Breezer Radar Bike Review

by michelle bontrager in


Breezer's Road and Dirt Adventure Rig or simply the Radar

Breezer's Road and Dirt Adventure Rig or simply the Radar

A Bicycle for all occasions

A bicycle designed for multi-uses has my attention every time.  Why should bikes to be boxed into categories? They should be able to withstand all kinds of conditions and any seasonal whim. I have been known to take my 8-speed city bike out for a 25 mile ride, and why not? Lately my mixte with 650Bs has been in heavy rotation. From my morning mental health excursion up Look Out Mountain to that ride out to Boulder for lunch it simply suits me this month.

the 25% flare out is wide and stable

the 25% flare out is wide and stable

I suppose this explains my affinity for Breeze's new multi-tool of a bike, The Road & Dirt Adventure Rig (The Radar).  Queen City has been a Breezer retailer for going on a decade primarily stocking their city trekking bikes. Their Uptown model is still the best riding city bike and with its complete city-centric accessory package (read dynamo light system) any city dweller can appreciate the usefulness of the Uptown. When I saw that Joe Breeze is designing adventure road bikes I had to go on a test ride. 

nice price point- $890.00

nice price point- $890.00

Chromoly tubing specially designed for this solid gravel bike

Chromoly tubing specially designed for this solid gravel bike

The Radar’s slack geometry is well designed for touring yet there’s a sportiness to its ride, just in case life’s adventure takes you down a gravel road.  You’ll want to take this bike out to complete your weekend errands then go off to explore those dirt trails just east of town. There’s no reason not to because this bike is designed for enjoyment. Although the Radar has a certain gravel bike aesthetic there is no need to put it in that box. It is simply a well-designed bike geared for all around bicycling whims.

The Breezer Radar in a nutshell

  • Double butted ChroMoly frame set designed by Joe Breeze
  • Dirt oriented, mildly knobby 700x37 tires although will accept even wider tires  
  • Easy maintenance with quick release skewers and eternal cable routing suddenly those technical adjustments are that much easier to address
  • 2x9 drive train is appropriate for the Rocky Mountains heck it’s appropriate for Denver’s Highlands neighborhood
  • Drop bars feature a 25% flare out for a stable ride anywhere
  • Accepts fenders, racks, and has mounts for multiple water bottles
  • Heel clearance for panniers

There are plenty more delights that the Radar offers for it’s not a one trick pony and the price point is pretty to boot.

Up for world class adventures? It may new bike time!


Overhaul of classic road bike

by michelle bontrager in


Stella French Road Bike Project

We have had a number of rewarding bike projects come through our doors in this month ranging from custom light systems to building new custom bikes.  It's heartening to see so many of our neighbors out bike riding and commuting despite the short days of the season.

Here is a photo montage of an overhaul we just completed for a neighbor. He is the original owner of this classic French race bike.

Newbaum's cotton bar tape

Newbaum's cotton bar tape

All of the Stella's bike components were removed from the frame, dis-assembled, cleaned, lubricated, and re-installed piece by piece. Our neighbor can comfortably take his road bike out knowing that all of the components have been properly tuned and torqued.

original Campy friction shifters work just fine.

original Campy friction shifters work just fine.

very compact gear ratio

very compact gear ratio

A traditional 10-speed with a very narrow range was the norm all those decades ago. It does offer a simpler and low maintenance option compared to modern drive trains.

all campy components in-tact
Stella French Road Bike

The original Campy components are in good working order. The only components that needed to be refreshed were;

  • cables & housing
  • bar tape
  • brake pads
  • tubular tires.

How to Choose a Bike

by michelle bontrager in


The joys of Purchasing a new Bicycle

When new-bike shoppers drop in to check out our inventory I often ask “do you currently own a bike?”  I need to know your pain before I can offer any recommendations.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of fixing what you own.  Ethan, the Queen City mechanic/owner, has an uncanny ability to keep bicycles rideable well past their due date.  As our conversation progresses it may become apparent that indeed a new bicycle is in order and I can describe the options that our shop offers. Typical talking points are:

  • What kind of riding do you want to complete, over what kind of terrain?
  • How many miles do you plan to accomplish on each ride?
  • What are your concerns regarding maintenance and safety?
store front

Choosing a Bike Shop in the Front Range

Finding a shop that is convenient to your home or work is important but even more significant is finding a shop that is able to listen to your needs. Bike shop owners and employees are enthusiastic about cycling yet cycling can be defined in many different ways. Cycling for some people may be about competition and speed, for others it’s about socializing, and for others it’s just about getting to work. Find a shop that talks your language.  

Brook's Saddles

Ask questions

There is nothing that a bike shop employee likes to talk about more than bicycling; this is why we’re here. We genuinely want everyone we meet to enjoy the sport as much as we do, expect enthusiasm. If you have questions ask, we will probably have an opinion to share.  I honestly believe that a new bicycle purchase aids many ills.  If a new bicycle will indeed benefit your lifestyle you might be curious about prices. Generally expect:

  • Low end bicycles cost 0-$450
  • Mid-range bicycles cost $450-1000
  • High-end bicycles cost over $1000
  • Custom builds cost over $1900

Wow, this brief guide on how to purchase a bicycle has morphed into the question on how to choose a bike shop. Ultimately the bicycle shop you choose to patronize will be the shop you will depend upon for;

  • Solid bike assembly. Ethan assembles all of the bicycles that we sell, let me clarify, he meticulously assembles all of the bicycles on our sales floor.
  • Proper bike fit. Fit is personal and it may evolve as your fitness level changes.
  • Appropriate accessories. We specialize in urban commuting and bicycle touring.

Mechanically Ethan works on all bicycles. Inventory-wise we sell city-appropriate bikes which fit the neighborhood in which we live and work in.

Individual, Custom, or Bespoke Bicycles

We also build custom bikes utilizing steel frame sets. Shopping for a new custom bike is much of the same process as shopping for a new bike except we are going to get a little more personal with you. For a custom build I will measure you (or your frame set) in order to determine which bicycle fits your body type and then there will be a few conversations about your expectations. These conversations will provide us with the basis for offering good component recommendations.  Here is a Soma Fabrications's Double Cross bike that we recently built for a neighbor.

Soma stem, Tange headset, NITTO handle bars

Soma stem, Tange headset, NITTO handle bars

We left room at the top tube so our neighbor can ride his new bicycle for a few weeks before determining how low he wants to place his handlebars. He may like this height or he may choose to lower the handlebars.  A custom fitted bicycle is a process.

This Cycle Cross bike sports a Chromoly steel fork, Schmidt's SON Edelux headlight

Brook's Saddle in Antique Brown

Brook's Saddle in Antique Brown

Carradice Saddlebag, NITTO rear rack, B&M tail light

Carradice Saddlebag, NITTO rear rack, B&M tail light

At Queen City Cycle we are open year round for sales and service. Stop by to chat about your city cycling experiences or just to see what’s new. 303-561-3025.

Shop Hours:

  • Monday: 10-6
  • Wednesday-Saturday: 10-6
  • Sunday: 11-4 
    • closed Tuesdays
Soma Double Cross

Double Cross Build

features a dynamo light system, Japanese components, and hand built wheel set.

  • Lugged fork
  • Bespoke wheel set, Velocity Aileron rims and Shimano hubs
  • Shimano drivetrain and disc brake set
  • Shimano Alfine dynamo hub
  • NITTO rear rack
  • Carradice Saddlebag with quick release hardware
  • King Cage
  • Front light, Schmidt's Edelux
  • Rear light, B+M Toplight Brake Plus*

*for extensive information about dynamo light systems check out Peter White Cycles.

P.S.

funky sites that entertain me now:

  • bikey face gets it! Cycling in the city? follow her art: http://bikeyface.com/
  • Silly fun, imagining myself cycling with one of these guys: http://www.ilovebicycling.com/celebrity-cyclists-who-love-cycling/
  • OMG I am in awe of this young woman's journey through Africa: http://somafab.blogspot.com/

 

 

 


Bike Lights and Dynamo Hubs

by michelle bontrager in


Our early morning commutes commence before sunrise and our evening trips home are completed in darkness. It’s time to light up!

Bike Lights to Consider

  • Battery operated lights, the most economical
  • Re-chargeable battery lights, less hassle than regular batteries
  • Magnet operated lights, even less hassle, no batteries
  • Dynamo hub driven light systems, the brightest, long sting, and most convenient

With so many bike light options are available, we’ll happily outline the benefits different lights have and even offer recommendations for you based on: 

  • your budget
  • the type of bike you ride
  • the distance you typically travel
  • the type of streets you traverse

Here is a light system we just wired for a Denverite who commutes on a Surly Straggler.

Front Dynamo Hub

SON hub

  • This little dynamo will power your lights even at low speeds
  • Available for rim or disc brakes
  • Guaranteed for 5 years of riding
  • USB charging options are available
Luxos U designed for dark streets or long trails.

Luxos U designed for dark streets or long trails.

Head Light

Luxos U

  • B&M's Luxos U is the choice for every techy, gadget-loving cyclist out there. It features:
  • Fantastic beam pattern which has become a favorite for nighttime travelers
  • Built-in sensor automatically adjusts the beam to riding conditions
  • A push button on the handlebars to control the headlight such as a beam boost
  • Integrated cache battery that supplies voltage to a USB charging station
  • And more!
Toplight Line Plus BrakeTec, light pulses as the cyclist brakes

Toplight Line Plus BrakeTec, light pulses as the cyclist brakes

Rear Light

Toplight

  • Standlight, light remains lit for minutes after you stop pedaling
  • Brake light, the light flutters as you apply the brakes alerting traffic to your intentions
Check out Peter White Cycle's webpage for detailed comparisons of the different German lights and hubs that are available.

Check out Peter White Cycle's webpage for detailed comparisons of the different German lights and hubs that are available.

You may decide to wait on a dynamo light system for your bike. I just invested in my hub-generated light system 4 years ago when my daily commute increased to a 20-mile per day trip. I instantly regretted that I hadn’t made the jump years earlier.  My German dynamo system grants me instant respect on the streets. I recently rode home on a dark and stormy night, while stopped with traffic at a red light a car passenger next to me rolled down her window and yelled out “Hey you.” I hesitantly looked over not knowing what to expect and she continued “Great Lights!”

  • dynamo light system cost $250 to over $800 depending on the components chosen
  • battery light system cost $40-120
  • magnetic light systems cost $70-90.

Don’t let the change of season get you down, light up your bike and go for a ride.


Meet The Lisa, Soma Fabrication's Junior Road Bike

by michelle bontrager in ,


The Lisa features a lugged steel fork. Notice the Soma Urban brake levers and the Rivendell Caliper brakes for great stopping power.

The Lisa features a lugged steel fork. Notice the Soma Urban brake levers and the Rivendell Caliper brakes for great stopping power.

The Lisa

A junior road bike that rides like an adult steel-framed road bike, it's a Soma!

The Lisa is available as a frame set allowing for the freedom of choosing the perfect build kit.

For the young lass who will be riding this bike we recommended drop handlebars, bar end shifters, a double chain ring with an eight-speed cassette.

Soma also produces The Bart, the same 40 cm junior road bike in Chrome.

Tange mini drops, IRD headset and Shimano bar end shifters

Tange mini drops, IRD headset and Shimano bar end shifters

It was especially fun building this custom road bike. I suppose because we have watched our neighbor's daughter enjoy her first rides as a baby in a Chariot trailer, then as a toddler on her balance bike, on up to the top of an Xtracycle, and eventually on to her own 2-wheel bicycle with pedals. Look out, now she has her own road bike!

A Butterfly water bottle cage for a touch of whimsy.

A Butterfly water bottle cage for a touch of whimsy.

20" wheel set

20" wheel set

new bike day!

new bike day!

Encourage the normalcy of riding bicycle by:

  • providing your child with a nice quality bicycle
  • completing family bike rides
  • being prepared, carry a patch kit and pump.
  • taking a relaxed pace, explore as you go (ice cream shops are always fun)!

 

Fall Shop Hours:

Monday: 10-6

Wednesday-Saturday: 10-6

Sunday: 11-4


US 36 Bikeway, riding from Denver to Boulder

by michelle bontrager


Lowell Blvd heading north

Lowell Blvd heading north

Do you ever have an extra 4 hours to just take a bike ride?

Me neither! But a few weeks ago I decided it was time to tryout the US 36 Bikeway (Bikeway) from north Denver to Boulder, a four hour luxury for sure.

I studied Google maps and the new DBTC Metropolitan Denver bike map and decided to enter the Bikeway on Lowell Blvd. There is not a dedicated bath path on Lowell Blvd, bicyclists should plan to ride with traffic until the Boulder Turnpike exit. Lowell Blvd is a multi-lane and a rather wide street allowing room for vehicles to pass you safely.  During afternoon rush hour Lowell Blvd can become very busy. I avoided traffic by leaving at 6:30 am. I was expected back at the shop after lunch!

Cyclists should take the left turn lane right before Hwy 36 in order to turn onto the walking path that runs adjacent to US 36. The walkway veers right, under the Highway, and you will see the bright blue sign indicating that you are entering the Bikeway to Boulder. 

https://www.codot.gov/projects/US36ExpressLanes/bikeway-construction-updates

busy interchange the Bikeway traverses

busy interchange the Bikeway traverses

Route Summary

  • Bright blue directional signs are posted throughout the path.
  • In Westminster, the beginning of the Bikeway, you must cross 2 large, busy intersections. Once these are dealt with the Bikeway is a wide, smooth route into Boulder County.
safely separated by highway traffic

safely separated by highway traffic

Flatirons from Cherryvale Road, Boulder County.

Flatirons from Cherryvale Road, Boulder County.

I followed the Bikeway until it turned into Table Mesa, an established Boulder bike path leading into town. Friendly cyclists gave me directions to my north Pearl Street destination Cured.

A few days later I rode the Bikeway in order to try a different path into Boulder. This time I exited the Bikeway at Cherryvale Road just past Superior. This is a wide, well paved country road that many Boulder cyclists utilize. I found myself on the road to Eldorado Canyon but with the help of my cell phone I made my way back towards Boulder.

Observations about the Bikeway

  • Since it follows US 36 expect noise and sun, there are not many trees along this route. 
  • There are a few RTD park-n-ride bus stations along the route if you need a pit stop
  • It took me two hours to reach the outskirts of Boulder
  • It is very easy to catch the bus back to Denver at RTD’s Boulder Walnut Street station.

I will be utilizing the Bikeway for Boulder visits because it offers the most direct route between our cities. Before the Bikeway option I would have to navigate my way to Boulder through Denver’s northern suburbs past Standley Lake, by the little airport on on Simms, and then through Superior. These suburban roads are becoming increasingly busy as residential sprawl takes hold. Having a dedicated bike path provides cyclists a needed artery through the northern suburbs.