Day6 Dream Review

Day6 Dream 21speed

day6 dream


Frame Aluminum 6061
Fork Cr-Mo
Stem Alloy
Head Set Neco/Alloy
Crank Pro Wheel/Alloy
Tire Front/Rear Kenda Komfort 26 x 1.95
Rim Double wall, CNC sidewall, Alloy
Casette Shimano
Derailleur Front/Rear Shimano Altus 21 speed
Shifter Sram MRX Comp+
Freewheel Shimano
V-Brake Front/Rear ProMax/Alloy
Seat Velo 11″
Seat Day 6 Custom Injection Molded – 17″
Back Day 6 Custom Injection Molded – with lumbar and integrated travel pack
Weight Approximate 35 34
Wheel Base 51″
Weight Limit 250 pounds
Rider Size 5′4″ – 6′3″ Approximate
Rider Size 4′8″ – 5′7″ Approximate
Colors Cobalt Blue, Metallic Burgundy
MSRP $729

In my many days of riding bikes, I’ve pretty much ridden most types of bikes that are available. From foldables, to skate bikes, I’m sure I’ve been on it already. But it wasn’t until I met the Day6 Dream that I felt like I was introduced to a new type of bike. This bike really isn’t your typical recumbent, nor is it a mountain bike. It’s as if a mountain bike and a recumbent had some steamy love affair and out popped the Day6 Dream.

Some would assume that recumbent-type bikes are for the older riders. But here is what’s surprising about the Dream: it’s really a nice ride. I don’t care if you’re 12 or 90, if you were to get on this bike you’ll find that the bike offers a very nice ride. Sure, the comfy seat and backrest provide you with more comfort than an old Cadillac. But don’t be mistaken thinking that this bike is a dog. Nope, this puppy can fly!

I can’t really say how fast I was able to get this bike to go since I didn’t have a cyclo-computer, but it’s not shy when it comes to flexing its muscles.

One of my main concerns about this bike was the fork. It has a long sweeping rake on it that reminds me of a pitchfork. Basically I was afraid that through the use of the bike, the fork would give or have some catastrophic break down. Well, after many attempts of doing bunny hops and jumping off the curb, my big, hulking mass of a body…weighing in at 202lbs (at the time of the test-but now I’m 187lbs!), the fork never showed signs of metal or welding fatigue. In fact, this bike really surprised me on how nimble it was. The Dream ended up becoming one of the bikes in my stable that I’ve come to enjoy riding. I found myself riding this bike more when it came to trips to the store or doing quick errands.

I really enjoyed the built-in saddle/backrest bag that allowed me to store my wallet, water bottles, keys, locks, and ice cream. I think more bikes should be like the Dream and come with some sort of practical storage unit that is screaming…”use me!”

Climbing on the Dream was no different than any other bike, actually I found it to be easier than a regular bike. One benefit of having this recumbent-like geometry is the bike’s climbing prowess. All I had to do was push my back against the rest, get a full leg extension and pedal! I never experienced pain in my lower back during and after climbing and the cushioned back rest was strong enough to handle the force I was giving it.

Super fun!
Comfy riding
Relaxed geometry
Great blue color!
Built in storage
Full adjustable seat and back rest boom
Strong frame
Great tires-excellent choice! “Kenda Komfort 26 x 1.95”
2 water bottle mounts
Fast and nimble
Disc brake compatible
21speed drive train will last longer (IMHO) than 24 or 27 speed
Easy to assemble


It’s longer than your average bike…then again so is my Xtracycle
Rear rack, the only one available is the model they offer at their site for $59.99
Transporting this bike could become a potential problem. You’ll have to be creative on how you mount it on your trunk or hitch mount rack.

Overall the bike did really well during the testing period. The wheels stayed true, derailleurs stayed tuned, brakes worked every time. My favorite part of testing the Day6 Dream was making sure the frame was legit. I literally put myself in harm’s way in order to make sure this product held up to its promised intentions as well my expectations.

The Dream’s frame was built with care and quality in mind. If all your parts were to eventually wear out, you’ll still have your Dream frame! What’s neat about the Dream is that there are no proprietary bike parts other than the saddle and back rest. The other parts on it can be easily found in any cycling website or local bike shop.

So if you were to ask me if I would recommend this bike, I’d say “yes I would”. It’s a great riding bike; the parts worked as they should. The bike does get attention while it’s on the rode, which I think is great because drivers will notice you more. The Day6 Dream really does make a great commuter bike. It can handle short trips as well as long tours, the kind that takes your through various vineyards and breweries.

To learn more about the Day6 Bicycles 21 Speed Dream, just CLICK HERE!

Redline R530 — Review

In my first impressions of the Redline R530, I promised to come back in a few weeks with a full review. It’s been more than a few weeks, but finally, I’m ready!

Redline R530

I’ve had a chance to ride the R530 for a couple months now; I’ve put 300 or 400 miles on it so I feel I’ve got a good grasp of what this bike is capable of — where it shines and where it doesn’t.

As mentioned in my first article about the bike, this machine comes with a couple of components not usually seen on commuter bikes…in particular, the Shimano roller brakes. In addition, this bike comes stock with a rear rack, fenders, a good kickstand, full chainguard and even a handlebar-mounted bell! Apparently, someone at Redline is listening to what folks want in a city bike. Styling-wise, the bike has a very European flavor, with full chainguard and a very upright and commanding rider position.

The parts spec, for the MSRP of $589.99, is quite adequate — a buyer gets a lot of functional value for that price. With the rack, fenders and chainguard, this bike is truly a “turnkey” commuter option. The only accessories needed would be front and rear lights (which often come stock on similarly-spec’ed but far more expensive bikes). And Redline didn’t skimp on hardware: all mounting bolts for the rack and fenders appear to be stainless steel. Because I am totally out of storage room at my house and my wife was tired of a bike in the kitchen, I was forced to store this bike out in the elements…and am happy to say that no rust has appeared anywhere! The same goes with the chain — I’m not exactly sure of the brand (I suspect KMC), but it is completely rust-free. The chainguard is partly to thank for that, but in addition, the chain itself has a matte silver finish that shrugs off grime and corrosion. Good stuff.

The R530 frame is welded from 6061 aluminum. The welds are clean and the frame is sleek, with a deep, glossy paint finish and subdued graphics. The bike looks classy and modern at the same time, with strong echoes of that functional “Euro” look. The top tube is radically sloped and the headtube seems really high — good for a nice, upright riding position. One small nitpick I have with the frame is Redline’s choice of a threaded 1 1/8″ headset — when it is time to replace the bearings, threaded headsets of that size can be somewhat difficult to source without a bit of searching.

Suntour suspension fork

Folks who live in fear of “harsh-riding” aluminum frames need not be worried, because comfort-wise, this bike has few competitors. With some tricks, the rider is pretty well isolated from the frame. As I mentioned earlier, some might think the standard suspension seatpost and 50mm-travel front suspension fork are somewhat “gimmicky” for a bike like this, but I feel they really take the comfort level to a whole new dimension for a bicycle of this type. The SR/Suntour fork does its job well enough…soaking up small bumps and smoothing the ride. The saddle and ergo-shaped grips add to the comfort level for most folks, too. I personally didn’t like the cushy, gel-filled saddle, but everyone else who rode this bike raved about it. I’m cursed with a narrow, bony butt, and I just sank too far down into it, irritating my “tender bits” (sorry!). A quick swap with something a touch firmer did the trick for me. Saddles are such a personal choice that I can’t knock a bike for coming stock with one I don’t like, though. In my opinion, a cushy saddle like this makes a low-travel suspension seatpost seem like overkill…it’s probably not necessary to have one in order to keep comfort levels high.

Plush saddle and suspension seatpost

Riding position was excellent also — no hunching or stretching required. Because the bottom bracket is pretty high and the handlebars rise up quite a bit from the radically jacked-up headtube, standing up on the pedals is a treat. I felt like the Pope addressing the St. Peter’s Square crowds from his apartment balcony! All this upright positioning comes at a cost, though; there is NOWHERE to hide from headwinds and your body will catch any breeze like a sail, reducing efficiency. There were a couple times when I got quite tired riding this bike around, desperately wishing for a way to get more “aero”. This is no time trial rig, though — Redline made this bike as an around-town cruiser, not a race machine.

Shifting and rear braking were flawless. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to try a Shimano Nexus hub, you’re really missing out. Shifting is effortless; just a quick twist of the shifter gives you clean, crisp gear changes. And, you can shift while standing still or under some load — good for getting a jump off the line at intersections or whenever you need a higher or lower gear right now. The Nexus hub is maintenance-free and easy to adjust, too. In fact, I can’t think of an easier-to-adjust shifting system. For adjustment of the shifting, refer to an article we wrote a while back that addresses the simple steps needed to get the shifting performance spot-on.

Nexus and roller brake

Shimano’s roller brake assembly handles the rear braking — the brake is quite powerful, low maintenance and easy to modulate. There’s plenty of range between gentle feathering, firm stopping and a tire-smoking lockup, and I really liked it. These roller brakes are immune to wet weather, too — unlike rim brakes, which lose power in the rain.

You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about front braking…yet. But here it is — Shimano’s front roller brake stinks! In my “first impressions” article, I griped about the lack of stopping power from the front brake, thinking it was the way I set it up or something. Val Kleitz of Seattle Bike Supply (Redline’s U.S. distributor) informed me that Shimano built this brake with safety in mind by employing an internal clutch they refer to as the “Power Regulator”. Well, Shimano regulated most of the power right out of this brake — I get nothing more than a dribble of anemic friction, allowing me to slow down a bit but not nearly enough for serious panic stops. If 70% or so of a bike’s braking ability comes from the front, why is this roller brake so weak?

I don't like you!

It gets worse, too — the suspension fork that comes on the R530 is designed specifically for this roller brake (there’s a mounting point for the brake’s reaction arm built right into the fork), and other braking systems are not compatible. No V-brake bosses…no disc mount. You’re stuck with this brake.

The important thing is that the front brake is not very confidence-inspiring by itself. When used in tandem with the rear brake, though, stopping is not affected. Just be sure to rely more on the rear than the front (which may be counterintuitive to some riders).

The wheelset that comes on the R530 is bulletproof, so far. Stout 700c Weinmann Taurus 2000 double-wall rims are some of my favorites…no spoke hole eyelets, but these rims are beefy and tough as nails. No truing has been needed, even with some curb-hopping, lengthy traverses over cobblestones and a couple of trips down the stairs at full throttle. Kenda 700×38 tires and Slime-filled inner tubes keep the punctures away, and the wheels seem to roll quickly and smoothly.

Puncture-proof tires and tubes are a really good idea on this bike for a very important reason: changing a road-side flat is a fiddly process, at best, especially on the rear-end of this bike. As I mentioned earlier, the bike comes stock with a full chainguard. Well, part of this chainguard must be removed in order to pull the back wheel out of the frame. Luckily, Redline designed the chainguard with a small, removable “window” to access the frame’s dropouts. Here’s one of the spots where it gets fiddly: the two screws holding this portion of the chainguard on are incredibly tiny and easy to lose. Here’s a picture illustrating this “window” (red lines indicate the portion that is removed):

removable chainguard section

So, to remove the back wheel, you will need at minimum a small screwdriver and a 15mm wrench. If, like the bike I’m reviewing, the brake cable is really tight, you may also need a 10mm wrench to loosen the brake cable pinchbolt in order to release the brake’s cable stop from its keyhole slot. Not a quick process, in any case. Have no fear: if you lose one (or both) of the chainguard screws, the bike is still completely rideable! If you manage to hang onto those screws, be careful when reinstalling them — the plastic guard is a touch brittle and I slightly cracked the guard right at the screw hole. What I’m trying to say is, if you get a flat, be prepared to take it slowly and carefully when replacing the tube (or call for backup from a friend who can get you to work on time).

One last thing…although the pedals are comfortable and wide enough to ride in dress shoes, they become slippery when wet despite thick rubber treads. I’ve become spoiled by grippy BMX platforms (almost all my bikes have ’em), so you may consider swapping the stock pedals out for something with more traction.


So, is this the perfect commuter bike? For shortish trips around town (less than 10 miles or so), the Redline R530 serves admirably, especially if one is new to bike commuting. It’s comfortable, it’s easy to shift and it is low maintenance. Over longer distances, though, the upright position will take a lot more energy out of the rider — this bike is just not efficient enough for long rides. I think this bike is best in an urban setting: short commutes, errand and grocery runs, fun cruising and path exploration. I’m pretty sure this is what Redline intended its use to be; they didn’t set out to make this bike a cross-country touring machine. Overall, this is a great bike for the price; it’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a capable around-town fun bike that also has a bit of versatility in terms of hauling a load, the R530 is tough to beat.

— stylish design
— commanding riding position
— fully-equipped with crucial accessories straight from the dealer
— great wheelset for the price
— comfort galore
— good overall value for the price

— Riding position sacrifices aerodynamic efficiency
— anemic front brake
— quick flat fixes are out of the question
— saddle/pedal swaps may be called for to get the most out of this bike

Check out Redline’s complete line of road, cyclocross, fitness, MTB and BMX bikes by visiting their website.

The Bilenky, 300 miles later…

Well, I’ve been riding my Bilenky every day since I got it and have put on at least 300 miles on it. Enough, I think to write a review of its performance on the short term.

Two quotes run through my head when I ride the bike. First, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. Second, a quote from the article on Large Fella on a Bike in the latest Rivendell Reader. He was recalling what a music teacher once told him, “We honor our instruments through use.” The bike is so pretty I don’t want to scratch the paint. However, it’s meant to be “well loved.”

Needless to say, I’ve already taken a few chunks of paint out of it so it’s getting used. However, it does hurt a little to see the pretty bits of orange flake off.

Out of the box, the Bilenky isn’t going to carry a whole lot (unless what you’re carrying happens to be larger than the dimensions of the front rack). This is where something like the Xtracycle shines with it’s bags, which I think are some of the most well-designed pieces of carrying luggage ever invented. In the pics above, I’ve used some electrical tape and old tubes to help cover the paint, but to also create a more tacky surface for loads on the rack.

In this pic, I’ve wrapped some 2 foot wide marine safety netting around the rack. It goes around the rack about four times and acts as a soft bottom sling. This stuff is actually pretty cool. Very light weight, sturdy and I can adjust the tension of the surface by either making the wrap really tight or loose. I can also slip things in between the layers. Granted, this wouldn’t carry a fistful of nickles, but for everything else it works great. I’m working on creating a new sling made out of Cordura with adjustable cam straps so it doesn’t look like Spiderman pooped on the front of my bike.

Here’s a shot of my tripod and a canvas wrap containing a lightstand, umbrella and softbox. They are a bit longer than the rack and perfectly under the sling.

On top of that goes my Pelican case, all of it held together with some nice strong tie-downs.

The view from the cockpit when the bars are turned. Notice you can’t see the front wheel at all.

The first question I get asked is, “Is it weird riding that thing?” Yes. Like any new bike, the handling characteristics are unfamiliar. I can say, however, after 300 miles it’s second nature. It steers more like a Cadillac than a Porsche. I find it is better to lean into turns than to twist the handlebars. It is a little disconcerting at first to turn the bars and not see a front wheel turn. You realize how much of a visual indicator the front wheel is for your steering.

When unloaded, the front feels a little light and squirrelly. Once you get a load on front, the steering gets dampened and its a joy to ride. You feel like a ship’s captain.

My biggest concern about the bike was that I wouldn’t be able to stand while climbing. I have found that this is not the case. Granted, I was wobbly the first week, but now I can climb sitting or standing without a problem. It’s actually easier than with the Xtracycle in some ways because the load on the Bilenky is always centered. With the Xtra, I found that I had to get the rear bags relatively evenly loaded to be able to climb well while standing.

Why the Bilenky over an Xtracycle, Bakfiets, Long John?
I prefer the Bilenky over the Xtracycle because there is no flex. The “boom tube” on the Bilenky is huge and really inspires confidence as to carrying large and heavy loads. The Xtracycle wins in terms of the bags, but with some ingenuity the Bilenky can be modified with bags or a sling. I also find that I also like being able to watch my gear while riding. After doing standing climbs on both the Xtra and Bilenky, I prefer the Bilenky again for the lack of flex and also the fact that the load is always centered.

Compared to a Bakfiets and LongJohn, I prefer the Bilenky for many reasons. One of them is weight. I think my Bilenky weighs in at about 45lbs. A Bakfiets with a box is about 90lbs. Not sure about the Long John, but I am almost positive it’s more than 45lbs. The Bilenky is also made to take a derailleur system (or can be customized to whatever you want). The Bakfiets is limited to an 8spd internal. Most Long Johns are 3spd. I think the biggest advantage of the Bilenky is the ride geometry. My setup is relatively upright but not Dutch upright and also allows me to stretch out by changing hand positioning. The Bakfiets and Long John, from what I have seen and read are pretty upright and can be a bit cramped.

That’s it for now. I’ll write another review when I break a 1000 miles.

Biria “Easy Boarding Top 3” — Guest Review

Here’s a design straight out of Europe…Biria’s “Easy Boarding Top 3” city bike. With its innovative step-through frame and comfort features, the bike is ideal for around-town errands, neighborhood cruising and light commuting.

Biria Easy Boarder 3

Here are the manufacturer’s specs:

Frame – Aluminum 7005 – 40 cm (15.5″) and 46 cm (18″)
Fork – Hi-Ten unicrown
Rims – Aluminum
Tires – 26×1.75
Gear – 3-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear with coaster brake
Stem – Adjustable Aluminum
Handlebar – City cruiser
Brake – Rear coaster foot brake and front alloy v-brake
Weight – 31 lbs.
Colors – Red, pearl white, Satin Blue, Aqua Blue, brushed aluminum, black
Standard – Chain guard, kick-stand
Option – Rack, fenders

Biria’s wild stepthrough frame configuration — no leg-swinging required. Just step across and GO!

step on through!

I’ve only ridden this bike around the block a couple times…it was a Valentine’s Day gift to my wife. She’s the one who spends a lot of time on it, so we figured, “what better way to get a review of it than let her use her own words?” So, here goes:

This past Valentine’s Day, I was presented with a lovely Biria “Easy Boarder” bicycle by my most thoughtful husband. I wanted a utilitarian commuter bike that would serve as an errand-runner as well, but would also cater to my girlie need to wear a skirt if I damn well wanted to. The Biria delivers, baby!

This is not a bike designed for the “extreme�? sport enthusiast. It weighs approximately 622 pounds and does not at all make you look like an ass kicker. It does not inspire you to perform “sweet jumps�?. But it rates high on the Eurochic meter, with a very styling leather seat and matching handlebar grips. It is, indeed, easy to board with its cutaway frame, and the covered drivetrain makes grease stains on the hemline unheard of.

Three speeds are all I need on the relatively flat terrain of the Tampa urban jungle, and there’s plenty of room on the handlebars for pimping your sweet ride with a Basil basket. That basket comes in especially handy on account of the frame is too chunky to affix a bottle cage. Not a problem for me, as I’m sort of gawky (in the most charming and feminine way possible, of course) and fear colliding into whatever may be handy as I struggle to pull my squeezie bottle free. I’ve also got some flashy panniers on the backend, ‘cause I’m a girl what likes to accessorize.

The only source of irritation is the coaster braking system. For those who are in the habit of backpedaling whilst you coast, you could be in for a nasty surprise as you come to a screeching halt. It does, however, have a front brake that is of the more conventional handlebar variety, which I favor in order to avoid horrible 7th grade flashbacks.

All in all, I am thrilled that Jack beat the crap out of that 70-year-old couple that were eyeing my fine German-designed machine and snagged it for me first. I ride it to work every other weekend and get to feel invigorated while I’m looking all snazzy. Now if I could only master cycling no-handed so I could randomly flash the “jazz hands�? to passing motorists, I’d be the coolest girl ever!

Euro-chic, indeed…stylish and functional for those who aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere fast and who appreciate some comfort along the way.


Redline R530 — First Impressions

The other day, our friends at Redline Bicycles sent their R530 to me to test. This is Redline’s version of a European city bike, and it comes packed with lots of features, comfort and utility.

Redline R530

Here’s a quick rundown of the bike from Redline’s website:

-Lightweight 6061 aluminum frame that is specially designed for utilitarian use.
-Shock absorbing Suntour front fork with 50mm of travel.
-Quiet, “maintenance free,? easy shifting Shimano Nexus 7 speed drive train & highly efficient roller brakes.
-Easy fit handlebars & stem adjust for comfortable upright riding positions.
-Sturdy aluminum double wall rims with stainless steel spokes, with flat resistant tubes for trouble-free adventure.
-Comes fully dressed with fenders, rear cargo carrier, full chainguard, & shock-absorbing seatpost.
-MSRP $589.99

As mentioned in my first article about the bike, this machine comes with a couple of components not usually seen on commuter bikes…namely, the Shimano roller brakes. In addition, this bike comes stock with a rear rack, fenders and even a handlebar-mounted bell! Apparently, someone at Redline is listening to what folks want in a city bike. Styling-wise, the bike has a very European flavor, with full chainguard and a very upright and commanding rider position. I can hear it now, though: our European readers are probably thinking, “no, it just looks like a bike!”, but to our American eyes, it has a different attitude and aesthetic than a lot of similarly-equipped bikes on the U.S. market.

Very upright riding position

Folks concerned about a harsh-riding aluminum frame need not be worried…this bike is packed with comfort features! In addition to the suspension fork and shock-absorbing seatpost, the saddle and grips are gel-filled and very cushy. The suspension fork may appear to be somewhat gimmicky (I can’t think of too many other city bikes that have one), but it does the job: taking the sting out of rough roads.


About a mile of my commute is over cobblestones and the rest is on Tampa’s legendarily bad streets, and whatever roughness I encounter is pleasantly muted. One of my neighbors, upon returning from a round-the-block test ride, exclaimed, “it rides like a Barca-Lounger on wheels!

The Shimano Nexus seven-speed hub works exactly as expected: totally awesome. It’s relatively foolproof, smooth and provides plenty of gearing range for all but the very steepest hills. The roller brakes seem (for the most part) pretty spectacular, too. They have most of the benefits of disc brakes (good stopping power in sloppy conditions) but without the maintenance and setup hassles, and can be well-modulated from the brake levers. I found the rear brake to have tremendous stopping power, but I’d have to agree with the late Sheldon Brown’s assessment of the front roller brake…it isn’t all that great. Although it does help slow the bike down, it doesn’t feel particularly strong or confidence-inspiring.

front roller brake
the front roller brake

One potential drawback of using roller brakes and internal hubs on a commuter bike is the additional complexity of removing a wheel for a flat. In the front, a minimum of two tools are required to release the wheel from the fork: a 10mm wrench for the brake cable pinch bolt and a 15mm spanner for the axle nuts. In the back, add a screwdriver to the list in order to dismantle the chainguard and get the wheel out of the frame. Granted, many commuters carry a decent selection of tools, but this whole process can be kind of fiddly, especially if you’re running late to work. Perhaps this is why Redline specified tough tires and thorn-resistant tubes with the bike?

In any case, stay tuned for a complete review in the next few weeks. I’ll get some more saddle time on this bike and report in more depth. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this…so far, this bike is a blast to ride — ideal for short- to mid-distance rides where you want to arrive in style and comfort!


Check out the specs on Redine’s website.