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Tag Archive: Commuter Bikes

Giant LIV Alight All City Quick Review

This is the 2015 Giant LIV Alight All City commuter bicycle. What makes this a “commuter?” Well, based on years of running Bikecommuters.com and knowing what our readers consider what a “REAL” commuter bike is, this one takes the cake. For example, it has the ever so important set of fenders and rear rack. In addition it has 700c wheels. Further more the cockpit is equipped with ergonomic grips for added comfort.
giant liv alight all city
You can find all the SPEC info HERE. However, let me high-light a few things that we liked. 24speed drive train offers a wide range of gear selection. From fast flat terrain all the way up to the steepest climbs, you should be able to ride it with the Alight.

Hydroformed Aluxx-aluminum
bikecommuters liv giant
Frame and fork uses Giant’s ALUXX-grade aluminum. This allows the Alight to have a light feel to it. To be honest with you, we didn’t get to weigh it, but when it was picked up by hand to see how heavy it was, we were impressed.

The essentials of a commuter bike. Fenders and rear rack.
giant alight bikecommuters.com
The Alight was designed for the female commuter. Geometry set for this bike has women riders in mind. What does all that mean?

Liv bikes, apparel and gear are designed specifically for women. Liv’s team of female designers and engineers consider all aspects of a woman’s unique strengths and physical characteristics to create the only complete product collection designed solely for women. Examples of this include: Women’s-specific fit based on global body dimension studies Optimized stem lengths, handlebar width and drop, and crank arm length Shorter brake reach Comfortable saddle designed for female pelvis and hip shapes Liv ApparelFit System with multiple fit options.

giant commuter bikes

So what’s the price on this commuter friendly bike? Most Giant retailers will have it around $575, and based on our previous research, $500-$600 is what most commuting consumers would be willing to spend on a new commuter bike. But how does it ride? Like a dream! The 700c wheels make for a smoother and fast ride, while the 24spd drive train provides the rider a plethora of gearing choices. Shifting between gears are smooth, all thanks to the buttery Shimano gruppo Further more, the aesthetics of this bike is spot on. The color pops, yet it doesn’t scream LOOK AT ME!!!

Oh one more thing, just because this is considered a “women specific design” bike, it doesn’t mean that a man can’t enjoy it. I really did enjoy my time with the Alight All City. It’s a great riding bike and it really could serve a rider dual purposes. Use it to commute with and use it on the weekends to go on a long ride through the country side. It’s comfortable and fast, which happens to be a great combo!

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Want to get a real good workout during your commute?

As great as it is to be getting your work out on while riding your bike to and from work, I recently discovered a “bicycle” of sorts that allows you to get a more intense work out than just pedaling. I visited the 3G Bikes world headquarters in SoCal and got a chance to ride one of their 3G Stepper machines.
3gstepper

Here’s the description:

The 3G Stepper is a revolutionary concept developed to merge unconscious fitness with everyday cycling, which will give a healthier lifestyle to cyclists. The Stepper uses foot platforms to replace the pedals of the bike. The rider pumps the platforms up and down, rather than moving in the traditional circular motion of peddling, achieving a better toning of the whole body.

It helps shape the calves, thighs, abdomen, buttocks in a similar work out to that which you would achieve on a stationery Step machine in any gym, as well as increasing your heart rate to speed up your metabolism. The Stepper bike naturally enhances an upright posture because it has no seat unlike conventional cycles.

So the neat thing about the 3G Stepper is that it’s a tough work out and it has gears! Getting started was a bit awkward at first, but once I got going, the “stepping” motions were pretty natural. Cornering was a blast since it had a wide front tire. Of course when you’re riding something like this, you’re getting quite a bit of attention from drivers and pedestrians a like. Which is a good thing because you want to remain visible while you’re on the road.

I know what you’re thinking, this is more of a work out machine than a mode of transportation. Well check out these two guys who rode their 3G Steppers from Germany to Prague (Czech Republic)! 388.42 KM (241.35 miles) in almost 3 day. If these guys can ride hundreds of miles, I’m sure you’d be able to ride your 6-10 mile commute with a 3G Stepper.
3g stepper

Review: SKS Raceblade Long fenders

Surely you know that we’re big fans of fenders around here…they keep you and your bike happy and dry and clean, even in the worst weather. And, most commuters see them as a “must-have” accessory for a commuter bike. We couldn’t agree more.

Mir’s recent article about her quest for fenders got me to thinking about more fenders for my own fleet. I happen to have a few road bikes I sometimes use for commuting, and on rainy, yucky days I do NOT like to bring them out of the garage. Cleaning my shiny, sparkly road bikes is a chore I do not like. What if I could find full-coverage fenders for one of these skinny-tired roadsters?

First problem: the bike I wanted to add fenders to does not have eyelets on the fork or rear dropouts. Second, there’s not a lot of clearance to work with. Third, some of the other fenders suited for these kinds of situations aren’t full-coverage, and can be fiddly to install/maintain/stay in place while riding. I wasn’t about to have to deal with that, so off I went to the Intertubes to search out a solution.

Enter the SKS Raceblade Long. Full-coverage, easily removeable if needed, good reputation from a company that knows a thing or two about fenders. I took a trip to my friendly neighborhood Performance Bike to spend some holiday gift card money, and they gladly ordered me a set to add to my bike. About $60 and a couple days later, I was ready to install them.

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The SKS Raceblade Longs are made of chromoplastic, with stainless steel stays and hardware. They clip to small metal bridges that are mounted under the brake bolts and to metal tabs that are held in place by the wheels’ quick-release skewers. The concept is very similar to the legendary “River City Reacharound”, but there is no cutting of fenders required. Here are a couple shots of the clips and the way they mount to the brakes:

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Each fender is in two pieces; a longer rear section and a shorter front section. Each fender is supported by a double, adjustable stay set in stainless steel. SKS thoughtfully supplied soft plastic mudguards to screw onto the ends of the fenders:

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Installation is pretty simple: loosen the brake mounting bolts, slip the bridges in and tighten the bolts down. The bridges come in three lengths to fit most bikes. At the wheel, remove the conical springs from the QR skewers, and fit the mounting tabs underneath the skewers:

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The fenders clip directly to those bridges and tabs, and feature quick release buttons to remove them rapidly if desired:

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I installed the Raceblade Longs yesterday, and took them out for a test ride today. The ground is still damp from snowmelt and rain, so I could really see how clean they kept me and my bike. What’s the verdict? They work! No muddy stripe up my back or in my face, and my bottom bracket area is pretty clean.

The Raceblade Longs are not perfect, of course. Right at the brake bridge area, there’s a pretty sizeable gap in coverage (necessitated by the design and lack of clearance on modern road bikes). I found a lot of road spray and goop covering the brakes that will need to be hosed off periodically.

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The rear fender stops short behind the seat tube (again because of the design), so the back side of the bottom bracket shell gets a layer of road “deposits” on it:

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Also, the front stub of the front fender rattles like crazy on rough roads. It’s pretty annoying, and I will try to figure out some way to quiet it down, perhaps with a shim where the bridge enters the back of that stub.

Obligatory Mir.I.Am-style crappy cameraphone pic:
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Dings notwithstanding, I think these are a pretty good solution for people who want to ride their roadies in all weather conditions. They cover enough that maintenance and cleaning are reduced, and mount solidly enough for year-round use.

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

Going to Europe? Rent a bicycle!

Since Mir.I.am did such a great job on the bike share by the bay article, I wanted to provide our readers this infopgraphic that was provided to us by momondo.com to help those who are planning on traveling to Europe, to take full advantage of the bike sharing programs in several European cities. What’s even more interesting, the bike share program in Paris has about 18,000 bicycles available for rent and 1200 bicycle stations. Wow, that’s pretty impressive!
bike share

Dads and Daughters giving a helping hand

On Thanksgiving weekend we assembled our volunteers to go out to Santa Ana, Ca. to help fix bicycles for the less fortunate. Moe and I had the opportunity to bring our daughters out to help. This was our daughters’ first time helping us out with bicycle repairs. So when we arrived we quickly set up shop. At first some of the people were suspicious that we were willing to fix their bicycles for free. But once the locals saw what we were doing, word spread rather quickly. Almost immediately they all started streaming in for some much needed help with their bicycles. Yes, that is a walker. It seems like we’re always servicing 1-2 of those each time we come out.
Bicycle repair for the homeless

In fact here’s the first one that was serviced. It needed a brake adjustment as well as some lube on the bearings.
bicycle repair

Though my daughter, Aleah and Moe’s daughter, Lizzy felt that they weren’t going to be able to help, we taught them how to properly lube a chain. With each bike that came in for service, the kids made sure the chains were properly lubricated. Here’s Moe and Lizzy taking care of a bicycle.
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We service all types of bicycles. From beach cruisers, hybrids, road bikes to bmx bikes, they all need some sort of attention.
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A while back Marcus V. from Freedom by Wilderness Trail Bikes sent over large boxes of saddles. Those have come in handy since we end up replacing a good number of them.
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Out of all the times we’ve been coming out, this has to be one of my favorite. This gave us the opportunity to teach our girls the importance of giving back to the community. One thing you have to understand, through the various opportunities and blessings that have come out of operating Bikecommuters.com, I that felt it is our duty to give back in the form of bicycle repairs. Sure testing bicycles, having Internet-stardom is great and all, but providing bicycle repair services for the homeless for free is VERY rewarding.

Here’s an interesting tidbit. While we were working on bicycles. A man stood about 20 feet away watching us work. Then about 15 minutes later he comes to introduce himself. He mentioned he was part of a volunteer group that was feeding the homeless nearby (50 feet from us). But he was in awe on what we were doing, his words were, “Wow, we’re just here giving them food, but you’re actually doing something to help change their lives…” He thanked me for what we were doing and shook my hand.

I do want to thank all the folks that make it possible for us to do this on a monthly basis. Donations from strangers and many of our readers have helped out so much. I also want to thank The Bicycle Tree. They donated a brand new Park Work Stand to our cause.