Monday, August 21, 2006

A Worthy Successor For the Doctor

A couple of week's ago my workhorse, a 2003 Kona Dr. Dew, got stolen in broad daylight on a busy street outside my workplace in Sundbyberg, a suburb of Stockholm.Gone in 30 Seconds

The shock I went through when I came out the door, ready to ride home, and looked at the broken Abus Granite Futura lock hanging from the shopping cart rack still sends shivers down my spine.

At first I thought it was the supermarket that had finally had it with me locking my bike to their rack everyday, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. The bike was gone. The fact that they had cracked my Abus lock, which I supposed to be a really good lock, indicated a professional thief  with the right tools. I learned from browsing the net that the spare jack of a Volvo 240 is the bicycle thief's best friend and the damage on my lock  supported that theory.

It was the bike that got me hooked to cycling and I had no plans to retire it yet. The Dr. was the perfect commuter in my opinion. Quick, sturdy and good looking. After three years of trusty commuting, winters included, the only thing I had replaced was the chain, cassette and a pair of tires.  The bottom bracket was singing on it's last verse and had plans on replacing it before the winter but the thief was quicker than me.

Two weeks has now passed and this Friday I got about 50% of the bikes value back from the insurance company. My urge for U-lock Justice has cooled of a bit. I still check out the major Swedish online classifieds sites for any traces of my old companion but probably it's on a shitty lorry of to some neighbor country right now.

I have been doing the commute on my road bike for the last two weeks. Taking it with me into the office. Since the weather has been good most of the time it has been no problems. But now it's time to get a new bike and I have been tossing and turning over who the successor will be.

I'm into a touring or a cyclocross bike with drop bars. The only thing I didn't like in the end with the Dr. Dew was the straight handlebars. Riding my road bike got me accustomed to the broadened range of hand positions that the drop bars offered. And every time I mounted my Dew I felt a bit constrained. 

I will probably be another Kona. A picture of the 2007 Sutra touring bike got me hooked. I really like the looks of it. The 2006 is better specced when it comes to shifters and some other stuff, but that can be upgraded later on. The racing green finish on this bike beats the 105 shifters on the 2006, IMO.

Sutra 2007

It has disc brakes which I like. The Dr. Dew had hydraulic ones, they where flawless. The Sutra has mechanical ones, not sure how they compare.

A touring bike would let me do longer trips with more luggage and still be a good commuter. My Dr. Dew had a rear rack and panniers so carrying capacity was no problem. The short wheelbase and the flatbar was the thing that kept me from doing longer trips with it.

The only thing I'm a bit worried about is the Sutras ability for winter riding. It has the same fork as the Dr. Dew, a Kona P2 fork, so fitting winter studs on it doesn't seem to be a problem. Probably the clearance for a rear winter tire is also sufficient.

Touring bikes are really hard to shop here in Stockholm. My lbs only sells Cannondales Tourers, but when I went there to try one out they said that they were sold out in Europe and getting one could take months. The Sutra 2007 could be ordered if I paid a down payment and committed myself to buy it when it arrived.

So buying a tourer here in Sweden means buying it untested. It's a lot of money and it feels a bit risky to do. I have however compared the geometry of the Sutra with the Dr Dew and they are quite similar so the risk of doing a really bad purchase doesn't seem that high.  

My other option is Kona's Cyclocross Jake the Snake.

Jake the Snake 2006

 A handful of dealers here in Stockholm has it in stock so I can take it for a test ride. Haven't done it yet since this option is pretty new and based on the fact that the Sutras are so hard to get. I really need the bike now.  

When it comes to touring this bike don't have lowrider brace-ons and if I wish to have a rack and fenders I have to put em on the same brace-on. It also has less options in gearing since the Sutra is a Triple and Jake is a compact. The geometry is probably less suitable for long rides, but that is a guess. I'm not sure. It's probably a better commuter though.

hmm. what will it be??? If anyone have any opinions please post a comment. I need all help I can get.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Mark said...

For touring (and commuting with a heavy load) a triple is a nice thing to have. Switching a double to a triple is also a pain. I would also check tire clearance very, very carefully.

Glad you're back. Sorry about the bike.

5:02 am  
Blogger Johan Mörén said...

Thank you for you input Mark.

I have put up an inquiry on the Kona tech forum about the tire clearance. It's not just the tire i need to squeeze in. Fenders is a must here during the winter.

8:00 am  
Blogger steve said...

Good to see you back!

Have you looked at Nishiki? I rescued an old one and went looking for the manufacturer's page, it looks like they're only available in Nordic countries for some reason now. They have a city bike called the Touring Master Pro(?) which looks pretty well set up, with what looks like a hub gear too. There's also the Swan which... well, I'm not sure about the step-through frame or the basket, but otherwise it looks like a pretty well thought out commuter bike - 7 speed hub gear, kickstand, hub generator, racks, fenders, pretty much everything...

I have no idea as to the quality, though. My Nishiki is a 20-ish year old steel road bike that is probably not representative of anything they're selling these days.

2:26 pm  
Blogger Johan Mörén said...

Hehe, Steve!

Are you kidding? The Swan looks like the kind of bike that you fear to do a full frontal with on the bike lane.

Heavy, heavy, heavy bikes that heavy, heavy, heavy elderly women ride here in Sweden. They are like the S.U.V's of the bike lane :)

The Touring Master Pro looks like a nice bike though. Nishiki make really good bikes and my girlfriend owns two of them. One flatbar racer and a commuter.

The problem with the Touring Master is that it's a flatbar bike. I want a dropbar bike this time to be able to do some touring and Audax rides with the club.

Riding long distances on a flatbar is too tiring for hands/arms/upper body. I have tried it on the Dew. I know that barends helps. But they also make the bike less aestetic IMO.

9:47 pm  
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2:52 am  

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