Urbana, 2 weeks in

I’ve been flogging the Urbana almost daily for the past two weeks, and I have a final review to put together, which is still a few weeks away. People who are keeping track of my personal blog already know what kind of fun I’ve been having lately, so I thought I’d share some thoughts here as well.

First up: those tires! They’re wide, but they’re quite smooth. They roll easier than you’d think they would. The sipes at the edges do well enough to channel away rain and snow. Yes, snow.

The tires also happen to be quite good at absorbing shock from pot-holes and other obstacles.

The rear rack is rated for well over 100 pounds. Here, I have a 35 pound pail of cat litter, a 14 pound bag of cat food and a 10 pound sack of potatoes. I rode like this for over a mile, with about 15 more pounds of fresh veggies and fruits in my backpack. The rear-mounted kick-stand isn’t as slick as the Velo Orange scissor-action double kickstand, but it works very well. Being close to the rack also gives it a lot of stability when the bike is heavily loaded.

I’ll have some more fun photos to share with you from Kansas City’s surprise snow storm. It’s the most sure-footed bike I’ve ever ridden in the snow.

Stay tuned…


  1. Ghost Rider March 20, 2010 7:54 pm 

    I am coveting that bike like nobody’s business…

    How did the bike handle with such a large amount of weight stacked up high like that?

  2. Raiyn March 21, 2010 2:58 pm 

    That is one short fender in the front, of course it might just be the head angle but jeez.

  3. Noah March 21, 2010 3:04 pm 

    Raiyn, you hit the nail on the head in both ways. The head angle is insane on this bike, and I’m not even sure why it was designed that way. This has two repercussions that I was going to note in the final review. The fenders are run-of-the-mill SKS Chromoplastics, but the head angle makes it so that at speeds upwards of 7 MPH or so, rain water flies upward and back at you, instead of forward then down by gravity. It’s not as bad as having no fenders at all, but it’s sub-optimal.

    The other thing that this steep of an angle causes is a reverse caster effect, where the bike wants to turn harder once you begin turning, unless you keep it in check.

  4. Noah March 21, 2010 3:06 pm 

    Jack, the bike was notably top-heavy, and the step-through frame definitely saved the day when it came to mounting and dismounting. I used some really strong bungees, so the stuff wasn’t going to fall off, but the bike did want to fall over when stopped. While riding, I hardly noticed the extra weight.

  5. Richard Masoner March 26, 2010 10:07 pm 

    Regarding the head angle: Urbana says they designed the slack angles for a plusher ride. It’s a pretty short wheelbase bike, so that means you need to angle the fork out so you don’t have toe overlap, and you need to angle it out even more for the huge tires and fender clearance.

    The bike is pretty twitchy like Noah mentions — I even have some difficulty riding no hands on this bike in spite of those monster tires.

    I’ve also had water spray up from the front of the front tire in the light mist we call “rain” here in California.

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