Design Within Reach sent us their Biomega AMS 8-Speed Bicycle a couple weeks ago and we’ve been admiring, questioning, and discussing it ever since. The bike features a shaft drive, Nexus hub, powdercoat finish, is built to just get around town, and is featured in this week’s Huggacast.
A few pedals on the shaft drive and you’ll understand that it is just for around town and that’s ok, because it does have substance to all that style. When we first unpacked it, one of the remarks was, “damn! does it come with a matching dish set, towels, and shower curtain?” It looks that nice and very designer with the powder coat finish, badges, and internal cables. The most striking visual is the cardanic shaft drive and I think the designer, Skibsted, concieved the entire bike from that drivetrain.
The bike itself is the award-winning Copenhagen, imported exclusively by DWR. It’s a museum-quality bike. Speaking about the bike, Skibsted said,
The bicycle is designed for “urban mobility,” with the intent of “making towns and cities lovelier, beautiful and cleaner places to be.” Beyond creating an object of beauty, “We want to spread the love we put into our bikes to the people who ride them. We believe that a kind of osmosis from the bike to the rider takes places, spreading our feel for quality and originality.”
An Urban Bike
Check the Huggacast video for our riding observations and our photostream for photos. The shaft drive is a love it or hate it thing (see an animation here). We appreciated the functionality of it and nearly immediately discovered the downside. Zero maintenance, looks cool – great – but massive friction, speed limitations, and a gear range that, hobbled by frictional losses, isn’t going to get you up any hill. I also could not go fast on this bike. That’s not the point, but I did try, and the bike just doesn’t go.
Ugly Bettie meets Sexy Biomega
Since I’ve been putting big miles on Bettie lately, and it also encourages the slower approach, I found myself comparing the two rides. Where Bettie isn’t the sexiest bike ever, it’s very functional. From taking the kids to soccer, delivering the goods, a date night, or just riding around, Bettie will get it done.
The Biomega is good at what it does, with some puzzling omissions:
- No water bottle cages – every bike should have a bottle cage, hipsters need to hydrate as well
- Better bring tire sealant – you’re not changing a rear flat with this bike. The rear wheel is bolted on, and the stock tires are ~32c’s, with not a lot of room for fatter rubber
- At this price point and spec, a front generator hub with lights would’ve been nice
I think the owner of this bike will ride it on campus, bike paths, and from the condo to the office, and that’s great. As we first posted, we’re good with bikes as designer items, why not? As we learned with Bettie, going slow, chilling and enjoying the ride is a relief from a hectic commute or road rides.
The Biomega AMS is available online from Design Within Reach and their local studios. You’ll need to find a mechanic or bike shop to assemble it for you. The one we rode is on display now at their Seattle Studio.
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The latest tube set in the shop is Reynolds 953. Called Super Steel, for all it’s wondrous properties, 953 also makes surprisingly fine trumpets.
Cyclists Ride for the Right to Bike Lanes - Seattle Times
Mayor Greg Nickels said Wednesday he intends to triple the city’s bike lanes, but they’re not the answer for every location, and the Stone Way decision will be re-evaluated in six months.
Also Wednesday, the city announced that a closed stretch of the Burke-Gilman at the Fremont Bridge will reopen this month, instead of being blocked by a private construction project through mid-2008.