The Koga Miyata Citylite Gents is different from most hybrid and urban bikes, which aim to be as versatile as possible. It does one thing well: shortish distance urban commutes. It’s expensive for what you get, yet it still delivers a comfortable and reasonably efficient ride.
The upright riding position makes you feel king of the road, and the chaincase and full mudguards mean you can just get on the saddle and go. If you can afford to run several bikes, then around town a roadster like this rules.
- Handling: Stately, sit-up-and-beg comfort that’s ideal for short urban trips. 700C wheels and decent tyres mean your progress isn’t pedestrian either.
- Frame and fork: Well made, practical and in roadster terms relatively light. It’s not exactly sporty but it doesn’t feel like the dead weight you might expect from the scales.
- Equipment: The rack, guards and chain case are great. It’s a shame not to have an Alfine hub even though the premium Nexus 8 is decent, and you might expect a dynamo for this money.
- Wheels: Sturdy, durable and shod for easy rolling. Some form of hub braking and ideally a hub dynamo would make them even better.
Koga Miyata is Dutch, so it comes as no surprise that the company has a big range of upright roadsters. The CityLite Gents is the cheapest in the line-up, missing out on the integral lighting, wheel lock and suspension fork of its dearer siblings.
The handbuilt frame is triple-butted aluminium with a tough paint finish, and there are fittings for everything except disc brakes. The steel fork will take a low rider rack too, so you could use this bike for sedate touring or grocery hauling. Cables are routed internally, which looks neat.
The head-tube uses a semi-integrated headset, even though the steerer is joined to a traditional quill stem rather than a threadless one. At the back of the bike, forward-facing dropouts allow you to tension the chain, and there’s an eccentric adjuster at the dropout to make wheel positioning simpler.
Good gear for the urban cycle
The red stripe on the Nexus hub signifies that this is the premium model. Around town, the step down from the Alfine of the Merida isn’t obvious and the hub’s identical spread of gears is spot on, even for hilly cities.
Wheel removal is awkward – the more so because the Koga comes with an excellent plastic chain case. Getting this off isn’t rocket science but it still takes time and because of this we would be tempted to fit impregnable street tyres like Schwalbe’s Marathon Plus instead of the lighter, faster Marathon Racers.
The other accessories are quality items. SKS mudguards are among the best, while the aluminium-tubed rear carrier rack is both light and strong. Battery LED lamps look a little odd on a Dutch bike, where you would expect to see a dynamo, but they’re efficient and compact. There’s a kickstand too, and even a saddlebag that clicks neatly onto the saddle.
Back-pedal coaster brakes are standard on Dutch roadsters, but the CityLite comes with rim brakes instead – that’s now unusual for a modern city bike – and features a power modulator on the front brake so you can’t accidentally lock it.
Apart from the fact that they don’t use hub brakes of some kind, the wheels are very good. Eyeleted rims are unlikely to crack around the spoke holes, and they’re laced to decent hubs with 36 spokes apiece, while four extra spokes grant a bit of extra sturdiness, especially considering that the rear wheel isn’t dished.
Tweak the feel with the highly-adjustable bar
On the road the feel of the bike is dictated by where you set the bars. They’re movable through a large range up and down, forward and back, thanks to the long quill stem with an adjustable angle. Given the excellent support offered by the Selle Royal M-Flex saddle, the classic upright roadster position feels best.
Your hands fall naturally onto the backswept handlebar and the sit-up-and-beg posture feels commanding. You get excellent visibility, because you’re looking ahead and over cars rather than down towards the tarmac.
It’s less good for sprinting to beat the traffic lights, but the upright position only becomes a drag if you’re going a really long way or heading into the wind. Uphill the weight makes itself felt; you need to gear down and take it easy.
The overall feel of the CityLite is of a Dutch roadster assembled for the UK market – where rim brakes and battery lights are the norm. It’s a well put together bike that makes short urban journeys a joy. However, nearly a grand is a lot of money for a roadster with Nexus gearing and no hub brakes or dynamo.