Biketest: Excelsior Touring
Biketest: Excelsior Touring
Upright roadsters are ideal bikes for urban areas. Yet they’re rare in the UK, especially at the prices post-pandemic newbies might stretch to. Not so Germany…
This entry-level Excelsior has everything you need for everyday travel – comfortable riding position, mudguards, rack, chainguard, kickstand, dynamo lighting – for just €289.95 (approx £263). Bargain!
Assuming you can find one; it’s not sold on British high streets. I spotted it online at Holland Bike Shop,where it cost a mere £223.52 at time of writing. Sadly the delivery charge was £180! You could hop on a ferry to one of Excelsior’s Dutch dealers for less. It was also listed on Amazon for £300, plus £20 delivery. Not bad.
Like most roadsters it’s heavy. The well-made frame is steel of unknown provenance, probably hi-ten, and most of the bits are also steel. Yet on the right terrain – flat roads and cycle tracks – it cruises along easily enough. The riding position provides a commanding view of the traffic and is very comfortable for short trips. It forces you to relax. There’s little I’d change, except to have a lower bottom bracket to make it easier to get a foot down at the lights.
At 60in, the Excelsior’s single gear is about right if you steer clear of hills, where it’s exhausting. The rear hub incorporates a coaster brake, which works well but complicates setting off as you can’t spin the cranks into position. For sudden stops there’s a front V-brake.
What defines the Excelsior Touring, other than its stately ride, is its equipment. I’d probably upgrade the 7mm-rail rear rack but the shiny steel mudguards might last forever, the kickstand is strong, and the chain-guard is okay. The Axa Duo sidewall dynamo is decent and powers a smart front LED lamp with a switch and a rear one with a stand-light. There’s even a pump!
A comfy urban dreadnought that’s difficult to get hold of in the UK. New cyclists need access to affordable, practical transport like this; existing ones might find it changes the way they think about cycling. Recommended.
Elephant Bike £280+
Bag yourself a refurbished Pashley Mailstar with drum brakes and 3-speed gearing. Your purchase donates another to Africa.
Sidepull brakes and 1×7 gearing but it does have guards, a basket, and a sensible riding position.
Sizes: 55cm diamond, 45cm or 53cm step-through
Weight: 16.9kg (37.2lb) as shown
Frame & fork: Hiten steel frame and fork with fittings for mudguards, rear rack, frame lock, and dynamo.
Wheels: 47-622 Mitas Flash tyres (47-559 for 45cm step-through), 662×20 aluminium rims, 36×3 zincplated spokes, 100mm solid-axle Joytech front hub, 108mm solidaxle Velosteel singlespeed coaster-brake rear.
Transmission: Plastic pedals, 170mm alu’ chainset with 38t chainring, square-taper BB, KMC Z 3/32in chain, 18t sprocket. One ratio: 60in.
Braking: Velosteel coaster brake, Promax V-brake.
Steering & seating: Herrmans grips, 640×25.4mm City Cruiser steel handlebar, 25.4mm Zoom aluminium quill stem, VP threaded headset. Selle Royal Moody saddle, 28.6×300mm steel plain seatpost.