BELOVED RAPHA EVERY DAY
THE SELL: The full package—style, speed, and comfort.
THE TEST: OK, so it's a commute bike you'd never dare lock up. But with fast all-rounder geometry and excellent handling, this special Rapha edition of the Every Day (regularly $4,175) rolls even better than it looks. And it looks great. The strategic tube selection in the hand-built chromoly frameset—which sports an integrated haul handle above the bottom bracket—rendered it responsive yet smooth, and the five-speed internal rear hub provided good range for climbing hills and flying along the flats. Fenders, a minimalist rear rack, and supple 32mm Grand Bois tires sweeten the deal.
THE VERDICT: If you're in the market for a comfortable townie ride for commuting and general cruising but also want a bike that will get up on it, this is your dream rig. belovedcycles.com; rapha.cc
VERSATILITY: 4 (out of 5)
The low-profile yet mega-powerful Paul Touring Canti brakes on the Beloved stopped us on a dime when necessary but offered such fine modulation that we relished playing with them on descents.
THE SELL: Fast enough for club rides, with a respectable amount of utility.
THE TEST: A modern descendant of—rather than a misguided homage to—the classic British path racers of old, the Clubman felt like an old friend within the first ten miles. Its geometry falls between the harsh angles of modern racy rigs and the relaxed lines of a tourer. The skinnier 25mm tires on our test model kept us from exploring back roads as much as we'd have liked, but the fully fendered chromoly Clubman would be more than up for it in higher-volume tread. The leather Brooks Swift saddle was, as always, a tester favorite.
THE VERDICT: A quick bike we could spend all day on. raleighusa.com
Dahon Speed D7
THE SELL: Cramped, harried urbanites can have their bike and ride it, too.
THE TEST: Besides the nice price and the fact that, post-ride, you can stash it in your trunk, closet, or midsize suitcase, we found another likely reason the chromoly D7 is the world's best-selling folding bicycle: it's a pretty damn good ride. No, we weren't shredding tarmac or floating over potholes; we were, however, navigating city streets deftly and surprisingly quickly—without ever feeling like we'd borrowed a kindergartener's bike (despite the 20-inch wheels). Plus we were able to lash our luggage to the rear rack and trust the fenders to keep street-begrimed rainwater at bay.
THE VERDICT: Size doesn't matter as much as we thought. dahon.com