Friday, April 3, 2009

This Bike has my Name on It!

I ran across Gavin Bikes on the internet. As I think I indicated in my last post I prefer good old fashioned steel, which these bikes aren't, but to each his own, and carbon and Aluminum are Ok and have their place. They even have certain advantages over steel. It depends largely on what you want out of the bike. These Gavins come in Aluminum, Aluminum/Carbon, and Full carbon. The specs aren't bad. The components are mostly lower-grade Shimano, and the wheelsets are good but nothing special. For the price, it seems that these are fair bikes. They are available only online at The problem with mail-order bikes is that with bikes, the middleman helps make sure everything works, and fits. If you can take care of that on your own, it is usually a good way to go. Other online only bikes are found at and

Who can resist the idea of racing around on a bike with their name emblazoned proudly on the side? I would probably opt for the Aluminum/Carbon model.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Handsome Cycles: Handome Devil

One thing that I really like is bicycles that are built from a practical standpoint. The major players in the bicycle industry are building bikes that are aimed at sport cyclists, either road racers or mountain bike racers, and the rest of us are supposed to try and emulate them. So, we get a market full of gaudy, impractical, aluminum and carbon fiber bikes with high price tags, or you have low priced department store aluminum that would be better off as coke cans.
I am a big fan of practical bikes that can work for multiple uses and that are made of good quality steel. My favorite bike manufacturer is Bridgestone, although they no longer manufacture bikes for the US market. In the Late eighties and early 90's, with Grant Peterson, now of Rivendell, at the helm, Bridgestone produced extremely high quality, practical bikes with a focus on comfort, practicality, durability and utility over fad and gimmickry. This led them to choose steel over Aluminum, top-bar over trigger shifters, and to avoid supension technology on most of their mountain bike lineup. Their stick in the mud attitude about the latest technologies is still reflected by Rivendell, but is probably a major reason that Bridgestone bikes are no longer available for American consumption.
The Bridgestone philosophy, is however, one I can truly relate to. Build it right, make it practical and simple. Make it feel good to ride. One of the most well known and unique Bridgestone bikes was the XO-1 and the resultant XO series. Rivendell's flagship Atlantis is based off of this design.
So is the premier offering from newcomer Handsome Cycles, the Handsome Devil.

This is a great looking, simple bike with a great deal of versatility. Handsome has done some great pre-release marketing and has a much anticipated product. It is an exciting bike with excellent potential as a commuter, a touring bike, A camping bike, or just an all rounder. It may even have some cyclocross potential, although I think it is to classy to play in the mud. This is one bike that really wears a mustache (handlebar) well.