Review of Wolverine v.3.0, Soma Fabrications

by michelle bontrager in

Soma Fabrications,  Wolverine v.3.0

Soma Fabrications, Wolverine v.3.0

“Let’s build a bike,” he said.

We know what he meant, a bicycle that he can lean upon like those summers before and the summers after.  A bike that he will ride city streets upon then those lonely paths that were once roads.

There will be Western adventures along mountain trails, canyons, and plateaus. Always at night a fire at camp will illuminate those tired, satisfied faces.  There will be those odd free afternoons in which a local single track will be tackled. He will be much torn to drive to the trail head only to ride out instead. Shan't miss out on that fun.

This lanky chap will appreciate the “just right” stem and the crank arms that are just that bit longer to suit his build. Every detail, to numerous to list, has be thought through, anticipating those adventures that lay ahead.

A bicycle is more than just its frame it’s the sum of parts, each tuned with the other in order to create a reliable machine.  Observe the balance of comfort and performance. But this is much more, it’s a vehicle built to suit the mood of this time.

A bike for all seasons a bike for all conditions a bike to journey with.

Yes I think you are right a Soma Wolverine will do quite well.

Rohloff Speed hub  each one is stamped with a unique serial number

Rohloff Speed hub each one is stamped with a unique serial number

Rohloff shifter mounted on stem for easy access, Cinelli gel cork tape offers comfort on all trails

Rohloff shifter mounted on stem for easy access, Cinelli gel cork tape offers comfort on all trails

Responsive ChroMoly frame by Soma Fabrications and fork, Chris King head set

Responsive ChroMoly frame by Soma Fabrications and fork, Chris King head set

White Industries cranks  and chainring, Soma Cazander tires

White Industries cranks and chainring, Soma Cazander tires

Brook's English leather saddle 

Brook's English leather saddle 

The Lowdown


Paul's Components Klamper brake

Your brakes system, so integral to your safety, should be simply reliable. Not too much to ask no? Preferring to avoid the whole mess of air pockets the line or other detrimental kinks that can occur in a hydraulic disc set-up we recommend Paul’s Klamper mechanical disc brakes. The precise engineering that stands behind the Klampers is just the solution we desire.

Rohloff Hub

This be-spoke wheel set features durable American made rims and a German manufactured rear hub. Rohloffs are hand built internally geared hubs that are incredibly durable.  Outlasting any drive train they are suitable for cyclists that prefer convenience or for cyclists that ride their bicycles incredibly hard. Impervious to snow, sleet, ice, or sand we look forward to any weather and all road conditions with our Rohloff hubs.  

White Industry Crank set

Doesn't everyone find the White Industry cranks sexy? Machined in California by a crew that cycles, these cranks are an industry standard that look great, offer versatility and perform year after year season after season. 

Phil Wood Bottom Bracket

When you are planning on riding up and down mountains a solid bottom bracket will hold it all together.  Phil Wood is the brand we turn to for solid, durable components. 

soma wolverine v3

First destination, Utah!

It was an honor working with our neighbor in order to build his new bicycle. We are anticipating performance reports back this summer. 


It was a total blast with Mr. W. I think we succeeded in building a bike that suits his riding style and that will live up to his biking plans.  His performance reports back will be a treat to hear.

Bicycle Tires, a brief review

by michelle bontrager in

Tires make the ride

Tires make the ride

Bike Repair Season is upon us.

Our time at Queen City Cycles has been filled with neighbors popping in for air or just for a chat, catching up on news and exchanging stories. New bicycles and accessories are arriving to the store weekly and suddenly there is structure to our days after the dreary, dark winter season.

Safety First

When you hit the pavement it’s your bike tires that take the brunt of the road.  Look for embedded debris, gashes, dry sidewalls, and other defects every time you inflate your bike tires or we can examine your tires with you at the shop. If your tires fail while out on a ride you will be greatly inconvenienced or worse.

plus sized tire trend makes sense for city riding

plus sized tire trend makes sense for city riding


When it’s time to replace your bike tires there many choices to consider like width, tread, compound. We concentrate our tire inventory on city friendly options. This is a loose definition for most of our city tires are just as just as appropriate for dirt trails.

Questions to ask when you are considering new tires;

  • How many miles is your typical bike ride?
  • What is the terrain you ride?
  • Do you experience a lot of punctures?

We will happily give tire recommendations based on your riding style and expectations. For instance a pair of thick stiff tires may be a great choice against punctures but are probably harsh to ride on and are not very grippy around corners. Skinny slick tires may be fast on smooth pavement but will jar you as you traverse potholed city streets.


  1. How long will tires last? It depends upon the number of miles ridden, whether your bicycle is parked outside, and on the rubber compound of your tires. Our dry western climate dries out tires just like our skin.  I typically change out my tires every year sometimes every two.
  2. Cost? Tire prices start at about $20 ea. Higher quality tires cost $40-60.
  3. Inner tubes?  The best practice is fresh tubes with new tires.

A few tire models that we recommend:


The ever-popular touring tire, the Marathon, defines the Schwalbe brand for many. This family-owned German tire manufacturer actually produces an incredible range of bicycle tire styles. We stock their inner tubes because they don’t split at the seams and hold air longer than the el cheapo inner tubes. We keep the Marathon tires in the store because they do indeed roll over road debris for many, many miles without flatting out.


Ever since Ethan started riding Panaracer’s Smoke and Dart tires back in his mountain bike days of the 1990s he has been a loyalist. Manufactured in Japan Panaracer produces a fantastic range of tire styles for every type of riding conditions. Our shop emphasizes city appropriate tires but then most of those tires easily handle gravel roads too.

Pasela PT

Not too slick, not too heavy this tire suits many circumstances. The Pasela handles well and is available in a great number of sizes including 27” for those classic steel road bikes. I run Paselas on my road bike always ready to tackle a few dirt roads on the side.

Pasela tires in gumwall

Pasela tires in gumwall

Panaracer T-Serve tires, NITTO handle bars, and other upgrades

Panaracer T-Serve tires, NITTO handle bars, and other upgrades


The natural compound of the T-Serve is supple, even plush, an absolute pleasure to ride on. This tire offers incredible grip in dirt, slush and dry roads, even sandy street corners. This is the tire I run on my cycle cross bike.

Shikoro tires

Shikoro tires


Perhaps the answer to the question of which tire is the best touring option, the Shikoro is certainly embraced by the CX community. This quick armored tire protects against punctures; has low rolling resistance, and is comprised of a high mileage compound. Need a tire for all types of street riding, even over corrugated roads? Try the Shikoro.

Being dependent on my own bicycle for transportation, fitness, and fun I expect it to perform safely. Bicycle tires are a most important component for a safe ride. Let us know if you have specific questions about bike tires, it is a favorite topic at the shop and I have only just touched the surface of the choices to consider.

A good habit for all bike owners to develop, for safety’s sake, is to set aside 30 minutes every week to;

  • lube your bicycle chain,
  • pump up your tires,
  • and examine your tires for cuts or scrapes.

Blogs and links that I have been enjoying

I really like to cook which is one reason why I really like to ride bike but during the busy season I just read recipes:


I have never been a big fan of the NYC Bike Snob but his column in Outside Magazine is less profane and touches on issues that effect city cyclists... oh he is a big fan of Panaracer tires too!


650b wheel size the new normal

by michelle bontrager in

Breezer's Doppler

Breezer's Doppler

  Plus sized tires, the new normal

Bicycle trends, every 6 months there is another one to question. New trends introduced as industry standards, typically originating from the racing community, leave me perplexed trying to justify their general usefulness. I suppose that bicycle manufacturers must meet the pressures of remaining relevant to the ever fickle consumer. One new trend that I do appreciate is the plus sized tires.

For the past 11 years, when customers come into our bike shop for new tires I have been recommending the fattest tire that their bike frame will accommodate. Riding on 700X23 tires? I’ll try to fit 700X28s, have 26X1.75 tires? why not try 26X2.0. A wider tire provides the ride qualities that city commuters appreciate such as;

  • stability
  • durability and
  • better grip for cornering.

Many bicycle manufacturers are finally outfitting new bike models with plus sized tires.

Plus sized tires on Breezer's Doppler Cafe

Plus sized tires on Breezer's Doppler Cafe

I certainly do not want to drag on any cyclist who enjoys commuting on their 700Xskinny tire but city streets are not getting any smoother. Most of us non-competitive types just want to get to our destination.  By riding a slightly wider tire you can avoid;

  • a jarring ride over pot-holed city streets
  • pinched flats, or
  • catching your wheel in a street groove.

A few years back I took this idea even further by following the trend, originating from Northern California, of converting a 700c wheel set to 650bs. This wheel conversion allows me to ride chubbier tires, adding a bit of versatility to my steel road bike. 650b wheels were the French touring standard decades ago. Later they could be occasionally observed stateside on a classic re-build or perhaps on a quirky hand built bike until now curious cyclists are converting their road bikes for the sake of a plus sized tire option.

650b wheels on my Soma

650b wheels on my Soma

Certainly mountain bike designers, based in Northern California, caught wind of this 650b trend. Since the early 2000s mountain bike manufacturers had mostly insisted that the 29er wheel size be embraced as the best choice for all-terrain bikes (ATB). The large 29” wheel diameter allows off-road riders to roll over obstacles with ease. Yet a certain nostalgia for the traditional 26” wheels that maneuver and accelerate quickly persisted.

First introduced in 2017 here is the 2018 Radar by Breezer

First introduced in 2017 here is the 2018 Radar by Breezer

Radar features big 29ers

Radar features big 29ers

In response ATB manufacturers re-introduced the 650b wheel size as the new “just right” wheel for all. They are not far off! 650b being slightly larger than the old 26” yet smaller than the 29er feels like a natural fit for many off-road riders. Suddenly the 650b wheel has moved from being the quirky European uncle to a possible industry standard, a standard that makes sense. The mountain bike industry wants this all-around wheel size to be promoted as a fresh idea so they label it the 27.5" wheel size.

Doppler's 1 X 11, sleek drive train

Doppler's 1 X 11, sleek drive train

In 2017 Joe Breeze, of Breezer bikes, introduced a line of fully rigid adventure bikes designed for on and off road riding. We brought in their Radar which, like most 29ers, simply glides over rough terrain. This year we added the newest addition to Breezer's adventure series, the Doppler.  The Doppler features a wide tire profile like the Radar but in a 650b wheel size. It’s stylish, comfortable, sporty, responsive….. could this be the perfect bike?!!

Joe Breeze must have had a Western mind-set when he designed the Doppler. You can ride this bike downtown to The Market for an early morning pastry then take it up to the mountains for a weekend of trail riding all with a smile on your face.

There is a quick and responsive feel to the Doppler. It’s Chromoly frame set provides the foundation for the Doppler’s ride quality but those 650b wheels… they are the core to the bike’s stable handling. Because of the Doppler’s wheel size Breezer was able shorten the chain stay with a lower bottom bracket drop for the most enjoyable new bike I have ridden this year.  It has a classic road bike touring geometry meaning that this is a bike you can ride for a day or for a week without experiencing road fatigue.

The Doppler’s achievements include:

  • heel clearance and braze-ons for fenders, racks, and panniers
  • steel frame is agile yet comfortable
  • plus sized tires absorb road shock, adding to its comfort.

I have had so much fun on my own 650bs these last 6 years I’m pleased that bike manufacturers have embraced this wheel size. If you are shopping for a fun and versatile bike I urge you to consider a 650b.

Breezer's Doppler Cafe

Breezer's Doppler Cafe

Custom Bike, Soma San Marcos

by michelle bontrager in

A while back we built a San Marcos frame set for a neighbor who had just moved to California. This is the type of build that will stand the test of time. The San Marcos is a somewhat relaxed road bike or a sporty touring frame just depends on your outlook. Either way this is the bike that will be a joy to ride day after day on any type of path

fenders and frame pump detail

fenders and frame pump detail

NITTO stem and handlebars

NITTO stem and handlebars

built for all conditions

built for all conditions

San Marcos Build Details:

  • Front Hub Schmidt SON dynamo hub

  • Rear Hub Phil Wood

  • Front head light Schmidt Edelux

  • Brakes Paul's Components

  • Shifters Dia Compe

  • Seat Post NITTO

  • Stem NITTO

  • Handle bar NITTO Grand Randoneer

Custom Bike Build and other joys

by michelle bontrager in

Pooh asked “What day is it?” “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.
— AA Milne

We are back home and open for business. After many months of reading, planning, and researching we managed to pull off an unprecedented 2-week camping trip abroad.  It was time to explore a different corner of the world and what a phenomenal trip it was. We experienced a few bumps in the road but doesn’t this speak to life in general?!

This lesson learned certainly applies to bicycle shopping. You can easily spend many months reading, planning, and researching about different bicycles. Picturing yourself breezing along on a crisp spring afternoon, with a friend, enjoying the bright sun on your shoulders, a true Zen moment. Bicycling brings joy to your daily grind but it may require a bit of work, maybe even a little sacrifice. I gently ask you to consider a few of the following recommendations in your quest for the perfect bicycling experience;

  • Practice bicycle handling skills
  • Purchase a bicycle that fits the terrain you plan to ride.
Gallus Cycles  custom frame set

Gallus Cycles custom frame set

Bicycling is the keystone to an active lifestyle. I can't think of a more efficient way to explore our neighborhood, complete errands, and stay energized. Whether you are physically fit or not bicycle handling skills take thought and practice. If you commit to riding your bicycle at least 3 times a week in a matter of 3 weeks you will become a much more confident rider. I am always looking for an excuse to ride my bicycle and try to add a few core workouts in-between. Flexibility and strength will allow you the confidence to ride and the more you ride the easier it becomes.

lug detail

lug detail

Selecting a bicycle that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle is an important step to achieving your bicycling Zen moment too. We'll happily offer you ideas for your next perfect bicycle be it a city specific bike, a gravel bike, a fixie, or a custom steel-frame road bike. It isn’t necessary to own 4 different bicycles but it does pay dividends to own a bicycle that reflects your personality. 

Since cycling brings fitness and joy I would not regard the purchase of a custom built bicycle as an unwarranted extravagance, how could you? Which leads to the next story.

Nine years ago, at our previous location on Lowell Blvd, we met our neighbor Treasure. After many visits to another bike shop she was totally frustrated with her bike because the derailleur would not hold its adjustment. I convinced her that Ethan would be able to diagnose the problem and in turn help her avoid purchasing a new replacement bike. She agreed and for all these years she has pedaled her bike reliably around town, on week long bike tours, and throughout Colorado trails without a peep from the derailleur.  This year Treasure decided to purchase a new bicycle for the sheer joy of it. 

Phil Wood rear hub and bottom bracket

Phil Wood rear hub and bottom bracket

 After much contemplation she chose to have Gallus Cycles build her steel frame set and have Ethan complete the component selection. Ethan carefully chose her components balancing the weight, reliability, and cost of each piece. With this particular build Ethan heavily considered reliable and durable components that will withstand cycle tours through the remote regions of the Southwest, areas in which Treasure enjoys riding with family and friends. Treasure’s bicycle is a beautiful machine, may it lead her to that Zen state all cyclists strive for.

Schmidt's Edelux front light, Soma New Xpress tires, Paul's Components rim brakes, NITTO stem

Schmidt's Edelux front light, Soma New Xpress tires, Paul's Components rim brakes, NITTO stem

NITTO handlebar, Cinelli cork tape

NITTO handlebar, Cinelli cork tape

Paul's rim brakes are solid

Paul's rim brakes are solid

Component Highlights

  • Front Hub Schmidt SON Delux SL
  • Rear Hub Phil Wood
  • Rims Soma Weymouth
  • Crankset Sugino Touring 3-ring
  • Bottom Bracket Phil Wood
  • Headset IRD polished
  • Stem NITTO Crystem
  • Handlebars NITTO Randonneur
  • Dynamo Lights Schmidt Edelux front

Cycling in the city of Frankfurt, Germany

by michelle bontrager in


A few weeks ago my brother, our friend Chris, and I had an unavoidable eight-hour layover at the Frankfurt airport while traveling to our vacation destination. Typically I don’t get excited about such layovers I simply utilize the time to nap before the next leg of the journey but Chris was adamant that we all trug into Frankfurt’s town center for a look and with furthor encouragement from our Lufthansa agent we agreed to accompany her.  After tucking our bags into the airport’s luggage-hold center and figuring out which of a dozen trains to catch from the terminal we were off to town for the day.

most cyclists have bonnets on their saddles to protect them from the rain

most cyclists have bonnets on their saddles to protect them from the rain

It’s been over six years since I’ve traveled through Germany and was immediately reminded of the cycling culture that I had enjoyed on those visits. Even on a grey drizzly February morning the Frankfurters were out and about on their bicycles!

Pleasures enjoyed by City Cyclists in Frankfurt, Germany

  • German city dwellers ride slowly in regular street clothes, not a stitch of lycra was seen
  • All of the bicycles featured a cargo carrying area, either a rack or a basket or both
  • Most of the bicycles have fenders
  • Bicyclists have the right-away in traffic, above cars and pedestrians, in fact cyclists are free to ride on streets, bicycle paths, and even on the sidewalk with pedestrians
  • Everyone is totally calm and paying attention to traffic, neither pedestrians nor car drivers exhibit anger or impatience with cyclists.
Abus locks, Schwalbe tires, as German as Curry Wurst

Abus locks, Schwalbe tires, as German as Curry Wurst

I haven’t ridden a lot in German metropolitan centers like Frankfurt but have completed two bicycle tours through the German countryside with my husband. On those trips we primarily rode on bicycle paths. The government designed an all-national, intricate bicycle path system that leads cyclists along scenic countryside routes and seamlessly through the small cities and towns in-between.  The few times we chose to ride on tarmac the motorized vehicles gave us plenty of berth.  

It was so refreshing to be in a bicycle centric culture if only for a day. I ask, why can’t our communities adopt some of the German bicycle infrastructure design?  

My bicycle rights wish list

  • Bicycle boulevards that crisscross Denver's city center enabling cyclists to reach their destinations without the hassle of yielding to motorized vehicles at every intersection
  • enforcement of the existing traffic laws that support cyclists
  • Alert and attentive car drivers.

l will continue to ride my bicycle throughout my home city even if cyclists aren’t allowed the same rights as our Northern Europe brethren. The more of us that are on the streets the more likely are rights will be recognized.

Recommendations for riding with city traffic;

  • remain cognizant of your surroundings
  • obey the traffic laws as much as possible
  • hold your line
  • remain calm.  

Riding a bicycle designed specifically for city riding makes the entire experience all that more enjoyable. At Queen City Cycle we sell the Breezer brand of transportation bicycles which are specifically designed in the European tradition. For as little as $450 you have a solid bicycle sporting an upright riding position that handles well in traffic and allows the rider to observe her surroundings easily. A city bicycle, like a Breezer, is the first step towards incorporating cycling to your daily, active routine.

We're open Weekdays and Saturdays: 10-6, Sundays 11-4, closed on Tuesdays.

Aggressive Automobile Drivers are Dangerous

by michelle bontrager in

Photo credit:   The Truth About Cars

Photo credit:  The Truth About Cars

I was in such a good mood this morning while getting ready for an upcoming trip although my “to do” list has been a force to reckon with for the last few weeks before leaving town.  Early this morning I decided to go for a bike ride and clear my head. As I was traveling with traffic on 32nd  Avenue, towards Golden, a nice pick-up truck pulled up alongside in the adjacent traffic lane.  Gosh, I think I even smiled at the driver because I was in such a silly-good mood. Then suddenly the driver of the pickup truck gunned his engine and sent a plume of exhaust and diesel smoke in my face.

This is a very aggressive act that is used all too many times towards cyclists. Fortunately the driver was soon stuck in traffic as he waited in the line to drop off his daughter at middle school. I remembered that my friend, Charlie, who is involved with Bike Jeffco told me that this is illegal behavior so I took a snap of his license plate, while he was idling in traffic, in order to report this incident to the police.  

One rude man is not going to ruin my day but I believe it is important that cyclists know their rights on the road. I have attached part of Bike Jeffco's Memorandum specifically about this type of behavior known as “Rolling Coal” so that you may be informed if this situation ever happens to you.  Peace.

Rolling Coal is Prohibited but Cyclists are still Being Blasted

.... “Getting choked out by a blast of black soot isn't very fun…and sadly, living in Fort Collins, this is a somewhat regular occurrence.” These dangerous incidents occurred in spite of the Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-314 (3) (a) that prohibits tampering with an emissions control device and 42-4-314 (6) (a) that prohibits engaging in a nuisance exhibition of motor vehicle exhaust. This makes rolling coal a Class A Violation.
The dangers associated with rolling coal are not benign. Besides the diesel soot cloud being considered carcinogenic and a possible crisis trigger to asthmatics and others with respiratory disorders, the dark cloud could completely obscure a cyclist’s vision of the road and cause a crash.
Colorado State Patrol recommends reporting the incident just as you would with an aggressive driver incident as indicated below:
Action to Take if Coal Rolled
Call: *277 (CSP) Immediately
Provide the dispatcher the following information: the violation of rolling coal, vehicle description, license plate number, location and direction of travel, driver description, and the aggressive driving behavior being demonstrated. You do not have to have the license plate to report. The aggressive driver should be avoided, not making eye contact or giving any indication of disapproval of their driving behavior.
As drivers become more aware of the law prohibiting rolling coal and cyclists are clear on how to report, we should see a reduction in these dangerous incidents that can feel like an assault.
Bike Jeffco would like to thank the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado State Patrol for their clarification and review of Action to Take.

Dynamo Light System and the components to consider

by michelle bontrager in

head light placement for best illumination of the road ahead

head light placement for best illumination of the road ahead

We have received a lot of questions about dynamo lights since my most recent blog post regarding bike lights. I would like to outline the options to consider when choosing the components for a new generator light system.

A dynamo system includes:

  • Front hub which generates the power to the light system.
  • Rim: when we build a new front wheel we recommend a new rim.
  • Spokes.
  • Front light.
  • Rear light.

The first step is to decide which generator hub is best. We willingly offer recommendations based upon the bicycle frame style you ride, and your expectations. 

shimano alfine dynamo hub

shimano alfine dynamo hub

which dynamo hub for your bicycle frame?

  • disc or rim brakes
  • type of fork
  • do you want to add a charger in order to charge your phone or device?

We have utilized Sanyo and Sturmey Archer dynamo hubs but the Shimano and Schmidt hubs are the brands that work the best for most of our customers.  

Shimano Alfine vs Schmidt SON hubs

Shimano Alfine hub

  1. efficiency at 15km/h:  53%
  2. energy required of rider while light is turned off:  2.2 watts
  3. weight of hub:  680 grams

Schmidt SON hub

  1. efficiency at 15 km/h: 64%
  2. energy required of rider while light is turned off: 1.5 watts
  3. weight of hub:  575 grams
SON hubs are manufactured in  Germany

SON hubs are manufactured in Germany

Once the hub is chosen we will discuss other options for your new light system delving into the types of head lights and rear lights that are available.  A dynamo light system with a new wheel may cost about $250 to more than $800, depending on the components chosen.

B&M  rear light mounted to rear rack

B&M rear light mounted to rear rack

When you consider not having to worry about;

  • recharging your bike lights,
  • batteries wearing down in the coldest of Winter mornings, or
  • having your lights physically falling off of your bicycle

a modern dynamo light system makes perfect sense. While it’s fun choosing the extra bike accessories like colorful bar wrap, bells, or baskets, for safety’s sake a dynamo light system is the first upgrade that any bicyclist should complete.

Xtracycle's Leap kit and Cargo Bikes

by michelle bontrager

Xtracycle was on the forefront of the cargo bike evolution in the U.S. and are remain the most relevant

Xtracycle was on the forefront of the cargo bike evolution in the U.S. and are remain the most relevant

Some 14 years ago, as our retail business was growing and responsibilities were accumulating, we found ourselves becoming car dependent. Standard bike racks and panniers were not offering the cargo capacity that we needed.

In order to relieve our car dependency we researched cargo bicycle options and categorized them in the following manner;

  • Bike trailer: A bike trailer needs to be attached and then dismounted from the bike in order for it to fit into my bike storage area.  The additional trailer tires need to be maintained and fixed when they flat out.  Not the solution for everyday cycling but we eventually bought a Bike at Work trailer for extra large loads.
  • Front cargo: The long john style of bike proves to be the ever-popular option in Northern European cities where cyclists commute through dense city neighborhoods on flat terrain.  Soma Fabrication's Pick Up Artist is a practical take on this genre.
  • Trike: slow, unstable, impractical.
  • Long tail: stable, sporty, and durable. The most popular brands include; Kona's Ute, Yuba, Surly's Big Dummy, Bike Friday's Haul-a-Day, and XtraCycle.
Xtracycle Long Tail kit on a mixte

Xtracycle Long Tail kit on a mixte

In 2003 Xtracycle's FreeRadical stood out as our best option. A long tail cargo kit that attaches to any bicycle you might own. We both installed FreeRadicals to our 8-speed city bikes.

Xtracycle long tail on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

Xtracycle long tail on a Surly Long Haul Trucker

In the following years Ethan moved on to Surly’s Big Dummy, a complete long tail cargo bike that accepts Xtracycle accessories. I am still riding with my problem-free Free Radical.

Surly Big Dummy enables you to tote your loved ones.

Surly Big Dummy enables you to tote your loved ones.


Bene.s of the Xtracycle Long Tail

  • Removable, my FreeRadical has been mounted to different bicycle frames.
  • A sporty option, rides as well as the bicycle it is mounted to.
  • Up to you but I need low gear options to accomplish hills.
  • Fits onto any bicycle from a 20” wheel size to 29ner.
  • Many accessories are available to purchase like the sidecar.

Bike Friday's Haul-a-Day is a stable and sporty family option

Bike Friday's Haul-a-Day is a stable and sporty family option

Bike Friday of Oregon entered the cargo bike field with their Haul-a Day (HAD) in 2016. This complete cargo bike is the lightest and sportiest model that we have encountered. If you need to get your day rolling this is a cargo bike that will keep you on schedule.

Bene.s of the Haul-a-Day

  • a smidgen more compact so it fits on most trains and bus racks.
  • chromoly frame set is amazingly light weight.
  • the 20" wheel set is durable.
  • accelerates quickly.
  • adjusts to fit riders of all sizes from 4"6' to 6'4".

Bike Friday’s HAD is an excellent option for the household that needs a new cargo bike and does not have an extra bicycle to devote to Xtracycle’s long tail attachment.

The Leap and the Haul-a-Day come with: 

  • Cargo bags
  • Top decks
  • Baby seats can be purchased to attach to their top decks.

Since we first began our research several of the early cargo bike options are no longer available.   XtraCycle, on the other hand, has kept up with consumer demands. There is not one long tail cargo bike that can compare to the versatility of Xtracycle’s Leap kit.

Cargo bicycles are a fun way to transport yourself around town, they aren't complicated. Drop us a line or stop by the shop if you have questions about cargo bike options. We've tested out a lot of different bicycles in the last 14 years and can offer you an educated recommendation for your cycling needs.

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.


funky sites that entertain me now:

  • bikey face gets it! Cycling in the city? follow her art:
  • Silly fun, imagining myself cycling with one of these guys:
  • OMG I am in awe of this young woman's journey through Africa:




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 lasting, 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


  • 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.

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.

lights, tires, action. Winter Riding in Denver

by michelle bontrager in ,

Cateye's Volt 200.

Cateye's Volt 200.


At home my kitchen faces 35th Avenue, the neighborhood's popular bike route.  As I prepare meals or wash dishes I'm heartened by the sight of all of the cyclists riding by. The stream of bicycles does slow considerably this time of year but I still give a cheer when someone rides by. 

Cyclists face a few challenges these months between November through March such as ...

Short Days

With sunset at 5:15 pm there is a likelihood that you will be out after dark. There are many light options available, my favorite is a dynamo powered system but we also stock rechargeable headlights that are very bright.

Busch+Muller re-chargeable head light.

Busch+Muller re-chargeable head light.


Cold Weather

Outdoor activities help one acclimate to the season, dress in layers, wear a hat and cover your extremities.

I ride platform pedals and wear Timberlands staying fashionable and warm.

 Slush and Rain

You might get caught in the elements at any time of the year, be prepared. Good quality tires will help you ride through unexpected slushy conditions. We recommend Panaracer's TServe PT and Schwalbe's Marathon, both are in stock now.

full coverage fenders keep you clean and your bike tidy.

full coverage fenders keep you clean and your bike tidy.


 Some of us relish riding on ice every year and we sell Nokkian or Schwalbe studded tires to aid you along the way. I corner through icy intersections better than most cars on my Nokkians.

Winter Bicycles

come in all shapes and sizes here are a few of my favorites,

schwalbe studded tires, platform pedals, Honjo dimpled fenders.

schwalbe studded tires, platform pedals, Honjo dimpled fenders.

Nokkian studded tires, Alfine 8-speed IGH, dynamo light system with the SON headlight, SKS fenders have since been added. Cargo bikes handle very well on slick roads.

Nokkian studded tires, Alfine 8-speed IGH, dynamo light system with the SON headlight, SKS fenders have since been added. Cargo bikes handle very well on slick roads.

Surly started the trend of fat bikes with their Pugsly. The Moonlander was the fattest of them all.

Surly started the trend of fat bikes with their Pugsly. The Moonlander was the fattest of them all.

Winter riding can be as simple as going out on your bicycle in-between snow storms for the sheer fun of enjoying our Colorado blue skies. Just be prepared for the chilly temps and anything else mother nature might throw at you.

Queen City Cycle is open 6 days a week, closed on Tuesdays.