“Take it for a test drive!” “Sure”, I said, “what’s the harm?”
Within a few seconds my name was being signed on a piece of paper. The bike was now my responsibility. 30 seconds later I was officially in love.
I had somehow suddenly found my posterior sat comfortably on a Schindelhauer Siegfried in Schist Black. Flash forward 24 hours and I’m on the train on the way to do research for a ride for the new London Cyclist app.
The woman across the way has spotted me glancing back at the bike every few seconds.
“You remind me of my son. He’s always arm in arm with his bike. Even keeps it in his room!”
“Hah! What a weirdo!” I nervously joke with her. The bike was in fact sat in my room the previous night.
On the train back home someone else is eyeing the bike. I know what’s coming.
“Nice bike mate.”
I’m wondering what will be commented on first. Maybe the maintenance reducing belt drive chain? The gorgeous polished finish? The brooks saddle? The fact it is a single speed? The beautifully crafted design?
My first guess was right. It’s the belt drive chain that has caught the attention of the bike’s newest admirer.
“What’s that chain – I’ve never seen one before?”
“Oh, it’s a belt drive. It doesn’t need oiling and is slowly becoming more common on bicycles as it lasts twice as long as normal chains.”
The guy looked impressed and I knew the next question is shortly to follow. Fortunately, if there’s one thing I like doing it’s talking to fellow cyclists.
“Is that a racer then?”
“Yep. It actually has only a single speed.”
“Can you still go fast up hills?”
“It looks really good”
“Yep, it’s incredibly light as well. Really fast around the corners”
I’ve learnt that this is to become part of a routine when on trains. I’m not sure which part of the bike the compliment magnet has been fitted to but it certainly seems to be working.
So let’s break things down a little. Gates Carbon Drive belt which is low maintenance and oil free. The frame is a aluminium, with triple butted aero tubing, horizontal drop outs with a belt drive tensioning system. It’s light but at the same time strong. Brooks leather saddle. Aluminium fork. Brooks leather bar tape in antic brown which feels excellent to the touch and looks great. Weight of just 8.9kg.
What does this translate into when you are out riding?
Highly agile. Responsive. Corners beautifully. Elegant. Speed when you need it. It feels like it will follow you around every corner and never complain. In short – the sort of bike that will inspire you to pop out for a ride around town.
The Schindelhauer Siegfried is what the joy of cycling is all about and more.
Yes. As standard it doesn’t come with pedal straps. Minor. No screws for bottle cage. Minor. Plus you probably wouldn’t want to ruin the design. The 2010 version doesn’t have a flip flop hub – a bit of a shame as it’s a joy to occasionally switch to fixed. A loud clicking sound when you are not pedalling. Although, I found a few days in I got used to this.
But there is one huge problem with this bike and it doesn’t take too long to discover it. In fact, I knew it before I even hopped on the saddle.
It was illustrated perfectly by one of my many conversations on the train. As I was stepping out of the train station one bloke shouted over “Nice bike!” “Cheers!” I replied as usual. “Would you mind if I stole it?” I laughed not knowing how serious he was. “How much is it worth?” I dodged the question and shouted “I don’t know. I’m just borrowing it”.
The answer I was avoiding is £1295.
That’s a bit of a kicker. But, not extreme for what you are getting here. In fact, the problem lies in the everyday use of the Schindelhauer Siegfried. Would I leave it at Euston station? Locked up in Angel? Outside Tesco?
It doesn’t take a genius bike thief to work out this bike is worth a fair bit of money. So here-in lies the problem. Here is a bike that you’ll want to ride everyday but you’ll probably be too worried to leave it anywhere. It just looks too damn good for everyday London.
You can meet the Schindelhauer Siegfried along with the rest of the Schindelhauer gang on the Bike Republic website. Huge thank you for the guys there for letting me borrow it – only problem is it’s now too difficult to return to my normal bike!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.