If you’ve had bike stores sing you the praises of the Surly Long Haul Trucker for touring but found it not quite to your liking after a test drive, you might be be a candidate for Fuji’s Touring frame through its paces. Each year, Fuji makes the Touring model in a different color—2013’s is a beautiful charcoal with red accents. The difficulty will be finding a Fuji Touring to test ride in your size. But persevere, if possible, as it's a classic, solid bike.
Good to Know: If neither Fuji nor Surly frames seem right for you and touring is your goal, it’s time to head to Terry and check out the semi-custom Doñana.
Riding is believing, and if you’ve never ridden a folder bike, you won’t believe how comfortable and practical they can be. The added benefit in tikit’s case is that all Bike Friday bikes are hand-assembled to fit the individual cyclist, and tikit can be built for anyone four feet tall and up. It folds and unfolds in seconds, making tikit a sweet intermodal bike.
Good to Know: Bike Friday now makes tikit in a carbon fiber version with a Gates belt drive, starting at $2,495.
Joe Breeze (of mountain bike fame) was the first U.S. manufacturer to bring a true European-style transportation bike to this side of the pond. Now that commuter bikes abound, Breezer Uptown bikes still stand out for their easy handling and off-the-shelf ability to meet transportation biking needs. The 2013 Uptown LS is in a sleek, sweet shade of purple, and, for the economy-minded, is actually priced lower than last year’s model.
Good to Know: As standard equipment, its dynamo-driven, front and rear lighting system is one of the best around.
Designed by Peter Denk, the Cannondale EVO is made from ”Ballistec” carbon. It’s the same bike ridden by the six women of the Reve Team who this year successfully rode the entirety of the Tour de France course, just a day ahead of the men. It’s stiff, it’s tough, it’s light, and it performed superbly on the Tour de France course, which is what you'd expect for this kind of money.
Good to Know: Want the entire Reve package? The women used Fizik saddles, Zipp wheels and Schwalbe tires. Read more about their tour here.
It’s the season for cyclocross, and Giant has introduced its first cross bike for women that handles roads, gravel and dirt with equal aplomb. The TCX W’s superlight aluminum frame should be easy on your shoulders, while this bike’s "women-specific" geometry is aimed at smaller riders.
Good to Know: Mud riding is, of course, at your own risk.
While Europeans are buying electric-assist bikes in droves, lengthening their commutes and making car-free city living palatable and even enjoyable, Americans look at cyclists enjoying assist as "cheaters." That’s silly. The new Pedego Commuter bike has five levels of pedal assist to boost your own pedal power, or a throttle-driven option when you just want to cruise. Climb any hill; conquer any commute with ease and pleasure.
Good to Know: Studies show that electric-assist biking still offers decent health benefits, and can get reluctant riders past their fear of mixing in traffic.
Mixte frames are the French interpretation (they say "meekst," we say "mix-tee") of the perfect unisex bicycle, able to accommodate riders in dresses—or any well-dressed cyclist, really. Soma Fabrications, a boutique frame builder based in San Francisco, makes the popular and affordable Buena Vista frame. The chromoly steel mixte has a sporty geometry, yet can also be transformed into more of a comfort bike using accessories.
Good to Know: Soma calls Buena Vista a 'true' mixte, because of its double diagonal top tube.
Specialized takes women's bikes seriously, and the S-Works Amira is a serious favorite of serious racers. You’ve got to feel pretty, well, serious to pay this much for a bike. Specialized uses anthropometric testing to get the right geometry for its bikes, and this carbon frame is both light and stiff, and efficient for performance.
Good to Know: The Amira S-Works has ’women-specific’ carbon handlebars, as well as a women’s saddle with carbon rails.
There aren't many more classic all-around bikes than Workcycles’ Omafiets. Omafiets is Dutch for "grandma bike" and this is the very picture of stability and reliability. But what many miss by thinking the Oma is too fusty for a test ride is that this solid, upright style is truly versatile for city cycle commuting, and a joy to ride.
Good to Know: Millions of satisfied Dutch cycle commuters, men and women both, have ridden this bike style for more than a century.
Yuba Mundo specializes in cargo bikes that are fun to ride, and the newly-introduced Boda Boda tries to mate cargo capacity with comfortable commuting features. It’s an upright ride, and weighs just 35 pounds, but can handle 220 pounds of whatever you want to haul (that’s in addition to the rider).
Good to Know: Like the Breezer Uptown 8, the Boda Boda has an integrated, carrying hand-hold that is superb for apartment dwellers.