Monday, September 6, 2010


West Side Highway Piers, NYC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

The weather was pppeeerrrfect for a test run of the series of high performance bicycles by two leaders in the industry—Cannondale and Schwinn. And we were ready to ride, inspired by all the fashionistas who rode their wheels---to the fashion shows we had just attended in Berlin.

When we got to the paved Pier in Chelsea, we couldn’t believe how many rides were out there---to ride.

There’s a “theory of geometry” that goes into all Cannondale bicycles…because different people choose bicycles for different reasons.

As in us---bent over on our triathlon bike…for aerodynamic purposes and to engage the back hamstrings most.

For urban riders, it’s a heads up position so it’s easy to see what’s in front (or to the sides)…with maybe a messenger bag on your back that won’t bounce up when you hit a pothole---and quick response needs to dart in and out of traffic, and humans, natives and tourists alike, clogging up the bike lanes.

We walked out of this demo day with 15 pages of notes…and we only skimmed over the highlights.

Easy enough, right off, budget is a determining factor for many about to engage in some people powered wheels. Also generally speaking---the higher up in price, the lighter weight the bicycle, techier the components with forged pieces. Basically stronger and lighter…but all designed by a team of engineers.

SPECIAL ---Cannondale rightfully prides itself on its truly double-pass tech smooth welds rather than the sand, putty, and paint of competitors…that eliminates flat stress-risers and weak joints found on traditionally welded frames…allowing for a lighter, stronger frame. As in urban/recreation friendly and durable.


The solid Bad Boy…comes in a bunch “understated” chic matte black profiles from “entry level” title---that still has quality components like disc brakes reflective decals from different angles---to the high end, more angular Bad Boy Solo Headshok…that’s a great ride for the city.

Uniquely---it has a super lightweight handle bar system for quick turns (.e. good for the city) and is in feel more like a mountain bike ride with its quick responsiveness.

 PLUS: a mini usb charged light that lasts 60 hours. It looks cool too (“anti-bling”)---with a stealth-fighter shaped tubing-forged and drawn from one piece. Added plus-disc brakes that are tucked away and also bike rack friendly…and the shape of the chainstay “gets really thin” with a bit more flex for smoother ride (bump absorption) without a loss of power. Sizes S, M, L, and XL

Inspired by a concept Kajal bike…these bikes with Schwalbe Kojak tires have a neat –literally-internal, totally enclosed hub for the chain---so no grease on calves…for a work friendly ride, and no need ever to lubricate.

More sporty/utility…with stylish with red accents, the next bunch of rides are good for those wanting a recreational bicycle…for longer trips that might kick up a few rocks. There are also attachments for packs-and more stopping power and lockouts for suspension.

Special Feature: The tires are knobby---with a bit of a center tread…good for all weather conditions.

The “Quick” line of bikes are like a road bike--- with in a heads up position— “ good for people transitioning from spin bike classes.”

Five models of rides are out there, starting at $500-1299---quite the range we thought.  Again the higher bucks get a lighter bicycle with more spec performance…for a faster more efficient ride…. as in a frame of carbon instead of aluminum alloy.

Still all are cool looking---“stealth bikes” with good road feel, flat bar handles available and a “1350 g® rigid frame” that for a city bike---provides an amazing lightweight, nimble responsive ride hat actually dampens the vibrations of going over uneven street pavements, and bike paths.

There’s even a women specific bike with a little bit different geometry, a women’s saddle

And a bit more mountain bike (for that occasional off the trail ride) in feel but still nimble for urban rides, the sleek looking aluminum frame Quick CX ---in red too!...with the option of s suspension or rigid fork for versatility, depending on rider’s wants.

What we liked about all the aforementioned bikes is that there seems to be a ride for all performance needs and budgets…. that are good for the casual athlete as well as for the commuter.

FUN: One size fits all models in six different colors, the 20-inch wheel base head turner--- …the Hooligan 3 and Hooligan 8…for short commutes…are--- no surprise HUGE sellers in the Asian markets.

SCHWINN is an iconic American brand IMHO. Spanning generations, Schwinn bikes have been providing family fun for years---and are collector’s items too.

We thought the black 3 speed Hornet and pink Debutante looked very chic---with simple steel construction with a beverage holder, handy---for the always hip retro appeal.

There’s the Cruiser with a built in bottle opener…in one or three speed--- that’s geared toward beach environments. In tons of colors and at $220---a value.

New for 2011 is the purple/yellow Madison and the pink/green/white or black Cutter with front and rear hand breaks---

And the World Market bike in Aurora Yellow---with Schwinn Comfort tune saddle and grips---and shopping bags can mount on the bar or the rear rack. In Tomato Puree Red too.