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.
Swooping frame that makes it super easy to mount.
Pretty badge, sprung Brooks saddle and lugs.
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.
A rear wheel lock and chain guard.
Rubber-padded pedals to keep your shoes from slipping off (especially helpful with high heels).
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.
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.
Built-in branded bell! You ding by spinning it.
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.
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.
Front generator light, meaning they’re powered by pedaling and never die. Rear battery-powered LED light.
The ride of the Pilen is quite upright. Not quite as upright as a traditional Dutch bike, but certainly comfortable.
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.