The Best Urban Bikes 2015
All of the other articles in our series on the best urban bikes this year have dealt with flat bar hybrids designed for commuting and a bit of light off-roading. They've all been from, mostly, major brands that do sleek, modern designs.
However, for this 'money is no object' bracket, where we list our favourites, we also wanted to include a few examples of classic-looking city bikes. These tend to be, we'll admit, slightly overpriced. But by jeez are they pretty. And they are the perfect machines for sauntering around town with more grace than a gazelle. Because gazelles are full of grace.
Pashley Aurora 8 Speed Alfine Women's Hybrid Bike, £1295 (£1165 ATOW)
The Pashley Aurora 8 Speed Alfine Womens Hybrid Bike is the perfect city bike – stylish in bucket-loads, comfortable and smooth-riding, and with an upright riding position that lends itself to drinking in the atmosphere of a park as much as keeping yourself traffic safe.
It has Shimano Alfine hub gearing, meaning that you'll rarely be interrupted in your serene cycling by maintenance issues. A beautiful bike for any girl about town.
Trek 7.4 FX WSD, £600
It may be a lot cheaper than the other bikes on this list, but the Trek 7.4 FX WSD is a great buy, whatever your budget. A carbon fork, Shimano Acera/Deore drivetrain, Tektro brakes and stonkin' good looks make it a no brainer. It's got Trek's trusted, women's-specific geometry.
Simply put: we are fans of this bike.
Pelago Aristo, around £1325
The Finnish aren't just about having cold toes and making mobile phones. They also know how to make beautiful urban bicycles. We particularly love the Pelago brand, and if we had to choose just one model, we'd go for the Pelago Aristo.
Full mud guards give it a classic look, while fending off (geddit?) all the mud you'll be riding over in the deepest winter. Because you have disc brakes. So there's no excuse not to ride.
There's 9-speed Shimano Tiagra gearing, hard-wearing Scwalbe Spicer tyres and a Brook's saddle to boot. This baby is sturdy enough to take touring, never mind a mere jaunt about the city.
Cube Delhi EXC Women's 2015, £1099
Bikes designed for cycle touring are pretty much a cert on the 'not going to miraculously fall apart on the way to the office' scale. The Cube Dehli range is essentially indestructible, with the Cube Delhi EXC Womens 2015 sitting at the more expensive end of the line, with high quality Shimano Deore XT components, disc brakes and Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Kevlar tyres.
In brief: you could probably ride this thing forever.
Lady’s 650b Di2 Roadster “The Pink Panther", Sven Cycles
Here at TWC, we understand that not everyone is a huge fan of pink. In fact, we've devoted a lot of inches to the debate over whether pink bikes are patronising, pretty, or both.
Then we looked at the Sven Cycles Lady’s 650b Di2 Roadster “The Pink Panther". It's called The Pink Panther, for goodness sake. We should be offended or something. But isn't it just the loveliest thing you've ever laid eyes on?
The best thing is that at Sven cycles, every bike is handmade in Weymouth, Dorset. Their 'Roadster' models are intended to be luxury city bikes made for riding to work and looking darn smooth. We also very much enjoy their dry product descriptions: "If you are looking for a time trial bike look elsewhere."
Marin Fairfax SC6 DLX, £1700
Yummy. This Marin Fairfax SC6 DLX is another bike made to take on absolutely anything, with minimal effort from you in the form of maintenance. Shimano Alfine hub gearing keeps things a breeze, with the dynamo powering the inbuilt lights keeping the road ahead bright without batteries.
The disc brakes are Shimano T445, and it comes with a belt drive instead of a traditional chain, again to keep maintenance low. It's also got a carbon fork. In conclusion, this Marin will keep you from having to think about anything apart from how smooth you look on the way to work.
Schindelhauer Lotte, £1695
Another bike intended to keep you rolling for longer, this Schindelhauer Lotte also comes with Shimano Alfine hub gearing and a belt drive chain.
No carbon fork here, but the Schindelahauer makes up for a lot in style and sportiness – it's certainly a good choice of city bike for those of you that was classic styling without anything screaming 'vintage'. Rim instead of disc may be a deal braker (ho ho!) for some, but in every other sense this is the ultimate urban bicycle.
Specialized Vita Comp Carbon Disc EQ 2015, £1400
Specialized are excellent at recognising the importance of a flat bar, urban bicycle. Lots of brands reach their peak at the £1000 mark, then get bored of a commuter shape and put all their efforts into premium road machines. The Specialized Vita Comp Carbon Disc EQ 2015, however, is a great example of a mainstream bike brand putting some serious effort into city cycling.
It has a Shimano Tiagra groupset, Tektro Gemini disc brakes and full carbon frame. It even comes with the water bottle cages and saddle bag. What's not to like?
Abici Sveltina Donna, around £1,175.00
It's the home of the Giro, and therefore we trust that the Italians know how to build a bike (and complain about coffee in other countries).
The Abici Sveltina Donna is a beautiful city bike with a steel frame, Sturmey Archer hub gears and beautiful finishing details like hand-sewn leather grips. We think it's pretty gorgeous.
Liv Thrive 0, £849
We love that Liv is a bike brand entirely for women, and the Liv Thrive 0 ticks all the boxes for an urban, flat bar commuter. It's got what fuse call a D-fuse seatpost that soaks up road buzz, along with all-important Tektro disc brakes for British weather.
Built with women's specific geometry from the ground up, as well as being finished with a female-friendly saddle. A Shimano 105 groupset means this bike is great value considering it's componentry. Perfect for the city.