Cycle '08: Bikes go urban

Flat bar bikes for inner-city speed

In our latest roundup from the Cycle Show 08, we take a good look at urban and commuting bikes. These flat-barred machines are purpose built for getting you to where you need to go in relative comfort, without sacrificing too much speed or manoeuvrability.

We scoured the stands to see what’ll be hitting your local bike shop in the coming months, and found a healthy range to choose from. Our highlights include Cannondale’s concept Stealth bike, as well as flat bar bikes from Focus, Raleigh, Fuji and Scott.

If you haven't seen our short video on the folding bikes at the Show, have a look on last week's video of the week.


This is Cannondale’s concept Stealth bike, which won't make it into production but is interesting nonetheless. Inspired by stealth fighter jets and the Lamborghini Reventón super car, the design bods at Cannondale came up with the Stealth after they saw a lack of innovation in the urban bike market.

Cannondale Stealth

It’s got a single-sided fork, integrated disc brakes, integrated stem/handlebars, internal cable routing and an integrated seat collar – some features which we expect to creep into future production models of city bikes from Cannondale and other companies.

The frame is one monocoque carbon part, with the front triangle and chainstays made in the same mold. It also uses the world’s first full carbon fibre rigid Lefty fork for a road bike including disc brakes. It weighs in at 8.8kg.

Although there's a need for a disc brake on a Lefty fork, we’re not sure whether discs are of much use on city bikes. With most road tyres, you usually don't have enough tyre traction to cope with the stopping power of a disc brake. What's wrong with the v-brake?

Integrated stem/handlebars

Cannondale Bad Boy

Cannondale’s Bad Boy comes in various guises – here it’s sporting a white paint finish, Lefty fork and an Alfine hub.


Specialized’s 09 commuting/urban/road range looks impressive, and there’s something for every rider in the shape of their Globe and Tricross models.

Specialized Globe Vienna

This city commuter is set up for miles of maintenance free riding with it’s internal 8-speed Nexus rear hub. Other neat features include Body Geometry comfort grips with an integrated bell, fittings for mudguards and racks, and a comfy Body Geometry Sonoma saddle.

Specialized Tricross

Ideal for the long haul to and from work, this gloss brown Tricross is set for the tarmac and the dirt with a slacker head angle and longer wheel base than traditional road bikes. Mudguard and rack fittings should help to carry office garb and to keep the crud well away, and the carbon fork should take the buzz out of the roughest roads too.


Focus Maleta

Like the Tricross, the £899 Maleta is one for the long haul, but probably at a slower pace. The SRAM X0/X9 equipped city/touring bike comes with mudguards, rear rack and Avid Juicy disc brakes, as well as Continental’s Contact extra light tyres with reflective sidewalls for increased visibility at night. The Suntour forks (with lock out) should put paid to any potholes or towpath trash, and should cope well on the odd offroad jaunt.

Focus Arriba

This stealthy commuter is the most stripped down model in Focus’s ‘fitness bike’ selection. Priced at a reasonable £449, it’s a 6061 aluminium frame, has Shimano’s Sora groupset, Schwalbe Speed Cruiser tyres with puncture protection, and Shimano v-brake stoppers.


Absolute 2.0

The Absolute 2.0 looks built for inner-city speed with its carbon fork and Shimano Deore shifting system. It’ll be on sale around the £599 mark.

Muddy Fox

Milano Hybrid

The Milano Hybrid might be the choice for the commuter on a budget at £379.99, and comes fitted with rear rack and mudguards from the off.


Airnimal Chameleon

Airnimal folding bikes are built for speed and performance, and the £999 Chameleon with its 24” wheels is built to ride as much like a conventional bike, but with the versatility of being able to fold it for travel.

The Chameleon’s potential for speed has been proven after being ridden to a bronze medal in the world triathlon championships, and Chameleons can often be seen ridden in sportives up and down the UK.

Airnimal bikes all have three levels of fold: car/train – simple fold; suitcase – takes longer, but you can fit the pieces into a suitcase; carry on luggage – break the bike down small enough to fit into a plane’s overhead locker (check with the airline before you try this though!)


Raleigh Boardwalk

Raleigh’s Parkway folding bikes are aimed at the commuter on a budget, or those who want to dip their feet into the pool of the folder. Their steel Parkway costs £169.99 while the Lite three-speed version with an aluminium frame costs £219.99.

Raleigh have used technology licensed from Dahon to build an affordable frame and component package for their Boardwalk folders, with the basic Boardwalk costing £289.99, and a Lite version with upgraded spec at £349.99.


Not strictly a piece of kit for the average city commute, the Extrawheel is touted as the "world’s lightest bicycle trailer", and can be used to lug loads of up to 30kg. Using a fully guarded full size wheel the Extrawheel attaches directly to your bike via a fastening fork, and it can be used with panniers or net holders.


Camaleonte Sport II

This aluminium framed, Shimano Deore-equipped machine from Italian bike maker Bianchi is called the Camaleonte Sport II. It's got a mixture of Shimano Alivio and Deore for the shifting, Shimano v-brakes for stopping and FSA DynaDrive chainset.


Scott Sub 20

This is the mid range model on Scott’s Sub (Speed Utility Bike) range at £599, and has Shimano Deore disc brakes, Continental Sport Contact tyres, Shimano Alivio gearing and Scott’s own brand saddle.


Felt QX75

Another urban-bike-around-the-£400-mark, highlights on the QX75 include Shimano Deore gearing and Jagwire cable outers.

Matthew Cole
Author: Matthew Cole

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