A Classic Bike Refurbished

by michelle bontrager in

Triumph bike manufactured in England

Triumph bike manufactured in England

Witnessing loving relationships is such a joy. As a retailer, I have met many happy couples and never tire of hearing the stories of how they met, when they first realized that they shared a deep connection, or how they maintain their love through the tribulations of life. Their stories inspire me.

The small things we do for our loved one at home is a clear testament of our adoration and commitment to one another. Rituals such as preparing breakfast for your lover, offering a warm squeeze before heading out the door, or brewing a pot of tea on a cold winter’s afternoon, these actions become the foundation of our relationships.

Triumph English bicycle

Triumph English bicycle

But then once in a while a big surprise adds just the right amount of excitement to the mix. It’s not the parties, warm drinks, or cozy evenings tucked in that makes the holiday season the most romantic time of the year it’s the presents! Giving gifts communicates our affection and in a way demonstrates that we have been listening. It’s the best feeling in the world when we find just the right gift.

More often than not a new bicycle is the perfect surprise gift or in the case of Scott and Shannon a restored classic bicycle was the perfect surprise gift. Knowing that Shannon appreciates the aesthetics of classic bicycles Scott found a wonderful English 3-speed for her. He kindly chose our shop to complete it’s restoration.

When we receive a project of this nature we interview the owner of the bike in order to understand their expectations. We have worked on Shannon and Scott’s bicycles for many years and understood that Shannon enjoys riding her bike to her job located in central Denver, and she enjoys riding around the Highlands neighborhood with her family. Our intent was to maintain the integrity of the original bicycle but also make it enjoyable to ride.

Brand new Sturmey Archer 5-speed Internally Geared Hub

Brand new Sturmey Archer 5-speed Internally Geared Hub

One of Scott’s first concerns was the condition of the original wheel set. We agreed with him that an upgraded wheel set with modern hubs would clearly make the Triumph easier to ride in our hilly neighborhood. The boxy, shiny rims we used match the Triumph’s vintage style. The rear wheel features a new Sturmey Archer 5-speed internally geared hub giving Shannon a better range of gears than the original 3-speed. The front wheel has a new dynamo hub to generate her brand new Bush+Muller LED light system. We installed a vintage vegan seat since Shannon is a strict vegetarian.

Upon completion of this project Shannon received a bicycle that will reliably take her through our city neighborhoods day and night. The vintage, beveled shiny fenders will keep her clean, and the rear rack can carry her essentials for the day. The perfect bike for Shannon.

We currently have a few vintage frame sets in the shop that can be restored upon request. But even easier, all of our 2018 bicycles are marked down 15% off for the holidays!

Shannon’s Bicycle

  • Bespoke wheel set

  • Shimano dynamo front hub

  • Sturmey Archer 5-speed rear hub

  • B+M light system

  • Vintage saddle (non-leather)

  • Vintage fender set

  • Linus rear rack

  • Schwalbe cream tires

  • new cables and gold housing

  • Full overhaul

Dynamo Bike Lights

by michelle bontrager in

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub

Bicycling and the Brain

It has been proven, without a doubt, that children and adults who incorporate cycling into their lifestyle are both physically and mentally healthier than non-cyclists.  I am most excited about the science showing that cyclists who ride bike more than 30 minutes a day and three times a week increase the size of the hippocampus region of their brain! The hippocampus is responsible for memory, emotion, and learning. The brain enhancing benefits of cycling become apparent after just 6 months of consistent cycling. Well let’s keep on riding then!

Since the Front Range is enjoying fantastic weather this week all the better to continue on with your cycling habit. Just remember to keep your bike lights handy because the days are definitely getting shorter.

light set for $46.00

light set for $46.00

We have been stocking up on affordable USB-rechargeable lights from Cateye and Busch+Muller.

Schmidt Edelux head light

Schmidt Edelux head light

The absolute best bike light solution to consider is a dynamo system. A front dynamo hub generates power to your front and rear lights from your cadence. As soon as you begin pedaling your bike lights are charged and on.  No more lost lights, no more batteries, no more concern about recharging.

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub and Busch+Muller head light

Schmidt’s SON dynamo hub and Busch+Muller head light

Many of our subscribers have purchased bicycles with dynamo-generated lights, instantly ready to face the short winter days. Just contact us if you are having any problems with your dynamo lights or want to upgrade to a set of brighter lights.

Everyone else should consider adding a dynamo light system if only in the name of good brain health. Once you have a good light system installed on your bicycle riding before or after work in the dark will no longer be an issue. Dynamo LED lights broadcast light beams just as good as a motorized vehicle.

Dynamo Lights are:  

  • Weather-proof

  • Theft-proof, they are bolted onto the bicycle

  • Reliable bright lights that traffic will see

I have reviewed the process for installing a dynamo light system in a previous blog but just drop by the shop and we can discuss ideas that will suit your bicycling needs.


About Me

I have biked the streets of Denver for 33 years and I still enjoy racing cars up 17th Street from Union Station. Not sure how large my hippocampus is by now but I feel great!

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.

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.

bright lights big city

by michelle bontrager

sporty and beautiful.

sporty and beautiful.

We have made some wonderful customizations to this little piece of eye candy over the years, the last wee bit has been a light system upgrade. A pair of B&M lights replaced the rather ho hum handlebar mounted head light and a battery-operated rear light.

The B&M rear light is absolutely inspiring. This rack-mounted LED tail light has a brake light feature so traffic behind the cyclist will be aware of when she is braking to a stop. And, my favorite, it has a standlight feature so the light remains on for a few minutes after the cyclist has stopped her bicycle.

Equally inspiring is the B&M Lumotec head light mounted at the crown fork. This positioning offers better night visibility for the cyclist and better visibility of the cyclist from approaching traffic. 

This lumotec head light features a "just bright enough" daytime running light comprised of 6 LED lights, then the head lamp senses when it is dark and will automatically turn on it's much brighter night time light for the cyclist. And, again my favorite feature, this headlight has the standlight feature which will keep the headlight illuminated for several minutes after the cyclist stops moving. The standlight is especially helpful when parking your bicycle at night or when you have stopped at traffic lights, for the cyclist will still be very visible by surrounding traffic. A Lumotec head light just may be worth a consideration! 


a dynamo powered head light by B&M 

a dynamo powered head light by B&M 

a depiction of the daytime vs nighttime light beam   

a depiction of the daytime vs nighttime light beam


Brook's grips, Brook's saddle, crane brass bell, bamboo fenders, German light system will inspire one to ride!

Brook's grips, Brook's saddle, crane brass bell, bamboo fenders, German light system will inspire one to ride!

All of the upgrades and cosmetic improvements we have made to this bicycle have really improved the performance of the bicycle, that's what really inspires us at Queen City Cycle.