shock absorption, made of lightweight aluminum, the frame geometry is closer to the "fast" road. Narrow wheels with slick tires. The minimum of stars in the front with a rich setting in the back gives the necessary choice on the relief. A straight steering wheel will not scare off potential buyers.
These bicycles are fast, lightweight while remaining versatile for people with any physical fitness and riding style preferences.
The price is high and this is a departure from the classics. But isn't the rise in prices a general trend? After all, should a bike be cheaper than a phone?