While in Portland, Maine over the weekend, I rode an Abici bicycle, courtesy of Portland Velocipede. The Co-Habitant and I cycled around town a bit to visit some of our favourite spots from when we lived in the area some time ago. Two things about the city that are of relevance to cyclists: It is hilly, and there are no bike lanes. But not to worry: The hills are short and the lack of bike lanes does not seem to matter. We cycled on the roads, and the biggest obstacle was pedestrian traffic in the waterfront area (It was a Saturday); the cars seemed to be fine with cyclists. At any rate, I felt comfortable enough to get a good impression of the bicycle.
Orco Cicli and Bella Ciao. It is also the design of the "Mrs. Cinelli" bicycle I had admired at the Larz Anderson Bicycle Show. (As an aside, I have tried to research the history of this frame style, but have had no success - so would appreciate any information or tips.)
I know that some of you must be tired of my complaining about unicrown forks, and others might simply not understand what the big deal is, so let me explain my views: If a manufacturer claims to make an elegant, classic, high-end lugged steel bicycle and they go through the trouble of getting the details right and ordering all those complicated lugs, it makes no sense to omit the fork. The fork is a part of the bicycle just like the tubes are, and, in my view, its design ought to match the design of the frame. If the welded unicrown fork is a cost-cutting measure, then why stop there and not make the entire bike welded to match? If you consider this view extreme or unreasonable, then fair enough - but I cannot help my tastes.
Because of its sporty geometry, I could mostly tackle the Portland hills on the Abici in its single speed - but the 3-speed would have been better. I should also note that it took me a while to get used to the coaster brake on this particular bike (despite being a lover of coaster brakes). Initially it felt counterintuitive, like having a coaster brake on a roadbike: In an aggressive riding position, you just do not expect to be braking in that manner. But the front brake on the Abici worked extremely well. So, just as I would on an actual roadbike, I ended up using mostly the front brake - activating the coaster brake only on occasion, and eventually getting used to its presence.
everyday transportation. Be aware that its handling and weight are radically different from that of classic Dutch bicycles and English roadsters, and whether this is a plus or a minus for you depends on your preferences. The price is very reasonable, and I would seriously consider buying the Abici for myself, if it were not for their choice of fork.
Many thanks to Portland Velocipede for loaning out this bicycle.