My friend Khalid shared a link to a Danish cycling blog that raved about Velorbis bicycles from Copenhagen. I checked out there site and was pretty impressed with the clean lines and up-right posture of the Velorbis Churchill classic. It exuded style without sacrificing comfort. Another similar model was sized for balloon tires and melted my heart.
As a point of comparison, in the US bike market there is the Specialized Globe City. I noticed this mountain bike spin-off hanging in a shop window on Valencia St in SF this weekend as I passed by it on my way to a Pakistani restaurant. Upon first glance I was impressed that a US builder actually tired to do something practical with their time. On a second glance (at their website), the handlebars don’t bend to meet the rider, but just suggest a bend lest they scare off the “average consumer.” Rack mounts, fenders, and lights are included for utility and to fulfill the “brand image” but the overall feel of the bike carrying it’s components is less than graceful. For instance the Globe City rack does not look like it belongs on the bike, unlike the Churchill rack which almost sprouts from the frame. Another point of comparison is the fork. The Globe City fork has an awful robot induced angle that resembles a limp elbow. The Churchill fork bends effortlessly to meet the wheel, and in the process absorbing bumps in the road. Finally, the Globe City is an aluminum bike frame while the Churchill is a steel frame. To sacrifice weight for comfort seems silly, since commuter bikes will get loaded down with much heavier things than excess frame weight; things like groceries, library books, and daily sundries. I don’t have much hope for Specialized ever producing a commuter worth buying.