Critical Cycles 7 Speed

Critical Cycles Dutch Style Step-Thru 7-Speed Review

If want to escape the house on a sunny summer day, then you have no reason but to smile. The Critical Cycles Step-Thru Seven-Speed is a suburban commuter bicycle fashioned like a dream from the 1950’s, right down to the chrome bullet headlamp, body-colored fenders, and chrome rear rack.

It’s cuter than an Angora bunny and guaranteed to turn heads on the street (you won’t even have to wear yoga pants).

Designed with a robust steel frame and a twist-grip seven-speed Shimano transmission brings the vintage style of the 1950’s and the convenience of the 2010’s to the urban rider.

Concerned About Correlation Between Price and Quality?

Did that last sentence sound like a sales pitch? It’s not. With the tremendous advances in welding technology and materials sourcing, it’s hard to find a new bike that classifies as “junk.” The Critical Cycles City commuter bike may be a road bike under $300 and be sold factory-direct, but that doesn’t detract from its quality. It may look like the 1950’s, but it’s built with 2015 technology.

Consider the frame. It is TIG-welded high-tensile steel, which means that if you hoist the bike over your shoulders and throw it down the stairs in a fit of anger (hey, we’ve all done it), you’ll hurt your shoulders before you harm the bike. At 35 pounds with all accessories included, the bike is fairly lightweight.

Riding on 700c double-wall aluminum alloy rims, it has a weight limit of 250 pounds. The bike also boasts a sealed bottom bracket, which prevents gunk from compromising the crankset – unless, that is, you regularly ride on dust, gravel or wet roads.

Why Women Love It
But honestly, most buyers will not purchase the Critical Cycles City commuter bike for its TIG-welded frame or its staunch brake line cables or because its Kenda Kwest tires prevent wet slides. Rather, the buyers, mostly female, will purchase the bike because a woman can mount or dismount the bike without feeling like a gymnast. You can wear a skirt. You can wear high-waist denim jeans. You can wear whatever you want.

Because that’s what the Critical Cycles Step-Thru Seven-Speed City bike is: a no-frills commuter bicycle.

For those who intend to peddle the streets of Mayberry, the Critical Cycles Step-Thru Seven-Speed City bike is wonderful. The flat, horizontal handlebars prevent wrist and lower back fatigue. The bike sits low to the ground for easy balance and comes in two sizes: one for women shorter than five-foot-four-inches, and another for women larger than five-foot-five-inches. Your weekend jaunts will never be more enjoyable.

Provided: A Necessary List of Caveats
Wait! You plan to bike 10 miles to work daily? On the Critical Cycles commuter bike?

Well, not to be too “critical” – sorry, couldn’t resist – but you’re fishing in the wrong pond. The bike lacks any sort of shock absorption system: no suspension, no seat spring, not even a gel seat cover. The wheels may require truing after a few unsuspecting drops off a curbside. And twist-grip shifters, even the Shimano Revoshift seven-speed transmission, rarely last longer than a few years. The Critical Cycles “City” appellation applies to cities of the low-density suburban sort, not hectic downtowns.

Fair warning: Due to its bargain price and a barrage of adorable paint colors – Cream, Coral, Sky Blue and so forth – this bike often appeals to new cyclists. Perhaps the closest you’ve gotten to cycling is narrowly avoiding your spandex-clad pedaling neighbor while parking. This might be a problem.

See, Critical Cycles is based in California. All the design is done stateside, but the manufacturing is done in China and Taiwan. Shipping is often handled via third parties like Amazon. This roundabout way of business slashes overhead costs and permits Critical Cycles to sell its products at competitive prices.

Unfortunately, UPS and other carriers whom we all know and love, do not boast perfect track records when it comes to shipping protection. Some customers have received damaged parts or incomplete assemblies and must suffer from the ensuing red tape of the reclamation process.

Also, the bike comes only partly assembled. Final assembly, such as attaching the rear wheel, calibrating the brakes, installing the headset and so on, is left to the customer. Essential tools like an Allen wrench are included in the purchase price. Mechanical know-how is not. Critical Cycles provides online assembly instructions, but ultimately, you and your Phillips head screwdriver are all you’ve got.

But you can do it. After about 20 minutes and a few curse words later, you can be blissfully pedaling the streets of your local Mayberry. Just watch out for those speed bumps.