“ Manufacturer: Pashley / Type: City Bike „
Firstly, a Pashley is an extravagant purchase, there's no way to deny it given the hefity price tag. I should point out that this is a bike for Women (pashley do different bikes for men such as the Pashley Roadster Sovereign Buckingham mens classic bicycle)
~Looks over substance~
Even though my boyfriend and his brother make jokes about my bike (Along the lines of "Why you riding a Penny Farthing". I'm pretty sure that don't even really know what a Penny Farthing is), the Pashley Princess has to be one of the prettiest bikes there is. I had it in our underground bike store for a while when i couldn't ride it and i'd go down to check on it and find men actually dusting it for me to make it look prettier. Yes, i'm certainly never going to win the Tour de Francewhilst riding it but it actually has a lot more substance than one might expect. It's made from Steel (Which does make it heavier) with impecible craftsmanship
~Town Bike v's Moutain Bike~
As far as i can tell, from my limited understanding of bikes, town bikes are generally heavier, have wider wheels and less gears than moutain bikes as they are designed for city life rather than... well... going up and down moutains.
I blame berlin for my endevour to own one. Whilst in Berlin i did a city bike tour, the tour was fanastaic but it also got me in love with town bikes. Up to this point i'd always owned moutain bikes as they're more pratical. Town bikes, to me, are all about what cycling is meant to be. There's something about the glide of the wheels that make riding a bike less about exercise and getting from a to b. They make cycling fun again, like it was when you were young and you didn't care about how many sppeds you had or how fast you could go per mile. The Pashley makes road riding a pleasure.
Saying that i've also ridden the bike down narror little mud paths along the side of rivers and canals. Without the basket the bike copes really well and is a lot lighter. Steering the bike is also easier without the basket as it allows for far greater subtlty and percision. Whilst the basket stand is still fixed without the basket i've found that this doesn't really look bad or get in the way.
The bike comes with a sprung leather antique brown Brooks B66s saddle (RRP price £90) which is incredibly comfortable. It is also known for getting more comfortable with age. Due to the saddle being so good i can go over potholes with ease and is great for off roading. My saddle is far more comfortable whilst riding on dirt paths than it is on my boyfriends expensive moutain bike. The springs and the wide seat are designed for upright riding that the pashley is built for, the more upright your riding posture, the wider, and more heavily sprung, the saddle you should choose. On top of being an excellent seat it is also oh so pretty.
The pedals are non-slip alloy and unlike other bikes my feet never slip. I have ridden quite a few times whilst wearing heels and have never had a problem.
The bike also has an integrated skirt guardand mudguards which make riding in skirts so easy and comfortable. We're talking longer skirts here, i still wouldn't recommend cycling in a mini.
Apparantly the frame is "Traditionally lugged and brazed". I'm not really sure what this means but wikipedia informs me that it is a construction method of building bicycle frames using steel tubing and sockets (If that means anything to you?!?!). The frame is quite heavy (Total bike weighs 20kg) so it's certainly not a train commuter bike even with the basket off to reduce weight. I have no upper body strength to speak of and i can use about pick it up and move it when i need to. In commpensation for the weight though you get the beautiful design and craftsmanship. I've been stopped by quite a few people who want to tell me how good looking my bike is 9They never notice me!!). The attention to detail is second to non and there's also the personal satisifaction of knowing it is made in the UK.
The frame is available in three sizes (17.5", 20" or 22.5") and two colours (Buckingham Black or Regency Green).
~Tires, brakes and gears~
The tires are Schwalbe puncture resistant Marathon Plus with reflective sidewall. Again, i'm not a bike expert, all i know is so far i've never had a puncture and the tires are wide enough for road riding but not too wide of muddy paths.
It is fitted with Sturmey Archer hub brakes which are great, again they work really well and i've never had an issue.
I don't understand gears so i find it a positive that this bike only has 5 speeds. Probably not so good if you have to go up and down a lot of big heels but it is fine on smaller hills and can cope on grass. I probably have it in the wrong gear most of the time so it's hard for me to judge but it seems to manage even with my inadequcies quite well.
The bike is equiped with a hub driven dynamo headlamp and LED rear light. I've never had an issue with the front light, it works fine. It has an on and off switch but as you're cycling is powering it nothing drains if you forget to turn it off. I can't comment on the back light as i didn't realise until a while after purchasing the bike that i never got one (it was summer so an easy thing to miss). I just bought a standard LED light for mine from Halfords.
~Places to put stuff~
The bike comes with a front wicker basket (Which does increase the weight but is a major part of it's beauty) but the mounted carrier would allow to fit some canvas baskets on that are considerably lighter. I've never looked into this option so i can't say what would fit and what wouldn't. The basket fits a lot of stuff in but does take some getting used to in terms of steering. You can over or under compenstate at first but is ok once you get the hang of it.
The basket attaches to the bike frames with buckles which aren't the easiest in the world to undo. I generally only take the basket of if i'm going for a ride along dirt tracks and don't need it. I did worry that it may be easy to steal at one point so when i'm riding it into the town centre a lot i fix it on with some of those plastic tie things that you have to cut off to prevent opportunist thievery.
The bike also has a rear sprung luggage rack that use for storage and means that you can buy a pannier bike bag if you wished.
~And there's more~
The reason why i choose this model over other Pashley models that were slightly cheaper is the fitted rear lock. The lock is fitted near the back where that has a level that pulls down and locks the back wheel rigid with a key. The only slightly annoying aspect to this is that the key has to remain in the bike when it is not locked which is not an issue when riding but is a bit of a pain as i have to keep attached it to my other keys when i've locked the bike up. The bike is sold with two keys so i keep my second somewhere safe just in case.
The bike is equiped with a cycle pump, fixed behind the seat, which is of good quality.
There is a bell provided, as per all bikes sold now, but the Pashley has an old style dome shaped one which makes a really nice ding dong sound. It get's you noticed.
The bike also has a kickstand which is handy.
There are some similar bikes out there that won't cost you quite as much such as the cheaper ranges from Pashley themselves, Raleigh Elegance, Raleigh Superbe and the Real Classic range available from Halfords. I researched most of these when buying my bike a couple of years ago and non of them quite had the same magic. Is it a bit eating an imitation Mars bar instead of the real thing. The Raleigh Superbe is closest but the price difference isn't that great (Would save you £50 at present). If you want the same bike without the added extras of lighting, the wheel lock, back rack then you can get the Pashley Princess Classic for £545 currently at Halfords.
yes, it's not the lightest or fastest bike ever but it is so easy to fall in love with Pashley cyles which in turn can make you fall in love with cycling again.
~Where to buy~
In most cases bikes are made to order, so you may experience a bit of a wait. It is available to reserve and collect from certain Halfords stores but i've found that some local dealers are better. You can find local stockists from the Pashley website at http://www.pashley.co.uk/uk-dealers.php.
~Specifications (Taken from Pashley Website)~
Frame sizes - 17.5", 20" or 22.5"
Colour - Buckingham Black or Regency Green
Frame - Traditionally lugged and brazed
Fork - Tubular crown hand brazed
Gears - Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub gears
Wheels - 26 inch with polished rims
Handlebar - Chrome plated raised bar
Brakes - Sturmey Archer hub brakes
Pedals - Alloy non-slip
Saddle - Antique brown Brooks B66s
Tyres - Schwalbe puncture resistant Marathon Plus with reflective sidewall.
Features - The Princess Sovereign features a traditional lugged frame and five speed hub gears with full chaincase, gold-lined mudguards, ding dong bell, hub driven dynamo headlamp, LED rear light, tubular alloy rear carrier, propstand, frame fit lock, skirt guards, leather sprung saddle and a wicker basket
Inside leg - 17.5" frame suits 27.5" - 31.5" inside leg. 20" frame suits 30" - 34" inside leg. 22.5" frame suits 32.5" - 36.5" inside leg