Commuter Bikes Category Archive

mokumono hal (1024x683)Amsterdam has more bicycles than inhabitants and The Netherlands is one of the most bike-friendly nations in the world. Yet virtually no bicycles are made here due to high labor costs. Now, some Dutch entrepreneurs want to bring bicycle manufacturing back to The Netherlands by using automotive industry techniques. “We had to re-think the way bicycle frames are produced,” says Bob Schiller, founder of Mokumono Cycles.

Instead of welding tubes together, a process that is highly labor intensive, Mokumono uses robotics and an automated production process. Two sheets of shaped aluminum are pressed together and then laser welded. Schiller explains the Mokumono concept in the company’s Kickstarter video below.

Mokumono will sell two versions of their bike, a singlespeed and an eight-speed, both with the Gates Carbon Drive system. Pre-order prices are $1,150 for the singlespeed and $1,400 for the geared version. “The name Mokumono is a composition of two words that express where we are from and what we make,” says Schiller, who is launching Mokumono with his brother. Mokum is an old nickname for Amsterdam. Mono refers to monocoque, “a construction technique whereby loads are supported through an object’s external skin without internal strengthening.” While the target market is The Netherlands, Mokumono will ship its bikes worldwide. In a country where even the Prime Minister rides to work on a bicycle, Mokumono seems poised to bring Dutch bike heritage into the modern era.

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Chelsea Koglmeier founded Bikes of Reckless Optimism, a “socially conscious” bike brand, after living and working in impoverished regions of Uganda and Bolivia, where she was struck by the power of bicycles to change lives and improve economic standards. Bikes ORO has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise capital for three new models including the Porteur, seen below with Koglmeier. In keeping with its social mission, Bikes ORO will donate $25 to World Bicycle Relief for every bike sold. Bikes ORO’s new models were developed in partnership with Matthew Andrew of Flying Machine, a top frame designer in Australia, and all feature low-maintenance and practical components including Gates drives. Watch the video atop this post to hear Koglmeier’s inspiring story, see the bikes in action, and learn more about World Bicycle Relief.


Bikes ORO is among the growing number of bike companies that are using crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter to launch their belt drive products and grow their brands. In our last post we featured Priority Bicycles’ launch of their ultimate beach cruiser on Kickstarter. Now we look at some more brands employing crowdfunding.

Faraday recently launched its new step-through electric bike, the Cortland, on Kickstarter, raising $187,821 to bring the bike to life. In addition to a Gates belt, the Cortland, below, features an eight-speed internal hub, hydraulic disc brakes and bamboo fenders. 

Faraday_Cortland-female rider

Coastline Cycle Company is a new brand founded by bicycle industry veterans Chad Battistone and Brady Sorenson that is crowdfunding The One on Kickstarter. The One is offered in five options, from singlespeed to eight-speed, and kitted out with components for urban or trail riding. All the bikes will be equipped with Gates’ premium CDX system, Shimano hubs and Race Face cranks.

Coastline Cycle Co-8SPD

Velorution is London’s top seller of belt drive bikes from Schindelhauer, Biomega, Van Nicholas, Lios and more, and they are a Gates Carbon Drive distributor in the UK. Now they are raising capital on the Seedrs platform to expand and open more shops. “The continued strategy is to offer London’s urban cyclists a curated collection of innovative, premium, exclusive and semi-exclusive brands from around the world,” says Velorution’s Gretta Cole. Watch their crowdfunding video below, and join the crowd!

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Brava Bikes Lascar

Santiago, Chile, is one of South America’s most vibrant cities. Inhabitants enjoy food, arts, architecture and culture to rival the great urban centers of the world. Now this metropolis of more than five million people is undergoing a bicycling Renaissance. “Santiago is fairly flat and has a sunny climate that makes it perfect for urban cycling,” says Ricardo Salas, a founder of Brava Bikes. “Over the last decade there have been various public policies aimed at reducing traffic and improving the health of the population, which have resulted in an explosion in the use of bicycles in Chile. At this point we lead Latin America in daily bike use.”

Brava is a new bike brand based in Santiago that specs the Gates Carbon Drive system on all of its models. Pictured atop this post is the Láscar, a fixie with bullhorn bars. Below is the Cay singlespeed, followed by the Ralún eight-speed.

Brava Bikes Cay

Brava Bikes Ralun

Brava’s founders decided to launch an urban bike brand after careers in architecture and design, and they spent two years designing the bikes and creating the brand identity. Details include leather grips and Brava-branded leather saddles. The aesthetic is both classic and modern. Below is the Macá singlespeed followed by the Lanín eight-speed.

Brava Bikes Maca

Brava Bikes Lanin

The Tacora fixed gear:

Brava Bikes Tacora

Brava sells online and plans to open a brick and mortar shop soon. “Everyone at Brava loves classic bikes for their style, simplicity, and functionality. We think that the bike is a magnificent machine, and even a work of art,” says Salas, who commutes on a Cay.

One of his favorite rides is the trail up to San Cristobal Hill, a park overlooking the central city. “Another interesting urban route runs through Parque Forestal, which takes you almost the length of the city and passes through a sculpture garden and past the Contemporary and Fine Arts museums.” Another is Parque Bicentennario, located in the Vitacura area of Santiago. “This 30-hectare park is one of the city’s most important green areas. It is a popular place to spend time outdoors due to the trails and other activities,” Salas says.

Bravo, Santiago.

Brava Santiago street

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Cycle Revolution Design Museum Entrance-min (2)

The London Design Museum is located along the River Thames near historic Tower Bridge. Twenty-five years old, it is one of the world’s leading museums devoted to contemporary architecture and design. The Design Museum is currently hosting the Cycle Revolution exhibit, which “celebrates the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain.” The exhibit’s tagline is: “Extraordinary bicycles and the people who ride them.”

Cycle Revolution Poster-min

Cycle Revolution, whose posters feature a Gates Carbon Drive system, is a multi-media exhibition that includes films, photography and several halls filled with bicycles of all types: historic antiques, clunkers, racing machines, cargo bikes, and modern commuters that are driving the UK’s bike revolution. “A record number of people are now riding bikes in London,” according to the exhibition guidebook, “with a total of 610,000 cycle journeys made every day.”

Cycle Revolution Exhibit hall-min

The NYC from Biomega, below, is among the stylish commuter bikes highlighted. Based in Copenhagen, Biomega’s motto is “furniture for locomotion,” and its philosophy is to create bicycles with the same intensity of design and function as automobiles.

Cycle Revolution Biomega NYC-min (2)

Cycle Revolution Gates belt-min

Cycle Revolution also features award-winning Berlin-based brand Schindelhauer (below), and a well-written description about Gates belts and their emergence in the bike market.

Cycle Revolution Schindelhauer-min
Cycle Revolution Schindelhauer Sign-min

The exhibit likewise features the work of Dutch wooden bike maker Paul Timmer. Timmer’s bike is made of ash, with aluminum dropouts and headset.

Cycle Revolution runs through the end of June. If you live in London or plan to visit, the Design Museum is worth a trip. Thanks to curator Donna Loveday and London’s leading urban bike shop, Velorution, for recognizing the role of Gates Carbon Drive in the evolution–and revolution–of modern bike design.

Cycle Revolution Timmer Wooden Bike-min

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PriorityEight_Angle sm (2)

Priority Bicycles is a new commuter-focused brand that has found rapid success by rethinking how bikes are conceived, designed and brought to market. “Our success has been driven by a combination of technology, design, and understanding essential customer needs to deliver hassle free, high quality bicycles at a fraction of traditional prices,” says Dave Weiner, founder and CEO of Priority, based in New York City. Its bikes use no chains or derailleurs and are optimized for simple, low-maintenance urban riding. Priority launched in 2014 on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $30,000 and instead raised more than half-a-million dollars.

Priority has just launched a new premium model, the Eight, featuring Gates Carbon Drive. Impressively, the Eight is selling for a special launch price of $799, making it the most affordable commuter bike with Gates Carbon Drive in the United States. Consumers can sign up for Priority’s pre-sale price here.

The Eight has an alloy frame and a component package that includes an eight-speed Shimano Nexus internally geared hub, hydraulic disc brakes, fenders and Gates Carbon Drive’s CDN belt system. CDN, which is designed for urban riding, features Gates’ patented CenterTrack design and an engineered polymer belt embedded with carbon fiber cords. The front sprocket is made from reinforced composite embedded with glass fibers, and it comes integrated with a Gates branded crank for industry leading concentricity and easy installation. The rear sprocket is wear-resistant steel.

Priority EIGHT_Rear_Black sm (2)

Weiner says customers were clamoring for a model with Gates Carbon Drive, the global leader in bicycle belt drives. “The endless requests that we received for this bike had been overwhelming. We couldn’t ignore the call,” he says. “Riders wanted what we stand for – hassle free, great quality, unmatched value – in a package that could support performance, more mileage, and increased agility.”

“Gates is very pleased to be working with Priority and to have Carbon Drive featured on the Eight,” says Todd Sellden, global director of Gates Carbon Drive. “Priority is a smart and ambitious young company that has found a way to offer affordable and fun city bikes that simplify bicycling and allow people to enjoy the ride and spend less time maintaining their bikes.”

Priority Eight feature_detail

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