Beautiful Bicycles: Velorbis Scrap Deluxe

When my friend Ms. Elle called to ask if I wanted to meet up at Copenhagen Cyclery after work, I was quick to agree.  She has been loyal to her vintage bike Cilantro, but decided to explore less “rickety” options.

While she quickly fell in love with the Velorbis Studine (they make a hot couple – see above), I flirted with the Velorbis Scrap Deluxe, a bike I’d never ridden before.

The Scrap Deluxe’s stand-out feature is the set of cream Schwalbe Fat Frank tires.  Aside from being eye-catching and unique, the tires deliver a soft ride over even the most rutted Chicago streets.  There is a bit more drag and weight with these tires, but not as much as you’d think.  Overall, a fair exchange for someone interested in comfort and class.

The bike comes with a Brooks sprung saddle, which breaks in quickly and provides the ultimate in comfort for both short and long rides.  Plus, a Brooks saddle makes any bike look better: an ugly bike gets a distinguished touch of class and a beautiful bike is pushed over the edge into dreamy elegance.  This is a case of the latter, obviously.  Matching Brooks leather grips and a leather mudflap complete the look.

The five speed internal Sturmey Archer hub makes riding on hills, in headwinds and carrying cargo manageable.  I’ve heard here and there that Shimano is a slighty better quality hub, but I don’t have enough experience with Sturmey Archer to compare it to my Oma’s Shimano.

Finally, this handsome Dane has all the attributes that make this style of bike so practical and appealing.  Front and rear integrated generator lights shine brightly when you pedal, no batteries required.  The rear light remains shining even when stopped for a few minutes.  Internal brakes and gears keep the ride safe and smooth in rain and snow.  Fenders and mudlfaps protect your clothes and shoes.  The front wicker basket and rear rack carry lots of cargo – I recommend a bouquet of flowers and a case of beer, respectively.   The shiny “briiiiiiing” bell is tres charmant.

As with all Velorbis bikes, the seating position is straight up, and legs push down and only slightly forward to pedal.  This seems to require a bit more effort than pedaling my Oma, especially when starting from a complete stop, because I can’t take advantage of my thigh muscles as much.  However, I have to attribute this to my personal riding comfort.  After a year and a half of riding Oma, my body is used to pedaling her and my leg muscles have developed in response to her particular needs.

Before testing the Scrap Deluxe, I assumed the ride would be similar to the Retrovelo Paula, since both are elegant city bikes with Fat Frank tires.  I was wrong.  The rides are totally different.  The Scrap Deluxe has a smoother and sturdier ride, more akin to my Oma, while the Retrovelo Paula is sportier.

As always, I highly recommend that anyone considering a bike like this test ride as many as possible.  Only you can decide which is the best choice for you.

In North America, you can order the bike from the lovely Copenhagen Cyclery. I think they’re currently the only NA dealer, but please correct me if I’m wrong. The price is $1,895 (If you think that is too expensive for a bike and own a car, please state the cost of your car when commenting ;) ) For those who really need a more budget-friendly option, Velorbis has a new Studine Balloon in gorgeous cream for around $1200 – similar to the Velorbis Studine Classic.

One last note about the Velorbis Scrap Deluxe – riding this bicycle is sure to get you noticed   ;)

{As always, we at LGRAB receive nothing for our reviews except the joy of spreading beautiful bike love.}

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66 thoughts on “Beautiful Bicycles: Velorbis Scrap Deluxe

  1. Carolyn I. says:

    That looks like a cool bike! I wish I could try something like that out.

    Do you think a Brooks Saddle would work on a hybrid bike? My current saddle is ok, but in the long term, I’d like to get a good sturdy saddle that is comfortable and have heard nothing but good about Brooks saddles.

  2. vanessa says:

    Hi,

    I’m writing in response to your last comment noting that you receive nothing for your reviews, I just think thats so refreshing! I read a lot of blogs both fashion and bikes, and always end up feeling suspicious when someone is reviewing a product or shop. Its so nice that someone would go to the efforts that you do for no other benefits than personal satisfaction. I am a long time reader and its partly thanks to blogs like yours that I’m the proud owner of a Pashley, and hate the confidence to ride to work on it. Great work!!

  3. vanessa says:

    That should have been ” I HAVE the confidence to ride to work on it” *blushes*

  4. Christa says:

    Wonderful review with high quality photos!

    “The price… (If you think that is too expensive for a bike and own a car, please state the cost of your car when commenting.)”

    You’re right. I also consider car insurance, car maintenance, time spent sitting in traffic when I could be moving, ETC. I would consider this bike an investment with great returns. (Oh, now I’m wondering about depreciation data.) Compared with a car, this is not just a deal, but a healthy, fun lifestyle.

    Regarding the Brooks saddle – well said: “an ugly bike gets a distinguished touch of class and a beautiful bike is pushed over the edge into dreamy elegance.”

    Love the white wheels!

    I want to test a Velorbis and I’m disappointed that Copenhagen Cyclery is the only North American dealer. Might just have to visit Chicago. In ten years, these Euro-style bike shops will probably be popular and prevalent in the U.S., with many owned/staffed by women.

  5. Christa says:

    “in response to your last comment noting that you receive nothing for your reviews, I just think thats so refreshing!”

    I agree. Don’t like to see company adverts and bias on fashion/bike blogs. Though sometimes I wish some bloggers were more open about sponsorship – it might give the blogger more credibility in the bike industry?

    I try to focus on promoting cool cyclists and my beautiful city. Curious about the intersection of bike social media and the bike-friendly city: to grow/organize the PLACE-BASED blogs for bicycle tourism promotion.

  6. what a lovely bike! mine was stolen a few years ago and i haven’t had once since. i really would like to get one again. nice blog:)

  7. Emma J says:

    @ Carolyn I. – after a few months of riding on a Brooks on my Oma, I’m considering putting one on my oridnary hybrid,too.

    I was surprised how comfortable the saddle is. I forget that saddle comfort is even an issue while riding around on it, especially during a recent biking weekend when I was on the bike for significant mileage three days in a row.

    Though putting a Brooks on my old bike does seem a little like embroidering pearls on a gunnysack but – I think the comfort might be worth for our long summer rides?

  8. Frits B says:

    Dutch Bike Co. in Seattle also carries Velorbis.

  9. Carolyn I. says:

    @Emma I asked my Bike shop about Brooks today, and they said that they can order them in. They also said that it’s the favourite type of seats for the die hard bicyclists. It’s definitely on my ‘want’ list. Good Xmas or birthday gift I think! Or save up for. It sounds like it would be heaven for your butt. :)

    Still, even though it’s not cheap, it still costs way way cheaper then a car. Don’t mind putting money out on it to enhance the comfort and ride.

  10. Tinker says:

    The “Big Cheese” at Copenhagen Cycle Chic Rides a Velorbis Scrap, so it would have respectable chops besides the good looks, you’d expect.

    The Shimano vs Sturmey Archer debate, was settled for me, with my new Torker Cargo T. Several people wrote about the Torker having an SA 3 speed. I bragged about the Sturmey Archer and it turned out to be a superb example of an ordinary Shimano. So I’m looking for a Shimano 8 speed hub, to replace / upgrade it with.

    @Carolyn I, I think Brooks Leather saddles are beautiful, but the price is a bit high considering what they deliver. Enter Velo Orange, and their line of leather saddles. (Go there and look at them!) All you need is the riveted name plate, to make you believe you are riding a Brooks. (Or type in LEATHER SADDLE into the Sports and Outdoors department search on Amazon. They have others.)

    • Tom says:

      Tinker, did you upgrade your Cargo-T saddle with a VO? Which model? I have a Cargo-T as well, just curious on your experience. Ping me at tomwyland at gee-mail.

      • Tinker says:

        No, I’m going with a Gyes Parkside Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle w/Springs from Amazon, $67. There is a nice review of the Velo Orange #8 at Austin on Two Wheels http://austinontwowheels.org/2009/03/19/review-vo-model-8-saddle-from-velo-orange/

        The VO saddles appear to have THICKER leather than their Brooks counterparts, so take a bit longer to break in.

        I just couldn’t go for the cost of a VO, especially since I wanted a Brooks 135, and they don’t clone that one.

        I wanted a sprung leather saddle at a bargain, the Gyes seems to do that.

        If Leather is not required, I’d buy the Avenir Groove Lite, Mens, gray/black for @20

    • Scott says:

      @Tinker: “I think Brooks Leather saddles are beautiful, but the price is a bit high considering what they deliver”

      I disagree. I bought a B17 in 2004 that has around 15k miles, that I ride almost daily still, and is, if anything, more comfortable than ever before. It costs $100! Under $0.01 per mile.

  11. Dottie says:

    @vanessa – Thanks for your comment! Hearing that means a lot to me. I love to hear from others out there who are reigniting their love for cycling, and a Pashley is a lovely way to do it :)

    @Frits B. – It is my understanding that Dutch Bike Co. no longer carries Velorbis.

    @Carolyn – I’m sure a Brooks would work great on a hybrid. I like Tinker’s advice to check out other brands, too, although I can vouch only for Brooks, which are on both of my bikes.

    @Christa – I’m totally with you on adding up ALL the costs, plus don’t forget negative externalities! Oh, I have a great idea – I will move to Cali and we’ll open a bike shop together :) That is very appealing today because it’s SNOWING outside.

    @eva – Thanks for stopping by! I encourage you to explore the archives and seriously consider getting back on a bike. All the cool kids are doing it ;)

    @Emma – That’s a funny analogy. Definitely worth it for the comfort, though, I agree.

    @Tinker – Interesting to hear about your SA experience. Also, I like the term “Big Cheese.”

  12. Kevin Love says:

    Interesting bike. The chaincase is an interesting design; at first I thought that it didn’t have a chaincase.

    I’ll start my comment about the price by noting that I do not own a car. My bike is a Pashley Roadster Sovereign. Since I am a giant, I have the largest frame size with the double top tube. I note from the Pashley website that its current MSRP is 615 pounds sterling.

    The reviewed Velorbis is quite a great deal more expensive and in my opinion does not deliver any significant extra value. Certainly not any extra value comensurate with the extra expense.

  13. Dottie says:

    @Kevin – I see where you’re coming from about the price. A Pashley Sovereign in my area goes for around $1300. My Oma is about $300 less than the Velorbis. Both the Pashley and my Oma offer at least as much as the Velorbis. Maybe the price takes into account the costs of developing a relatively new company. I know people who prefer the Velorbis and are fine paying more, so I’ll leave it up to the individual to decide.

  14. Christa says:

    @Dottie, I’ve thought of starting a bike shop – well designed, luxury shop. I want to see more beautiful bikes in one placem and a store made by women cyclists, for women cyclists. So tempting! :)

    And/or I would love to plan an annual event similar to Concours d’Elegance… for bicycles of course (i.e. http://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/).

    Just heard some stories about cycling in the snow. Can’t imagine.

  15. Thanks for this review and I love seeing all the pictures!

    As far as looks go, I love this bike… except for the unicrown fork, which is just a personal pet peeve. But if I were not geekily vigilant of details like that, the overall presentation of the bike is beautiful.

    Re Shimano vs Sturmey Archer: to be fair to Velorbis, they actually give you a choice. If you don’t like modern SA hubs, just ask your dealer to order the bike with a Shimano.

    Re the balloon tires: I am surprised to hear about “drag”, since other describe the Fat Franks as being faster than Schwalbe Marathon Plus. Hm. I have only ridden a Retrovelo with these tires so far, but not for long enough to form an opinion. Looks like I need a more thorough test ride!

  16. Dottie says:

    @Lovely Bicycle! – Good to know about the choice between SA and Shimano, that’s pretty cool. As for the drag of the Fat Franks, I did not notice this when test riding the Retrovelo, but I did on Scrap Deluxe when comparing it directly to the Studine Classic. The Studine is lighter without a generator light hub, but the different feel seemed to come more from the tires than the overall weight.

  17. Lorenza says:

    I don’t know what it is but Velorbis doesn’t really appeal to me, I know I am a bit bias as I do love Pashleys, but I think Oma, Gazelle, Raleigh etc are much more good looking :) It is great though that there are so many ‘sit-up-and-beg’ style bikes out there so everyone can find their perfect match : )

    Were you wearing shorts underneath the dress? I like that idea! I may copy it too ;) I usually wear dresses with leggings, but it’d be nice to wear them as dresses alone while still not flashing oncoming traffic eheh!

    L x

  18. Vee says:

    I have a brooks on my Halfway folding bike and I LOVE it. kind of like putting diamonds on a tin can ( well not that bad) but I don’t care b/c the comfort is amazing and it’s still brand new. I figure if I ever get rid of the halfway- I’ll keep the brooks for another bike….

    That saddle is point so upward- can you hop off? Am I the only one who needs her saddle pointed down. For me in order to have the seat high enough for good leg alignment- I need the saddle pointed down or I seriously fall over when stopping. I now have to push back with my butt to stay one but my knees thank me… I’d love to hear more on that from peeps.

    And as always- looking great Dottie!

  19. Vee says:

    ( I just realized Emma and I both had similar analogies on brooks on “cheaper” bikes. I like hers better.

  20. Dottie says:

    @Lorenza – Yup, black Nike bike shorts under the dress (non-padded). I’m wearing thick nude fishnet tights, but since they’re, well, nude, I opted for more coverage.

    @Vee – The saddle on my Oma is also tilted up, otherwise I’d have to keep scooting back. No problems hopping off and on.

  21. Scott says:

    Great review Dottie! As I mentioned here before, I bought a scrap deluxe when they had the Jan sale. I have been riding the Oma daily for a couple years and I encountered the same pedaling problem you did. I think this can be fixed by changing out the bars for more swept back ones like the Oma has. I still haven’t done this and my Oma therefore has remained my daily ride. It’s a lot more work to ride if you can’t use the Oma thigh muscles, good grief! I can basically pedal the Oma indefinitely in city riding without getting tired or overheated, but my 5 mile ride to work (the two times I tried it) on the scrap was uncomfortable.

    Phil has some other bar options for me to try. In fact, I am going over there right now (and to do some work next door at Filter — it seems like I always end up talking about Dutch bikes at that place with an inquisitive fixed gear hipster).

  22. Dottie says:

    @Scott – I’ve been extremely curious about your decision to buy a Scrap Deluxe when you already had an Oma. Tell Phil hi! We were chatting a bit about you and your new bars on Friday.

  23. Scott says:

    As to the comments about a Brooks on a cheap bike, my opinion is that no bike is too cheap for a Brooks. An uncomfortable saddle is no fun. The natural fibers of the Brooks are the only thing that eliminates saddle sweat for me – it’s a necessity!

  24. adam says:

    Great review!
    As an owner of one of the last Velorbi (what’s the plural version?) from the DBCo Seattle, I can attest that they no longer carry them. Funny, mine has a SRAM 7 speed transmission–I need it in Kentucky, we have some hills–I wonder why they stopped carrying it on their bikes? I have the same on the Bullitt I just got from Phil and Co at Copenhagen Cyclery. It’s a great hub.

    In terms of the price and appeal of Velorbises (is that it?), I do not own a car and didn’t even blink about the price–I just had to have the bike!

    It is also great that you are spreading the word about small, local businesses in your neighborhood. Copenhagen Cyclery was a pleasure to deal with–even from 300 miles away.

  25. neighbourtease says:

    @ Lorenza. Something about Velorbis bikes don’t quite appeal to me, either. I love that silver color and the fat frank tires are fun but I don’t feel an emotional connection to the particular proportions of the Velorbis. It looks like it has a Pashley frame body with a Dutch-ish long stem and I think I prefer the more traditional versions of both, somehow. I do not profess to have any real knowledge of any of this, though!

    I would also have to get that gigantic VELORBIS logo off the back rack toute de suite.

  26. bicyclemamy says:

    pls check out this women/girls only survey. http://www.apbp.org/events/event_details.asp?id=100124

  27. philippe says:

    @Scott :
    I don’t think a new bar will improve your experience with the Velorbis.
    IMO it’s only a tube angle issue. On a “traditional” dutch bike that angle is around 65/66°, while a hybrid bike (and the velorbis too, so it seems) is 70+°.
    I think (just my 0.2$) that the pretty steep seat angle and the very straight up position of the Velorbis are not totally coherent.
    For that matter, it’s a more forward bar that may improve things.

  28. Kimon says:

    I have owned a Scrap Deluxe for about 6 weeks now. Here is how I grade it:
    LOOKS/DESIGN – 10 When riding around town, people glance at it, but when it’s parked, people stare. I love the lines of the bike. The Brooks saddle, mudflap and toolbag are a beautiful trio.
    QUALITY- 8 Overall, it’s a great bike with high quality components but I do have some issues with the shifting being a bit rough. Mine has Sturmey Archer 5 speed. Also, there is a bit of rust in where the frame rubs on the rear rack.
    RIDE- 9 Very comfortable and sturdy ride. It handles bumps and curbs very well. I can cruise straight or I can jump up and down curbs like I used to when I was a teenager on my dirtbike.

    OVERALL – 9 Well worth the money because of it’s originality, style and quality.

  29. Sheena says:

    I appreciate your reviews on the Scrap Deluxe. I’ve been looking at this bike for awhile off an on with a few other brands/types, but I thought this one would be perfect if I ever did buy a bike. I’ve always been a bit astonished at the costs, but then you mentioned the cost of a car and I immediately took that into consideration :)

  30. Scott says:

    @Dottie, it’s true that the Scrap and Oma are highly similar. Part of the reason I got the Scrap is that I depend on the Oma for close to 100% for my transportation. This makes it hard when something breaks or if it needs maintenance. I wanted a backup.

    Another reason is that many people who know me and have seen how I use the Oma are highly curious about it. I have noticed this especially when I tell co-workers that I use it to buy fresh food almost every day and cook it at home. Many of them believe they do not have time to do this and are suffering with unhealthy diets. Several are planning to borrow the Oma once I get the Scrap’s bars set up and and give my cycling life a try (predictably, they are only willing to try this in hot weather). It took some of them literally a couple years of telling me they think I am crazy every day before warming up to the idea that maybe sitting in stalled out traffic all the time is actually crazy.

    Finally, I am highly appreciative that the only Velorbis dealer I know of in N. Am. set up shop in my community. I believe Chicagoans could use bikes much more than they do in a safe way without really changing much about their lives or the way they dress. This won’t happen unless there is someone there to provide suitable bikes and I wanted to show support by getting one and riding it.

    @phillipe, I also noticed the seat tube angle. When I lean way back on the Scrap and just hold on the bars with my finger tips, it does, however, feel a lot like the Oma. I ordered two types of bars similar to the Dutch style: nitto promenades and nitto all-rounders. Hopefully this will fix the problem. The Scrap has some other differences with the Oma that make me think I may just not take to it. For instance, my first ride to work on the Scrap was the day after a big snow storm and my rack bag was covered in slop because the Scrap has no coat guard. On the other hand, the Scrap has its own advantages such as a very clever way of hooking a briefcase to the rack.

    I still think the Oma is an ideal city bike, and I intend to keep riding it as long as I can.

  31. jerry says:

    Hi Dottie:
    What is the “comfort” range on this bike — I am guessing maybe 10 mile round trip. Gets huge style and design points, but would it work beyond fairly short trips to dinner, coffee, post office, grocery.

    My guess that on a climb with any elevation gain of more than 50 feet, and on say 15 to 20 mile round trip, your Betty Foy would be much more practical.

    Jerry

  32. Dottie says:

    @jerry – I can’t speak to this bike’s long distance capabilities, as I did not do a long distance test ride. If I were taking a 20 mile trip, I would choose my Betty Foy over my Oma.

  33. adam says:

    I think alot of these comments referring to the geometry should be repositioned in terms of the tires; Both the women’s and men’s scrap deluxes are the exact frame (except the paint schemes) of the Churchill’s, but with fatter rubber. The resistance of that added tire volume is incredible. When I switched from commuting on racing tires, I was much slower, but a heck of a lot more comfortable. My Churchill moves just fine. I think that all of the European style bikes reviewed on this blog have relatively the same round-trip comfort range.

  34. Dottie says:

    @Kimon and Scott – Thanks for sharing your experiences! The most helpful information is from people who actually own and regularly ride these bikes.

  35. dukiebiddle says:

    Jerry, although I agree that this and similar bikes are probably better suited for lesser to average distances, I don’t think they’re necessarily limited to flat geography. Five speeds are adequate for quite a bit more elevation range than 50 feet.

  36. Scott says:

    One thing I noticed on the Scrap was, although it has five speeds, I was almost always in 2 for normal riding. 1 and 2 correspond to 1 and 2 on my sram 3-speed Oma. Oma speed 3 is between 3 and 4 on the Scrap. I never used 5.

    I wanted to adjust the gearing to make use of all five speeds. I would get a bigger cog, but it already has the largest cog I’ve seen at 21 teeth. I would get a smaller chainring, except the Scrap uses a one piece bottom bracket spindle that includes the drive side crank and the chainring. The only other bike I have ever seen this bottom bracket configuration on is the 1960’s Dutch Branndaris I bought at a Kevin Thornton bike sale. Phil and I had no further ideas. Is there any way I could lower the Scrap’s gearing?

    • Jeanette says:

      Hello:
      I am VERY LATE! to this discussion, so not sure this will get picked up, but I was interested that you have a 3-speed Oma.

      I live in Brooklyn and commute to mid-town. It’s a fairly flat commute except for the bridges, though not all of NYC is flat, for sure! The Upper West Side has plenty of hills, and the hill getting to Prospect Park in Brooklyn is also fairly significant. Still, my daily travels are mostly in the flats.

      I am trying to finalize my bike decision and with so many great bikes out there, it’s difficult! I love that Workcycles are the best example of their purpose…no nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia; just straight-ahead utility to the greatest extent reasonable.

      When I emailed Workcycles in Amsterdam to inquire about the 3-vs-8 speed question, I got this reply:
      My advise is to positively choose the 8 speed variant: far more range than the three speed, you’ll really appreciate that on bridges but also in choosing the best gear to ride for example all the way north on first Ave. The three gear variant offers the rider a direct drive (2) and a reduction of the ratio (1st gear) plus an increase of the ratio in (3rd) gear (thus) three steps or gears. The range is 184%. The 8 speed offers you 306% range in 8 steps; a far better choice if you ask me. We try to explain this to Dutch customers too that they should ditch their believes and try the 8 speed. All customers who do that return after one month for their first service and tell us we should be far more fierce in pushing customers into choosing 8 speeds, they are very, very happy with their 8 speed hubs and would never trade it in for a three speed anymore, once they got to know the 8 speed hub. Don’t worry about your legs getting weak from all this comfort: you will choose exactly the gear you like and very likely you will just ride faster with the same usage/ effort coming from your legs.”

      The big advantage I see is for the coaster brakes (quicker stopping; no hands required!) but am just trying to sort through which trade-offs make the most sense. Velorbis of course comes with the coaster options, but honestly I can’t quite see that the greater Velorbis price is justified, compared to Oma, and again, I do love the honesty about the Oma design and purpose.

  37. dukiebiddle says:

    Scott, how big is the chainring? If the bike came stock with a 21t cog it sounds to me like Velorbis was compensating for a too big chainring.

  38. Scott says:

    I didn’t count the teeth on the chainring. Another possible reason is that a larger cog will wear more slowly.

  39. Milo says:

    Scott,

    I had a Sachs Pentasport 5-speed with a 22T sprocket. I also had a 22T on a Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed. So something bigger than 21T is out there. I’ve heard – but have not seen – that Sturmey Archer made a 23T sprocket. Don’t know if that was for UK only.

    Milo.

  40. Step-Through says:

    I’m jealous! The most interesting thing you’ll find in bike shops around is is maybe an Electra Amsterdam. Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you!

  41. Katherine says:

    It seems very expensive. I don’t have a car; I can’t afford one, as I am a student. I think these types of bikes are gorgeous and I read these types of blogs avidly. I fell in love when someone lent me a beater of an omafiets to ride when I was interning in the Netherlands. It just makes me sad because I cannot afford a simple bike that I don’t have to hunch over to ride and can carry things and wear skirts on. A bike like these costs more than two years of metro passes.

  42. Jerry says:

    Katherine:
    I read your comment. Their are lots of step-through or “Mixte” lugged steel frames from the 1980s and very early 1990s that become available on Craigslist and Ebay. There is a bike shop in my neighborhood in the OC Calif that has a new old stock frame and many parts for $100. My daughter had one in NY that she sold for $85 when she moved back to Calif.

    Look around. You might something that only needs a basket, or you can put a bit more money in aftermarket parts from Rivendell or Velo Orange. Get some 30 mm plus Schwalbe Marathon tires. Maybe Nitto Albatros bars and a wide Brooks saddle and a nice basket and fenders and you will have a great riding, durable that looks good for $200 to $400.

    Functionally it will be just as good, and actually might have more range.

    Jerry

  43. Kimon says:

    Wow! Today on the way to work, I ran over a giant nail and my rear Fat Frank balloon tire deflated instantly. Luckily, I was near my work when it happened so I didn’t have to walk too far. Now comes the adventure of taking the rear wheel off and changing the tube.
    I still love my Scrap although she didn’t avoid the nail…perhaps it had something to do with my riding.

  44. Scott says:

    Katherine, I got this mixte on ebay and set it up for a friend as Jerry suggested. It cost about $650 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/74524313@N00/3828041009/).

    Another option are the republic dutch bikes at $400 (http://www.republicbike.com/build_plato.asp?product_category_id=4&product_id=4).

    A bike may be as expensive as two years of a metro pass, but don’t forget to account for the health value of getting more physical activity. PS. I also got hooked on these bikes when someone let me borrow a real beater on a visit to Amsterdam.

  45. Jerry says:

    Scott:
    You nailed it! Nice build. Looks like you went with 28mm for the tires — Vittorias?? My guess is that this rides just as well as the new Dutch bikes.
    J.

  46. Katherine says:

    You guys are really nice, and thanks for the suggestions, but honestly, you have tin ears when it comes to the question of affordability. And Scott, most people who cannot afford bikes or cars WALK and use public transport, which can be far more physical exertion than a bicycle, especially when carrying groceries/books/etc.

  47. Dottie says:

    @Katherine – You have not said what you consider affordable, but you can get a decent commuter bike from Craiglist for about $150. An exceptionally attractive and well-built bike can be put together, as others have noted, for about $300 or $400. In Chicago, a transit pass costs $85 dollars a month, so a bike would be well worth the small investment, especially since it will last as long as you take good care of it.

    A fancy bike, like a fancy car, is something one can look forward to purchasing after graduation, with a regular paycheck. As a student, lots of stuff is too expensive and has to wait. Until then, there are plenty of serviceable bikes to be found.

  48. Katherine says:

    Dottie, I have no need for a ‘fancy’ bike. I would be perfectly happy with a beat-up Flying Pigeon or Hero like regular folks in China or India, but bikes of this utilitarian style are difficult to find in America. There are some interesting ones at Wal-Mart but I know many here would look down on that and indeed some of the bike shops out here refuse to service them.

    However, the point of my original comment was that your suggestion that $1895 is not ‘expensive’ is kind of out of touch and that one shouldn’t naturally assume the choice is between bike and car.

  49. Scott says:

    Yes, the Flying Pigeon is an excellent option. Check out this one for sale on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/Brand-New-FLYING-PIGEON-PB-13-w-lots-of-accessories_W0QQitemZ320461540060QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4a9cff0adc#ht_597wt_864

    Not bad for $229 + $35 shipping! It looks almost exactly like the dutch bike I’ve been riding. Center kick stand, chaincase, bell, dynamo light. The rack could carry a box. It has super cool rod-acuated brakes, just like the Italian Abici Amante Uomo I drool over whenever I’m in CPH Chicago.

  50. Dottie says:

    @Katherine – My statement was directed specifically to those who claim that $1800 is too much “for a bike” while driving expensive and quickly depreciating cars.

    I agree that the market for solidly built utilitarian bikes is lacking in North America. That tide seems to be turning lately. In the meantime, there are many choices out there, from vintage Schwinns to Walmart bikes to Velorbises. This post just happens to be about the Velorbis.

  51. Jerry says:

    This is a lively discussion. I would suggest people avoid WalMart and Target bikes and troll Craigslist and garage sales to find a used but better quality bike that fits their budget. It will save you money in the long run.

    Katherine, what is your budget, what size frame are you looking for… step through or double diamond. Might be all sorts of readers who have something that will work for you. I have found high quality bikes that work great as errand bikes and commuters for under $100.

    J.

  52. Giffen says:

    Katherine,

    I totally understand where you are coming from. Here’s my advice. (Whether or not it’s good advice will depend to some extent on where you live.)

    I would recommend buying a used 3-speed (Raleigh Sports, for example) for $50 on craigslist. For this plan to work, you need to do a few things. First, find a friend that is willing to help you purchase the bike and can check its condition. Second, you need to find a friend with a car that will drive you to check out and pick up the bike. (Can be the same person, obvi.) Then find a bike you like, MAKE SURE it has a chain guard, full fenders, a decent seat, and tires without cracks, and that it rides smoothly and quietly. (Fixing any of these will cost as much as the bike.)

    Then purchase a basket for the front, or a Wald rack for the back, have your friend oil the chain, and you’ll be good to go. Just be careful when braking in the rain.

  53. Giffen says:

    Kathrine,

    Also, try to find out whether there is a bicycle coop or a transportation oriented/alternative bike shop in your area. Getting to know the people in the shop a bit might be helpful.

    Finally, a more general comment about prices. If you find a bike-savvy friend that is willing help with your purchase and occasional repairs, then you can get a decent bike for $50. (Again, must make sure this friend understands that you want an upright bike with fenders!) If you want to get one from a bike shop, the cheapest you will find is about $150. (These bikes will come tuned up.) For example, if you are by chance located in Boston, you can go to Old Roads or Park Sales (possibly other places too) and walk out with a tuned-up 3-speed for around $160. At around $200, you might be able to purchase a flying pigeon, depending on your location. I’m fairly confident those are the lowest three price points for nice, dignified bicycles.

  54. Scott says:

    Oh, and with regard to the comment about this bike getting you noticed — definitely true. On my first ride to work, on my own block, someone yelled to me from a front porch, “Nice bike!” I had been on it for under a minute!

  55. My own Velorbis Churchill Classic is arriving in Australia any day now. I agonized about not choosing the Churchill Balloon with brown tires, but in the end decided the coat guard (not available with balloon fitted bikes) looked that much more dignified. No doubt I will look completely out of place riding about my blue collar city (Newcastle) in Australia on such a gentlemanly steed, but I WANT to look out place.

  56. Milo says:

    Dottie,

    Maybe you needed to push the Brooks back a bit on your Velorbis Scrap test ride. From your comments it sounds like you might have been sitting a bit too close to the bottom bracket. Possibly also a different handlebar type, as Scott suggested?

    Milo.

  57. Kimon says:

    Update on my SCRAP DELUXE:
    On a previous post I had said that the bike has some rust where the frame meets the rack. I need to correct myself; the bike has absolutely no rust. The only speck of rust is on the rack where the gate meets the frame of the rack.
    Also, the Sturmey Archer shifts much smoother now because I have adjusted it. So I give the bike’s quality an overall 9 out of 10.
    It’s a winner!

  58. sydney girl says:

    Today I bought a Scrap Deluxe. I’m hoping to receive it tomorrow. It is my first bike and I just can’t wait to ride it!

  59. Holly Knower says:

    I think your blog is so specific … I am currently writing a review on how the characteristics of a ‘Bicycle’ have changed over the years, from how a Pashley Bicycle is far more elegant than the typical ‘bike’ now days. However FASHION is the main topic, beautiful garments were seem on Pashley Bicycles years back however today they simply … well truthfully are given the wrong impression by some riders.

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