This is the first official post for the Bike Swift blog. I, Henry, am pretty shy and have never blogged before, so I'll keep this short and won't attempt anything groundbreaking for now.
The Clear "One" is a bike that I stumbled across at Interbike, North America's industry-only bicycle show, and after chatting with the designer and learning more about what it was, I quickly fell in love with it. The bicycle is revolutionary - read below to find out why!
First, the designer. Skip Hess is an industry giant: he has been president of Giant USA (ha!), has co-owned Schwinn for many years, and more recently built Electra up from a small, niche brand to the largest-grossing single bicycle type in the US before selling to Trek (and then continuing on as Electra's CEO). He shared with me that Clear Bicycles was a chance for him to build the bike that he always dreamed of, but that eluded him until now.
The Clear Model One, with a thoughtful Skip Hess (designer) seated behind
Ok, the bike itself. It's painstakingly well thought out, and the care in the design and build process really shows. The frame geometry is spot-on, with a 71 degree headtube angle (fairly steep for a hybrid) that leads to very responsive handling, but a 73 degree seat tube angle and longer than normal chainstay length (430mm) make it ride very smoothly as well. It's so stable that I rode it around the tradeshow hands-free!
The components are all a very noticeable step above entry level. Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes perform way better than comparable models from Tektro, which is what you'd usually see on bikes priced in this realm. The wheels are a great mix of lightweight and strong, and use an innovative locking system where they require a 5mm allen key to remove/install (a theft deterrent), while being compatible with normal QR skewers.
The SRAM 1x9 drivetrain is buttery-smooth and simple. Skip had a custom narrow-wide chainring CNC machined, because that's the only way to do a 1x drivetrain right, and there really aren't any narrow-wide chainrings for 9 speed. Most manufacturers would deal with the chain falling off now and again, or add a clunky chain guide - but Clear does it right!
A custom narrow-wide tooth profile allows the chainring to fully grip the chain
The bearings really stand apart. While most manufacturers save money on inexpensive bearings, sending out a mid-level hybrid bike with hubs that feel like that have sandpaper on their bearing races, this bike uses sealed, Japanese bearings throughout (headset, hubs, and bottom bracket). This leads to a smoothly-running bicycle that you can expect to stay that way without much maintenance.
A few other points:
We now have quite a few of these bikes in the shop, and have built a bunch up with our systems. We've got a nice introductory discount going - check them out here, or swing by the shop for a test ride!
Comments will be approved before showing up.