The Chainlink

Does anyone know of any Chicago bike shops that carry the Plato by Republic Bikes or The Dutchi by Linus Bikes? Or, does anyone own either of these bikes?

 

I'm 5 foot nothing with a maybe a 27" inseam, and I tend to only feel comfortable on bikes with really small frames or really small wheels or both. I know I'm not that freakishly short and there's plenty of girls here shorter than me, but I ride better when my center of gravity is closer to the ground.

 

Six foot tall dudes in bike shops size me up, say, "Oh, you should be fine on this bike! My 60 year old grandmother rides one just like it!" and I get on it and it's really difficult to get on, get off, or stop/start safely, no matter how well the bike should fit.

 

Not to mention I'm pretty much squeaking by on the measurements. I don't feel comfortable dropping dime on either of these bikes until I test them out and see whether they're smooth sailing, or like getting punched between the legs at every stop sign.

 

Tati Cycles and Blue City both are listed as dealers on Linus' website, but Tati doesn't even list the brand on their site and Blue City only lists the Roadster and Mixte. Neither shop answers their phone.

 

If anyone owns one of these bikes, I will buy you a beer/coffee/kombucha/etc if we could meet up at some point.

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Those are gonna be hard to find. You should look at electra or globe bikes. electra has very close styles and a low center of gravity because of the pedal forward design. If your board as I am come over to kozy's on milwaukee and I'll show you some. we got a bunch of cruisers and smaller bikes plus we have an big in door test track.
I a going to make a push for Electra over Republic too. I have never rode one myself but I haven't heard very good things. I mean, the price isn't bad but... There should be a number of area dealers that stock Electra's too. Here is the website for the Amsterdam by Electra: http://www.electrabike.com/home.php .

I haven't heard of Linus before so I can't help with that one. You can always do the trusty, although subjective, Google search for "______[bike name] reviews". I would be lying if I told you I have never done this to general success.

Good luck with all this!
Not sure what is more important, style or price point. For style, the bikes recommended by others win out. However, if price is more important, maybe you should check out the KHS Green. It comes in a 36 and a 43 cm. (14" and 17"). It comes in mens and womens (step-thru) versions, and it is a 3 speed. I've seen them before at Uptown bikes
These could help you finding your size but most likely you're looking for a 46/45 cm size bike.

Bicycle Frame Size Charts
Bicycle Size Proportions Analysis
Lorena,

Understand that Linus is a niche brand with extremely limited availability. After they were featured in the New York Times (and many young women's fashion blogs) these bikes were essentially sold out for months. Even now, if you would like a particular color/model/size you may have to wait until mid-summer.

As soon as we picked up the brand, the volume of phone and email inquiries we received at the shop was pretty shocking. Unfortunately, most of these customers were calling from out of state searching for these bikes and we don't ship bikes... Because of this very difficult stock situation, we don't list Linus on the website, but we do have the Mixte, Dutchi, and Roadster in stock for test rides.

The Dutchi does not compare readily with most domestic step-through bikes. It's very much a miniature version of a conventional Dutch city bike: extremely upright riding position, etc. At your size, you won't have a problem with the saddle height -- but the geometry may or may not be what you're seeking. We picked them up mainly because even the smallest Batavus and Gazelles do not fit riders under 5'3".

All that said, I would suggest without reservation purchasing a Linus at Blue City Cycles. It's an awesome (and far more conventional) shop run by people who know and love city bikes.

Also, I think you must have just called Blue City at a weird time because they're generally very good at answering the phone. My shop also has a phone -- but extremely limited retail hours.
J, that was an extremely helpful answer! I'm happy it's in stock for test rides, and if I was able to see it in person and figure out whether or not it fit, I'd be a happy banana. Thank you!
looking them both over..
I would go with the republic. it will fit you fine.
dropping the seat all the way and the stem also you will have miles of fun on that bike...
I only say this because i just built a bike for a five footer with a 28.5" inseam.
and we look at a lot of bikes before going with a 44cm mercier.
Owen over at Blue City is great to deal with. If you tried calling yesterday, they were closed. Try again today or tomorrow and you should get an answer. Goodluck.
Having seen and ridden both of these bikes (as well as the competitors from Electra, Batavus, and several other makes) you should know that they are quite different. Wig is probably technically correct that the Republic will (almost) fit -- but it is a bigger bike than the Linus, and even Republic's website suggests riders over 5'2".

Basically, the Republic is more akin to Electra's Dutch-inspired, but American cruiser-derived, Amsterdam line -- than an actual Dutch bike. It's built around 26" wheels with fat, low pressure balloon tires, and a very slack seat tube angle. Its handling is therefore a lot like an old fashioned Schwinn cruiser with narrower, higher handlebars. It's slow and steady and quite heavy, and rides heavier than it actually is. Some people want this sluggishness, for its stability under a load. The bikes basically feel the same with or without panniers and baskets.

The Linus is a miniature Dutch bike. Basically, squish the wheelbase and shorten the seat tube of your typical Gazelle or Batavus, and you have a Linus Dutchi. They are much more nimble, and ride on 700x32c tires -- so there is a lot less rotational weight and the bike accelerates much easier. In my opinion, the lines are much better on the Linus too -- look at the way the fenders are full length and match the curve of the wheels, unlike the Republic. In person, you can also see that the finish and polish of the silver components is a bit nicer too.

The other kind of significant issue with these bikes is that one is sold through shops, and the other you build yourself. Without being dogmatic about buying from shops, I can say that these are both inexpensive bikes. And as anyone who builds a lot of bikes can tell you, inexpensive ones are actually more difficult to build than nicer bikes. This is because things can bend and shift in shipping, the tolerances of things like seatposts and stems are not always perfect, and the wheels will almost always need retensioning before use. So I guess on paper, you get a little more with the Republic (hand brake, racks, double legged kickstand)... but in reality, the Linus is a bit simpler, more elegant, and (if it fits your body and style) certainly higher quality for around the same price.
Again, J, that was an admirably edifying answer. I have plans to test-ride and possible purchase (?) a Linus Dutchi sometime this week, and if it fits me and I feel comfortable and sassy test riding it I think it'll be a good fit. If it doesn't fit, I might cry a little bit and then work on importing a kid's size Batavus.
Good luck (at Blue City, I assume!)...

If you go the route of the Batavus Young Dutch, you may not have to do direct import. Fourth Floor distribution brought some of these in last year, and may have some left. And in the worst case, they bring in at least one container of bikes in each month. So any Fourth Floor dealer in Chicago can easily hook you up with one (though since they're special order, you may have to pre-commit before test riding).

Remember that there is a 24" and 26" version of the Young Dutch and if the Linus Dutchi doesn't fit -- you will likely need to skip the 26" and go directly to the 24".

Lorena Cupcake said:
Again, J, that was an admirably edifying answer. I have plans to test-ride and possible purchase (?) a Linus Dutchi sometime this week, and if it fits me and I feel comfortable and sassy test riding it I think it'll be a good fit. If it doesn't fit, I might cry a little bit and then work on importing a kid's size Batavus.
Just a quick update for those interested in Linus. I just spoke with Owen at Blue City Cycles and he confirms that (a) yes, they have two demo bikes and (b) it looks like at the moment, the east coast warehouse has several models in stock. They are totally crushed like every other bike shop this week, though -- so it's probably best to just roll over and have a chat in person.

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