28 June 2008

Breezer Uptown 8: Too upright? And what about those V-brakes?

Posted by todd under: Breezer Uptown 8; Commuter bikes; My bikes .

Nathan writes in about the Breezer Uptown 8 (read his whole comment here):

… all the internal hub bikes I have tested seem too upright after that lightweight speedster, and i have developed an affinity for madly dashing about for adrenalin and time reasons. You mention that you set a pretty leisurely pace, but I’d be interested to hear your impressions when riding your Breezer vs. your other bikes with a more aero position.

Anyway, the Breezer is definitely at the top of my list. My biggest issue with the Breezer, though, is the v brakes. Disc brakes seem like such an improvement, or even hub brakes like the REI competition has, that i’m puzzled why Joe went with rim brakes. Do you have any insight on this issue, or comments on why you like/dislike the brakes?

Nathan, thanks a lot for the great questions.

You correctly infer that I am no speed demon — my major goal on most rides, in fact, is to avoid sweating.

That being said, I do ride a Bridgestone XO-1 with mustache bars, and have ridden a nice 12-speed with drop bars. Both provide a more aerodynamic riding position, and I do notice a distinct difference on the Breezer, mostly on (ahem) breezy days — it’s tough to “get below” the wind, and I usually just get into first gear and spin.

One might be able to get a flatter position on an Uptown 8 by putting bar-ends on the flat part of the bars near the stem. I haven’t tried this, but I have considered it. Breezer did this on their new $2,000 bike, the Finesse.

The Breezer is designed for a certain type of cycling that fits with the upright position — getting-from-here-to-there riding, as opposed to the speed/fitness/special shoes/screen-printed jersey riding. Asking the Uptown 8 to perform as a go-fast bike would be a little like saddling up a draft horse to round up cattle.

On to your second question: I like the V-brakes just fine, although the original pads seemed to wear out pretty fast for me. Disc brakes have always seemed to me like needless complication — more moving parts, more opportunity for things to go wrong, special wheels required. I have never used them, but I have read favorable reviews and have no reason to disbelieve them.

I don’t know why Joe went with the V-brakes, but I suspect it was one of those cost-benefit issues that come up whenever he specs a bike. (The Finesse , on which price is far less of a concern, has disc brakes.)

This might sound too short and sweet, but the truth is, the V-brakes do what I need them to do (and I have ridden with them in all weather),  so I give them thumbs-up.

I have forwarded the V-brakes question to Joe, and I will publish his response if he chooses to answer.

One Comment so far...

discfan Says:

25 July 2011 at 5:44 pm.

Commuter bikes like this should really have disc brakes, especially at the $1000+ price point. I imagine the only reason for not including them was to cut costs or due to incompatibility with the chosen hubs. IMHO bikes like this are easily heavy enough to warrant the extra stopping power ( especially with cargo ) of a disc, not to mention the reliability and wet-wether performance. The argument that disc brakes are somehow ‘more complicated’ is seriously misinformed! They are easier to set up, have *less* moving parts, the pads last longer, the pads are easier to change pads, they allow stronger / lighter rim shapes, they are not affected by a rim going out of true, and they will not grind away the surface of your rims ( this is especially important with wet road grime ).

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