With my interest in European styled everyday bikes, it was only natural that I would give this bike a try. I headed over to Velo Cult in San Diego, where they keep a selection of bikes from Public in stock. I have mentioned Velo Cult before, as they are a top-notch bike shop with their own European flair. In fact, they were just named as one of the nation’s top 100 bike shops by Bicycling Magazine. Visit the shop or their website for a look. I especially like the bike museum on their site.
The Public bike I rode is the D3. The letter stands for the frame style and the number is the amount of gears it has. Public bikes come in four different frames, five different colors, three different sizes, and four different gear choices. Those gear choices are single speed, 3-speed hub, 8-speed hub, and a 7-speed derailleur system. So the bike I tested is the diamond frame 3-speed rear hub model. In blue, by the way.
This very light-weight bike has a steel frame. It gives a good ride that steel framed bikes are known for. Public offers a life-time warrantee on their frames. Fitted to this are many nice looking and working pieces. The handle bars have a great feel that offer a riding position that I like. The seat is firm and comfy, but not too over-cushed. The pedals are located is such a way as to make your riding smooth and comfortable. On top of the looks, these are the reasons you would want this type of bike.
There is no suspension or fancy high-tech do-dads. Just good solid normal bicycle stuff. You climb on, ride where you are going, and climb off. Then again, its not all about getting from point A to B. Whether your on a daily commute or wandering the back roads with a smile, this bike will take care of you. It is not a specialty bike, but maybe it is. It specializes in comfort, style and quality. That’s what I look for in a bike, how about you?
The finish is sweet and classy. With shine where it needs it and lines that speak to you, even if others don’t notice, you will. Owning a bike is not all about looks, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have one that stands out like the Public D3. It is kind of like riding a time machine, a theme that I have documented many times before. That is just one of the thrills of having a bike inspired by the European bikes that have come before this one.
Strong dual-pivot brakes are bolted on front and rear. The brake handles feel secure and transfer your stopping needs well. The twist shifter is butted up next to rubber hand grips. All this is mounted to a aluminum bar and stem with a shiny polish. The bars sit high and feel good. I would rotate them down just a little for a better feel and that English bike look.
It rides on 700c tires and rims. They are sized well for most riding you would do on a bike like this. The tires have a wide reflective stripe that is very popular nowadays. Sharp looking fenders cover them nicely. Speced is a chain guard to keep grease from spoiling your day. A sturdy kickstand is on hand to hold your bike up when needed. No rack or lights are included, but Public has some nice items in their catalog to fill those needs. And I love to see those all-metal pedals.
This 3-speed bike shifted so easily. For most conditions, 3 is all you need. If you up the ante a little, you can get the 8-speed model. That is much better is your riding will take you in hillier areas. I think I would order the 8-speed either way. It costs just a small amount more and gives you a much wider range of gears to choose from. If you want to save some money, get the 7-speed derailleur model. I recommend the 8-speed rear hub just because I like them so much.
Public is based in San Francisco. The hard work they have put in to design and market their bikes is obvious as you climb aboard for a ride. They are bike riders and live with the climate changes and steep inclines you will find there. That can be a harsh place for bikes and riders, so you know they have done their homework to put together such a great product.
Public bike are offered by over a dozen bike shops. If there is not one near you, they will ship direct to you or your favorite shop. Their website says the bikes are shipped ready-to-ride. It also says they will throw in a free front rack and basket with your order. I don’t know if this is a limited time offer or not. Search the site, read the specs, call with questions, and take to the road on your Public as soon as the delivery person makes their appearance at your house.
One thing I noticed about the Public D3 is how much it rides like my 60’s Schwinn college bike. Seating position, steering geometry and the general feel are much alike. Besides the weight difference, with my eyes closed, I might not be able to tell which one is which. And yes, I have been know to ride with my eyes closed. I’ve been known to do some other wild things on bikes too, but we’ll save that for another article, maybe.
If there is one thing about this bike I didn’t like, it would be the lack of time I had to enjoy it. Although not always, I am usually limited to an hour or two to try out bikes that aren’t mine. I could see owning this bike, but as you might know, I have more than I need already. Plus I like bikes that are old, not just replicate them. For most people, a brand-new quality bike would be a better way to go. And this could be just that bike.
So embrace the past, saddle up and ride, Turbo Bob.
“Fancy a lady riding a thing like that. With a leg on each side, disturbing the traffic.”—John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga.
Note—-Velo Cult has recently moved to Portland, OR