13 hours ago
Monday, October 4, 2010
The folks at Surly/QBP/Civia are on fire. First, it was the Halstead cycle truck, now they've got another interesting urban bike in the hopper: the Kingfield.
I really like the looks of this bike. Their blog is agonizingly short on the detail I really want to know (how fat can the tires get? what's the basic HA/SA geometry? what kind of steel? component spec would be nice) -- but from 100 ft, this bike looks promising.
I like the idea of a belt drive. I like not worrying about grease on me or oiling the damn chain. I like not replacing the chain or the cogs. Ever! My understanding is that the belt is similar (or is?) the same as some kind of pulley in your car -- if that's the case, it may require changing on a bike every 2nd generation or so. That's what I'm talking about.
The fidelity of the picture doesn't let me see how they replace/remove the belt drive. On other bikes, an expensive little S&S coupler is brazed into the chain stay. There's something going on there on the Kingfield chain stay, but I can't tell what it is.
The parts look reasonable; though the front fender is silly in its shortness for an urban bike. Speaking of fenders, I wish they took a tad more care in placing the seat stay bridge to get proper fender alignment. You can poo-poo such observations as effete, but fender placement is more than aesthetic; in this case, it may crowd the fender/tire and will be the pinch point for putting fatter tires on there with a fender (You can see that well-illustrated on my Trek 720).
Anyway, from the looks of the Kingfield pic, my guess is 32mm + fenders is as big as it gets, though those might be 35's.
I love that they are manufacturing a bar-end shifter for the Nexus 8-speed. The J-tek is great and all but availability has been spotty and it's a pretty expensive bit of hardware. I'm guessing with the big Q behind development, Civia will be able to get a bar-end out for about half the price, and hopefully it'll be in the QBP catalog.
Of course the fork is not my style, but it's cheap and it's the style these days so whatever. The rear rack is riding way too high, which is weird since Civia manufactures both the rack and the bike -- I'd assume they would get that dialed in a bit better.
All that bitching and moaning about these minor aesthetic issues aside: this could be a great commuter and trail rider for some. Internal hubs and drop bars are a good combo and belt drive, with a sludge catcher is pretty sweet... at $1300 with rack/fenders -- not an awful price either. In any case, it's something to get excited about in that we have thought, design, and manufacturing going into smart urban bikes (that aren't just more copies of "Amsterdam bikes") from a big player in the bike world.
Now, we just need a bike shop in Spokane that has a few of these (and some LHTs, Halsteads, Salsas, etc) on the floor next Spring.
> 3:23 PM