[Also see my review of the 2015 Giant Seek 1]
While not about mountain biking, this post is still about bicycles so I’m going to allow it. I spend a lot of time biking back and forth to work during the better half of the year in Vermont, so I figured I would type up a review of the bike I use for commuting. My Trek Rig review gets a surprising number of views, so I figured a review of this bike might be useful or at least amusing to someone out there.
I first ran across this bike last fall when I was shopping for a bike for my wife. She wanted a Breezer Uptown city bike and the closest dealer for Breezer bikes was The Bike Hub in Norwich, VT. Since we travel down there fairly frequently, I decided to stop in to talk with them about getting one. While I was there, I saw a 2010 Seek 0 on display. Since I wasn’t shopping for myself, I didn’t buy it on the spot. I tend to mull over larger purchases for a long time before acting. I picked the bike up a few months later.
I run it pretty much as it came with the addition of some fenders, rack and handlebar bag. Commuting in Vermont is pretty lousy without a good set of fenders since it seems to rain more often than not (including this winter). I used to think fenders weren’t cool, but I don’t care any more. Maybe I’ve gotten old and didn’t realize it; next thing I’ll be wearing black socks with dress shoes and shorts during the summer.
Possibly the best part of this bike is the internal gear hub. It has a Shimano Alfine Nexus 8-speed. I love this thing. All that it requires is that I lubricate the chain periodically. It shifts well enough that I don’t give it much thought any more. Under heavy load, like a steep hill climb, it will have a bit of a lag when shifting; but I’ve adapted to that quirk by instinctively easing up a little when I shift. The hub itself is quite heavy, but it is worth it.
How does it ride? The steering is quick – almost twitchy like a criterium race bike. It just felt fast the first time I got on the bike. It would be great for riding around in a town or city as the handling is nearly instantaneous. It has a Jedi steering – it reads your mind and goes in the direction that you’re thinking about. Most of my 10 mile commute is on a state highway, so I don’t gain much from that. Since it is a little bit on the aggressive side, it wouldn’t be as relaxing on an extended trip as a touring bike with slack angles, but it’s not uncomfortable either.
This is the part of the review where I mention that the frame is “laterally stiff but vertically compliant.” The reality is that the frame is vertically stiff and has no compliance in any direction. Likewise, the fork is off the charts in terms of stiffness. The 700x32mm tires keep things from getting too harsh. I think if you put some high pressure 25mm tires on this, you could rattle any dental work loose in short order.
The riding position on the bike is more upright, similar to a mountain bike even though the design and handling are more like a road bike. It is actually a nice combination. The top tube, on the large size frame, is around 23.5 inches. Plenty of room to stretch out – especially with the longish stem that comes with the bike. It’s not the most aerodynamic body position but very comfortable.
Other random thoughts/gripes:
- 700×32 tires are perfect for commuting and even do well on the occasional gravel road.
- The stock grips were some Ergon wannabe grips which seemed to rotate down every other ride. They were replaced with a pair of Ourys.
- The eccentric bottom bracket does creep over time, but not enough that I’ve bothered to take any steps to prevent it. I’ve had to tighten it up twice this past year in over 1000 miles of riding.
- Hydraulic disc brakes are way overkill on a road bike. That said, they work very, very well.
Overall, the bike has been a great commuter. I could put on some cyclocross tires and ride it a bit later into the winter. It handles well when loaded down with panniers and handlebar bag. With the internal hub and disc brakes, it has been incredibly trouble free. This bike should be able to serve for decades with minimal maintenance which is what I’m looking for in a utility bike. Still, I’m jealous of my wife’s Breezer as it is an even nicer bike than mine.