Tuesday, September 4, 2007

2007 K2 Easy Street/Shorewood Review

MSRP: $379
PRICE PAID: $329
First, I was drawn to this bike by the handlebars. The manufacturer, K2, describes them as “swept back.” The handlebars are small and not that wide apart, which I like. With some “cruiser” bikes the handlebars look like you are grappling with the horns of a Texas longhorn steer.

Since I’ve gotten back into bicycling, I’ve really been drawn to the pictures of bicyclists, commuters mostly, from other countries. A lot of them show upright stances when riding their bikes. See this photo diary: http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles. They look so comfortable riding and doing other things like talking on cell phones, eating, riding one-handed, etc.

This will probably not be a commuter bike for me, but rather the weekend bike for tooling around the neighborhood. I've also thought about putting a kid carrier back there to take my 4 year old places.

Why not try finding a European type bike here in the U.S. at an affordable price? One that caught my eye was the K2 Easy Street/Shorewood.

Of course, I wanted to try out one of these for myself. And, I was not content to take it for a short test ride at a LBS. I wanted a long-term test. So I ended up buying one. Boy, what a different experience! If you can imagine pedaling and holding your elbows close in to your ribcage, this is what riding this bike feels like. You are fully upright and taking everything in as you pedal. In all of my bikes, I’ve kind of stood over the handlebars. Not with this bike. You try to arch forward and extend your elbows outward and the bike almost wills you back down. It’s almost a regal, royal-type feeling when riding it. Grey Poupon, anyone? The design of the bike and the handlebars tells you, “Relax…enjoy the ride.” I’d like to eventually do a test between this bike and my D’back to see which one makes you feel less tired after an equal distance ridden. Maybe even a test of which one makes you sweat more.

Second, the seatpost tube is at an angle away from the handlebars (see above pix). Sort of like the leaning Tower of Pisa. This gives you the advantage of giving your legs the full extension forward when pedalling and dropping them when you come to a full stop without having to leave your saddle. I’ve heard that some Electra Townie bikes feature this, but have not really seen one of them.

While the bike does have a front suspension, I don’t think it really needed it. The reason is because your weight is mostly distributed in the saddle. Your hands don’t really push that much on the front handlebar save for steering purposes. The seatpost is a suspension one so you will be comfortable in absorbing road bumps there. Also, the included saddle has back springs for further comfort.

This bike has plenty of gears in case you need to climb some hills. The brakes are spot-on and the shifting is tight. Another positive is the handlebars. The handlebars have two bars on top of each other. Thus, you have plenty of room to add lights, speedometer, pouch bag, extra reflectors, GPS(!), and anything else you can fit on there.

One thing that is surprising about this bike is the weight. I haven’t weighed it, but if feels like it’s under 30lbs. It could even be a smidgen over 25lbs. It must be the aluminum frame. The size of this bike is Medium.

This will be the 3rd bike in my stable. You’ll have to excuse me, my loyal subjects, I will now retire for a refreshing bicycle ride. Adieu!

SPECS:
FRAME Comfort Curve, 6061 aluminum, with replaceable derailleur hanger
FORK Comfort suspension, with aluminum crown
FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano C050
REAR DERAILLEUR SRAM 3.0
SHIFTERS SRAM 3.0 twist shifters, indexed front and rear
FREEWHEEL/CASSETTE Seven speed freewheel, 13-34T
CRANKSET SR Suntour XR-170 with chainguard, 24/34/42T
BOTTOM BRACKET Semi-cartridge with bolted spindle
CHAIN KMC Z-51
WHEELSET Alex alloy rims, alloy double-sealed quick-release hubs and 36 spokes per wheel
TIRES Kenda Komfort, 26x2.125"
BRAKES Alloy linear pull
BRAKE LEVERS Alloy comfort levers
HEADSET 1 1/8" threaded
STEM Alloy high-rise
HANDLEBAR Dreamliner Design, with custom bend, rise and sweep
GRIPS Dual-density comfort design
SEATCLAMP Quick-release, aluminum
SEATPOST Suspension, aluminum 300mm long
SADDLE K2 Easy Comfort with coil springs and multi-material cover
PEDALS Comfort platform, with shock-absorbing, non-slip TPE insert
EXTRAS Kickstand, CPSC reflectors and K2 owner's manual
SIZES SM (14-15"), fits 5'3" to 5'6", MD (16-17"), fits 5'6" to 5'10", LG (18-19"), fits 5'10" to 6'1" & XL (20-21"), fits 6'1" to 6'4"

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

I picked this bike for $299 + tax from REI. I'm an avid cyclist (mountain biker) who normally rides a high-end bike (Specialized Epic.) I've been riding for over 5 years. However, this time, I needed an inexpensive bike mainly to run errands, go the gym and occasionally commute to work. I had been on a quest to about 7 different bike shops looking for 08 specials on a comfort or maybe even a cruiser bike. Most bike shops are already carrying their 09 models, especially on their comfort lines. So, closeout specials on comforts are now hard to come by. New bikes at this low price point are normally cruisers that are quite heavy, ride like a tank (not very maneuverable), include very basic components such as single speed with coaster brakes, which I personally don't like. Also, comfort bikes at this price point lack creativity on their design. They simply look "Blah!". I was seeking something a little more sophisticated. I decided to make a stop at REI after checking out this website. I normally don't go there when it comes to shopping for bicycles because they tend not to carry bikes for less than $400. There's also a notion of that store being "expensive." Other bike shops also give you nice discounts on accesories once you buy a bike. On the other hand, you get dividends with every purchase with REI if you're a member. Nevertheless, I was happy to find they had an 08 K2 Easy Street on their stock. The large-size model I needed (for 5'10" to 6'1" height) was the only one in the shop. I was told REI is no longer going to be carrying the K2 bicycle brand, so they're simply getting rid of their current inventory. After checking out the frame, the components and admiring the looks, I gave my thumbs up for the next step... I decided to take it for a 15-min. spin around the parking lot. I totally fell in love with this bike! The frame has a very relaxed geometry (in between a cruiser and a comfort/hybrid bike.) However, you still seat quite high which allows for greater visibility, but both feet can easily reach the ground at stops. The Shimano/Sram gear components shift like a dream! The V-brakes respond very quickly. The saddle is very comfortable even for long rides. If you're considering using this bike for long commutes, perhaps the only change I'd make is getting skinnier tires for a little faster rolling. Don't get me wrong... this bike still rolls nicely with the stock 26x2.125" Kenda Comfort tires. This bike is not meant for high speeds anyway. For commuting, You may also want to consider getting a rack with panniers. On my test ride, I was completely blown away by the plush ride of this bike. The suspension fork and the parallelogram suspension seatpost work beautifully together. If you or your loved one suffers from back problems, you owe it to yourself to try this bike. Although I haven't tried it yet, the bike should do well on well-maintained dirt roads or riding along canals. I'm surprised this bike model hasn't become more popular. Perhaps K2 needs to do more marketing on their comfort line which supposedly is what people are going for given gas prices or for simply going "greener." To me, this bike easily outperforms popular and more expensive models from other brands (e.g. Electra.) It's indeed a best-kept secret. So, if you're considering an around-town or commuter bike, this is a great deal. You'll definitely get a lot of bang for the buck.

Anonymous said...

I've had this bike for almost 2 years and it's my favorite. I got it on closeout from Sports Authority for $200 or so. They can be found on Ebay for a deep discount as well.

My K2 Shorewood is stock with the exception of a new seat post and Brooks B-67 saddle. The comfort of the bike is excellent. I like riding this so much, my road and MTB didn't get used much anymore so I sold them. The anodized frame and forks are nicely finished and the weight of the bike isn't too bad either. I'm a recreational rider.

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