Meet the new bike

We are classy, classy people.

We are classy, classy people.

When Matt’s bike was stolen, my first thought (after, “Thank goodness we checked it was insured when the Bullitt came!”) was “What are we going to replace it with?”

Matt’s first thought was, “Where is that box of wine we just bought? I need to drink it all now.”

In the realm of people who have had bikes stolen, we were incredibly fortunate. Our renters insurance was up-to-date, and our agent had just assured us a few weeks prior that the bikes were covered. In addition, we have always carried replacement-value insurance. When Matt talked to the police, they told him that the frame had almost certainly been cut, making the bike itself not worth the effort of recovering (assuming such a thing was even possible). When he called our local bike shop, Everybody Bikes, they immediately put together a summary of the cost of the bike and value of the upgrades and sent it to our insurance company. (Thanks, Michael!) And in the meantime, given that we have a spare bike or two now, Matt had something to ride.

So the sequence of events went like this.

  • Friday afternoon: bike stolen.
  • Friday evening: Matt got a police report, filed an insurance claim, and commenced drinking.
  • Saturday: our bike shop sent a valuation of the bike to State Farm.
  • Monday:  State Farm called us saying that our claim was approved and they were sending us a check.
  • The following Friday: we got the check for the value of the bike less our deductible in the mail.

Thank you, State Farm! And I am grateful to our agent, Ken Bullock, as well. You never really know whether the insurance is going to be there until you need it, and I’m really glad it was.

Over the weekend, once Matt sobered up a little, we talked about a replacement bike. The first question was whether he wanted a midtail or a longtail as a replacement. Matt is still very fond of the Big Dummy, and considered it or the Edgerunner as options. But we both thought that another midtail bike would have the most longevity for our needs. Matt expects he will ride that size of bike on his commute for years to come. It can pick up groceries as well as an extra person but doesn’t really look like a cargo bike, it’s lightweight compared to a real cargo bike, and it’s transit-friendly. I’d like one too someday, for the same reasons (although we are so done with new bikes this year).

Which midtail was the question: there used to be one, but now there are three. Another MinUte or one of the others?

Matt loved the look and features of the Kinn Cascade Flyer and so did I, but it wasn’t going to solve the problem of getting him on a bike soon. The most obvious issue was there weren’t any in the Bay Area, and it’s not clear when or if they’ll be showing up here–the first production run of 30 bikes has sold (I asked), although a demo is supposed to appear in town eventually and more bikes will be produced in the spring. The second problem was that the bike appeared to be under-geared for San Francisco. I learned recently there is an option to get a Kinn with mountain-bike gearing, but we didn’t know that at the time.

Load up the Boda Boda.

Load up the Boda Boda.

We had just ridden the Yuba Boda Boda for a few weeks, and this bike is not without its charms. The main issue for Matt, which made him rule out this bike with little discussion, is that he really hates the cruiser aesthetic and the Boda Boda is designed to look like a cruiser. This is one of those reasons to reject a bike that seems silly on one level and totally reasonable on another. Our other concern was that the Boda Boda is also under-geared for San Francisco, and Matt didn’t want an electric assist bike. The Boda Boda is a great choice in San Francisco if you know you’re going for the assist, but if you’re not it would require regearing (and that would be a pain). And Matt is tall enough that he didn’t care about having a step-through frame.

The same bike, but different

The same bike, but different

We bought our first MinUte because it was the only available midtail at the time. Ultimately we bought another MinUte to replace it because it was still the best midtail for us over a year later. The MinUte is geared for San Francisco hills (the gearing is probably one of its best features).  Kona has significantly upgraded some of the things that bothered us about the old bike: for example, it has a new Yepp-compatible deck option and a dramatically better kickstand. And although we were initially worried about our ability to actually order a bike given that it was the end of the year, our bike shop actually had one last MinUte frame kicking around. We got a pity discount and they added the same upgrades we’d put on the first bike all at once. It was ready to ride in a couple of days.

There are still things I would change about the bike if I could. But I also realized that the Kona MinUte, despite being the bike we’ve both ridden the longest, is the only bike I’ve never really reviewed like the many other bikes we’ve test-ridden. So that’s coming up soon. In the meantime, even though the new MinUte looks a little different than our first bike, it’s still familiar. And it’s nice to have it back.

8 Comments

Filed under bike shops, commuting, family biking, Kona, San Francisco

8 responses to “Meet the new bike

  1. With all the test riding you did before buying your Bullitt, it sounds like you were able to make a quick decision to replace the MinUte with another MinUte. Congrats! Do you happen to know what kickstand it comes with now? Both my husband and I are in the market for new kickstands for our Soma bikes. The one that comes with the Kinn sounds good too, although it’s sort of ugly: http://www.albabici.com/ursus/kickstands/ursus-kickstand-80.htm

    If you’re running out of blog topics, feel free to do one comparing kickstands :-)

    Oh, small world: your bike shop guy Michael is my co-worker’s boyfriend.

    • It IS a small world! I feel like I know too much now.

      The kickstand on the MinUte is stock, so I assume it’s made by Kona. Unlike the Ursus it is one-piece and doesn’t fold in when it’s raised; I don’t know whether that would be an issue with your bikes. Here’s my opinionated precis on kickstands: best ever is the one on a Bakfiets; it blows everything else away. Second place is the Bullitt stand. Third place is the Rolling Jackass (longtails only). They’re equally stable but the Bullitt one is easier to engage. Fourth is probably the Xtracycle Kickback (longtails only, I think).

      I think the worst is a narrow centerstand like the one on the old MinUte because you think you can trust it when you really can’t. Almost as bad is the folding Pletcher centerstand, which eventually collapses underneath squirming kids. Only slightly better than those is the one-legged kickstand standard on almost all bikes with kickstands that goes off to one side (hopeless, but at least it’s obvious you can’t trust it). From everything I’ve heard the Ursus is about as good as it gets for aftermarket stands, but you might be able to buy a MinUte/Ute stand from a Kona shop; the one on the old bike, when we replaced it, was $30 as compared to the $100 Ursus, so there’s that. (Even the finicky Mundo centerstand costs more than twice as much at $75.) You can check ours out sometime if you’d like.

  2. Good hussle! (And a very informative adventure).

  3. Yay! Congratulations on the new bike.

  4. Lisa

    Hi, I want desperately to replace the kickstand on my 2012 MinUte and have emailed the Kona tech people but they haven’t been hugely helpful. I’ve got the additional issue of being in Australia; I can get most things here, but the information network’s not quite the same and of course everything is imported. Does the Bakfiets fit the MinUte and if so, is it a considerable improvement on the one that comes on the bike? You also mention a few others but I’m not clear if all fit the MinUte seeing as it’s not technically a longtail. The Mundo CenterStand sounds / looks amazing but the Kona tech guy thought it might not fit. I will ask my bike shop guy, but I was wondering if you had a hands-down favourite that you knew would definitely fit the MinUte. Many thanks. I enjoy your blog so much!

    • No question that the 2012 MinUte kickstand is the suck. The 2013 one is much better (and our bike shop put it on our replacement bike, even though it is a 2012 frame) and I would see if your local Kona shop could get that for you instead. (There’s also the Ursus but it’s twice as expensive and might be just as difficult to order.) And for the MinUte specifically the new Kona kickstand is about as safe an option as there is. There’s no question: it will fit.

      The box bike center stands cannot go on normal bikes–they are stable because they are mounted on the outside edges of the front box–so they wouldn’t be options. I’d be wary of the Mundo stand as well; Yuba parts don’t always play well with other bikes. But you might be able to mount the Xtracycle center stand on a MinUte if Kona doesn’t come through. Good luck!

      • Lisa

        Ah, thank you! Do you know where I could source one of these 2013 kickstands? The after-sales support has been poor, mostly because the local Kona distributor is hopeless (I’ve learned more on this forum and by emailing Kona Tech support directly!!). I really just want to find where I could buy one online, perhaps a US bike shop… I have just emailed Kona *again* so perhaps they will be able to guide me – but, if you know of any secret supply of them please let me know. I am so grateful for your information and help; feeling a bit lost down here! (Kona should pay you a consulting fee…)

        Cheers,
        Lisa

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