After what felt like a Manhattan Project-level of research, I pulled the trigger. Here it is. My new thing. The Civia Bryant, with disc brakes, Gates Carbon Belt Drive, and a Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal gear hub.
I also had it built up with an Alfine dynamo hub and a Schmidt Edelux headlight. So I never have to worry about charging batteries, oiling chains, oil on me. Just about zero maintenance. I’ve adjusted the brakes once. I’ve wiped it down twice. In three months of winter riding. The thing just stays really clean and trouble free. (Big contributor to the clean factor: Giant, fluted Velo Orange fenders. Also big, heavy, and really solid.)
The bike is unbelievably smooth, quiet, and really, really heavy. Sometimes I like to call it “the Potemkin,” or the “U.S.S. Bicycle.” Strangely enough, this hasn’t slowed me down much. It’s also very stable over bad roads, ruts, railroad tracks, gravel and all the other crap Seattle winters throw at you. Actually, I lied. It’s a lot slower, but in bike terms, a lot slower doesn’t mean much. It adds literally 3 minutes to my commute. Which is a great trade-off for the stability, peace-of-mind and low maintenance.
I can also throw a lot of crap on it, instead of on my back. I outfitted it with a rack and a pannier (more on that coming later)…and it’s no problem to lug around a laptop, change of clothes, my lunch, and even, OK, not kidding, on Valentine’s day, a baguette and a bouquet of flowers. Not getting away with that on the racer-dude bike.
On longer rides, the jury’s out. I miss the higher “big ring” gears of my Scott and the lighter feel. But for everyday getting around in the muck, the Bryant is a beautiful thing.