Commuters, the practitioners and the machines, give us cyclists a warm and fuzzy feeling. Judging by all of the cute uprights with a vintage feel and hipster personality populating the local bike shop, it’s a growing trend. Of course all of this good will and heart warming feeling about commuting doesn’t necessarily lead to enough commuting. And how competent a bike is at commuting can sometimes diminish in direct proportion to how cute it is.
Enter the Breezer Finesse. Cute factor for this commuter was way down the list of priorities. It means business. Using Breezer custom butted alloy tubing with hydro formed tubes the bike’s frame is stiffer and lighter than a typical commuter. It gets a full compliment of the details every good commuter needs; a rear rack, dual bottle cage mounts, fenders, 8 speed internal hub, along with a good helping of seriously premium features.
To ensure you can really push it safely the Finesse gets hydraulic disc brakes, while still having the mounts for cantilevers, if you would rather. Up front carbon blades on the fork keep weight down and offer good front end compliance. The bike also gets carbon in the rear with a Ritchey Pro Carbon seat post, again, low weight and great comfort. The handle bars are light weight alloy with clip-ons in the center to give you an aero advantage when you hit snooze one time to many.
The most popular feature here was the integrated lighting system. With a hub mounted dynamo seamlessly providing power to a bright LED upfront a red rack mounted light in back you are prepared for a late night at work with out the need to remember lights or even charge a battery.
Breezer believes the Finesse is a seriously fast commuter, and to prove it, as well as support local commuting, they had ASI President (Breezer’s parent company), Pat Cunnane, ride the bike in Philly as part of the annual “Bike vs. Car vs. Transit” race put on by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. The result? Pat whipped all the competition. Starting in Northern Philly, and riding to City Hall, he finished in 13:20, six minutes ahead of the car and more than ten minutes ahead of the public transit rider.
Pat was kind enough to speak with peloton about the race, his own commuting, and where he sees the commuter movement from his position.
peloton: Tell us about the race?
Cunnane: ASI (Breezer’s parent company) wants to join the bike culture in Philadelphia. The Philly bike coalition puts it on and they asked me if I wanted to do it. The car is faster than the bus, but they don’t count parking! For short distances the bike is always faster. I ride as hard as I can, but it’s not really a race. It’s monitored by the bike coalition to make sure no one cheats, so there’s no point in sprinting to a red light.
Peloton: Do you commute daily?
Cunnane: I commute most of the time, if I’m not heading out to the airport, although I didn’t get to commute one day in January. The cold isn’t a problem, it’s mainly the snow and ice. We have showers and a mechanic here. I’m a pretty spoiled bike commuter.
Peloton: Do you have a cycling background?
I started just riding to school and there was a bike shop across the street. When I was 12 my first job was in that bike shop. I kept riding to school even when other kids were driving. I raced a couple of times but I would never say I’m a bike racer. I’m a tourer, when they had that category! I rode across the country in 1979. Living in Philly you ride to the shore, about 100 miles. I do that a couple times a summer.
Peloton: What is it about the Breezer Finesse that makes it such a great commuter?
Cunnane: Whenever the weather is lousy I ride it. When the days are short the lighting system is phenomenal. It handles well, I like the riding position. When it’s dark being a little more upright is perfect.
Peloton: How do you see the commuter segment doing? Is it growing?
Cunnane: In 2008 it grew a lot when gas prices were high. We’ve seen it roll back when gas prices are lower. When it gets above $4.50 a gallon, that’s the threshold (where we see more commuters). So many trips are less than 2 miles, those are the ones that are options for cycling. Certainly a bike can go a lot further, but
that‘s the group we target. The riders that are willing to commute 10 or 15 miles, we already have them.
The Breezer Finesse Retails for : $1,799.00