I first fell in love with traveling by bike while living in Holland. Upon returning to the States, I bought the bike I could afford (a Walmart special Schwin) and rode the hell out of it on our crappy, potholed, overcrowded Southern California streets. I loved every minute of it. We moved to an even less bike friendly city, had a baby, and at some point sold the bike that had been so good to me.
My kid is older now, and we’ve moved back to SoCal, so I began my search for a new bike. My goal was to find a bike that I could use for everything: a relaxing leisurely ride on a weekend, a trip to the store, taking my kid to the park or school, visiting friends, etc. I’ve been heavily influenced by both Eben Weiss and Grant Petersen, especially the idea of the “unracer” approach to cycling, and using the bike as my go-to method of travel. I also wanted something that felt close to the opafiets, the Dutch bike, that first sparked my love of cycling.
I’m sure that if you’re reading this review you are thinking similar thoughts. You’re not checking out a road bike to rack up KOMs. You’re not looking up the grams of every component listed here. You’re not spec’ing a new carbon seat post. You want a durable bike that looks amazing and will be as functional as it is stylish.
Listen to me: this is the one you’re looking for.
Every piece of this bike is smooth, strong, and beautiful. Ryan and his team obviously took their time finding perfect, well built components.
Just as importantly, it’s stylish. Head-turning, “where’d-ya-get-that?”, jealous looks style. Unlike every other bike you pass, this bike is unmistakable. I love the 2nd top tube. Does it add some weight? Yeah, probably, but it’s not much heavier than similar steel bikes. And I gotta believe that the stronger geometry means this bike is going to last longer.
I love the internal hub too! Biking in an urban environment necessitates a lot of stopping at lights and being able to shift up or down at a full stop is a lifesaver, especially when I’m loaded down with groceries. I don’t live in an extremely hilly area, but every place I want to go is uphill from me, so I got the 7 speed and have been very happy with the gear ratios.
The rear rack that comes with the bike is steady and strong. I’m planning on putting a front rack on as well at some point, but that’ll come later. It’s nice to have the braze-ons to have the option. I have been able to take fairly heavy loads on the rear rack without any problem at all.
Speaking of heavy loads, I’ve also been taking my kid to the park using a rear trailer that attaches to the rear axle. On my old bike the rear wheel kept slipping and the chain had to be constantly retensioned no matter how tightly I tightened everything down. On the Driggs, I haven’t had any of those problems whatsoever and the geometry makes it a far more comfortable ride, especially uphill. I haven’t had to leave the seat at all, even while hauling my huge kid up the steep grade back to our house.
As for fit, I am 5’9” with a 31” inseam. I am right in between sizes for the medium and the large. The stand over height is perfect; I really wouldn’t want to go any higher. I opted for the “swept back” bars because I wanted that upright riding style. I find them just a tad bit short, though, both on the reach and on the rise. The bars have hardly any rise at all and, personally, I’d like a bit more to it. I’d also like just a bit more reach, like maybe an inch further back. As it is, I’m still hunched over a bit. It not terrible by any means and this is all very much a combination of individual physical measurements and personal preferences.
The same goes for the seat. Everyone’s ass is different and a seat is the most personal part of the bike. For me the seat that it came with is okay but not great. I replaced it with a wider and softer seat after a recommendation from a friend. It doesn’t look nearly as good, but you won’t ride a bike you’re not comfortable on. Ryan says that the included seat is comfortable for most people, and I don’t doubt him. Try it out, see how it fits.
If you’re reading this, especially if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably in the midst of researching bikes. I spent months looking at various bikes, calling companies with nitpicky questions, comparing components and geometries. It became an obsession. The primary contenders to this were from Linus, Public and Priority. I can tell you (in excruciating detail) the technical reasons I went with the Driggs but the single most important reason was this: the personal customer service I received from Brooklyn Bicycles has been absolutely amazing. The care that the entire team takes in the whole process is incredible, with fantastic communication and attention to detail. Thank you Ryan and Danielle especially for putting up with me and helping me so much with my order. You’ve made a customer for life!
Now to start saving for a Wythe....