Sunday, December 19, 2010

D2R Boogie: a Miniature Non-Folder

When I saw this bicycle at Harris Cyclery, it immediately caught my eye - in a "what on earth is that?..." kind of way. It appeared to be a miniature "swan frame" bike with extremely modern components, small wheels and fat tires. And for some reason, it was calling out for me to ride it. The bicycle is not yet for sale, but was apparently a sample the dealer left behind. I believe it will be available in April 2011. This creation is called "Boogie" and it is made by the company Decide 2 Ride (D2R), which has hitherto been specialising in panniers and other bicycle accessories.

What I initially found appealing about the Boogie, was the overall elegance of its design. Despite the eye-catching swan-frame, it is an un-appologetically modern bike - with techie components, industrial-style accessories, a unicrown fork, and visible welding marks on the frame's joints. But?.. I have to say, they did a good job incorporating it all into the overall design, so that these elements actually look like they "belong" on this particular bike. Everything is in harmony; everything fits together just right. The bike does not try to look "faux vintage" - and that works in its favour. It comes across as being unique and intentional. The only other modern bicycle design I have seen thus far that achieves the same equilibrium is the KHS Green, which I also like very much. And to me, this just confirms that even if you give a good designer a small budget, and limit them to modern production techniques and components, they can still come up with something that looks visually pleasing - not only in carefully lit catalog photos, but in person, up close.

The Boogie is a miniature, small wheeled non-folder. The reasoning behind creating it, was the premise that the majority of those who buy folding bikes don't actually fold and unfold them. Rather, they choose the bikes for their small unfolded size and light weight - factors especially relevant for city dwellers who must maneuver their bike through cramped spaces and drag it up staircases. In my experience, this is true of most women (but not men) I know who own folding bikes, and I suspect the Boogie will be more appealing to women than to men.

The lightweight frame of the Boogie is aluminum (I had previously received conflicting information about the frame material, but this has now been confirmed by the manufacturer). The fork is cro-moly steel either way. The bicycle is adjustable for a wide range of heights, and it comes in two sizes: for those 6 ft and below, and for those over 6 ft. The bike pictured here is the smaller size. Both saddle and handlebar height can be adjusted to fit riders of different proportions.

The wheels on the Boogie are 20", fitted with 2.125" wide tires. The model I tried comes with full fenders and a large rear rack as standard features, as well as with derailleur gearing - though single-speed and 8-speed hub versions are also available.

Kickstand is also standard - and it was a very sturdy one as far as kickstands go.

Of all the features on the Boogie, there are only two I don't like and would change if it were my bike: The padded synthetic saddle would have to go, and I would replace the handlebars with an inexpensive swept-back "North Roads" style version - simply because I can't comfortably use straight handlebars. Those who are more tolerant of stright bars may not care. Either way, the handlebar change can probably be made for $20 or so, so not a big deal. I would definitely keep all the components black, as to me that is part of the bike's charm.

This is what the bicycle looks like next to my 5'7" frame. As you can see, the step-over area is very low - just above ankle-height, which make it easy to mount and dismount even if wearing a long skirt.

I was not sure how a bicycle like this would handle, but it felt comfortable from the get-go: Easy to get started, stable, intuitive, maneuverable.

I test rode the Boogie briefly on the roads in traffic (actual test ride not pictured), trying to determine how the small wheels and fat tires would feel over pot-holes, and also whether the bicycle would accelerate well. All was good in these respects. This is not an aggressive bicycle; it is a comfortable one. But it certainly provides enough power to be used as urban transportation. Switching gears was easy using the thumb-shifters mounted onto the handlebars. The brakes were powerful. One confession I have to make, is that I felt more comfortable with this bicycle than I did with the Brompton I test-rode earlier. I am not sure why, so cannot really elaborate. Perhaps I need to ride the Brompton again to get a better idea. And of course, the quality and the functionality of the bicycles are different: The Brompton is undoubtedly better made and it is a folder, while the Boogie is in a lower budget category and does not have the folding capacity - so in comparing how I felt on them, I am speaking solely of the test-ride experience.

The Co-Habitant tried the Boogie as well, and found it to be "fun" - though he is baffled as to why I like it so much. He thought it was a cool bike, but not that big of a deal. So - to each their own.

The version of the Boogie I tried (derailleur, fenders, rack) is supposed to retail at around $750. I believe that the single speed version will be in the $400s and the 8-speed hub version in the $900s. Given those price points, I would probably go for either the single speed or the derailleur version - though ideally I would have liked a simple 3-speed hub. Lighting is not included, so that would be an additional expense. Although the Boogie will be available in other colours (white and sage), I think that black is the only colour that really works on this bicycle: Judging by the online pictures, the welding marks look much more prominent on the lighter-coloured bikes, detracting considerably from the elegance of the design I praised here. The striking harmony between the frame colour, component colour and accessory colour is also possible only with the black version.

If you are looking for a simple city bicycle on a budget, this is one of the few in the lower-priced category I actually like. The proportions and small wheels are not for everyone, but I find the overall design and ride quality appealing.

72 comments:

  1. I have always thought the Raleigh Twenty, the Brompton and the like to be completely dorky little bicycles I wouldn't be caught on in public.
    This one I think is kind of slick looking for what it is.
    It might be amusing to put a full chaincase and some north roads on the single speed version

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  2. Hi Velouria,
    I enjoyed your article on the Boogie and all the other articles too.
    I have two small wheeled bicycles, both Moultons. The older of the two is a Pashley Moulton APB Dual Drive 24, this has 20" wheels. My more recent is a Moulton Esprit, this has 17" wheels and a Brooks B17 saddle.
    Both bicycles are a pleasure to ride but the Esprit, I find is the ultimate in comfort and love riding it around the coast roads in Co. Down, N.Ireland.
    The suspension is superb with hardly any road vibration at all.

    I found your article about cycling and losing weight to be absolutely accurate. I would cycle 1,500 miles a year and walk a lot, especially hill walking and not lose a pound but gain pounds, mentally I say to myself, I'll work the food off so it's OK but realistically It doesn't work.

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  3. It's nice to see a company stepping back and looking at the challenges of city transport with fresh eyes and being willing to take risks.

    But... to me, that's a Frankenstein bike: visually, one of the most UNappealing contraptions I've ever seen.

    But there you go. There's no accounting for taste, as they say.

    Yes, the ride will be more comfortable than a Brompton purely due to the larger wheel size. This helps ride quality and also results in less "twitchy" (over)steering than the Brompton.

    Speaking as a woman commuter living in an upstairs flat who likes the comfort of having recourse to public transport in the event of bad weather, ill health, mechanical problems, etc., I'd like to go on record as LOVEING my Brompton. The fact I find it visually appealing is icing on the cake. However, on days/rides when I don't want/need the folding capability, I'll use one of my full-size bikes. I'd never go for something like the Boogie, which is "neither one nor t'other" and ugly to boot.

    Having said that, I don't discount the possibility that there is a market demographic out there of which I am no part, which may well love the Boogie.

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  4. I heard the hub version actually has a chain case (but didn't see it...)

    Given that the derailer is a 1xN it could have a dorky little chain case too I suppose.

    But the single speed version is probably too cool for school (sans chain case).

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  5. The Co-Habitant can't handle the Boogie. :P

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  6. For some reason the D2R website is not working properly, but they have pictures of the single speed and hub versions, with chaincase. I am not crazy about the look of the chaincase and would rather have the bike without. I also wish they had something in between the single speed and the 8-speed hub, like a simple 3 speed with fenders and rack.

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  7. I will agree on two point about this bike. First, I don't know why bike makers have to stick flat bars on city bike when pull back bars of some type are always more comfortable.

    In fact, I wonder why anyone would ever use flat bars since they force the arm/wrist in to an unnatural posture while riding. Human arms don't hang horizontal. Human arms hang parallel to the body.

    Then I'd have to agree that a 3 speed is a good option for any city/urban bike. I ordered a 7 speed on my new Worksman and I'll always wonder if I could have done better with a 3 speed.

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  8. Walt - I don't know why those handlebars are used by the industry either, though my theory is that it's either a remnant of the MTB era, or a nod to the hipster "urban bike". All of Brompton's handlebars (even on the upright model) place my hands in that same flat-bar position, and unlike the Boogie, Brompton's handlebars cannot be replaced with anything other than their own versions. This (and money) is what has kept me from getting a Brompton of my own.

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  9. Hi Velouria,
    the more I look at lovelybike.com the more I like and the more courage I have to post. Hopefully my little linguistic rants are not out of line.

    One of the nice things I find on a 28 inch wheel bicycle, compared to say a 26 inch wheel bicycle, is the feeling that once a cruising speed is reached (on flat ground without wind) the bike seems to almost pedal itself, something about momentum.

    Do you find this as well? If so how do these 20 inch wheels compare? If not, never mind.

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  10. velouria said "One confession I have to make, is that I felt more comfortable with this bicycle than I did with the Brompton I test-rode earlier. I am not sure why, so cannot really elaborate."

    I've never ridden a Brompton, but from what I've heard, everything about them is engineered for it's wonderful folding ability (which is second to none in terms of ease and compactness). However, they are not designed as "performance" bicycles. They are folders first, "riders'" bikes second. In contrast, other folders such as Bike Friday take the opposite philosophy: design a folding bike to be as high performance as possible, but allow it to fold. As such, the Bike Fridays are not the best folders, but they always get great reviews as bikes. So, I think if the designers of the D2R weren't encumbered with making it fold, they may have been able to focus on comfort and handling instead.

    The only 20" wheeled bike I've ridden is my Bike Friday tandem (which is not a folder, but a demontable: it comes apart into three segments), and I think it's a hoot to ride! 20" wheel bikes are indeed fun!

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  11. Oh, and about brake performance: I noticed that the D2R has V-brakes. So does my Bike Friday tandem. As much as I dislike the look of V-brakes compared to calipers or high-profile cantilever brakes, I have to admit that even cheap V-brakes are extremely powerful and probably outperform even the best cantis. They are inexpensive as well, which is maybe why so many new bikes come with them.

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  12. Andy - Re wheel size, I find it's hard to say, because there are so many other factors involve. So I try not to generalise (though I am often tempted to!), and instead describe individual bikes.

    I have experience with 3 upright bicycles with 28" wheels: my 1990s Gazelle, my 1970s Raleigh DL-1, and the 1980s Steyr Waffenrad I ride when in Austria. All 3 of these bikes are super heavy, but ride like a dream - absolutely glide, swallowing pot-holes in the process. I love the ride quality, but am reluctant to attribute it to the wheels.

    I have experience with 2 upright bicycles with 26" wheels: the 2009 Pashley and the 1972 Raleigh Sports I used to own. On the vintage Sports, the ride was a bit rougher than on the 28" wheel bikes above, but also faster uphill. On the Pashley, the ride was a bit rougher and slower uphill, as well as slower in general. So in this wheel size I have found no consistency, other than the rougher ride over pot-holes.

    I have no proper experience with 20" wheel bikes, but I have tried the Brompton and the Boogie each exactly once, both only on short rides. The Brompton felt a bit rougher and not as easy to balance, based on how I remember it.

    Don't know how helpful these comparisons are, but there you have it...

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  13. I haven't ridden with flat bars since I stopped riding mountain bikes. On technical runs, they make sense, as you make lots of tight turns on such rides. Messengers and some other urban riders like them for the same reason. However, I found that even with suspension, my wrists and hands were practically throbbing after any demanding off-road ride I took--and, for that matter, when I rode my mountain bikes on the street.

    D2R, ironically enough, reflects my own philosophy of bicycles: a basis in the tried-and-true with modern enhancements. I'm the sort of cyclist who likes lugged steel frames, leather saddles and friction shifting, but has no love of old brakes or gearing--save for the looks of the Huret Jubilee, Simplex Super LJ and Sun Tour Cyclone. Of them, the Cyclone is the only one I'd use on a bike I rode regularly.

    On the other hand, if I'm going to buy a bike with small wheels, I'd probably want it as a folder. I didn't like the Dahon I had for a while, so if I were feeling inclined to buy another small-wheeled bike, I'd probably save up for a Brompton. If I wanted a collapsible bike for my primary or best bike, I'd probably save even longer for a Bike Friday.

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  14. Velouria said...
    "Brompton's handlebars cannot be replaced with anything other than their own versions."

    Is it possible to replace stem and bars complete to convert to a standardized bike arrangement?

    As far as a " hipster "urban bike" goes, IMO, all they are is junk peddled to the uninformed consumer as a 'fashion' bike.

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  15. Walt - not without completely destroying the folding functionality of the Brompton. If I do ever get one, it would probably be the model with touring ("butterfly" style) bars, as they do allow for 1 good ergonomic position. I would still have to hold the bars MTB style when squeezing the brake levers though, so I think I would need to thoroughly test the bike (like, for over an hour of riding) to determine whether it is do-able.

    somervillain - I think that many Brompton enthusiasts would disagree with that characterisation of its ride quality. There are websites dedicated to long distance touring and racing on the Brompton.

    Justine - I've tried several Dahons and did not like them either. A folding bike would make more sense for me than a mini-bike as well, because I travel and could take the bike with me. But once at my destination, I would probably never fold it and unfold it, but just leave it unfolded until I had to travel again. In that sense, I suppose a demountable/ coupler bike would work for me as well.

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  16. little niggle (is there any other kind?): brompton bars can be replaced with non-brompton choices, but in many cases, especially where a wrists-in riding position is accommodated, the bike then won't fold as compactly or completely. some sort of quick-release mechanism is often then incorporated, e.g.,

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlepixel/2559067807/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/18998175@N04/3808059366/

    the most common approach to accommodating a wrists-in position is to fit Ergon grips with integral bar-ends. in most cases this does not impair the fold. meanwhile the "P" bar brompton does not accommodate any such aftermarket enhancement...

    count me among those who prefer the ride of a brompton to oft-cited "superior" examples! it may take some getting used to, but it grows on you!

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  17. Velouria - you posted last January (http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/01/little-green-bike-trying-raleigh-twenty.html) about your trial of a Raleigh Twenty. Can you cast your memory back to that time and make a few comparisons between the DR2 Boogie and The Raleigh Twenty? Handling, weight, feel etc... The Twenty seems to meet many of the requirements you mentioned: three-speed SA gearing, sway back "antler" bars...

    I, like many Twenty owners I'm guessing, rarely, if ever, fold mine. But it does come in handy to have the OPTION to fold it in a pinch. I've been caught in deep weather when the offer of a ride came along... a ride with no bike rack. No problem - into the trunk she went.

    I love the classic look of the Twenty as a folder. I kinda agree with Rebecca 19804 in the Frankenbike look of the Boogie. I'll take a nice vintage Twenty with a B-66 and alloy rims over this thing any day.. Just me...

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  18. the Boogie dropouts and gear hanger suggest aluminium frame to me. Personally I don't see the point of this design, it has all the disadvantages of a folding small-wheeler but none of the befenits. I have to admit it looks quite cute in a coochy kind of way.

    Straight handlebars? they made a lot of sense in the early days of mountain biking when slimmer tyres and no suspension meant that technical riders would han g right off the back of the bike, arse over the back tyre style, when descending at speed. In every other respect they are uncomfortable and lim iting

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  19. BTW cromoly steel is an alloy of iron, chromium and molybdenum, with maybe something else in the stew.
    Jim

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  20. V., I'm very surprised that you consider this bike one of the few in its price range worth considering. For what purpose? I can't imagine anyone using it as their primary bike for commuting, and It won't serve where a folding bike would--to carry onto the T or into the office. It does photo well, though

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  21. Anne W - Why not use it as a primary bike for commuting? That is exactly what I would use it for, especially if I lived in a 2nd story+ apartment. The bicycle handles sturdier than the folding bikes I've tried and has a full size rear rack. I'd permanently attach some CatEye lights, clip my pannier to the rack, and off I'd go.

    ChazW - The Raleigh 20 is a whole nother kettle of fish. For one thing, it is quite heavy, and I personally would not want to drag it up and down several stories daily. A separate issue, is that it is not a very common bike, so one can't just visit a local shop - or even a local Craigslist - and easily buy a Raleigh 20. Aesthetically and quality-wise though, I prefer it of course, as I always tend to prefer vintage bikes. Ride quality-wise, the Raleigh 20 feels quite a bit heavier and less responsive. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a matter of taste.

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  22. PS to Anne - forgot to add that I can imagine carrying this bike up and down the T stairs and to the office, and I have fairly limited upper body strength (I whine about carrying my Gazelle up the porch stairs).

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  23. PPS to Anne and others expressing surprise over my liking this bike among the other budget options: One major problem I have with most "budget bikes" made today, is not just aesthetics or even quality of construction, but the geometry. In my opinion, many modern manufacturers just plain get the geometry wrong, and as a result the bikes often feel weird to ride. So for me, to ride a modern bike that handles well is like a breath of fresh air. The Boogie, in my opinion, handled well and I'd be comfortable riding it in Boston. I felt the same to be true of the KHS Green when I tried it in Spring 2009.

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  24. These aren't flat bars, they're risers (just with a very small rise). What they are, as others have noted, is straight. Straight bars suck. They suck so hard they were already nearly abandoned back in penny farthing days.

    Mountain bikers used them for the leverage which, for them, was worth putting up with their innate suckitude for, but then as the hybrid came along they were transfered to road bikes essentially for marketing reasons.

    And for some reason beyond my ability to fathom the evil little wrist breakers won't go away, even now that we've rediscovered our older off road cycling heritage with it's non-straight bars that work on mountain bikes.

    I agree that this will probably appeal more to women. When a guy wants a small wheel non-folder he just builds one up on a BMX frame. They're free on trash day.

    Anon- I hear ya. The whole "alloy" thing used to get me a bit tweaked, but I've learned to live with it; kinda.

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  25. That's a cute little bike - I expect it's going to bring out the maternal instinct in most women. You're not feeling broody, are you Velouria? It also looks nice and unthreatening - a good bike for someone trying out cycling for the first time or after a long break off the bike. Maybe something to add to your post on beginner's bikes?

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  26. Okay, okay. Straight and aluminum. Happy?

    Of course, when I say that I don't like straight bars, some may accuse me of narrow mindedness.

    townmouse - Maybe brooding, but not broody. And I completely agree about the unthreatening look. I have a post about beginners' bikes? Hmm!

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  27. My gosh!! I visited the Brampton site to find that IMO they just wouldn't cut it for me at all. To toy like in my book.

    The Boogie, on the other hand, REALLY interest me due to it's robustness overall. I'm gonna watch this bike/company with close interest since the Boogie may be a "buy" next summer it they get up and going.

    P.S. Velouria you use whatever bars you like and not worry about what others think but then again you already know that.

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  28. "some may accuse me of narrow mindedness."

    Some may accuse you of narrow mindedness because you don't like a poke in the eye with a pointy stick. Having experienced such I would contend that I have valid objective reasons for my avoidance behavior.

    Those who cling to their flat bars with little reasoning beyond "we've always done it this way," or "North roads and dirt drops are dorky," are guilty of narrow mindedness.

    Protip: White eye patches are dorky unless you are Daryl Hannah. Insist on black. We've always done it this way. Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

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  29. @kfg, not tweaked, but genuinely confused as I've never heard of alu shortened to "alloy" in a bike frame context, though it is one.
    Maybe a regional thing...
    Jim

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  30. My gosh. Did no one get my gay bar reference? No one?..

    Walt - No-no, the Brompton is definitely the more robust of the two; don't let the cute colour choices mislead you. Brompton is a higher-quality bicycle, with a better-constructed frame and higher quality components. Of course, the price difference reflects that, but that is as it should be.

    Jim - This is the context.

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  31. PS to the link I posted above: Some of the components listed there are not descriptive of the actual bike I tried (tire size, derailleur model, some others) - don't know which model that list describes, but apparently not all of them.

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  32. This seems like a modern equivalent to the (rarely folded) 1950s-1970s u-frame bikes by Peugeot, Bianchi, Atala, and countless knock-offs. The worst thing about those was the weight -often 30 Lbs+ - and the lousy folding mechanisms. Some of them had appropriate head tube angles and fork shapes to make for a really stable yet nimble ride, especially considering the short wheel-base. They typically had 406 or 451 sized wheels, and were known for being fairly quick for getting up to speed. A *low* speed, admittedly.

    I have one such, an early '70s Bianchi knockoff made by ROG in Yugslavia, and while it has awful positively soviet weld quality and weighs around 32 lbs, it's reasonably fast and nimble, and quicker off the line than my wife's well-tuned 1960 Hercules sports.

    I think it's a cool idea, and nice to see somebody trying something new. I am noting that 20" wheel adult bikes are becoming popular - witness the "minivelo" bikes now gaining attention for bike polo and urban riding. I think BikesDirect is bringing in a few models along with their new city bikes.

    Velouria, I agree about the color choices. The ROG Ponyis white, and it only serves to highlight those welds done with all the finesse of drunkenly spreading peanut butter...

    Corey K

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  33. P.S. I think the whole "alloy" thing came about simply because it was easier for copy writers to type and easier for editors to fit into a column than "aluminium alloy," and there's no actual simple noun available for it as there is for iron alloy (the nouns exist, but only as trade names).

    Come to think of it, it's harder to say as well, like "linoleum," so the whole thing became self-reinforcing.

    I can understand without approving. Kinda like the newer Serotta thing.

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  34. Thank God there is no aluminum linoleum. (Or is there?)

    Corey - have you ever seen a vintage folder/ mini bike with a "swan" style frame like this?

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  35. I got the reference!!!!

    As a guy, I'd totally go for this bike (if it were steel!). The tyres are fat enough and the frame black enough to just about ward off any "too feminine" type feelings. This would be perfect as a little runabout to take on the train into the city. The most obnoxious thing about bikes on trains that pisses people off is the huge floppy wheels taking up space. I don't need a folder and feel too many compromises are made to enable a bike to fold. I agree tho, a 3 speed hub (and chaincase) would be perfect.

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  36. i've been involved with many new products ramp up into production for many years. I can tell all that early production, if the product makes it that far, is pretty crude or crummy all round.

    My guess is that is where the Boogie is now. Rude and crude. That will change as more production money flows in and the power of the workers keen eye starts to add real value to the product.

    More than one design was "ironed out" by the folk's who were building new products. In fact, I had a open door to all our employees ideas on all new products being developed. Let me share with you some of our older ,more skilled, employees were almost genius with their hands!

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  37. There is nothing tricky about aluminium linoleum. You americans say alu-min-ium wrong!

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  38. John - When I lived in England, a woman once explained to me that "American aluminum has an extra ingredient in it you see, on account of patent agreements. That is why it is aluminum and not aluminium." This was somebody who sat next to me on a flight.

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  39. "Did no one get my gay bar reference?"

    Among the peculiarities of my sense of humor (when it suits my purposes), is to take an obvious joke and run with it as if it were straight.

    I'm afraid the result is often a bit 'o Andy Kaufman or David Lynch, as the joke is by me, for me, and I'm the only one who could possibly get it.

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  40. If there's growth in the popularity of 20 inch wheels, I wonder if it's influenced by recumbents--wheels that size are very common on a certain class of those bikes.

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  41. Velouria - Ah, I see the reference now; 6061 is a common aluminum alloy used to mfg. frames.
    Jim

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  42. "Thank God there is no aluminum linoleum."

    http://www.cmrn.com.cn/ywbg/af/201002/2306555.html

    Throw in some molybdenum and you've got a cramped tongue and one of the classic announcer's practice pieces.

    "You americans say alu-min-ium wrong!"

    Ya got us there, but at least I done went and spelt it right.

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  43. it could be argued that folding bicycles are BAD for cycle provision on trains and buses - why can't we have railway carriages that can accommodate rickshaws and tandems with trailers? and what about my 60" wheel Ordinary? Where am I supposed to put that?

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  44. "somervillain - I think that many Brompton enthusiasts would disagree with that characterisation of its ride quality. There are websites dedicated to long distance touring and racing on the Brompton. "

    I don't doubt there are Brompton owners who would disagree, and that there are enthusiast websites. I'm just basing my comment on concensus from people who have either tested or owned both. Opinion on the touring forums is that for any kind of long distance touring, the BFs are the preferred choice, and they can be optioned from the factory with full touring kit and high-end components (the Bromptons can't be outfitted for long-distance touring); for hard-core commuters who have to fold and carry their bikes several times a day, the Brompton is preferred. It's not my personal experience, just what I've read from people who have tried both. A good chunk of BF owners buy their bikes specifically so that they can take them on a plane to another country, tour around, and come back. That's why their head badges read "Performance that packs; Bikes that fly", and that's the type of buyer they try to target, with key words such as "performance" and "packs". They don't even use the word "fold", or try to target the commuter who has to ride a train or lug bikes up stairs everyday they way Brompton does.

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  45. Wow, I love this bicycle! It's on my list!

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  46. "Alloy" is accepted bicycle jargon for aluminum alloy used to describe such frames or rims or small/large parts. Arguing with that or pointing out that it's incorrect is silly. If that offends anyone, feel free to consult Sheldon Brown's glossary where he states that while it technically means one thing in the real world, it means something else in bike parlance. Other activities, sports and past times have weird jargon, too. People deal with it.

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  47. About the D2R bike, why such knobbiness I wonder? Why didn't they go with a commuter pavement-friendly option? I think Schwalbe makes some kick-ass 20" stuff, and I know somervillain is really happy with what he has on his 20" tandem, perhaps he could chime in.

    The 1xN derailer is very reasonable, and the hub version probably makes more sense for traffic city riding. Ultimate cool would be a 3-speed with a dyno hub up front. That [ugly] fork crown is dying for a light and the rear rack they use has perfect light mounts. In a commuter bike of this price caliber it would be very nice to have the dynamo lights option.

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  48. Velouria, I love this post because this is probably the closest I will ever see you test ride anything that comes close to looking like a mountain bike :). Seriously though, folding bikes with small tires never struck my fancy, but like you said, there's something about the Boogie that's appealing. Maybe it's the fat tires, the handlebars (which I don't mind), or the frame, but I like it! Also, for traveling (vacationing etc...) - for someone who is handy in that respect; would this be an easy bike to disassemble and put back together?

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  49. I can appreciate the usefulness of this type of bike. 20" wheels are great for stop-and-go and hills. Small bikes are convenient sometimes. But, the Viva Mini is way prettier.

    http://www.vivabikes.com/

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  50. I've found it's best to not attach an ideology to ones handlebars.

    Just sayin'...

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  51. MDI - Whoa, nobody is arguing, just asking for clarification. It's a discussion, man.

    Sheldon may say alloy is acceptable jargon, but does that make it right? Many manufacturers will describe a frame as aluminum in composition but refer to component parts as alloy, for clarification's sake. As in Velouria's example the website refers to the frameset as being 6061 alloy, a common aluminum.

    As a decades-long cyclist and engineer, I've never heard of a frameset referred to strictly as alloy. As I mentioned earlier, the reference may be due to regional differences.

    While Sheldon is considered, rightfully so, a near polymath of things cycling-related he is dead and bicycle technology has changed dramatically since he wrote some of his virtual broadsheets.

    Let's try to keep this about progressive mutual education, rather than being rear-guard.

    Jim

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  52. Velouria, I don't like straight bars or gay bars. But that's because I don't drink, and I prefer to meet potential dates in other contexts.

    Besides, I can't get into either one. Furthermore, I'm into Asians these days. So I prefer the Noodle bar.

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  53. The Big Shot Mini Bike is an good example of a rigid small wheel non-folder bike called the mini velo.

    They are very popular in Asia. They're basically scaled down adult bikes (with 48, 53 and 57 cm frames) with 20" wheels for compactness and storage in small spaces. They typically come with 451 mm wheels although with 406 mm wheels, there is a wider selection of tires.

    A mini velo is light and fast and zippy in urban traffic. It doesn't weigh much and is easy to port up and down apartment stairs and its size lends itself to being stored in a closet!

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  54. Raleigh - bring back the Twenty & show them how it should be done!

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  55. Samuel - I would love to see someone on a train or bus commuting with an Ordinary!

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  56. I have no clue why the D2R comes with fat knobbies stock. Is it intended to go off-roading, or on fire trails? Perhaps when sourcing tires at different price points, this tire met their criteria for cost and all-round utility? Who knows. My Bike Friday has 20" Schwalbe Marathons, and I think they're 2" wide, maybe 1.75". They seem fine, have okay roll-resistance, and are cushy when inflated to about 45lb. They ride smoothly on pavement and can do light-duty off-roading. They seem like a great all-round tire for a 20" wheeled bike. However, they're not cheap, so I can see why they wouldn't be chosen as OEM equipment.

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  57. If you have no luck in contacting the manufacturer you might ask the bike shop to hold a magnet up to the frame. That would solve the mystery of the frame material quite nicely.

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  58. Velouria-
    No luck in finding a swan-framed folder yet, though that just means I haven't been looking hard enough. I'm sure there's some little Steyr project from the teens or twenties that would fit the bill. Maybe a demountable, if not an actual folder. Lots of folks before us were brilliant.
    I was making the comparison to the u-framed folders geometry and rider position, in this case.

    (I just read the subsequent blog post and am further convinced that there is little new underneath the sun. The newer editions just get lighter.)

    Now I want to get those 20" aluminum rims laced up...

    Corey K

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  59. Oh, duh--right--we should've put a magnet to it... I had my doubts too about it being steel. Too late now, but I'll try to remember next time I go to Harris.

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  60. The D2R boogie is definitely made from aluminum.

    That said, Sheldon himself stated:

    "The reality is that you can make a good bike frame out of any of these metals, with any desired riding qualities, by selecting appropriate tubing diameters, wall thicknesses and frame geometry."

    My wife and I share an aluminum (6061, same alloy as the D2R boogie) Cannondale mtn bike. It rides like a limo, thanks to 2" wide Schwalbe Land Cruisers.

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  61. Okay. I have spoken to the manufacturer on the phone, and I understand the confusion now.

    The Boogie "City" bicycle, reviewed here, is aluminum. However, they have another version that will soon be coming out, the Boogie "Tension" (no idea what it looks like or any details) that is cromoly.

    As a side note, I think it is interesting that I could not tell whether the bike was alum or cromo after riding it, both here and with the Trek Belleville earlier.

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  62. "As a side note, I think it is interesting that I could not tell whether the bike was alum or cromo after riding it, both here and with the Trek Belleville earlier. "

    I think that with advances in computer-aided design and thoughtful consideration of components, the whole debate over steel versus aluminum has become largely moot, and the choice becomes a matter of historical and emotional preference (I still prefer steel, but I can't justify it with claims of superior ride quality). Most aluminum frames use hi-ten or chromoly steel forks, anyway, and the front fork is one of the major shock absorbers on a bike.

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  63. somervillain - I don't know that I quite agree with that; I think I need more experience to form an opinion. Based on the bikes I have ridden, I associate aluminum with harsh ride quality over bumps and with welds that look like "squeezed-out toothpaste". But clearly that association has led me astray at least twice in recent times. The Trek Belleville had messy welds and a ride quality that felt harsh to me, so I wrongly assumed it was aluminum. The Boogie had so-so welds and a pleasant ride quality, and so I went with Harris's description of it as cromoly. Of course, with the Boogie, one could say that the wide tires were a choice made specifically to make the ride softer - but hey, if it works, it works. I can't pretend to like it less upon finding out it's aluminum.

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  64. I understand, Velouria. I can't pretend to like aluminum either, but what I've been told about aluminum and read about hasn't necessarily jibed with my experiences with it, either. The thing about the blobby welds-- that has everything to do with cost-cutting and streamlined production and nothing to do with what's possible. Check out some of the aluminum high-end road bikes of the 80s and 90s, before carbon fiber. While not lugged, some aluminum frames look as cleanly welded as the best fillet-brazed steel frames. Just sayin... I'm still not going to start collecting aluminum frames anytime soon :-).

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  65. I bet the Trek mixte with fat pipes that's cromoly is aluminum too... :)

    Same welds. The only reason I believed the D2R is steel is because you pointed out that the Trek had these welds too. Heh. Imagine Trek secretly (or unknowingly) doing that.

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  66. here are some clean aluminm welds:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/timandmegan/5191581272/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayak49/21484119/sizes/o/in/photostream/

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  67. Interesting pictures!
    Though if I were to start collecting aluminum bicycles, it would be the lugged faceted aluminum Caminade : )

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  68. Correction- I've found no *vintage* swan frame folders.
    There is the currently-offered Citizen Barcelona:

    http://www.citizenbike.com/catalog.asp?product_category_id=1&product_id=22

    Is it still technically a swan-frame with only one tube?

    CK

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  69. Small-wheel bicycles are not a new thing. The last big small-wheeler trend started back in the swingin' sixties with the original Moulton and then went on to bicycles such as the Raleigh Twenty, which was a huge seller in the 1970's. I own a couple of Raleigh Twentys and I thoroughly enjoy using them. Yes, they were originally non-folding bicycles, and even to this day I rarely fold it. Upgraded it with some alloy rims and have just kept on riding it around. One great little bicycle.

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  70. I kind of love the look of this mini swan frame! As it happens, I've just finished researching Italian-built U-frame folders, so I have little bikes on the brain. U-frame riders say the bike feels flexy compared with the Raleigh Twenty - I imagine the swan frame would make it feel more solid.

    @Corey K - Those Citizen Barcelonas are sweet. I think technically they'd be called U-frames too.

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  71. Corey - Swan frame or not (drop frame?), that is a cool looking bike!

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  72. Lovely Bicycle: Thanks for putting up the post about the Boogie! I've wanted a small bike that could navigate the short roadway commute and the hallway to my office. And fit in my office. I didn't want or need a folder, or a girly swan frame, and also felt the Boogie company isn't quite "there yet." Your post sent me googling and eventually I found Cannondale's Hooligan 8, which I have upgraded to the point that we are happy: functional and durable.

    The scholastic and dogmatic discussions were also interesting.

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