Raleigh Rush Hour Flat Bar

Last week, Raleigh got us a Rush Hour Flat Bar for the talk about design and fixies. The bike looked like rolling art in the Design Commission gallery.

Refresh Seattle: Bikes

I rode it yesterday for a quick spin around the neighborhood

Raleigh Rush Hour Flat Bar: single, fixed

and timing wise, just as I was about to write a review, Urban Velo published there intial test. From the parts mix, to the paint, price, and color-matched components, we are in agreement on the bike.

I disagree with Urban Velo’s “queues from the handbuilt show” take because builders in that show, as well as builders in Portland, make the old like everyone else in this industry. The who influences who debate aside, we saw this bike and more steel initially last summer when Raleigh visited us en route to a Momentum Magazine photoshoot.

We’ll compare notes again with Urban Velo once their long term review is complete and we’ve ridden it into town a few more times.



4 Comments

“make the old like everyone else in this industry.” 

not sure exactly what this means but having attended the NAHMBS, it is pretty obvious that this grey paint scheme with the blue highlighted headset and seat collar can be found on a variety of bikes from Engin, Sycip, etc.  The brown saddle and grips were very popular at the NAHMBS as well, so i think the influence is pretty clear. 

this is a beautiful bike here and i like the looks of it.  i just think it’s time to give credit where credit is due. i’m sure a few product and brand managers of Raleigh were at the NAHMBS, which is a good thing, as this bike has a lot more style infused in it, and that is what consumers want these days besides value.

What I mean by “making the old,” is the industry lacks killer-app innovation. It chases trends instead of making them and markets 100-year old technology in a cyclical manner (650bs are back baby!). It’s disingenuous to say, “ripping off NAHMBS” because you can also say those builders are ripping off the Bridgestone catalog.

It’s all derivative and you’ll hear more from us this year about pushing the industry to innovate. We’d like to see the patents from the builders at NAHMBS or the Portland zip code for proof of their innovative ideas that are getting ripped off.  Are they setting trends, sure, and they should and hopefully bigger trends! Because those handbuilt trends are for themselves and for us bike geeks, not a larger audience that’s not riding a bike now.

The handbuilt show should function like fashion week in NY. Some hot designer parades out a new design and the next day factories are making it for Macy’s—if only we could move that much product. For now, we get [a u-lock attached to a top-tube](http://bikehugger.com/2009/10/integrated-u-lock.html) and ok, **that’s cool**, but it’s a u-lock attached to a top tube. Have you ever tried to u-lock your bike in a crowded rack? There’s an opportunity for a new innovation.

The criticism of Raleigh or any other bigger company is rightly directed at an 18-month product cycle for a single-speed/fixie flat bar bike, but a color scheme? That’s just misplaced snark.  And with all the press about the [Apple Tablet](http://bikehugger.com/2010/01/an-apple-tablet-for-our-bikes.html) over the next few months, I hope a bike industry product manager somewhere is thinking, “how can we too invent the future?”

On the Rush Hour itself, we’d prefer it in a dropbar and also wonder if product managers look at topographical maps when they spec bikes—maybe too much to ship a gear for the hills instead of one for the flats.

thanks for taking the time to clarify as i definitely see your point.

just an fyi, i never said, ‘ripping off’ in my reply (only you did). 
maybe i should have said, ‘taking cues’ for the NAHMBS and other manufacturer’s paint jobs, but i’m not criticizing the color; as i actually love it and it is a breath of fresh air to see more big manufacturers providing different color options than the same old blue, red, white, black, etc. 

one of the things that i’d like to see more big bike companies do is embrace the Mixte or step-through frame design, like Joe Breeze and Soma Fab. has.  i personally believe that these frame designs make a bike more approachable and less intimidating to a person who has not been on a bike for a while, may be out of shape or a female who wants to ride a bike to work while wearing a dress or skirt.

for the record, i personally think that Tony Pereria’s U-lock design is ugly and lacks function.  just doing something to be different without much function (neither wheel is secured by that lock) is not something that i want the bigger bike companies to take cues from.

A smarter approach is the integrated lock that i often use on my Breezer Uptown 8 by Joe Breeze.  www.breezerbikes.com
This little integrated lock, like you see on most of the bikes in Amsterdam, not only still provides ‘clean lines’ of the frame but also allows me to lock my rear wheel.

You’re right. I used the term “ripping off” as a general theme coming out of any handbuilt bike show and not that you said that or the boys at Urban Velo did. I mean I get the concern, but that show could and arguably should set trends instead of classifying itself as for retro-grouches. Also agreed on the rim-lock. If you’ve followed us for a while, you’ll hear me complain about weight and urban bikes. So this fantasy of New Amsterdam we have, doesn’t take into account that in other cities in the US, there are hills. Big ones. San Francisco style or Seattle’s downtown. If you were to take a few pounds of a commuter bike, add sturdy wheels, and a wider gear range, you’d make bikes more appealing. It’s that type of thinking I don’t see happening. 

Furthermore, we’re not coming at this as a snark blog, let the Bike Snob do that and cool. We’re just encouraging a re-thinking a “industrial design approach.” Honestly, how many consumers find flat bars incredibly uncomfortable after an hour on the bike or are just totally confused by triples?

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