Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Sweden Installment 5
The Kronan Test Ride
When I first stumbled upon Kronan bikes I sent an e-mail to the SF rep who kindly put me in contact with sweet, sweet Maria in Stockholm. Sadly Maria and I never were able to meet, but we e-mailed once I arrived into town and she set me up with a test ride. What a very special afternoon we had riding our single speed Kronan's around Östermalm,
then over to Djurgården
finally over to the main drag where the high school graduates were having so much fun we could smell it (the best one was the beer draining out of the truck like a river - ah to be young again!).
Stockholm was so happy to see us on the Kronan's they sent out the Royal Guard!
Our take on the Kronan Single Speed is that though a blast, these beauties are HEAVY. From Maria:
I are happy that you enjoyed your stay and that you could see the beauty of Stockholm. Our 3 -peed bicycles weights 21 kg (46,3 lb ) and the 5 -speed 18 kg (39,68 lb), the Kronan bicycle are manufactured in Taiwan.
Our 'free' bikes were not adjustable seat-wise, so they could have been a little more comfy, but overall - I loved the seating position.
I loved riding the bike, I just couldn't make it up (yup, had to walk it) or down (had to turn around) the hills in Djurgården with the one-speed and the coaster brake (which scared the heck out of me at the first few heavily pedestrianized intersections). I definitely concluded that though I love the concept, a single-speed coaster brake bike is not for me and the places I want to ride in Minneapolis. And though people talk about how weight shouldn't matter - it does. My ride downtown is about 5 miles one-way (I talked about this before) - I want to do it on a Dutch-style bike, and I'm an American - so I don't have much time, therefore weight and gears are important to me so I actually do it.
When we got home I decided the Kronan Aluminum 5-Speed was the bike for me - the price is right, the look is right, the weight and speeds are better for me. Yeah, made in Taiwan - but oh well, things can't be perfect.
Unfortunately things are going to have to wait - moving here, fixing a house, and drinking $9 beers in oh-so-beautiful Sweden have delayed this purchase until later in the year. At first I was dissappointed because I had finally made a decision, but you know me if you read this blog - I like to do research and this gives me a few more months, and another biking season to make sure that the Kronan is the 'right' choice for now.
The Skeppshult will always be my true love, and I wonder what it would have been like riding the Nova on the same route - but that is to discover another day and a bike to aspire to at another time...