Berliner Fahrradschau

It’s been a very long time that I’ve posted on this blog.

I’m currently spending a year in Berlin, Germany and really enjoying public transit. Meaning, I don’t even own a bike. But roughly half-way through that year (if you’re curious what it’s like to return to Berlin after a long absence, see my amateur flaneur notes at sabbaticalers.wordpress.com/).

But, spring is in the air and I visited the Berliner Fahrradschau, time to put some thoughts about the new bike I’ve been seeking for years, down in pixels…

Point of Departure

My Rocky Mountain Whistler RC-30 has been a trusty bike commute companion for over a dozen years now. It’s changed massively in that time, but there’s nothing I can update about the frame which ultimately just wasn’t the right fit for me. Also, I can’t stay chains, chain stays, and all that clunky, need-to-be-replaced-and-never-quite-work-right tech.

So, I’ve been looking to replace that bike for some years.

The main obstacle has been that there are not that many options of large frames with a belt drive that I can test ride. Yes, some N American manufacturers make such beasts, but Vancouver bike shops don’t usually stock them.

So, I’ve hoped that with tall people a larger part of the market here in Berlin, perhaps I’d have some luck.

What I’m looking for:

  • gates drive
  • tall
  • full fenders, rack, possibility fo lights, perhaps ideally with a dynamo
  • visibility
  • quality (I ride approx. 4,000km a year, hope to ride this bike for 10+ years)

Things I Discovered at the Fahrradschau

Obviously, these kind of shows/expos are really cool. I didn’t have enough time to spend all day, but easily could have.

There’s the tech to drool over, the curious, the geeky, the stylish, the (too)hipster, all right there to look at. I managed to see and feel some brands that I’ve been following online (e.g. PedalEd), and discover a number of brands that I didn’t know.

 How My New Bike Thinking is Evolving

The biggest recent shift has been that I’m thinking about moving my attention from a 8 or 11-gear hub gear system (Shimano not Rohloff) to the Pinion system.

Why?

  • new German tech
  • almost-no maintenance (though similar as hub gears)
  • central centre of gravity
  • cool

This idea has been reinforced by the C-12 model that Pinion has come out with. Having downsized from an initial 24 to eight gears on my old bike, 12 seem plenty, especially given the range that the Pinion can cover and the option to adjust this with different gears at installation.

Unfortunately, however, the Pinion system is only beginning to show up in production and is still fairly pricey although the C line is less expensive than the P.

Well, the search for the perfect bike continues, and maybe Velo Berlin will bring more answers.

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