Biketest: Excelsior Touring

Dan Joyce's picture

Biketest: Excelsior Touring

Not a tourer but a smart singlespeed city bike with all the transport trimmings for less than £300. Dan Joyce tested it

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.

A coaster brake provides reliable braking that doesn’t wear rims or depend on grip strength

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.

Other options

Elephant Bike £280+

Bag yourself a refurbished Pashley Mailstar with drum brakes and 3-speed gearing. Your purchase donates another to Africa. 

Pinnacle Californium 1 £350

Sidepull brakes and 1×7 gearing but it does have guards, a basket, and a sensible riding position.  

Cycle’s test promise

At Cycle, we are proudly independent. There’s no pressure to please advertisers as we’re funded by your membership. Our product reviews aren’t press releases; they’re written by experienced cyclists after thorough testing. This test featured in the August/September 2020 edition of Cycle magazine.

Tech Spec

Excelsior Touring

Price: €289.95

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. 

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