A Preamble, and Some Context
OK, first. I’m a commuter. I decided after a rough break-up that I wanted to get back into shape, and I decided to break out the old mountain bike from college and start biking more. Of course, years of disuse after years of abuse had left me a rust bucket with a bent rim. I set it out for the neighborhood kids to make off with and bought a hybrid. A cheap one, really. At the time, though, it was the most expensive bike I’d ever bought. And, it changed how I viewed biking. It rolled! I could make decent time and not feel exhausted! It turns out, I think fenders are sexy! No really! And, other than some laps around the adjoining neighborhood, it got used as a vehicle. It was a way of getting from A to B without a car. Work, groceries, my buddy’s place. That’s what i wanted out of a bike. No recreation, but transportation.
I’m not a weekend warrior. I don’t want to kick out Saturday morning and spend 50 miles grinding up hills. I’m not keen on the idea of doing a century. I’d probably have fun doing it, but it’d eat a day. And that doesn’t jive with my preferred use of time. I have too many hobbies to kill my free days going forwards in one direction. I’m also not a mountain biker, or a downhill guy. If I try to imagine myself barreling down a dried-out creek bed, I giggle. BMXs are only valid bikes near a half pipe. Otherwise, they’re clown-cars for guys with nicer boxers than jeans. Touring is a maybe. I might some day get into touring. Biking around the country and drinking coffee at strange cafes pleases my inner romantic. But mostly, what I am is a guy who sees a bike as a substitute for my car, but with free exercise. This is important, because one’s reasons for selecting a bike are pretty much born out of how they’re going to use it. The bike I ended up with is probably not even remotely a reasonable choice for most bikers. So, i wanted to establish why I went with this bike in the first place, so we can get down to the brass tacks of reviewing it properly.
I didn’t need a light bike. The Felt isn’t. I needed a bike lighter than my last one, and the Felt is. I needed fenders and racks. I know you can buy those aftermarket and put them on. I have. I wanted ones intended to be there. Purpose-built racks and fenders always look better than bolt-ons. I didn’t need shocks. I bought the sauce. Shocks eat efficiency if you’e just sticking to paved roads. I am. I could go either way on steel or aluminum. I wanted something with a more road/aero profile, and less of an upright/cruiser profile. I wanted good brakes. Good rbakes are comforting when you’re getting passed by cars who love running lights. I needed gears. Internal gear hubs are awesome, and I love the very idea of them. But, if you’ve ever biked home with two glass growlers of beer for ten miles, you might think having a few more gears choices is a splendid idea. I have, and I do. I wanted 700c wheels, and rapid fire shifters. Those were my metrics. I wanted to keep it under a grand. I got a Felt Verza City 2. And that leads us to the review. The next page of this post is the review of the bike itself. The third is my thoughts on using it in the wild, and on commuting in this city in general. Those two thoughts are two intertwined to split into separate sections. So it goes. And here we go.