Torker Graduate Review

-Editorial: RL Policar “As you may recall we had solicited the help of Team Racer, Eric “The Animal” Hunner to conduct the review on the Torker Graduate. Not only was the Graduate used for grocery gettin’, it was also used as a training bike for an upcoming long distance mountain bike race. If we want to test an item and find out if it is bomb-proof, or at least Animal-Proof, then we send it over to Eric. He’s one big and strong fella, 6’2″ @240lbs with a 7% body fat…nuff said.”

The Product: 2010 Torker Graduate

It does not rain very often in Southern California, but it always seems to rain when I am trying to get some training miles in for the long distance Mtn bike races. With most of the riding areas closed I had some time on my hands to put some time in on this bike.

Features; At first this bike looks Plain Jane, but upon closer inspection you will notice nice features:

5 speed internal hub-Sturmey Archer

Drum Brakes-Alloy 70mm Internal Drum F & R

Full Coverage Fenders

Nice tires-Tioga Gritty Slicker 700 x 32

Rear Rack mounts

Handle Bar-Alloy All Rounder — I flipped the bar over

Six different frames sizes available

Single speed good looks with gears to boot

Great MSRP @ $499.99

I had fun on this bike; it held up to me mashing on the pedals with few complaints. Keep in mind I am not your average size commuter, I am 6′ 2″ and 240 pounds currently. During my first few rides I ran into some gear shifting problems; I dug deeper into the problem and it was me. I managed to slip the wheel forward during some aggressive hill climbing and lost the correct adjustment on the SA hub. I locked the rear hub into place with a wrench and I made the adjustment to the shift cable after learning the correct way on how to adjust the hub, then the gear shifting improved greatly. If you are interested in the internals of the hub here is the PDF manual link

If you have never ridden a Sturmey Archer it takes a little practice; when you want another gear you simply stop or slow your pedaling and twist the grip and let it drop into gear. This is really nice at stop lights, you could be in 5th gear while stopped and twist the grip to 1st and be on your way wiht no pedaling necessary to shift.

In short this is a great bike at a great price: the ride is predictable and the steering angle is perfect, the fenders keep you dry, the tires can take a beating and roll fast, the option to flip the handle bars is nice and the brakes are smooth even with a heavyweight aboard. A little more on the brakes– they slow the bike down without any signs of fading or locking up. The brakes do require a little more stopping distance then disc brakes, but require very little maintenance.

I have been running back and forth to the grocery store and locking the bike up to the rack — not worrying about some knucklehead slamming his bike into the Graduate and messing up the the gears or brakes. Why? Because it has no external derailleurs and drum brakes that are not exposed to dangers of bike racks. Another nice thing about the Plain Jane look is that a thief would probably look for bikes with more gizmos and bright colors.

Please read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.


  1. Don Parish March 17, 2010 5:08 am 

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been eying the Torker Graduate and the similar Trek Soho ($1150 MSRP) for my teenager. I figure the brakes should be safer, and the Graduate is a good deal for the price.

  2. Jay March 17, 2010 6:45 am 

    Glad to see this get a good review. Like the commenter above I’ve also been eyeing the Trek Soho, along with some Swobos and Ralieghs that have internal geared hubs. This Torker looks real nice, and at around half the MSRP as similar commuter bikes I’ve been tracking.

  3. Women and Bicycles | March 17, 2010 10:21 am 

    […] Torker Graduate Review | Bike Commuters […]

  4. 2whls3spds March 19, 2010 3:08 am 

    Good timing on the review. My son is in the market for a “city” bike. The Graduate is on the short list, IF we can make it fit him. He is 6′-5″ with long legs and arms. I wish Torker had an XL available… Thought about buying the Graduate for the parts. I have a suitable frame, but by the time I buy the parts for the wheels I will be at 75% the cost of a Graduate!


  5. Animal March 19, 2010 9:05 am 

    Aaron, I didn’t have the seat post maxed out and I flipped the bars. I think your son will fit, if not you put a stem with more rise. The seat was also in the middle of the rails.

  6. Otis March 19, 2010 9:12 am 

    I’m 6’3″ with long arms and legs and haven’t had a problem with the Graduate’s size. Of course, my previous bike was built for a 5′ tall Japanese grandma, so anything would feel good by comparison! Unfortunately, there aren’t many places that actually keep the Graduate in stock for your son to test. Good luck!

  7. steve March 19, 2010 7:35 pm 

    Thanks for the review – this is timely as I’ve been thinking about a Trek Soho myself. I really like it, but it is a bit spendy for me.

    As to the frame size – the proportions may cause problems. A friend is something over 6’6, but has a 40″ inseam. She had terrible problems finding anything non-custom that fit and finally someone stepped forward:

  8. Lucas March 22, 2010 12:18 pm 

    Nice price point. It’s a recession folks and despite what they says, folks needs to save some money. I found myself here after looking at some intel on the Novara Transfer. REI is offering up 20% off coupon right now and that puts the Transfer at about $519 w/ the 20% off and free shipping to the store nearest you. Includes a rack and fenders, as well as lighting. Not a bad deal, but I like the gray color of the Torker over the avocado Novara. I hope this $500 mark continues to be challenged. Working folks can’t spend $1 to 2K on a bike.

  9. Frank June 20, 2011 2:34 pm 

    Just picked up my 56cm Graduate (I’m 6’2″) on Saturday and am excited to start riding it to and from work (8 miles). Mine too came with a chain guard. I’m hoping the gear shifting smooths out a bit as I get used to it. Am thinking about getting some more aggressive bars, but willing to give the stock ones a try. What do you mean by “flipped the bar over”? What did this accomplish?

  10. mettleurge August 13, 2011 8:51 am 

    Flipping the bar puts the handgrips lower, causing the spine to be bent forward and be subject to less vertical pressure. Also reduces frontal profile. More aggressive riders like the more forward, lower position.

    Great bike, suitable for anyone who is not ego-image-bound and actually uses their bike for transportation.

  11. Hankey Banister November 7, 2011 5:46 pm 

    I love my graduate!I got it a month ago and have ridden it every day.I live in town,and bike everywhere[work,groceries,downtown]in all weather situations.this bike won’t dissapoint.However I did have to get used to the shifting,but I’ve been used to schwinn gears for 6 years.So if your looking for an “AFFORDABLE”,”QUALITY” commuter ,stop the search and get the Torker.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *