I recently bought a new bike: a Breezer Villager. I had enjoyed riding around Brooklyn on my previous touring bike, but it wasn’t a good fit. The frame was too big (23″), it threw me into a hunched-up riding position, and the tires were so skinny that I always worried about bending the rims on the rough streets I biked along.
It was not a good fit, and consequently, I always found excuses to avoid commuting in to work from Brooklyn.
My Breezer Villager, however, is a dream. It’s built to commute right out of the box, with fenders, a dynamo-powered light set, a cushy suspension-pole seat, wide bump-absorbent tires with reflective sidewalls, and an internally geared seven-speed hub—which means there’s no front derailleur and that you can therefore fit a chainguard over the front chainring (so I don’t even need one of those pantleg straps).
I’ve been riding to and from the office for a couple weeks now and love it. The Breezer is not the fastest bike (I routinely get passed by all sorts of cyclists—even a chubby teen with the worst riding form I have ever seen*), but after only about 100 miles’ worth of riding, I’ve achieved time parity (more or less) with my typical subway commute—plus, I don’t have to deal with people.
In all the web research I did before buying this bike, owners raved about it. The only negatives I saw were that it was a bit slow and that it had steel rims and therefore was difficult to stop in the rain. To that I say, slow and steady wins the race—and I’ve not had any problems stopping in wet weather.
My only complaint is the name. When I was a kid, my mom’s euphemism for flatulence is “breezer.” So if I think too hard about it, I’m basically riding a fart.
Other than that, it’s a perfect commuter if that’s what you’re looking for. If you’re in New York City, there are a couple of dealers I know of—A Bicycle Shop on 22nd (near Seventh Avenue), and Continuum Cycles on Avenue B (12/13th streets).
* Seriously. It was painful to be behind him, watching him wiggle in the seat and expend all that extra energy rocking side to side.