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Five Things to Look for in a City Bike with Grant Petersen
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 | By Heather

Grant Petersen Five Things to Look for in an Urban Bike

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Fast & Failsafe: Grant Petersen’s Hit List For Identifying a Worthy Urban Bike

An upright riding position.
So you can see what’s ahead without tilting your neck. So you can, if you have to, carry a full grocery bag in one arm and control the bike with the other. If you’re not upright, you can’t do that. The shape and height of the handlebar have a huge effect on uprightness.

Fat(ish) tires.
For going over potholes. But they’re still zippy enough to make it through a yellow light.

Some way to carry the weight of the day.
A rack on the back, at least. You can strap a basket or box to it so you never have to carry something in your arms.

A long wheelbase.
It feels better. The bike rides more gently without slowing you down.

And it’s wise consider frame materials…
Most people, even most bike professionals, think (though they are gravely mistaken) that the material a frame is made of has a noticeable influence on its ride. Carbon is said to be plush. Aluminum, harsh. Steel gets “resilient.” It’s all nonsense. A bike’s feel depends on your riding position, the wheelbase, and the tire pressure, period.

Steel (and especially CrMo (“chrome-moly”) steel) is the best material for a bike that’s expected to live a long, hard life. I’d say it’s the best material for any bicycle frame,  but there are feeble arguments for non-steel frames for racing. For a useful bike that gets ridden hard and is expected to last decades, steel is the only sane candidate. It will outlast carbon 10-to-one. It survives bumps, dents, scratches and gouges far better than any other frame material.

What about rust? Well, paint takes care of it on the outside, and there are anti-rust sprays for the inside, but the tubes on a BKC, even without anti-rust spray, will last the typical rider, using the bike in the worst weather and with the least maintenance… about forty years. Maybe fifty. With a new shot of spray every five years, four hundred.

The Brooklyn Bicycle Co. bike you buy today will be somebody’s bike (maybe yours, but probably not) in fifty years.

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Want more Grant Petersen? Check out his Blug

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