The middle of summer in North America reminded me that the southern hemisphere is enjoying winter. Posted above are the prototype REV 2 bikes in February 2011 that I have been riding now since I began testing a year ago. That is my way of saying riding in all types of road and weather conditions. There are four bikes pictured but to be clear the Lambert, white bike orange tape, is just a parts bike. It is not road worthy and has not been ridden except around the block. The Raleigh, Masi and Rollo have been discussed on this blog since I began in December 2010.
The common feature, the REV 2 handlebar, is epic. That is the way it is. Here is why. Let’s look at the differences of each bike, frame materials, gearing, weight, geometry, rolling resistance and wheel build. These differences are typical when choosing a bike for a set purpose. The REV 2 handlebar integrates with any bike style when used in an urban environment. It challenges drop handlebars over long distances.
Masi is my favorite summer bike. Rollo is the winter bike, loaner bike and bread and butter bike. The Raleigh is my standby, my son’s go to and winter or loaner bike. What makes the Masi so much fun is the lightweight racing frame, V wheel set, carbon fork, leather seat, 23c high pressure tires and 20 speed gearing. It has a unique handlebar end double shifter that makes the prototype a one of kind utilizing a REV 2 modification. When I integrate riding the Masi and the other two bikes it takes a few minutes to orient myself to the subtle differences in component placement. This is where the REV 2 is an important contribution to bike riding in all four seasons. When the handlebar stays consistent through different bike styles the rider is apt to maintain a consistent riding style.
The Raleigh is a straight gauge steel frame with touring geometry. This combination makes for sluggish performance, but the upright REV 2 quickened steering and take off. For all intents and purposes the Raleigh is a beater bike. It was free to me, too large and too long to ride while set up with original drop handlebars and it inspired to chop, flop and reverse the traditional bars. The 12 speed gearing is too wide with awkward steps and cruddy wheels and tires. This description covers most commuter bikes parked on the streets in Minneapolis. The difference I see is the REV 2 handlebar. The edge it has over traditional drop bars is an upright position and hand brakes installed on the bar ends. These are reverse brake levers with cabling hidden under the bar tape. Makes for a clean look and quick braking action. When integrating the Raleigh ride with the other two bikes I am thankful that the REV 2 bar is installed and not a flat or drop bar. The REV 2 when used with original equipment from the 80’s increases the functionality of this era of bike. Soon to be updated are sealed bearing wheels and tires, courtesy of the Lambert. Routine seasonal maintenance also should improve the Raleigh ride. Side bar update: I rode Raleigh this morning to St. Paul. The Gorilla Tape patch held till I got home yesterday but the tire went flat overnight. The total commute time was still less than an hour on a beater bike. The REV 2 made the ride manageable so that I could concentrate on gear selection over the variable terrain. The REV 2 felt familiar and with just that little bit of edge it made this beater bike tolerable.
Rollo is a great single speed aluminum frame bike. The weight, geometry and rolling resistance are well-balanced. The gearing is such that 90 rpm is about 11 mph. Riding in all seasons is fun. Winter is where the Rollo takes off on snow and ice. Original tires are smooth tread on aluminum wheels which work well in all sorts of snow conditions. The REV 2 bar set up has finger brakes attached near the modification which allows for the palm to have a place to rest when braking. This bike has seen 5 years of 4 season riding with a crescent shaped handlebar. Although this seemed like a good set up it was not great. For that reason anyone who is looking to start out riding and wants plain and simple they would do well with this bike style and REV 2 handlebars. Glad to share these updates while the impressions are fresh. Ride your bike more and drive your car less. That’s the way it is.