Tag Archives: city bicycles

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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Beautiful Bicycles: Linus Mixte

We get tons of questions from readers about whether affordable, stylish bikes exist. Some of them haven’t ridden bikes in years and are reluctant to plop down two weeks’ salary on something that may be a passing fancy. Others are simply unable to afford to spend that much money on something that is a secondary form of transportation. Some are just plain looking for a bargain. Though I am not among the crowd that believes that bikes like the Pashley and Oma are overpriced, I can certainly understand all of those impulses—after all, I was on a tight bike budget and scoured the globe to get the best deal on my Batavus.

Which brings me to Linus Bikes. The specs and price seemed too good to be true: how could a bike with a 3-speed Nexus internal hub retail at a mere $559? Could it possibly be a quality ride at that price? Well, my limited experience with the Linus Mixte I test rode at Adeline Adeline indicates that the answer is yes indeed.

I hopped on the Linus after my Pashley test run, and switching between the two bikes reminded me of switching between my two bikes at home. The Linus was nimble, sporty and fun. Dottie was supposed to take pictures of me riding, but she says I got away too fast. That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

The Linus Mixte comes with painted fenders, and the steel/Cro-moly frame is partially lugged. The model I rode had three speeds and was very light, with leather handgrips and a basic rear rack. No lights, although that’s typical in a bike in this price range—and of the basic commuter components, to me this is the easiest thing to add to a bicycle.  Same goes for the generic saddle, which is serviceable—but this bike’s looks beg for a Brooks.

When Dottie asked me how the Linus compared to Le Peug, I said, “it was so quiet” (though this speaks more to my procrastination when it comes to routine bike maintenance than anything else). The two bikes weigh about the same, though I think the Linus has a slightly more aggressive riding position. Certainly any true bargain-hunter out there could probably scour craigslist for a vintage mixte and eventually come up with something cheaper than the Linus that is very similar—but with a vintage bike, there’s always the risk of unseen issues like rust, or difficulties finding replacement parts if something does go wrong (Portlandize had a great post on this over the summer). If you are not mechanically inclined and on a limited budget, the Linus Mixte is worth checking out.

I know a few of our readers ride Linus Bikes (they also make a Roadster and a Dutchie)—please share your experience in the comments.

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