Civia Loring 8-speed

How’d we pick ’em? By putting nearly a dozen urban and utility-oriented bikes through their paces at Outside’s Santa Fe headquarters.

Civia Loring

Best For: Casual urban outings. 

The Test: Though it looks stylishly laid-back on first glance, the Dutch-style Loring is no clunky beachcomber. This 8-speed was smooth and sturdy and has a wide enough range of gears to get you around the hilliest of cities. Even with the upright position, handling was quick enough to negotiate traffic-clogged streets, and the spring-dampened pleather saddle adds a touch of comfort and class often missing on pure utility rides. Same goes for the bamboo fenders (a $90 upgrade) and standard-issue racks, though the latter are more than just eye candy, as they easily carried a week’s worth of food (when lashed down) and a bouquet of flowers.

The Verdict: As practical as it is good-looking. 39.6 lbs

Brand: Civia Cycles $1,295
From Outside Magazine, May 2012 Get the Latest Issue