We have just received our second batch of SOMA Grand Randonneur framesets. These are a fantastic multi use bike, just at home on gravel as on the road. Designed around 650b wheels, the front end geometry is low trail to handle front loads, the tubing is light and supple to lend a smooth ride, and it has all the bottle mounts and braze-ons for building up a ‘proper’ randonneur. This frame was designed in conjunction with Mike Kone from Boulder Bikes who have been building fine randonneur frames for many years and still builds under the Rene Herse moniker. At $700 for the frame and fork, we think it is the best value 650b Randonneur bike available today.
We recently built a pair of custom Long Haul Truckers around Rohloffs. Rolhoffs are great for touring and commuting bikes because they offer a wide range of gears in even increments, they can shift gears while the pedals are not being turned, and because all the shifting takes place in the rear hub there are no gear combinations and so no combinations to avoid. They are unbelievably robust and reliable too, needing an infrequent oil change and not much else by way of maintenance.
This is a very blinged-out Surly Steamroller we just built some new wheels for.
We don’t do a lot of Butterfly bars, but for some people they are just what the doctor ordered. This is a Long Haul Trucker build we did using butterfly bars to shorten the cockpit to make a second-hand slightly-too-big frame work for one of customers who doesn’t like drop bars. She’s going to use it as a commuter and do some touring on it.
Commuter cycles is excited to be sponsoring Damon Rao at the Bike Polo World Championships in Berlin and the London Open Tournament. He’ll be riding a custom made polo bike, a Symes Whiskey. He’ll be heading off tonight for two weeks in Europe and then competing in the Australian Championships in Brisbane with it later in the year. The bike was made at Commuter Cycles by Scott with geometry developed over 18 months of playing polo to emphasise nimbleness, but still remaining stable enough for one handed control. The bike fits standard mountain bike parts for ease of interchangeability. The bike also runs a “dingle” (dual single) gearing for dead easy manual gear changes. It’s currently set up for running a 63” street gear and a 42” polo gear with only a tiny change in wheel position between gears. A hydraulic rear brake was fitted to relieve hand fatigue during…
Surly’s Long Haul Trucker (LHT) is our reference point for touring bikes and they make excellent commuters as well. As a general rule the requirements of commuters and tourists are similar – the bike should be comfortable, should be able to carry a reasonable load, should be robust and reliable, should fit moderately wide tyres and mudguards and should be fast and efficient enough to cover large distances at a decent clip. The LHT does all of these things and is versatile enough to be set up to match the needs of a lot of cyclists. We build, and sell, more of them than any other bike. We’ve mentioned them a number of times in this blog, but we thought it was time to write more comprehensively about our thoughts on them, and where they sit in our line-up.
We’ve just finished an exciting build. We used a 650B randonneur/porteur frame made by Velo Orange, called the Polyvalent. Ours might be the first in Australia. We’ve built it up as a showcase for some of the VO gear we stock (and as a great bike in its own right). It has a big VO Porteur front rack, VO cantilever brakes, headset, saddle, rims, etc. It has a dynamo hub, is shod with Grand Bois Hetres and stays upright while stationary thanks to a Pletscher bipod kickstand. It will soon have a VO chain guard. We installed a B+M Lumotec IQ Cyo just under the floor of the rack, and a B+M tail light on the rear mud guard.
In the last few months we’ve done quite a few Surly custom builds. We really like the Surly bikes, and from early on have built Long Haul Truckers (LHTs) for a lot of customers, as well as Crosschecks. Recently we’ve had a Big Dummy build and a Karate Monkey. But definitely the most exciting builds are the customized ones.