How to fall in love with a bike in 30 seconds

Zoomed in view of the Schindelhauer in black and white

“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.

schindelhauer in my room

On the train back home someone else is eyeing the bike. I know what’s coming.

“Nice bike mate.”

“Cheers”

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?”

“Yep.”

“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.

schindelhauer on the street

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.

Any nuances?

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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24 Responses to How to fall in love with a bike in 30 seconds

  1. Alex 02/06/2011 at 11:39 pm #

    A true hipster bike, with a fredtastic price. Intrigued by the belt drive though. But seriously £1300?

    • Andreas 03/06/2011 at 7:37 am #

      A brutal hit to the wallet if ever there was one!

  2. taiwoon 02/06/2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Andreas, he is a beauty! I also “suffer” from this “illness”… Mine was abit different… I tried my friend Alex moulton and he said “go on…try it..see u like or not?” And I did a short spin around, was hooked…Chatted the whole way during the ride and later just visited the bikeshop to “check it out”…. Minutes later… I got my self another bike. Wallet lighten but visibly happy. Oh…. well… like they say bikes are like potato chips…u can/t have too many of it…haha… here is my new buddy… which sadly my friend passed on the day I wrote the blog entry…

    http://smallwheelsbigsmile.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-very-own-moulton-tsr.html

  3. Eddie 03/06/2011 at 10:25 am #

    Very nice looking machine, love it. I’m about to get a new bike on cycle to work scheme and I’m having the same dilemma – mine (if I get the one I want) will be £1300 too (geared bike though). I will probably be wary of leaving it locked up in public – though thankfully there’s a secure place to leave at work and obviously indoors at home.

    Then I thought, who cares – it’ll be insured. IF someone does knick it, I’ll just get a new one. I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s foolish not to insure your bike in London. Obviously still wouldn’t be fun having some scally run off with it, but ultimately if you pick the right insurer etc. you should have a new bike before too long if the worst does happen.

    • Andreas 03/06/2011 at 10:42 am #

      True Eddie – just make sure you are on top of their various insurance rules where they often try to Wiggle out of things. But as long as you use designated cycle racks I don’t think there’s much they can say. I’ll be looking at a couple of new security products soon that may be of interest.

      • Mark 03/06/2011 at 1:09 pm #

        its not about having the right insurance, it is about having th right locks.
        if you are tight with your money and skimp on locks then you should expect to have it nicked!

        bike theft shouldnt be a problem in london if you buy two good locks, for example a kryptonite d lock and an abus steel-o-flex should do the trick. the two together come in at around £100…. a small price to pay to secure your bike that probably saves you something like £100 a month on tube/train travel.

        you should spend 10% of your bikes value on locks.

        • Andreas 03/06/2011 at 1:29 pm #

          Well said!

      • Eddie 04/06/2011 at 2:09 pm #

        Andreas – yep I know I was amazed how many rules they put in place! I think I’ve got it covered, I’m with ETA and they seem pretty good (a non for profit insurance company, would you believe!!). It basically just has to be locked to an immovable object for no more than 12 hours with a silver rated lock.

        I also agree with Mark – I think both is necessary – good quality lock (preferably two of different types) and insurance. Then you’re covered!

  4. Tim 03/06/2011 at 10:54 am #

    Looks nice, but can you fit hub gearing on it? Single speed’s all fine until the average cyclist among us has a proper hill to ride up – Richmond Hill, anyone? Muswell Hill? Up to Highgate?

  5. Jon F 03/06/2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Sadly the bike theft problem does deter me and lots of others from having realy nice bikes that we are proud of. In, um 1993, I had a Raleigh Dyna-Tech Diablo (titanium tubes) to replace my Kona Cinder Cone whaich had been stolen – which itself replaced a Specialized Rockhopper Sport ……which had been stolen.

    I still have the Dyna-Tech but it gets ridden maybe once a year. A real shame, but I’m not going to leave it at the station.

    Mind you I AM proud of my daily ride, not because it’s the fanciest thing you ever saw, but because I rescued it from a skip, got it going and can fix anything on it. It has mudguards and a rack on the back. A so-called friend commented the other day that the lock looked as though it was worth more than the bike. What does he know? It’s not what it looks like that matters it is what it does for you. My bike is transport, saves me money and time, and gives me freedom. The Schindelhauer won’t do that, not that it’s the fault of the bike or the manufacturer. Yes, it looks very cool, but not practical in London.

    • Andreas 03/06/2011 at 1:31 pm #

      Good on you for rescuing it! Give a bike a new home. I’m the same. I ride a beat up old bike and don’t think anyone has even thought about stealing it in years! I wonder if that’s the reason why it’s always there after I leave it somewhere.

  6. Corin 03/06/2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Very nice looking bike, but you’re not going to want to ride it every day because it doesn’t have mudguards so your feet will get very wet when it’s raining!

    • Andreas 03/06/2011 at 1:32 pm #

      Yep, and it doesn’t have the necessary holes for mudguards either (unless it’s of course a clip on mudguard)

  7. Mark 03/06/2011 at 1:06 pm #

    no way is it worth £1300….
    it has no gears, so that means u dont even have to pay for half the parts you would normally get on a bike, so why the high price? is it because of the brand / name? im not having a go at you, im just realy curious about these bikes.

    I want to know why people ride single speed bikes? surely if u want single speed just use a normal bike and dont change gear? you have mudguards and breaks on yours too, so u cant say it is because u want a bike that is stipped down to th basics, a bike that is “pure”..right?

    going downhill you go to slow, going uphill, you go too slow….. i guess single speed is good for pulling away at lights (in london this happenes a lot, lol)………….. and i know that if it is direct drive then you can pedal backwards/use the back wheel to slow you down…. but is it really that much of an advantage, or is it just a style thing?

    anyway, like i said, not having a go, just dont get it, lol

  8. Mark 03/06/2011 at 1:10 pm #

    * sorry i noticed it does not have mudguards, anyway, you do have breaks

  9. Andreas 03/06/2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Hey Mark – fair enough. I guess everyone has their specific bike preference. My views on the single speed thing are ride whatever makes you happy. What I enjoy about them myself is a simplicity in the design and maintenance. Never thinking about changing gears. I guess you drop a little weight by doing away with a couple of components.

  10. Howard 03/06/2011 at 2:48 pm #

    @Andreas – you sure it has an Alu fork? That must be harsh, if so. And 8.9kg seems a bit overweight for a gates SS with an Alu frame. Guessing the wheels are pretty bomb proof 32 hole deep-v affairs? I’ve also heard rumors you can run Gates fixed, but is it something they actually recommend?

    @Mark

    Main benefits of single speed & fixed are simplicity and durability. A single speed drive train will last a lot longer than a geared one – by thousands of miles. This is because you don’t have to compromise on the durability of the drive train to keep the size and weight down. Compare a single speed chain to a nine or ten speed chain – the difference is size and strength of the links is pronounced. Ironically if you do what you suggest – ride a geared bike in one gear for a long period of time – you’ll actually destroy the drivetrain fairly quickly by wearing out a single combination prematurely.

    Note – there’s a big difference between single speed and fixed – single speed is generally a bike with a single sprocket and a freewheel meaning you can coast. fixed means there is no freewheel and the drive is direct, so yeah, you can pedal backwards and the bike goes backwards.

    • Andreas 06/06/2011 at 6:27 pm #

      Yep, double checked the specs and it is Aluminium fork. Ride didn’t feel especially bumpy – but I’m used to riding without any suspension/aero forks.

  11. Mark 03/06/2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Howard, hi how are you?
    until now i just didnt get it how they could be more durable.. lol, i get it now, so thanks for explaining, but it stil aint for me ;-)

  12. Jon F 03/06/2011 at 4:59 pm #

    I can understand keeping a bike in your bedroom and it may even be fairly common, but having a Sheffield rack (see photo) is extreme.

  13. Louise 03/06/2011 at 5:10 pm #

    hahaha thats how I got caught with my soon to be new bike (waiting on my cyclescheme voucher slightly impatiently to be honest) – I am getting the Orbea Aqua Dama TTG. I had tried a number of bikes out but this one …… I came back grinning from ear to ear :)

  14. Davo 07/06/2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Of course the article should have been titled “how to maxed out your credit card in 30 seconds”. Or “how long will this be in the tesco car park before its nicked…30 seconds”.

    lovely bike though

  15. Tugendhat 01/07/2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Today I got my Schindelhauer Siegfried. Four weeks ago I buyed the “Viktor”, but gave it back, because of the 56-frame, which was to small for me (1,78 m). Furthermore the handlebar was to deep and the saddle to high – I had to take a very extreme position on the bike. Now I have my Siegfried, which is almost perfect. Maybe I will the change the handlebar: to get a more erected position I could install a higher one …
    Otherwise it’s a fine bike, only a little loud when you’re not pedalling. Pedal straps would be fine.

  16. JonC 23/06/2013 at 12:02 am #

    Re. alu forks = harsh ride…

    This is one of the things people think is true because other people on the Interent say it – but it is absolute nonsense! There is no such thing as a harsh frame material – flex and vibration absorbtion depend on tubing profile and wall thickness:

    http://www.63xc.com/scotn/metal.htm‎

    ..And geometry has a bigger effect again – and tyres a still a larger one.

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