Torker InterUrban First Impressions
When most bike companies develop their line of commuter bikes, they assume that most people want a singlespeed or an upright bike with an internally geared hub. And while that may not be entirely untrue, there’s a significant portion of the community that appreciate a traditional road bike. I’m talking about an affordable, steel-framed bike with drop bars and gears.
Enter the Torker InterUrban. At just $569 retail, the InterUrban is one of the most affordable road bikes on the market. And unlike a bike purchased from an online retailer, a Torker bought from a brick and mortar bike shop comes with an added level of service and security.
First and foremost, the InterUrban has a 4130 double-butted chromoly steel frame. This is essentially the same frame as my Redline 925, with the addition of vertical drop outs and cable guides. I’ve beaten the 925 like a rented mule, and it’s absolutely no worse for wear. As you would expect, the InterUrban’s got fender and rack mounts, and appears able to hold up to 35mm tires. The InterUrban does have a high tensile steel fork, which is strong, but a little bit heavier than a chromoly fork.
Appearance wise, the frame is attractive yet subdued. The graphics are simple and tasteful and the one-color metallic blue paint job is rather elegant. The welds are reasonably clean and the straight blade fork makes the bike look sleek and contemporary.
I have to admit, I’ve never had a geared bike with truly entry-level components like the Shimano 2300 and Sora shifters and derailleurs, but I’m pleasantly impressed with how well they work. I’m sure they won’t last as long as Shimano’s more expensive components, but a 105 drivetrain would cost more than this entire bike. That said, the frame is certainly worthy of upgrading with better parts when the original equipment eventually wears out.
I’m also pleasantly surprised at the quality of the rest of the components—Tektro dual-pivot brakes, Alex rims, Kenda tires, FSA cranks and house brand stem, bar, seatpost, saddle and hubs. Everything on the bike is perfectly functional, and in the case of the saddle, especially nice for the price. I did find it interesting that the rims are drilled for Schrader valves, an obvious nod to the notion that the target market may be riders who don’t carry tools and a pump.
One thing that may throw some people for a loop is Torker’s geometry. Essentially, their bikes are long and low, meaning you’ll ride a much smaller frame than normal. For example, the 44cm frame I’m riding has a 527mm top tube, which is comparable to a 48 or 50. In fact, I ended up swapping the stock stem for a stubby 70mm. Personally, I like the geometry, especially the generous standover height.
Seriously, though, it’s really kind of unremarkable. But in a good way. The steering isn’t twitchy like a racing bike, and it’s not overly flexible like a lightweight steel bike. The 28mm tires smooth out rough pavement nicely, and the steel frame, cushy cork bar tape and perfectly padded saddle take care of the rest. The bike isn’t a featherweight, but it doesn’t feel heavy on the climbs, or carrying it up and down the stairs.
Visit www.torkerusa.com for more info.