Beautiful Bicycles: The Pilen Lyx Step-Through

Last fall, I had the pleasure of test-riding for two days a completely new bike to me, the Pilen Lyx Step-Through from J.C. Lind Bike Co.

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The Pilen is a beautiful and utilitarian bike made in Sweden.  The ride is super sturdy and smooth, while also being pretty swift, and the bike has loads of utilitarian features.  I will point out all those features below, but first, here is my main thought on the bike: if I were forced to choose only one bike to own, I would choose the Pilen Lyx.  My WorkCycles Oma is a fully upright bike that allows me to bike in any type of clothing, carry lots of weight, ride regally, and weather any weather.  My Rivendell Betty Foy is the inanimate love of my life and gets me places quickly and comfortably.  However, these two bikes must work as a team to compliment my needs and moods.  Alone, each bike has weaknesses.

I’m not saying that I like the Pilen more than my bikes (never!  I’m fiercely loyal to Betty and Oma) but the Pilen manages to combine the most important qualities of each: all-weather sturdiness, swiftness, beauty, and carrying capacity.

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Swooping frame that makes it super easy to mount.

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Pretty badge, sprung Brooks saddle and lugs.

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Front basket with support from stays down to the front wheel.  A spring to keep the front wheel from swinging around based on weight in the basket.

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A rear wheel lock and chain guard.

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Rubber-padded pedals to keep your shoes from slipping off (especially helpful with high heels).

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Schwalbe tires.  These are my personal favorite, because I’ve never gotten a flat on my Schwalbe tires since I’ve had them, after almost 4 years.

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Internal 7-speed gear hub that you change by twisting the handlebar.  This is my favorite system, the same that’s on my Oma, the Shimano Nexis.

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Built-in branded bell!  You ding by spinning it.

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Extremely sturdy rear rack that is extra wide and can hold lots of goodies.  There is so much I could do with that rear rack, even more than with my Oma’s sturdy rear rack.

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Beautiful front profile.  Sturdy kickstand (soooo helpful for loading and unloading), although I would prefer a double-footed kickstand for more uprightness and for easy access from either side of the bike.

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Front generator light, meaning they’re powered by pedaling and never die.  Rear battery-powered LED light.

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The ride of the Pilen is quite upright.  Not quite as upright as a traditional Dutch bike, but certainly comfortable.

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The proportions of the bike worked very well with me (I’m 5’7 with a long torso).  The ride was swift, easy, and smooth —not quite as swift as my Rivendell and not quite as smooth as my Oma, but an excellent combination of the two.

I cannot comment on how well the bike would age, but it seems like it would withstand the elements and wear-and-tear quite well. The only part I would be worried about is the chain, since it is not fully covered.  I hate having to keep a chain clean.

Overall, I thought this bike was pretty kick-ass. I was impressed.

As always, I recommend that you test ride the bike – and as many others as possible – before making a decision.  J.C. Lind Bike Co. is a sponsor of Let’s Go Ride a Bike, but  my review is my own.  For another perspective, including off-road performance, Lovely Bicycle had the bike for a month and you can read her review here.

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38 thoughts on “Beautiful Bicycles: The Pilen Lyx Step-Through

  1. SheCyclesNairobi says:

    That’s a beautiful bike indeed. The bikes sold here are mostly mountain bikes on account of bad roads and terrain. How heavy is this one compared to the regular mountain bikes?

    • LGRAB says:

      I don’t know how heavy mountain bikes are. The Pilen is pretty heavy, but not as heavy as a traditional Dutch bike – at least it did not feel like it while riding.

    • anniebikes says:

      My woman’s Ross Mt. St. Helens must be 35lbs. plus the racks and fenders. It’s pretty heavy, almost too heavy for me to comfortably lift onto our car’s bike rack.

  2. Ann M. Erickson says:

    So gorgeous! A little out of my price range right now, but I would love it so much. Maybe next year…

  3. So gorgeous! A little out of my price range right now, but I would love it so much. Maybe next year…

  4. Cycler says:

    Interesting.
    I rode this bike when Velouria was testing it (it’s nice to have bike-neighbors) and I found it (on an admittedly short 10 minute test ride) to be kind of sluggish, and I had real problems with the position of the handlebars (which obviously could be adjusted if you had the bike for “real”.
    To my taste, it had strange gearing too. Just goes to show you that everyone should try a bike before they buy it. I know that makes it hard to try a lot of bikes if you don’t live somewhere with lots of options like Chicago.

    • LGRAB says:

      Interesting. I didn’t find it sluggish at all, nor did I have any problems with the gearing. I had the 7-speed and I think Velouria had the 3-speed.

      • Yup the one I tested was a 3-speed. I had a very similar response to it as cycler, though 2 other people who rode the exact same bike found it fast. Go figure.

      • Cycler says:

        I think 7 speeds might make a big difference, because the problem I had with it was that the gear range seemed odd- like it was geared too low in the lowest  and middle gear, and too high in the highest.  Having more steps might make all the difference.   In regards to a double saddlebag pannier (comment below) I think it would take one like that without problems- wide racks and saddlebags are both the standard in Europe.  The tubing size is extra large though, and many american pannier systems won’t handle it- Ortlieb makes extra large clips and so does R&K.
        It sure is a beautiful color though!

    • LGRAB says:

      Interesting. I didn’t find it sluggish at all, nor did I have any problems with the gearing. I had the 7-speed and I think Velouria had the 3-speed.

  5. anniebikes says:

    Those pedals are pretty sweet. Do you know what kind they are? I also read Lovely Bike’s review. I am in love with this type of bike. It seems to have everything. I won’t even look at the price…I’m looking for something to replace my current step-through mountain bike. This would do it.

  6. anniebikes says:

    Those pedals are pretty sweet. Do you know what kind they are? I also read Lovely Bike’s review. I am in love with this type of bike. It seems to have everything. I won’t even look at the price…I’m looking for something to replace my current step-through mountain bike. This would do it.

  7. Old Knotty Buoy says:

    Nice review of the Pilen. There are a couple of factors that I like and a few details that concern me .

    The rack on the front looks very secure and not prone to drooping as so many handlebar only mounting is subject to. It almost looks as if it could carry a gallon of milk and then some without folding under the load, but the bend in the front basket stays around the front light might reduce the structural integrity somewhat.

    The rear rack is nice in that it is wide and has two spring loaded clamps that fold away. My concern would be about the ease of mounting panniers or folding baskets without getting heal strike interference when pedaling. A place to clip the lower part of the panniers by the back drop out would also be needed. (I just read Velouria’s review and her take on mounting panniers.) Would a large saddle bag fit below the low mounted seat or a rack top basket for that matter? (The seat tube angle seems very relaxed which might affect both saddle bags and heal strike.)

    I like the fenders (metal? plastic?) and would only suggest adding mud flaps. The semi sloping fork crown seems to give plenty of room for the fenders and tires.

    I’m guessing rear coaster brakes and front drum brakes built into the generator hub. (what kind of gen hub?) Nice for snowy Chi-town! I especially like the nutted hubs as opposed to quick release. More secure against theft and once set, needs little in the way of maintenance or thought.

    Maybe you could get a full chain guard as an after market item or when ordering the bike.

    Gotta love Schwalbe tires and tubes. What size tire are they and what kind of tube valve stems? They seem to have a special cap on the valve stem. Some sort of adaptor? Stainless steel spokes?

    I prefer a thumb activated bell so both hands can be kept “on the wheel” so to speak. (Especially true when you’re ringing your bell due to a sketchy situation!)

    Did the head badge get moved to the seat post because of the front rack?

    I like the tall frame and with moving the seat post up, it could probably handle taller riders. I’m an older man, taller and heavier, and have been looking for a robust step through frame for short errands around the local ‘hood. This could almost work for me. I’ll have to search one out for personal inspection and a test ride.

    Ride well and be safe out there.

    OKB

    • LGRAB says:

      Great points! Thanks for sharing. You’re right that a double saddle bag pannier probably would not fit over the wide rack; I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t use those kinds of panniers, so I didn’t have to deal with that situation. My usual one-sided Basil pannier fit perfectly. No heal strike problems, but then I’ve never had a heel strike problem on any bike I’ve ridden.

      For detailed information like what kind of valve stems and whether the spokes are stainless steel, I would recommend asking the bike shop or manufacturer or maybe seeing if that much detail is on their website. I don’t even know that kind of stuff about the bikes I own. :)

    • Magnus Tamelander says:

      The fenders are stainless steel, and powder coated. You can read more about the specs on their site:

      http://www.pilencykel.se/site/en/lyx

      Cheers,
      Magnus

  8. Diana says:

    Eek! I want this bicycle now! What a beautiful color! I just ordered a Pashley Britannia in red this past January….it hasn’t even come in yet and I’m thinking about all the other bikes I want to buy! haha

    Nice rack! Do you think it would be sturdy enough for someone to sit on? :)

  9. kim says:

    hi!!
    i like
    the brooks saddle
    great color
    are the rims 28 inch?
    what is the price?
    my favorites are oma n old english roadsters
    i ride a 1971 rod brake roadster {rides like a well oiled singer sewing machine!!!

  10. GravelDoc says:

    I had the opportunity to examine a Pilen Lyx at J.C. Lind, Co. while visiting Chicago this past January. Unfortunately, we were there during a moderately heavy snow storm so I could not take it for a test ride. I’d sure like to return to give it a spin. Beautiful bike, well equipped, though I see what you mean by the uncovered chain.

  11. Trisha says:

    You know, the only thing that bugs me about this bike is that I want to call it the Pilsen Lynx. Pilen Lyx means something in Swedish, I’m sure…but in English, it’s a weird close-but-not-quite to actual words. :)

  12. Pilen is Swedish for “arrow”, Lyx is “luxury”. Althogh Pilsen Lynx would be a nice name for a Swedish built bike as well!

    I got my Pilen Lyx in 2005 and use it to commute to work (almost all year round, but we do get a lot of snow and ice here in Stockholm during the winter) and also for bike hikes during the summer. So far, no problems. I hade to replace the Schwalbe tires after four years since they were worn out, but never a flat tire.

    This is easily the best bike I’ve ever owned, and my guess is I will ride it for many years to come.

  13. Pilen is Swedish for “arrow”, Lyx is “luxury”. Althogh Pilsen Lynx would be a nice name for a Swedish built bike as well!

    I got my Pilen Lyx in 2005 and use it to commute to work (almost all year round, but we do get a lot of snow and ice here in Stockholm during the winter) and also for bike hikes during the summer. So far, no problems. I hade to replace the Schwalbe tires after four years since they were worn out, but never a flat tire.

    This is easily the best bike I’ve ever owned, and my guess is I will ride it for many years to come.

  14. Papabybike says:

    My wife is one of the people who found it fast. She liked it enough that we got one last summer, the portlandia version. It’s a great everyday bike but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s heavy. 45 pounds with a pretty nice but heavy frame-mounted rack. The rear rack is extremely sturdy, but wider than most other racks. The bell is very anemic and was replaced very quickly. The valve is a woods Dunlop style valve.

    It’s a great bike, but the weight is a hinderance when we’re going over 5 miles. I’m currently working on building her a converted mtb as something lighter.

  15. Beautiful bike! I especially like the color.

  16. Cherish48 says:

    I did a brief test ride and a short write-up about the Pilen a little while ago. It sure is a beautiful bike, though I did find some strange problems with it, like a buzzing/vibration emanating from the pedals. I really wanted to like this bike as it seems supremely functional and beautiful:

    http://lemondirgopie.blogspot.com/2011/10/quick-impressions-of-bella-ciao-superba.html

  17. Kara says:

    That Pilen is definitely a beautiful bike. Can’t get over that swan frame. Maybe someday, she and I will have a ride. 

  18. Sam says:

    Gorgeous bike. I love your summary. x

  19. Sam says:

    Gorgeous bike. I love your summary. x

  20. Ta Stones says:

    Dottie — I was so delighted to read your review of the Pilen!  Shortly after you wrote this, I was able to test ride one (just a short ride) in Portland.  I really loved it and, like you, thought it to be quick.  I live in Seattle and have an Oma, which I adore, but am struggling far too much with the hills on my daily commute (thought I’d improve, but I haven’t).  I was wondering if you’d had the chance to experience any hills or headwinds while on the Pilen?  I’m considering making a change but don’t want to be disappointed if the problem boils down to being “me.”  Thanks for any input!

  21. SheCyclesNairobi says:

    That’s a beautiful bike indeed. The bikes sold here are mostly mountain bikes on account of bad roads and terrain. How heavy is this one compared to the regular mountain bikes?

  22. LGRAB says:

    I don’t know how heavy mountain bikes are. The Pilen is pretty heavy, but not as heavy as a traditional Dutch bike – at least it did not feel like it while riding.

  23. anniebikes says:

    My woman’s Ross Mt. St. Helens must be 35lbs. plus the racks and fenders. It’s pretty heavy, almost too heavy for me to comfortably lift onto our car’s bike rack.

  24. The Pilen is heavier than most mountain bikes. 45lb or so I believe. 

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