Monday, October 9, 2017

Looks Good on Paper: The Public V7

One of the downsides of being an amateur/armchair bike blogger is that nobody's clamoring to send me stuff (especially bikes) to review. After all, what's the benefit to the bike company? They spend money to ship me one of their bikes, and I either like it (which about three readers will see) or I hate it, thus branding it as a dud to every casual Googler from here to eternity.

One of the upsides of being an amateur/armchair bike blogger that nobody's clamoring to send stuff to, however, is that I can wander around the vast internets and choose stuff that looks good to me without all the hard work of actually riding and reviewing said stuff. Sure, it's a clear-cut violation of my own Advertising & Review Policy, but that's why I included the "mutable at my whim" clause. So, consider it muted for this post, as I give you the (never ridden by me) Public V7:

(Image horked from Public's site, where you can learn more about the bike.)

During a recent globe-trotting, the hotel where I lay my head kept a small fleet of remarkably sensible-looking bikes on hand for guests to borrow. I never did, but I was intrigued enough by them to internet-stalk the maker and model, and it turns out it was this here Public V7, wearing the hotel's logo.

To me, this simple steed (and any number of hipster-bait, Americanized-Dutch clones) is all the bike most people need. In fact, if I'm being honest, it's probably all the bike I need. Here's what I like:
  • Chubby tires for comfort.
  • Fenders to keep your butt dry.
  • Upright riding position for (again) comfort.
  • Easily adjusted and maintained dual-pivot brakes.
  • Simple, user-friendly 1x7 drivetrain.
  • A chainguard to keep your pants out of said drivetrain.
  • Stylish/non-garish paint and decals.
  • Brazeons for carrying stuff.
  • Bolt-on hubs to thwart wheel-thieves.

Being a picker of nits, I would tweak a couple things, of course:
  • Threadless steerer, please, even though I know it kills the traditional/retro look. I just like 'em better.
  • White tires? And white Kenda Kwests (Tires of the Zombie Apocalypse) no less? Double pass. They'll look like crap after one ride, and ride like crap forever.
  • I'm meh on the brown saddle and grips, but that's aesthetic, not functional (yet they had me at color-matched rims, which is probably just as silly).
  • $500 MSRP, while perfectly reasonable for the feature set, is still pretty steep for the casual "not bike people" audience this thing is targeting (there's a singlespeed version for $100 less, but then you're trading versatility for simplicity and cost).

Again, I cannot stress enough that I have never ridden a Public V7. For all I know, it could go down the road like a walrus in labor. But it ticks many good, sensible boxes... and if someone from Public (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink) happened upon this review and wanted to help me make it more exhaustive, I certainly wouldn't refuse a visit from the Big Brown Truck.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does this sort of bike ever go out of style?
Well, not "style", but is it ever not a good choice for the average person making a short trip? About the only way to improve it would be to use an internal geared hub instead of a derailleur.

My dusty brain was telling me that Schwinn used to sell this sort of bike back in my youth. Digging out my copy of the 1976 Schwinn catalog, I see that you could buy the Schwinn Suburban (available as a 5 speed or 10 speed) or the Schwinn Collegiate Tourist and get similar features. Fenders, upright bars (tourist style!), sprung mattress saddle, chain guard, and sensible tires. These featured stem shifters, but a trigger shifter or grip/twist shifter might be better.

These also included the built-in kickstand, which is convenient. It also explains, to a degree, why these bikes are listed as weighing between 39 and 41 pounds! Apparently steel was pretty inexpensive, as Schwinn seemed to be including quite a bit in the bikes.

Nice to see that this sort of design has endured! No trendy new technology; just a classic design that has been proven over the decades.

Steve in Peoria