Product Review: 2011 Torker Interurban

A few weeks back,  a loud knock came at my door! I was slightly startled at first, so I peeked outside and noticed a large box outside. On the box in BOLD letters was the name: TORKER

“Merlin’s Beard!”, exclaimed I! (Blogger’s Note: I had recently watched a Harry Potter film with my family)

The 2011 Torker Interurban had arrived! I had the day off from work, so I used my idle time to build this commuting machine. Now, I have ‘some’ bicycle assembly experience…  The Torker was a breeze to assemble and dial in! This is a GOOD thing because it means that down the road, if anything should falter it won’t be a major chore to repair. There aren’t any frivolous gimmicks or unnecessary ‘fanciness’ here. This is as straight forward as you can get with a chromoly bicycle.

2011 Torker Interurban

Here are the nitty gritty details & what they mean for a bicycle commuter:


Frame: Torker DB Chromoly: A chromoly frame is great  for a ‘work horse’ bicycle. It can withstand the rigor of daily commuting with a loaded set of panniers and a frantically pedaling employee trying to get to work on time! This frame comes equipped with two sets of water bottle mounts; handy for carrying two bottles of water during those warmer Summer months or that hefty NiCad headlight battery. There are also rear rack mounts and threaded eyelets for those using full fenders to brave the wet weather.
Fork: Hi-Ten 1-1/8: Hi-Ten (High Tensile Steel) is the grungy, “portly” brother of Chromoly steel. This material is heavier than chromo but is still strong. When fabricated correctly, a bicycle fork of this material will perform just as well as a chromo fork only, it will be heavier.

Headset:: Steel Threadless 1-1/8: This headset uses steel bearing cups instead of alloy cups found on more expensive models. Steel cups are inexpensive to use, which helps keep the cost down for price conscientious shoppers. Alloy cups are lighter, but not necessarily more durable. With regular maintenance, a steel headset can last the life of the bicycle.

Frt Der: Shimano 2300: The 2300 series of Shimano components is basically non-badged SORA level componentry. For the amount of shifting a front derailleur actually does, a ligh weight model isn’t necessary. Most manufacturers spec a lower level front derailleur to save a few bucks at the bottom line. This derailleur does a wonderful job!

Rear Der: Shimano 2300: The 2300 component line works well. I have replaced more Shimano Ultegra & 105 derailleurs in my time as a mechanic than I have 2300. Maybe it’s the light weight of the former that helps their demise, but the 2300 derailleurs are like that battery bunny, they keep going and going and going and going…

Shifter; Shimano 2300 8 Speed: Like previously mentioned, the 2300 series components work. I almost prefer the short, stubby thumb shift ‘peg’ found on the 2300 shifter than I do to the smaller, inboard lever found on higher level Shimano shifters. For the recreational rider, the ergonomics of this shifter makes sense.

Shim 2300 Shifter

Crank: FSA Tempo Compact 34-50T: Compact cranks are AWESOME! They give you the same range of gearing as a triple crank set, but without the weight and the difficult shifting! Weight is dropped because you don’t have the 3rd chain ring, you run a shorter chain AND you can use a short cage rear derailleur.

BB Set: Sealed Cartridge Square Taper: The standard in BB technology dating back a-ways. Square taper is what everyone used before Mega Exo, Isis, Octolink, Hollow-Tech 2, Outboard bearing, BB30, BB90. Square taper, sealed BB sets are available from any bike shop.

Cog: Shimano HG 50 13-26T: Shimano HG 50 is about as low on the component line as I would go for commuting. The material is quite durable and the finish puts up a fight against the elements and regular wear of the chain.

Pedal: Alloy w/ Steel Toe Clips: This combination make sense… On paper. Out in the wild, it’s a different story. Now, I haven’t used toe-clips & straps since my first mountain bike back in 1988. The steel toe clips that come equipped are quite durable, they have to be since they spent alot of time being scraped on the asphalt as I would begin pedaling from stop signs and traffic signals. When I did remove the toe clips to ride the pedals just as flats, the bite of the pedal on my shoe’s sole was lacking. Here in Portland, wet weather is abundant. I did ride in the rain with these pedals and had the sensation that my foot was about to slip any moment… I installed my SPD pedals soon after.

Rims: Alex DA 16 Double Wall: Alex Rims have become the standard on many bicycles as original equipment. This is because of their quality. They look pretty good too! When choosing a decent set of wheels, always look for DOUBLE WALL rims. These will provide miles and miles of trouble free riding.

Hubs: Ft – Alloy 32H QR/ Rr – Alloy Cassette: Alloy hubs make for lighter, durable wheels. Steel hubs are just plain heavy and not very durable. A cassette hub is ALWAYS more favorable over a freewheel style hub…ANY DAY.

Spoke: 14 G Stainless: They hold up better than galvanized steel spokes.

Tire: Kenda 700 x28C: For commuters, I wouldn’t recommend any tire narrower than a 700 x 25c. The Kenda 700 x 28 rubber has been holding up quite well on the asphalt and gravel roads in and around Portland.

Bar: Alloy Drop 420mm: Bar width is a very personal thing. It really depends upon the rider’s shoulder width. If the bars are too narrow, you (as a rider) will not be able to open up your chest to maximize air intake. I personally prefer a 44cm wide bar. Since the bike size I chose is near the smaller of the sizes available (50cm), Torker spec’d an appropriate sized bar.

Stem: Forged Alloy “A-Headset” Style: Stems are an item that can make or break the fit of a bike. The stem that comes on the Interurban is a ‘recreational’ stem; meaning, the rise is very upright. It puts you in a rather comfortable position and not hunched over the front wheel like on a road-race bike.

Saddle: Torker Racing: The most personal item on a bicycle is the saddle. It goes where NO ONE ever goes. This saddle has been quite comfortable. I still need to fiddle with my saddle fore/aft positioning, but I think I may keep this saddle on the bike for a few more miles.

Seat Post: Alloy 27.2mm x 350mm: SOLID. ‘Nuff Said.

Brake: Pro Max Alloy Dual Pivot Caliper: Pro Max makes a full spectrum of braking systems. The dual pivot calipers have been working flawlessly from day one. I have almost worn out the stock brake shoes, but that is primarily due to the fact that I am almost constantly braking in the rain… Rain takes it’s toll on brakes here in the Pacific NW.

Brake Lever: Shimano STI: Shimano 2300 Shifters… You click, they shift. SOLID. The only thing you should worry about with these is keeping your cables and  housing clean.

So, there you have it folks! The 2011 Torker Interurban. Broken down, piece by piece, component by component. It’s been ridden hard and casually. It’s been my sole ride to and from work for the last 7 weeks. The drive train is holding up. The wheels are spinning true and smooth. The shifters are nearly as crisp and precise as when I first shifted them. The steel frame is holding up tremendously! With ample tire clearance, I may try a narrow cyclocross tire and see how it rides off road…. I’ll let you know.

Thanks Torker, for spec’ing a solid bike for a good price! MSRP for the Interurban is $569. You can find the same spec on bikes costing $200 more!

To find a dealer in your area, check it out right HERE!


  1. WickedVT

    That 13-26 HG50 cassette is what I use for a “winter” cassette. It’s a perfect gear range for a commuter/puttin’ around town bike and it’s pretty rugged.

  2. Mike Myers

    I like the looks of that bike. Simple, reliable, sturdy—this is the bike more commuters should be on. I know lots of commuters like to run really fat tires, but I commute on crappy roads filled with debris on 700x28s and have NEVER had a flat. Of course, I run tire liners under my Ruffy Tuffys, but still…

    Kudos to Torker for bringing it in so cheaply. If I was speccing the bike, I’d set it up with bar end shifters to increase reliability AND reduce cost, but I’m a retrogrouch. I tend to worry about the durability of inexpensive brifters. My apprehension is probably unfounded. I did ride the heck out of a cheap Ibex flat bar roadie that had low end Shimano shifters and they worked just fine…

  3. Tom

    You gotta love Torker for making this bike. Will it fit fenders with the 700×28 tires?

  4. gar

    Are Torker and Redline manufactured at the same place?

  5. EChing

    Love this kind of detailed review. So useful. Thanks!

  6. Neil

    Yes, compact cranks may be “awesome” for some riders, but they are awful for others. It is not accurate to say that they have the same gear range as a triple. How is 50/34 the same as 52/30? If you never use the lowest gears on your triple crank setup the compact double will probably be great for you, but if you ride on steep hills you may enjoy lower gears than the rather moderate stock equipment of the Torker Interurban. Gear sizes are almost as personal a choice as the bicycle seat.

  7. Alan Selk

    Don’t quite get what makes this bike a commuter. Outside of the steel frame it looks like just about any other bike out there. Where are the fenders, chain guard (I wouldn’t even think about buying a bike without one as they are very difficult to retrofit), integrated lighting system, rack, etc. Probably doesn’t even have a kick stand,

    Add to that it’s what I call a cheater bike. Instead of designing a bike for every size, they just design one medium size, then change the seat tube and head tube angles to shorten or lengthen the top tube. It makes for a crappy ride for anyone except average sized folks. It’s especially bad for shorter folks with the steep seat tube angle that will throw the rider to far forward and into the handlebars.

    Move along…… nothing to see here

  8. Ghost Rider

    Nice try, Alan — one degree of angle change in headtube and/or seattube isn’t going to change the top tube and seat tube lengths as dramatically as shown on Torker’s geo chart. Of course, my math is shaky (I’m a librarian, after all…we’re not known for our math skills).

    I am continually puzzled by this sense of “elitism” in bike-commuting circles. Why oh WHY does EVERY bike have to come with every conceivable bell and whistle, lest it be considered crap? Guess what? Not everyone wants or needs all those accessories, and a bike like this one at least gives an owner the option of installing the accessories they need when they need ’em.

  9. Jesus Christ

    Oh Gawd…another one of them Douchebag Elitist Commuters…My commuter bike doesn’t have fenders,chain guard integrated lights or racks.

    With an attitude like that, you’ll never convince anyone to get into bike commuting, if anything, you’ll scare them away.

  10. Alan Selk

    I admit that’s the first time I’ve ever been called an Douchebag Elitist Commuter. Let’s keep it out of the mud boys.

    Quite amazed that some of you folks are complaining that every bike now comes with all those bells and whistles. The fact is that it’s very difficult to walk in a bike shop and find any bike with a chain guard, or fenders, or a lighting system, or even a kick stand. Since when is a chain guard on a bike that calls itself a commuter a bell (it would be nice if in had one…. a bell that is) or whistle.

    I would have to guess that all you non-elitist bikers must be waring lycra or something so no need for a chain guard. All us elitist, that ones that ride bikes in normal street clothes and don’t want to mesh up our pants, are just to high-brow for you. I don’t see anything about this bike that makes it a commuter except perhaps the gearing.

  11. Moe

    I live in Sunny Southern California and don’t care for riding in the rain, do I need fenders? No. I don’t ride with lycra shorts but prefer MTB shorts or knickers, do I need a chainguard? No. I don’t ride during the night, Do I need an integrated lighting system? No. There are times that I ride with a backpack, do I need a rear rack? No.

    So why would this bike not be suited for my commute?

  12. Ghost Rider

    I wear professional office attire when I commute…and have for a long time. Do I have a chainguard on any of my bikes? No. I just roll up one pantleg. It’s easy.

    I do love me some fenders, though. And I get the thing about bells…love a bell and think every bike should come with one!

  13. Jesus Christ

    Alan, the point you’re not getting is that ANY BIKE is a COMMUTER BIKE. It’s that simple. Some people just don’t need all the things YOU may want. For some, its not even necessary.

    Heck the day laborers I see on the road riding their Pacific or Vertical bikes are commuting to and from work, therefore, those bikes are COMMUTER BIKES.

  14. Ghost Rider

    @Alan, you’ve got to remember that you’ve hit a sore spot with us, one that we’ve hashed out time and time again here. Bottom line is that there is no one “ideal” commuter bike for everyone, and it’s foolhardy to think otherwise.

    Bike commuting is absurdly easy…you really don’t need ANYTHING special other than two wheels and the motivation to use them. We open our arms here to all commuters, from folks on full-dress bikes to people on unis. If it gets you to work and you’re not in a car, more power to you.

  15. Alan Selk

    No one has answered the question, why are they calling this bike a commuter bike when it looks like any every other sport bike out there? There is nothing about it that distinguishes it as a commuter. You’re falling for the sales hype. With more folks commuting….. let’s call it a commuter and make a few more sales while doing nothing that would make life better for commuters. It’s BS.

    I live in Wisconsin and it rains. Buying a bike for everyday commuting without fenders is foolish. The same goes for the majority of places in the USA. You folks are acting as if we can walk into any bike store and have a hugh choice of bikes set up for urban commuters. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sport bikes are just about all you can get and this bike is just yet another one. It doesn’t even have a kick stand. So what about this bike distinguishes it as a commuter? I see nothing.

    Now, if some of

  16. Jesus Christ

    “kick stand?!?” Hahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

    Next thing we know you’re going to rant about how bikes need streamers…hahah

  17. Moe

    Yes, as a matter of fact, all commuter bikes NEED streamers!

  18. no1mad

    Been a while since I’ve been here, but-

    1. While I can sympathize with Alan’s frustration at the lack of ‘pre-configured commuters’ and the lack of choices or selection at the typical LBS (which is geared more for the road/mtb/ and now cx), I’m not a fan of the ‘pre-configuration’. It just adds price to the bottom line and the specs are someone else’s idea of what I want/need. The lighting would probably be anemic, the rack(s) may not be sturdy enough, and the fenders… have you seen some of the fenders some models come with? They end well above the brank. What kind of protection does that afford?

  19. no1mad

    And, since y’all were so kind as to review this particul, any one have any idea of stock availability? I’d read somewhere that they’ve already sold out. I’ve got one LBS that is willing to order Torker (doesn’t stock ’em and would rather push Redline CX), but I have to pretty much e-mail Torker/SBS direct and then tell the LBS what I’ve found out..

  20. Mike Myers

    I suppose Alan is thinking that the Interurban is really no different than any other steel framed road bike, and that’s true. It’s really no different than the Surly Pacer complete bike, or the offerings from Masi, Trek, etc.

    A road bike with all the added “commuter specific” accessories would be a SLOW seller. Better to sell a nice entry level bike with the capacity for upgrading as the rider sees fit.

    Dynamo hubs are cool, however.

  21. Ghost Rider

    To be fair to Torker, this bike is listed under their “commuter lifestyle” banner on the site but they never call it out as a commuter bike in their ad copy (or at least not that I’ve seen).

    We’ve taken a lot of crap for it here, but we like to present a LOT of different bike choices under our own “commuter bikes” tag. Are these bikes we review the perfect commuter for everyone? Of course not. But looking at the broader range of bikes on offer (hopefully) gives buyers a better shot at seeing what might be best for them as they shop.

    Personally, I own a bunch of different bikes… from road to mountain, from singlespeed to geared, from stripped-down to full-dress. ANY of them is the “ideal commuter” for that day’s needs, or those weather conditions, or my mood. My wife claims that I spend more time deciding which bike to ride than I do thinking about what I will wear that day (and that’s probably true).

    Look, we’re a diverse lot, and each of us have different needs. The label “bike commuter” is NOT a pigeon hole, but a broad label that brings us together, two wheels at a time.

  22. Raiyn

    Next he’ll complain that the Torker Graduate doesn’t come with a diploma or degree.

    As for a bike not having (insert item of choice here) THAT’S WHAT THE AFTERMARKET IS FOR! I routinely ride my resto-mod fenderless Schwinn Varsity to work on nice days and on those days when it’s going to rain I ride my my Hardrock with fenders. I’ve upgraded my lights numerous times over the years

  23. Raiyn

    I hate that the comment box cuts off after a certain point

    as I was saying:

    so an integrated lightning system is “foolish” for me. I’ve only recently put racks and /or baskets on any of my bikes after nearly 30 years riding without them so apparently I’m “foolish” for having used a backpack or messenger bag for decades simply because it’s what worked for me.

    The point I’m trying to make with this rambling diatribe is that this bike is a “blank slate” a person can come along and add whatever parts they need to make it the bike they want and if they use it to ride to work IT’S A COMMUTER BIKE.

    The only fool here is the one trying to pigeon hole what defines a commuter.

  24. Mike C

    This is a commuter bike because it can be used to commute to work. Also, the frame has commuter friendly stuff like eyelets for fenders and racks. For those with a longer commute or maybe even the poor, deluded, “one bike for every use” owner, the drop bars open up longer ride possibilities. One of the most attractive bits is the price, which puts in in line with some mid range flat bar bikes and way below similar drop-bar offerings from other, more mainstream companies.

  25. commuter guy

    I ride a 56 or 57 with a road bike. What size would I ride with the Interuban?

  26. janine

    I’ll join in here. I’ve ridden my all carbon road bike to work, my 25yo bridgestone tourer, my ezip electric hybrid and my new bike friday tikit. I’ve never used fenders but always wore a long rainjacket if needed so didn’t notice a need for fenders. I’m a petite woman and my rain jacket is a sm man’s. Some people have an elitist commuter theory that you must have big tires, fenders blah blah blah. I’d be proud to ride this sharp, understated bike to work and buying my own extras would be the icing on the cake. AND you can’t beat the price.

  27. KT

    Nice review with lots of good info. Anyone have any thoughts comparing this to a closeout Trek 1.1 or 1.2? The prices would be pretty close and the Trek might have a better sizing options. I just don’t know if you can fit a 28 tire on those bikes and steel always rides smoother. Hmmmm…..quite the dilemma here

  28. Vincer


    I have mounted 700×30 low profile ‘Cross tires on the InterUrban. So 28’s should be a POC (Piece of Cake)!

    I’m working on a nice upgrade/conversion for Winter commuting here in Portland. I’ll post an step-by-step transfiguration in the near future.

  29. Evan

    I’ve been riding my Interurban for 6 months, and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable, tig-welded chromoly bike.

    Out of the box, this would not be the most comfortable commuting bike, but as some mentioned any bike can be used for that purpose. I’m looking to retrofit the bike with thicker tires, fenders, and a bell. However, I’m glad that the bike didn’t come with them because it allows me the flexibility to choose those options.

    I’m curious if anyone else owns one of these- and to ask what modifications they have made to their bike. What in your experience, is the thickest gauge tire that will fit, and allow clearance for fenders?

  30. Vince Rodarte (Post author)

    Evan, the largest tire I would recommend is the 700 x 25 that the Interurban is spec’d with. Any larger will not allow for a full fender to be mounted. If you decide to run clip-on fenders, you can go as large as a 700 x 30.

    I’ve added full fenders (Planet Bike Hardcore Road), a rear rack, I changed the bars from a 42 m to a 44cm.
    Its a pretty solid bike!

  31. Evan

    Interesting that yours came with 25s, as mine arrived with 28s on it. The folks at Torker suggested it would fit between a 700 x 32-34cm tire with fenders. Need to do some measurements and figure it out, because I’m a little skeptical of their suggestion. Any ideas on how I could add a larger tire? would that simply entail putting a wider fork on there?

  32. David

    I am happily surprised with my bicycle. The bike handles well while doing a great job absorbing the road. I took this bicycle on a two day two hundred mile camping trip and it held up like a champ. Riding from my home to downtown San Antonio is smooth and fast with this machine.

  33. 671bot

    I just bought this bike today 8-21-2013 for 460 at the bike shop Sun Country bike in KILLEEN TEXAS fuking awesome we did 20 miles the first day i didn’t want to get off it. tomorrow roll one up and roll out one love.

Leave a Comment

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