The Best Utility Bikes of 2015

(Michael Karsh)
Stromer

These are the workhorses of the bike world—and with plenty of panache at last. 
Aaron Gulley

 

Stromer
(Michael Karsh)


Shinola Detroit Arrow

Best For: Budget-Minded Patriots

We love Shinola’s classic Made in America story, but its early bikes ran $2,000 and up—not exactly priced for everyone. Enter the single-speed Detroit Arrow ($1,000), which has a Wisconsin-built frame, is assembled in the company’s reclaimed Detroit factory, and costs half as much as its other models. The bike is no beater, either, with a TIG-welded steel frame and stylized branded dropouts. The components are top-notch, too, including full-metal fenders, a leather saddle, and contrasting cork grips. 25 lbs; shinola.com

shinola-detroit-arrow_s.jpg
(Michael Karsh)


Marin Fairfax SC6 DLX

Best For: Commuting

This aluminum flat-bar bike ($2,399) is as sexy as the Stromer, minus the electronics, and costs loads less. Testers loved the Gates carbon belt drive, which eliminates the noise and grime of a chain but still offers enough gear range, thanks to the Shimano 11-speed internal hub. Positioning is relatively aggressive, and we felt fast and agile in traffic. The components are all high quality, including hydraulic disc brakes, Ergon grips and saddle, and cushy Continental tires. And we love the full fenders, cargo rack, and hub-powered light. 28.2 lbs; marinbikes.com

 

Marin
(Michael Karsh)


Kona Minute

Best For: Big Loads

Most long-tail haulers are cumbersome because of the additional length. The Minute ($1,399) gets around the issue with a relatively short wheelbase that makes handling quick and maneuverability easy. Despite its dimensions, the bike, which is capable of carrying 300 pounds with its wood deck and twin panniers, doesn’t relinquish any hauling ability. Fully loaded, the Minute feels solid, with strapping-wide tires providing plenty of grip and Tektro disc brakes keeping it all under control. Our only niggle: we’d prefer larger 180-millimeter rotors. 40 lbs; konaworld.com

Kona
(Michael Karsh)


Stromer ST2

Best For: Giving Up Your Car

Meet the future of pedal-assisted electric bikes ($6,990). The muscular aluminum frame, with a 90-mile-range lithium-ion battery inside the down tube, looks like Apple’s design lab teamed up with George Lucas. When we stepped on the pedals, the hub-based motor kicked the ST2 forward like a motorcycle, delivering up to 500 watts of supplemental power with a maximum assisted speed of 28 miles per hour. But what sets the ST2 apart is the touchscreen LCD in the top tube, which controls the GPS, front and rear LEDs, and power settings. 62 lbs; stromerbike.com

Stromer
(Michael Karsh)

Filed To: Gear / City Biking / Bikes
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