Euro-style commuter bikes - Interbike 2013

In Las Vegas, not all the new bikes are designed for recreation

While road bikes continue to pick up speed and offer improved aerodynamics, and mountain bikes are increasingly ready to tackle the dirt it can’t be overstated that the growing bicycle infrastructure means more people are riding to get from point A to point B. This is notable in the offerings of commuting bicycles that can be seen at this year’s Interbike in Las Vegas.

This includes bikes with electric assist and frames meant for causal rides in causal or even business clothing. When it comes to electric-assist commuting bicycles, speed is certainly not the name of the game, but rather a way to aid the rider in getting around.

“This is not about going faster,” Jackson Lynch of Electra Bicycles said of the company’s new Townie Go pedal-assist bicycle. “This is about minimizing effort so you can’t get to work without showing up all sweaty.”

The Townie Go is equipped with SRAM’s no-maintenance E-matic propulsion system. It utilizes a high-efficiency 250-watt brushless motor with two-speed automatic transmission; a low gear for acceleration and hill climbing, and a high gear for efficient cruising at higher speeds. Still, Lynch said that the bike is not meant to be a speed demon.

The women's Townie Go from Electra has electric assist

“This will allow you to get an easier ride,” he said. “And without that jolt that many electric bikes have when you start riding. This is something that people get on, start pedaling and just feel that it isn’t making them work so hard. That puts a smile on their face.”

Electra further rolled out three new models in its Amsterdam line that included an apparent Technicolor dreamcoat of options. Electra was not the only company at Interbike to look to Europe for inspiration with its bicycle designs. Retro certainly continues to be in full cycle.

Electra isn't holding back on the color this year

“We’re inspired by those classic and European bicycle designs” said Jaron Danioth of Linus Bike, Inc. “We’re about comfort while commuting, with bicycles that offer an upright geometry.”

The Linus line, which is inspired by French bicycles of the 1950s and 1960s – the era when bicycles were also a common sight in the French New Wave films of the same era – are designed to offer elegance that combines form with function. That company also reaffirms that the bicycle is not just meant for recreation and sport but as a viable form of transportation for everyday life.

The Linus Mixte 3

British Columbia based Norco Bicycles is also looking to help make getting around town a little bit easier. This includes the company’s City Glide line of light-duty urban bikes that feature swept back handlebars and even a bell, and its VFR line, which is designed as a high-speed commuter that combines the performance of a road bike with the comfort of a hybrid. Norco also offered the latest from its Indie line, a bike that has been called an urban mountain bike that makes commuting on less than perfect streets not so rough.

The Norco City Glide

Peter Suciu
Author: Peter Suciu
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