Margot McGovern finds a practical solution for the everyday rider.
If you’re in the market for a comfortable, affordable bike for getting around town, you’d be hard pressed to go past the Breezer Uptown 7 LS.
We last reviewed a Breezer Uptown (the 3 LS model) in our December 2011 – January 2012 issue, and since then it’s undergone a number of improvements. First, it’s cleaned up its image. The feminine colour palate has been superseded by a classic matt bronze frame and faux leather grips and saddle, bringing it in line with the current trend for retro-styled town bikes. While in Australia step-through bikes are often marketed as women’s bikes, overseas they’re very much unisex and it’s pleasing to see the Uptown has ditched the gendered look.
The Uptown 7 LS also features a dynamo hub, rather than a bottle dynamo, which our previous reviewer, Emma Clark, noted was “noisier, less efficient and wears your tyres”. The Shimano 3W Dynamo hub is silent and efficient. As on the older 3 LS, the Trelock Bike-I Uno LED front and Trelock Trio Flat rear lights remain lit for about three minutes after you stop pedalling to ensure you’re not left in the dark at traffic lights, and the front light can be switched off once you arrive at your destination.
However, the biggest difference is that the Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub has been upgraded to a 7-speed, offering a significantly improved range of gears to more comfortably handle a variety of conditions and terrain, while the Shimano Nexus 7 Revo-Shift allows for simple and smooth transition between gears.
For those unfamiliar with the Breezer Uptown, there’s a lot more to this bike than there first appears, and I’ll admit that I was initially skeptical. To my eye it’s not the belle of the bike lane—even with its new, upstyled look—and, at a glance, I suspected I was in for a slow and sluggish ride. However, I was pleasantly surprised. While it’s no speedster, it’s by far the comfiest bike I’ve ridden. The geometry is upright and stately, putting you a head above much of the traffic, while the extra low sweep of the frame makes for dignified mounting.
Unlike some step-through town bikes, which look pretty but have the grace of a tractor, the Uptown 7 LS is every bit as practical to ride as it looks. The handlebar position is slightly swept-back and wide, without being unwieldy, and the 26 inch double-walled aluminium wheels make for nimble handling and nod towards Breezer’s mountain bike origins.
My one quibble with the Uptown is the Breezer suspension seatpost. To my mind it tips the ride from comfortable to squishy and isn’t necessary on a bike primarily suited for urban trips. However, this is a matter of personal taste.
What I do really love are the thoughtful details—this is a bike designed with care. The fat Vera CityWide 26×1.75″ tyres make for a pillowy ride and steamroll over tram tracks, potholes and other minor hazards that trip up skinny-tyred steeds. They also feature puncture protection and a reflective strip for added visibility. The Uptown comes with water bottle mounts, mudguards, chain guard and a sturdy rack with spring clip, which, along with the dynamo lights, makes it a ride-ready bike for any weather. It also features a stand, which, while not as sturdy as it might be, is (to my mind) an essential for a truly utilitarian bike.
Finally, at $899, the Uptown is remarkable value for money. The componentry is good quality and carefully chosen for comfortable, practical everyday riding.
|Frame||Breezer Custom-Tapered Aluminium|
|Wheels||Shimano 3W Dynamo Front/Nexus 7 Rear, 36H Hubs, Vera DPM23 Aluminum Double-Wall CNC SSE Rims|
|Tyres||Vera CityWide, 26×1.75″ w/ Puncture Protection, Reflective Strip|
|Shifters||Shimano Nexus 7 Revo-Shift, 7-Speed|
|Brakes||Breezer Aluminium v-brakes|
A stately steed built for comfort and utility.
For more details or to buy, ocbicycles.com.au
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