The Ride — bicycle

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Custom Rat Rod Bike Builds

 

Over the next few months we've sketched out a series of bike builds we'll be making, featuring and selling to our customers. Along the way, we'll post photos and writings about our work so you can hang out during the builds and keep up with our projects. Our bikes will be complete and ready to ride, using the best components available from the bicycle world, ported to the cruiser platform - a platform that's not used to featuring performance-oriented parts. Custom Performance Cruisers.

Our bikes are built to look and ride good. Our bikes are for clients who enjoy the laid-back ride and the classic custom look of a cruiser, but who also enjoy a bike that doesn't ride like shit. Our bikes are bicycles you will want to park in your living room or kitchen, when you're not riding them, just to soak in the well of inspiration and imagination they instill in you.

We'll also take build requests and projects directly: if you have something in mind that you'd like to realize, contact us about getting your idea transformed into a reality. 

At the moment we're working on this Felt mod that when done will look clean, custom and dark and it will also be a very ride-able bike. We've still got some work to do.

So far we've taken a stock Felt steel frame off another bike and stripped it to the bone, leaving the paint alone. We mounted up some wide all black Thick Brick tires to black 24 inch wheels with silver nipples and black spokes. We put some burly front BMX forks, black and will using the PAKE chopped bars, chromed out Felt cruiser cranks, teethy steel pedals and a sharp looking Cardiff saddle. 

Piecing it all together has been challenging and fun.

This one is not finished. The bike hasn't told us it's name yet. For now we're teasing it and calling it El Gringo, or El Chopo, or Michonne. We have toyed with the thought about adding a holster for a machete and calling it The Machete. 

We still need to get the bars right, figure out whether to leave the paint as is, decide if fenders are in order and select a chain. What grips? When done this bike should sell for about $1400. We're taking orders now. There will only be 2 or 3 of these made in this form.

We recently built and sold our Felt XTC Performance Cruiser and we are taking orders for future builds. This bike featured 26" tires and a color scheme of black/red/white. Using a Felt frame and parts from road, fixie and bmx we created a one-of-a-kind ride that improves the original cruiser concept and performance of the ride itself and looks modern. This is a sportbike, with a sporty look to it. I see it parked at a local basketball court while the boys go at it and play hoops. Ride this bike with some big white Nike hightops.

 

Meet You At Caltrain Redwood City

Customers who commute up and down the San Francisco Peninsula area can now schedule demo appointments with Suburbanbikes at the Caltrain station in Redwood City.

Suburbanbikes is now taking appointments for scheduled demo rides in Redwood City. Buying a bike in Redwood City has never been easier.

Don't have a car? Great! We'll meet you at the Redwood City Caltrain station and bring some bikes for you to test! Why not!?

It's easy and free and it's just like you're at our store. It's gets us out of the store once in a while too. 

Just give us a call at 650-918-6259 or email us at sales@suburbanbikes.com . Let us know when you would like to meet, which bike (s) you'd like to test and we'll see you there!

If you prefer, we can also pick you up and bring you back to our store for private shopping in our show room. 


www.suburbanbikes.com


Cruiser Bicycles Are Actually Time Machines

 Is it the fat tires? The burly, heavy, steel frame, welded together in swoopy shapes and forms that call to mind 1940's paperboys and 4th of July Parades? Is it the wide springy seat or the all-powerful coaster brake that can lay down a skid on any terrain? 

It's all of these and more that make a Cruiser bike a time machine. 

They are cheep too. A few hundred bucks gets you a one speeder in basic Beach Cruiser form. Add a few more and you can ride around on a bike like your grandfather used to ride on in 1920. Big color-matched fenders, antique paint, details that show they were made with a legacy and history of the love of bicycles and old timey America. 

When you ride a cruiser things are great. No where important to go. Don't have to get there at any particular speed. Don't have to look fast. Don't have to be complicated. One speed. One Brake. Two Wheels and a seat. Let's go. 

Getting on a cruiser can make a 70 year old feel 20 again. It can make a 40 year old feel 14 again. Try riding one in your home town some day. Follow all the paths you used to take as a kid. Head down to the park and try swinging both legs over the seat and jumping off the bike, ghost ride the bike to a crash and get off running. Why not? 

Wind in your face, your hair. The feel of blood pumping through your body as you glide on soft balloon tires that cushion every bump so perfectly. 

Head down to the store. Get an ice cream. You're not riding the latest and greatest carbon fiber ultra bike. Leave it on the parking meter in full faith that it will be there again when you come back to it. 

A cruiser, sitting there, waiting for its owner to return, signifies a relaxed state of mind, a relaxed state of body, of peace, just standing there, in the same way that a Porsche 911 signifies speed, handling, agility, parked. 

It also signifies simple fun. No GPS to track you. Pedals that can take bare feet. No gears to change or adjust. No brake lines to oil or tension. 

The hassles of life strip away and float off you like dead leaves. 

Cruiser bikes are freedom. They are time machines.


Rolling with the Felt Verza Regency Bike

 I was in the mood for a new bike. My old beat-up single speed Dyna Beach Cruiser had been showing its age for a while and up till now I hadn't owned a Felt bike as my main cruising bike of my own. Time to change that. 

I like cruisers and I like the simplicity of single speeds and coaster brakes. That set-up never ceases to remind me of warm summer nights perched atop my old cruiser in the 70s, bombing around the neighborhood with a gang of friends.
So, the goal was to trade in the old one for a new Felt cruiser and keep it under budget. The original goal focused around a Felt Slant, or maybe a Glassell. Nice bikes. Simple. Clean. 

Then I came on the idea of getting a Verza. Billed as a Dutch bike look-a-like. It's a classic "old man's" bike. Steel frame. Elegant simple looks. Black paint and well appointed with a rack, fenders, center stand, a bell and other touches that make the bike stand out. 

This is not speedster. The littler 3 speed internal drive will get you going up to 16 MPH or so and let you hang there. The riding position means you navigate this bike from above. 


The seat is comfortable and a rear under seat bag is included.

This bike uses a coaster brake and has no hand brake. 

It's a comfortable ride. I took it out for 20 miles recently. Fun. Classy. I added a leather side bag to the bike for storage.



test ride: Stromer Electric Bicycle

Suburbanbikes just got in a shipment of the all-new Swiss Stromer Electric Bicycles and though we've only been able to spend a short time in the saddle with them, our initial impressions of this e-bike are very, very positive. We'll do a more long term review in a few weeks after we've put the bike through longer terms tests, but our initial test of the Stromer put it at the top of our buy list as far as Electric bicycles go.

I am always interested in alternative and new forms of personal transportation. Particularly as they relate to commuting and spending less time stuck in traffic. I can't stand traffic, so I tend to do a lot of things to avoid it. I first started to ride motorcycles, not for the thrill of it, but so that I could avoid traffic. A bicycle is a great way to avoid traffic and electric bicycles, it seems, promise to out-do both the bicycle and the motorcycle, with greater speeds and easier pedaling. We have sold 3 or 4 lines of electric bicycles over the years. In that time, I've had the chance to try out some of the best models available, in a variety of price and power ranges. Each of them have their pros and cons and each of them fit the needs of their particular type of customer. 

Until now, the number one issue I've had with electric bikes is their poor power when it comes to hill climbing. Sure, they all do great on flat land, or moderate hills, but throw a serious hill climb at (most) electric bicycles on the market today and you're walking, not riding. 

What happens on a big hill climb with most e-bikes is any combination of the motor bogging down to zero speed, the motor over heating, quick battery draining, rider cursing because he bought a useless machine and rider sweating more than he would had he just pedaled up on a light weight and less expensive road bike.

Enter the Stromer electric bicycle.

I've got the perfect test course for an electric bicycle. My commute home is about 8 miles. 70% of the trip is suburban streets and bike lanes. The rest and last stretch of my commute is a long grueling up-hill climb, about 980 feet and 2 or 3 miles, all up hill. To cap it off, the very last stretch of it just before I get home is the steepest part yet, a pain just to walk up, let alone ride after a long work day and a long bike ride home. 

So, I've been looking for an electric bike that could tackle this kind of map and not leave me with a $2000 burned out motor, or, a burned out me from pedaling all of that and pushing an extra 40 lbs of electrical components after a long day's work. 

The Stromer did it and with flying colors. 

Out of the gate, you can feel that the Stromer's got more power than most other bikes on the market. A 600W motor tucked into the rear hub pushes the bike with a lot of torque. Take one hand off the bars and you can feel it getting away from you.

Not knowing what to expect as far as battery loss on the uphill part of my ride, I kept the power on ECONO mode for most of the downtown part of my ride during this test. Once I got to the straight away that makes up most of the miles, I toggled the power to CITY, which got the average speed up and started to get the bike hauling. I rode pedal-assist the whole way. The bike is fast in power mode.

That's the other thing: hills are one problem, but If Im going to use an electric bike for real commuting, the thing better be a little fast too. I do want to get out of a car. I do want to burn calories on a bicycle, but I'd also like to get home at a reasonable hour. The Stromer pulled in a average speed 14.7 MPH for the 8.8 mile trek. It clocked in a max speed of 29MPH, which would have been on the down hill. I think I can get that up if I turn the motor off on the downhill, to release the inhibitor.

The Stromer rides like a standard modern urban bike. Half mountain. Half road. It's tall. It feels stable, but not bulky.

Components on the Stromer are what you'd expect from a bicycle designed in Switzerland. And I bet you expected me to write that. 

I'll admit, being Swiss-American myself, I was routing for the Stromer a little. Still, it must be hard for the Swiss to always have to live up to the notion that everything they ever do has to be done with "precision".

And route for it I really did. As I got done with the flat-land part of my commute and came on to the first small incline, I actually found myself talking to the bike, as if it were a horse. "Come on, show me what you got". Stuff like that. The life of an electric bicycle tester is a lonely one. 

"Yea, let's go! Come on!" 

The bike has 8 speeds and as the climb started I was amazed that I was pedaling in probably something like 5th gear to keep the speed up and the power I was giving the bike was more like an assist rather than pedaling.

The climb on this part of the road goes up 985 feet in all, in varying grades of steepness. Then it goes back down again and then back up to my house. I don't have the data on the grades, but without a motor, Im totally beat after riding up this road. Most days I have to get off and walk. I'm old. 

The Stromer managed it and, though warm, I held on without breaking much of a sweat.

By the time I got up and over the highest part of my trip and then back down to the bottom to get ready for the last and steepest part of my commute I was already pretty satisfied that the Stromer was THE bike to own if you're looking to get an electric bicycle to help you tackle large, long hills along your commute. 

It's about a half a block up the final stretch. But it's a good solid grade. Not the kind of climb you want after an 8 mile ride, after a 9 hour day, after a 6 day work week.

So, I was completely blown away that the bike actually managed to climb up the last part of my commute without straining me or the motor, without stopping, without over heating and with ease. I even did some of it one-handed, shouting "yea baby" much of the way.

Now, if you've never ridden an electric bike before, note: this isn't like being on a gas powered scooter, or motorcycle. You can't just ride up a hill like this without pedal assist. The motor will bog down to a crawl (though I didn't actually try this on the Stromer (yet)). For that kind of riding, you'll need a motorcycle. You have to give the bike a hand, or a foot or two. Still, it's a major bonus to be able trudge up hills with the help of a motor and not get flattened in the process. 

Suburbanbikes.com has the Stromer available for sale right now. We have demos in the store for testing and buying and we'll even ship you a Stromer in a box straight to your door. 






About Felt's Cafe Bikes

I firmly believe that biking should be mainly about joy, about happiness and healthy living. This applies to all forms of the activity from racing, right on down (or up) to the toddler trainer bikes. Biking is about having fun. Period. Which is why we like Felt's Cafe Bikes so much.

Some of my greatest enjoyment comes from selling bicycles to new riders, inexperienced riders and older riders coming back to bicycling. They're not pros. They're not fitness mavericks and their not out to win any races. They're folks looking to get on a bike, do some mild riding, maybe some commuting, maybe run some errands.

If you have been to a bike shop recently, you have probably noticed that bicycles have been divided into a multitude of specific categories. There are all sorts of bikes on the showroom floor; so where does one start? Hybrid bikes Fitness bikes, City Bikes, Comfort bikes, Commuter bikes, Flatfoot type bikes. If you have ever asked yourself “When did shopping for a bicycle become so darn complicated?” then the Café series was designed with you in mind.

The fact is, there are plenty of folks out there who are just looking for one good bike that fits their busy lifestyle. You have a wide array of interests in life, so you need a bike that adapts to them. You might look at bikes as a tool towards health and fitness. After all, anytime is the right time to exercise. You might look at a bike as simply a means to get around. There are always plenty of places to go and people to see. You may even think about leaving the car at home on a workday. And by the time the weekend comes, you’re always up for a bit of fresh air, sunshine, and just plain fun. Whatever the situation, the Café meets the demands of your unique lifestyle.

When Felt  set out to develop the Café series, they did a considerable amount of market research. They started with the consumer focus groups and gave that input to the engineering group with the clear goal of satisfying two priorities… comfort and handling.

First and foremost, they focused on the body position of the rider. Felt knew Café customers would not want to be compromised in an aggressive, stretched-out, competitive position. At the other extreme, we recognized that today’s flat-foot-type comfort bikes were lacking in terms of climbing, acceleration and maneuverability. Since Café bikes were created for riders with broad styles and intended uses, they spent considerable time working to achieve the ideal balanced seated position. Comfortable yet sporty, relaxed yet retaining superb handling, Café bicycles possess as much ability as the riders they are seeking.

Once Felt arrived at the ideal body position, they turned our focus to the rider’s contact areas:
• Premium saddles featuring gel-infused, double-density foam
• Custom handlebar shape with mild sweep is easy on the wrists
• Super-soft double-density Kraton rubber handlebar grips help minimize road vibration
• Aluminum pedals with rubber inserts enhance traction and reduce vibration

Reduced weight automatically translates to increased efficiency. By using aluminum material wherever possible, the Café models are significantly lighter than most so-called comfort bikes currently on the market.

You will find lightweight and corrosion-resistant aluminum employed on: Frames & forks, Handlebars, Stems & seatposts, Crank & pedals, Wheelsets (rotating mass is most important). Durable, smooth and efficient Shimano Drivetrains are equipped on all models. Twist-type shifters are easy, intuitive, and always let you know what gear you are in.

Finally, Felt wanted to make sure the bikes were outfitted to the gills. All Café bikes feature: Puncture-resistant tires, Aluminum kickstand, Lightweight aluminum cup holder, Safety bell. The Café Deluxe models take it a step further with these extras: Ultra-light aluminum rear carrier, Removable clip-on saddle bag, Lightweight fenders to ward off road debris.

While Café bikes are decidedly classic in appearance, we still made sure to utilize all of today’s technical advancements, lightest materials, premium components and modern amenities. Whether it’s taking you through your neighborhood, to the coffee shop, to a new level of fitness, or just taking you away from it all, the Café was designed to do so while giving you the ride of your life.