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November 14, 2013 in Bicycle inspiration, Bicycles, Bike Candy





All products now in store ready for delivery www.begbicycles.com.

 

Bertie Does a Centrefold

November 12, 2013 in Bicycles

We can’t deny that despite being keenly of the two-wheeled persuasion, when it comes to a visit to the newsagents, it’s sadly the beautifully aspirational lifestyle and fashion mag covers that catch our eye rather than the cycle porn of the top shelves.  The cycling magazine sector has grown tenfold in the same number of years, yet writing about a more relaxed form of cycling is still rather elusive.  The speed-freaks and sporting fanatics are still far better catered for.

One magazine that does successfully cover cycling that is less about speed, sports and stats and is pitched at the ‘For The Love of It…’ types (the Leisure and Pleasure brigade?) is Cycling Active and we’ve been big fans since it launched last year.  Cycling Active was the recent winner of IPC Media’s 2013 Magazine of the Year and deservedly so.

We were therefore thrilled when Cycling Active asked us to send over Bertie, our clasic men’s porters bicycle, so they could give him the once-over and cast their expert view as part of their First Rides review series.

Here’s what they have to say about our Bertie…

“Sitting back in the saddle, with your head held high in the air and the front wheel dancing about in front, you encounter sensations that simply don’t manifest themselves on most bikes. There is something subtly majestic about it. Smoothly rolling along on big volume Schwalbe tyres means it is also supremely comfy, too.”

“Bertie is not short in classic style that’s for sure, with swept-back handlebars clad in leather grips, and a plush Brooks B66s saddle cushioning one’s posterior.”

and our absolute favourite…

“For all his practical qualities, Bertie is something to marvel at in his own right.  I can’t help thinking that cycling is a little richer for him being here”.

Here’s the review in all its glory… and should you find this glowing review inspirational, you too can be the proud rider of your very own Bertie by clicking here.

 

 

And for those of you on small-screens who want a decent read, here’s the article in full;

He’s big and green, and he can carry about as much as the Incredible Hulk, but as Matt Lamy finds out, Beg Cycles’ Bertie is no monster.

Let me introduce Bertie, from Cambridge-based vintage-style bike brand Beg. Even by cycling’s standards — where unique two-wonders never cease to amaze — this is a pretty novel piece of equipment. For example, apart from anything else, it’s the only bicycle I know of that is currently commercially produced with two top tubes. Beg says Bertie is “the ultimate porter’s Dutch bicycle”, and he looks it. At his heart is a steel frame, hand-made in Belgium by a company that’s been welding bikes since 1946. Bertie is not short in classic style that’s for sure, with swept-back handlebars clad in leather grips, and a plush Brooks B66s saddle cushioning one’s posterior.

Little practical details are taken care of too. Gear selection comes courtesy of a very efficient three-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear with twist grip. A high-quality Busch and Muller chromed headlight runs off the dynamo hub (the rear light is powered from this too.) A Hebie bi-pod central stand keeps everything upright when you’re off the saddle. Shimano coaster brakes bring you to a halt. A little spring attached to the front fork automatically re-centres the steering. And an integrated Axa Defender lock clamps through the rear wheel, ensuring old Bertie won’t be swiped.Talking of which, my wife always asks the same old question when it comes to frame locks: “Why wouldn’t a thief just pick the bike up and carry it away if they wanted to steal it?” But there’s a fundamental reason thieves won’t pick up Bertie — they probably can’t. You see this big old boy is officially the heaviest bike I have ever tested, weighing in at 22.7kg, or a round 50lb in old money. As well as that reinforced steel construction and the fulsome spec sheet, the cause of Bertie’s abundance is an H-bomb-proof front rack — an incredible bit of utilitarian bike design, but which does have some effect on ride experience.First of all, this isn’t a bike to be scaling very steep hills on.

Not only do you have that bike weight to manage, but climbing out of the saddle while gripping those old school bars is something of an art. You do get used to it, and it’s really quite fun, but the high the centre of gravity over the front wheel, with that serious rackage, causes the front to be prone to the occasional wobble. And the three-speed Shimano Nexus hub (an eight-speed Nexus hub gear is a £150 option) doesn’t quite go low enough to master serious slopes. Like the little lad in the Hovis advert, pedalling might turn to pushing every now and then.In fact, the ride experience is not like a modern bicycle at all, but you quickly realise that’s part of Bertie’s charm. Sitting back in the saddle, with your head held high in the air and the front wheel dancing about in front, you encounter sensations that simply don’t manifest themselves on most bikes. There is something subtly majestic about it. Smoothly rolling along on big volume Schwalbe tyres means it is also supremely comfy, too. 

Who would it suit? Certainly the habitual tweed-wearer, or anybody who enjoys a relatively flat and traffic-free commute. But there’s also great scope for Bertie to be a quirky yet practical promotional tool for businesses too. If I was buying one personally I think I’d opt for Bertie’s slimmer rack-free brother, the Billy, but that front carrying capacity is ripe for some creative thinking. A few months ago I tested the B’Twin Riverside7 which shared many of the same qualities of the Bertie, although in a thoroughly 21st Century manner. It had a comprehensive selection of equipment and a practical purpose, yet at 17kg I thought it was just a bit too heavy for typical British commutes. I can’t deny that much of the same criticism can be levelled at Bertie, but there is significant area of mitigation: style. For all his practical qualities, Bertie is something to marvel at in his own right. As with many of our friends, he may not be entirely perfect, but I can’t help thinking cycling life is a little richer for him being here. 

Big thanks to Matt Lamy, chief writer and bike-tester extraordinaire for the review.