Friday, November 20, 2009

Enjoying a ride on a Retrovelo bike

Last Saturday I went to test ride some bikes with Filigree from the Lovely Bicycle! blog. I tried a Retrovelo Paul (the male version of the classy Paula) and Filigree a Specialized Globe Haul (a Mixte for heavy loads), both of which were gladly lent to use by the Citybiker bike shop on Lerchenfelderstraße.

The Retrovelo Paul in the Schmerling Park in Vienna (more pictures on flickr)

We went on a good 2-hour-tour through the wider center of Vienna to test the bikes in different situations: "Cycling the Parliament" (by Filigree), "A scenic bike ride through the center of Vienna" (by me) and "Out on the Town with Haul and Paul" (by Filigree). You can read Filigree's review of the Globe Haul on her blog, mine on the Retrovelo follows here:

Retrovelo is a bike manufacturer from Leipzig, Germany (check out their homepage). The bikes are easy, chic and are built with modern and reliable components. According to their philosophy they
continue a long, locally based craftsman tradition that proposes an alternative future in times of industrial mass-production.
Sounds very good to me as I like to buy local. Unfortunately, Austrian bicycles are mostly not my style.

Retrovelo offers bikes from a classic series (beautiful bikes for everyday) and a modern series (still beautiful, but especially good for traveling). Generally their bikes come in 12 bright colors, but for an extra charge one can also choose an individual RAL color. The frame size for the male models is 57cm (22.5“), for the female models it's 52cm (20.5“), the single/duo speed also has 50cm (19.7"). Depending on the model 3-, 7-, 8- or 14-speed internal hubs are integrated.

Since the Citybiker only had the male models in stock, I was the only one who ended up on a white 7-speed Retrovelo Paul (specifications here). I'm glad that I was tall enough to reach the pedals and the ground cause it was a real pleasure to ride it :).

Filigree took some really nice pictures of me riding the Retrovelo around town

Of course, the upright position was new for me. I just felt so tall and elegant! The whole situation was easy to overview and the pedaling didn't require much effort. The Brooks B67 saddle was really comfy. The Shimano drum brakes worked perfectly fine as well as the internal gear hub. The rear rack seems very stable, the lights are gorgeous retro but at the same time very modern ones (hub dynamo). The handlebar is wide and allows a convenient riding position. I didn't like the plastic grips so much, but that's something that could be replaced. What I liked most is the slim and hence elegant steel frame with the triple plated fork crown and -- although unexpected -- the Schwalbe Fat Frank balloon tires. Schwalbe especially designed them for the Retrovelo bikes. I was almost flying over the cobbled roads. In that respect it's certainly comparable to my mountain bike, but that has a suspension in the front. The fat tires on the Retrovelo bikes can absorb most bumps, and the sprung saddle helps in addition. Very very comfy!

Altogether I must say that I just love to look at the bike. It's simply gorgeous, all the parts are well-thought-out and elaborated. Riding it was pure pleasure too. Generally a great bike for citycycling.

So far I'm pretty convinced that I will settle for the Retrovelo Paula. The people at Citybiker told me that the delivery would take about 4 weeks once I ordered it. Now it's really just a matter of color :).

Which color would you pick for a Retrovelo Paul/Paula?

(I'm not claiming that I will settle for the color with most votes, but I'm curious what other people prefer.)


MDI said...

Don't forget to get cream tyres! They look so awesome. Or you can get brown. Tyres come in many colour choices too, not just black alone.

Velouria said...

Well, for me I would get the Khaki gray. Bur for you, I would get the Pigeon Blue, Clay Brown (which is really a dusty-pink colour), Retro Orange, or Cream, in that order of preference. The white bike you rode was nice, but I think it is too white, and Retrovelo has some very special colours that show off the lines of the bike much better. Oh yes, and get cream tires!

Velouria said...

Oh by the way: the shop Calzedonia has a sale on tights in many many different colours, where they are 5 pairs for 19 Euros.
In case you don't have enough : )

Anonymous said...

Beautiful bikes ... but probably quite expensive. :)
My colour choice doesn’t seem to be popular.

Dottie said...

I vote for the light ivory color. Isn't this the one that looks almost pinkish in real life? With cream tires, that would be a sweet ride.

Carinthia said...

Hello Anna, the bike does suit you, and I imagine the Paula will do so even more. In any colour! :-) I went for the Pigeon Blue, mentally pairing it with cream tyres. It does sound a lovely ride. Having just checked the Paula page on the Retrovelo site I noticed the main picture shows a Pigeon Blue bike - hmm, a little brighter than I imagined in real life. The 7 speed internal hub should cover all your eventualities for city riding. Nice decision! :-)

Justine Valinotti said...

I'd go with Pigeon Blue or Oxide Red. But somehow, Anna, I see you with Retro Orange, or Clay Brown.

Trisha said...

I voted for pigeon blue, but I also loved the dusty rose color of the one I test rode in Chicago (in the avatar pic). Not sure if it was ruby red or the clay brown, if it looks pinker as Filigree says. Can't wait to see you on your Paula; they are gorgeous bikes.

anna said...

Thanks for all your nice comments so far. I almost made my decision, but will wait till the end of the vote to reveal it :).

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