Custom Urbanites

We decided to give a few of our staff members one of our new Urbanite bikes to customize however they want. Here’s what they ended up with!


Giles1This fully-loaded shopper has received a number of upgrades. Designed with utility in mind the Giles build takes our already useful Market and really dials up the carrying capacity.

One of the most noticeable upgrades is the Toba/Evo Brooklyn combination Giles2handlebar/basket. The Giles also features ergonomic grips to help make your loaded cruising even more comfortable.

Giles3Cargo capacity in the rear is enabled by affixing a Blackburn Ex1 rack. Here we also get a good look at the Velo Orange fenders and upgraded Continental Gatorskin tires.

The Giles also features a double foot kick-stand, this provides the stability needed to support all your shopping when you aren’t on the bike.


Mackenzie1The Mackenzie offers a look at how the Market works as a child-carrier. Featuring the Blackburn Copilot Limo child seat with included Blackburn Ex1 rack for quick install/removal.

Mackenzie2The Mackenzie also features upgraded ergonomic grips, providing additional support for you palms and wrists. SKS Fenders and Continental Gatorskins are also installed on this build for mud-free, fast-rolling cycling!

Mackenzie4Not only does the child relax in style with the Limo child seat, but on the Mackenzie build the saddle has also been upgraded to the Selle Royal Seta seat!


Jeremy1The Jeremy builds on the Urbanite Lakeshore’s awesome singlespeed frame, turning it into a fixed-gear street machine!

Jeremy2the handlebar setup has been completely changed. Gone are the standard flat bars and brake levers and in their place is an Easton EA50 drop handlebar and Tektro RL-570 Inline brake lever.

The Jeremy has also received new pedals, Stolen Thermalite Black pedals with the awesome Y-NOT pedal straps.


The Jeremy’s saddle has also been upgraded to a Brooks B17 for extreme comfort and style while on the road! A Topeak DeFender provides protection from inclement weather as well.


Kathleen1The Kathleen is another Lakeshore build that really ups the classiness! It uses the FSA Metropolis handlebars to add a bit of sweep to the cockpit with Purple Brev grips complementing the Lakeshore’s Orange frame.
Kathleen2The Purple KHS chain has been colour matched to the Brev grips to really bring this bike together aesthetically. Velo Orange fenders provide all-year weather protection and Continental Gatorskins (a very popular upgrade!) add a little more puncture protection to a very nice ride!

Kathleen5A Blackburn Ex1 rear rack provides the cargo carrying capacity, accessorized with Arkel’s Dry-Lite pannier set.

Our Urbanite bikes are excellent builds straight out of the box, but as demonstrated above, even little changes will get you an individual bike which ticks all your boxes.


HandBuilt Wheels

Urbane Cyclist's custom wheelbuilding logoAs you may be aware we are proud to offer a custom wheel building service on site at Urbane Cyclist. Getting wheels handbuilt for your bike is one of the best ways of really dialing in the type of ride that you want. Disc road wheels, internally geared ultra-touring wheels or just super-solid commuters we can advise, source and build the wheels that your bike deserves.

There is full information on our website here. You can also start a discussion about your own wheel requirements by emailing

Here are some pictures of wheels which have been built up by our Master Builder Corey Wood over the last month.

XT Front Hub laced to Sun Rims Ryhno Lite

XT Front Hub laced to Sun Rims Ryhno Lite

XT Front Hub laced to Sun Rims Ryhno Lite - Hub detail

XT Front Hub laced to Sun Rims Ryhno Lite – Hub detail


Velocity Aerohead Rims laced to Phil Wood high flange track hubs


Tune MIG 70 (front) and MAG 170 (rear) hubs laced to Xentis Carbon rims


Tune MIG 70 (front) and MAG 170 (rear) hubs laced to Xentis Carbon rims – Rear Hub detail


Tune MIG 70 (front) and MAG 170 (rear) hubs laced to Xentis Carbon rims – Carbon Rim detail


Tune MIG 70 (front) and MAG 170 (rear) hubs laced to Xentis Carbon rims – Rear Hub detail


Tune MIG 70 (front) and MAG 170 (rear) hubs laced to Xentis Carbon rims – Front Hub detail

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Autumn Riding Tips

Autumn ridingThe leaves are changing colour, and the riding conditions are changing with them! Gone are the long, warm summer evenings (don’t worry, they’ll come back!).

If this is your first fall riding experience then it can all be a bit daunting. We’ve already covered keeping warm with our How to Layer article, in this one we are going to look at ways to change how you ride so you can make the best of the season.


The first one is the most important one, and also often the trickiest. As road conditions worsen, with large piles of leaves strewn across the gutters and seemingly bottomless puddles gurgling ominously, the canny cyclist needs to distance themselves from these hazards. Commonly known as ‘Taking the Road’ safely pulling out into a more central position allows you to avoid problematic areas, but unfortunately often puts you into conflict with other road users.

It’s a balancing act which shouldn’t exist, weighing dangerous road conditions against potentially hostile traffic. In a perfect world choices around personal safety would be met with acceptance and patience, but unfortunately this is often not the case.

Ultimately you need to do what you are most comfortable with, always indicate any intentions to change road position clearly and check behind yourself before moving out.


The nights are inevitably getting longer, and that means that it’s more likely to be dark when out cycling. Preventing an accident is always better than minimizing the damage after an accident has happened. To that end we always recommend that you ride with lights in dark or otherwise low-visibility conditions.

There is a huge range of different lights to choose from, with options to fit every budget and riding style. Lighting is so important that Cycle Toronto even hosts a free bicycle light hand-out event called Get Lit!


In line with taking up more space on the road you can also look at simply going slower, there are two reasons for this, safety and comfort.

Taking it a bit easier when cycling allows you to fully ascertain the riding conditions ahead, giving you more time to take any necessary actions. As well as this, because you are more wrapped up it’s best not to make yourself sweat too much. Even when dressed with the finest materials you can still ‘overwhelm’ them if you push too hard.

4Fall Riding. ACCESSORIES!

Fall is the perfect time to add some extras onto your bike. Consider getting fenders for a start, there are all sorts of different options and fittings for every kind of bike. Getting panniers and a rack will also help by taking heavy bags off of your back (where they can stop your carefully constructed clothing layers from working) and onto the bike, a lot of panniers also come with reflective sections which help increase your visibility, do make sure they are waterproof panniers though!

So there you have it, a couple of ideas to help make your Autumn riding experience the best it can be. Fall can be one of the most pleasant riding seasons thanks to the beautiful scenery, brisk weather and clear days available, do yourself a favour and get outside in it!

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Winter is coming…

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start falling from trees and the weather turns foul at a moment’s notice. Your bicycle does not like this time of year. Your bicycle fears this time of year. Your bicycle whimpers, crying tears of rust, every time it feels a cold gust of wind and a drop of rain plummeting from the clouds high above.

This is not because your bicycle cannot handle the coming of winter and the salty, slushy, corrosive mess that accompanies it. It’s because many otherwise well intentioned bicycle owners have not prepared their faithful two wheeled friend for the especially nasty conditions which Jack Frost deals like a deck of frozen daggers. Would you send your children out into a blizzard without boots, mitts and a proper scarf?! Of course not!

Nor should you forget that without oil a chain will rust, without grease crucial parts will seize in place, without a regular cleaning your drivetrain will wear out faster than the crotch on your favourite commuter jeans. The bane of the lowly bicycle mechanic is a bicycle that we cannot fix due to neglect. Remember, a bicycle is more than a tool to get you from point A to point B; it is a friend, a therapist, a coach, a doctor; it saves you money, keeps you healthy and happy.

With care your bicycle may last many years and we want to help with that. Drawing on our our extensive experience as winter cyclists we’ve tailored several service packages to keep the effects of winter at bay and your relationship with your bicycle as healthy as possible.

Winterize Packages

Level 1 – $45

Includes removal, cleaning and re-greasing seat post, stem, quick releases, pedals, and any bolts inserted in frame. Also includes lubing cables and chain.

Level 2 – $85

Includes all of the above PLUS applying anti-seize to bottom bracket threads, and greasing brake pivots and chainring bolts.

Level 3 Full Overhaul – $240 $170 until February 28th, 2015

Includes complete dis-assembly, cleaning and reassembly of bicycle, with new grease and bearings. Also includes the labour for any new component installation.

Parts extra 

Winter Promotions

50% off all Winterize packages when combined with any of our tune up packages.

Get a second Winterize service before February 28 2015 for 1/2 price. ***Recommended for daily riders – must be same bike***

Level 3 Tune up /Winterize Level 3 (Full overhaul) reduced to $170 (from $240) until February 28th, 2015!

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How to Layer

Gore Bike WearFall can be tricky when it comes to planning what to wear, a near freezing morning can turn into a wonderfully sunny day leaving you sweating underneath thick, unwieldy clothing. Layering up correctly can really help keep you cool and warm in these fluctuating temperatures. Here are some hints and ideas.

Base Layers: There is a huge variety of cuts, weights, and fabrics to choose from when picking out a base layer, but they all do roughly the same things: Firstly they provide a thin layer of insulation and secondly they ‘wick‘ sweat away from the body where it can be safely dealt with by successive layers. One fabric you’ll hear a lot of when dealing with base layers is Merino wool, this is a natural fibre which is well suited to cycling due to it’s excellent temperature regulation and wicking qualities – happily it is also considered one of the softest wools available – no hair shirts for us! A huge range of different cycling items are available in Merino wool.

Base layers should be worn close to the skin, forming a large amount of contact to allow for the most efficient transfer of moisture and retention of heat. The best base layers will fit tightly without restricting movement around the shoulders or elbows.

Mid Layers: These are useful for the coldest of days, mid-layers need to insulate while not excessively trapping moisture. For ‘warmer’ cold days this could be simply a bulkier base layer, colder days may require some form of fleece lined softshell. As with all layering the mid layers really depend on how hot you run. Experiment with thinner layers and work your way up as the temperature gets lower.

Outer Layers: There are two types of outer layers, waterproof and non-waterproof. Waterproof outer layers will always be a

Ladies Gore Element Jacket - Black

balancing act – any fabric which is sufficiently waterproof will create a bit of a ‘Sweat tent’ to a greater or lesser extent. To help get around this pick jackets which feature vents where possible such as the Swrve Deck Winter Jacket or Sugoi RPM Jacket.

Non-waterproof layers for dry days are a bit easier to pick out, windproofing is one of the most important areas for consideration, keeping wind chill at bay allows your body to heat itself up without all of that warming effort being stolen away. It doesn’t hurt to get a outer layer with some level of water resistance to help protect against any light squalls you might run into.

For both types of outer layer having tight cuff and collar is important, it keeps the cold and wet out while retaining your heat. Adjustable options allow for a better fit between gloves/buffs and anything else you might be wearing.

Gloves: Layering can work for gloves as well in the same manner. Consider buying a light baselayer glove such as the Sugoi LT Run or Durafeet Wool Duragloves (protip – Silk liner gloves make an inexpensive glove inner, however be careful as they do not interact with velcro well so taking off/putting on other items of clothing can cause them to fray.) For the coldest days you may want to consider getting a pair of ‘Lobster Claw’ gloves like the Louis Garneau Super Prestige Gloves or a pair of mitts, keeping your fingers together increases the amount of warmth created within the glove ‘fingers’.

Feet: A cold pair of feet does not a happy cyclist make. Do your feet a favour and invest in a decent pair of socks such as the DeFeet Wooleator D-Logo or Giro Merino Wool Hightower socks. As with baselayers a woolen solution is generally considered the best thanks to wool’s natural properties.

A lot of people will switch to winter boots for riding but if you want to remain clipless but do not feel like purchasing a pair of boots like the 45North Fasterkatt you may want to look into the world of shoe covers. These covers offer wind proofing and water resistance, with some models offering a full waterproof covering for your feet.

Swrve Winter gearAccessories: There is a huge range of accessories designed to help keep you warm in inclement weather. If you find that you are freezing in the morning but boiling in the afternoon consider matching a set of arm warmers or leg warmers with a light wind proof vest over the top of your regular top/pants. This combination will allow you to shed layers as the day warms up without needing to carry around lots of bulky clothing. Balaclavas and hats will also help stop body heat from escaping and also protect your face from those cold winds.

So there you have it! Although it may require a little more planning, cold weather doesn’t need to be a bar to any kind of cycling, whether it is your daily commute, an offroad ramble, or a fast paced training session. There are all sorts of options to keep yourself nice and cosy!

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Having a bell on your bike is a legal requirement here in Ontario, making them an essential everyday item (unless you enjoy the thrill of biking on the wrong side of the law, I’m not judging here). Of course not all bells are made equal, so here is a run down of some of the best noisemakers available to you.

CRANE SUZU MINIBrass Crane Suzu Mini Lever Strike Bell

The Crane Suzu bells (and it’s stablemate the Crane Karen) are hands down one of the most attractive bells available today, they come in brass and silver and can be purchased with either a hammer strike (pictured) or a spring under lever. Regardless of the style of Crane bell you pick up they all provide a wonderfully pleasant, clear, crisp note which hangs in the air. Not only will this bell get you noticed, but it’ll do so whilst giving the listener an idea of your inherent classiness.


“But Wait!” I hear you cry. “This isn’t a bell at all, what manner of trickery is this!” Well, you’re right of course, it isn’t a bell. The Orp Orp Smart Horn is a combination horn and light system. Featuring a two-level horn (maxing out at an attention-getting 96 decibels!), bright LED light and a tough silicone exterior the Orp Orp is a versatile beast for people who value their handlebar real-estate.

MIRRYCLE INCREDIBELL BELLSMirrycle Incredibell Brass Duet

Mirrycle bells come in a whole host of attachment options, so even if you’ve got a ‘custom’ handlebar set-up you’ll likely be able to find a bell to fit to your specifications. There are two main bell options, the Original Incredibell which features a spring striker and provides a clear, crisp ring and the Duet Incredibell (pictured) which, by the use of it’s lever striker and some bell-ish wizardry sounds a lovely two-tone ring.

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We love custom-built wheels here at Urbane Cyclist, picking out the parts, lacing the spokes, truing everything up and then riding them!

Our professional in-house wheelbuilders take great pride in their work, here are a couple of pics taken by Chief Wheel-Builder and all round good-guy Corey Wood!

First up: An 8FUN bicycle motor laced to a Sun CR18 rim!


Next: Off-road power with a Shimano Deore hub laced to Alex Rims DM24’s.

Urbane Cyclist Wheel building. Alex Rims DM24 laced to shimano deore

Getting Faster: Venerable Shimano LX hubs laced to Alex Rims Adventurers, perfect bomb-proof commuting power.


Ready for Winter: The Sturmey-Archer X-FDD Drum brake Dynamo hub laced to Sun MTX33’s.


And Lastly: Something speedy! 24 hole Dura-Ace 9-speed New-Old-Stock hubs laced to Velocity Synergy rims.

Velocity Synergy to NOS Dura Ace

You can check out more rims at our instagram for more information on custom wheelbuilding check out our dedicated page, drop us an email or call us on 416-979-9733.

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Cycling Specific Jeans Roundup

A couple of years ago it would’ve been strange to even think of Cycling Specific Jeans, you just wore jeans when you cycled! However, like a lot of things we didn’t know what we were missing and these days we can now enjoy all sorts of special little touches all designed to make our cycling more comfortable and more fashionable. There is a mix of big and small players in the cycling specific jeans market, lets take a look at a few of them:

   Swrve Cordura JeansSwrve

One of the earliest Cycling specific clothiers who focused on the growing commuter/recreation market. Swrve offer a large range of clothing which is designed not only to be fashionable on and off the bike, but also with a plethora of small details which add up to make them a comfortable and practical choice.

Their line of jeans is based around the CORDURA denim, a hard-wearing fabric perfectly suited to the cycling motion (and is hilariously tested in ‘rubs’, as if the testers were really sure their set of jeans contained a genie.) This fabric provides an excellent base for all the additional touches and features which Swrve include. Touches such as the seamless gusseted crotch, seamless so that there is no annoying stitching to catch on saddles or provide additional wear points and gusseted, which is where additional triangles (or rhomboids, thanks wikipedia!) of fabric are inserted into the crotch to allow additional ranges of movement, which in this instance is all about the cycling movement of course.

In addition to the above the knees in Swrve jeans are articulated, which essentially means that they are designed for sitting down, super comfortable on the bike but providing a little bit of a ‘knobbly knee’ effect when standing up. The jeans also feature a reflective belt loop and reflective strip on the underside of the right leg and the back pockets are designed to take a small u-lock.

If Swrve jeans were just hard wearing they’d already be excellent jeans, however the thought and dedication that goes into their design lifts them above many other offerings available today.

Check out our selection here.

Levi’sLevi's Commuter Jeans

Levi’s are probably the most recognisable name in the commuter cycling specific clothing industry, creating waves when they launched their Commuter line in 2011 (although it is worth noting that they originally made cycling specific gear way back in 1895!).

Levi’s contribution features a cycling specific cut which provides more room around the thighs and hips but tapers in towards the feet, allowing a large range of movement but bringing in the legs to keep them away from those pesky chainrings! The crotch is not specifically seamless or gusseted, however the looser fit does mitigate any problems this may cause somewhat. The seat however is double layered, increasing your butt-padding and the associated longevity!

The jeans also boast a water resistant and dirt-repellent Nanosphere (doesn’t that sound fancy!) protective finish, providing protection against light rain and hopefully looking nice and clean regardless of how dusty the road may be! The denim used is a 98% cotton, 2% Elastane blend which grants the jeans a modicum of stretch to better deal with those pedaling legs.

3M reflective tape is sewn into the hems of both legs in a more world-wide friendly design and the jeans do also feature a belt loop section which will take a u-lock. The jeans do have a conventional waist however, which can cause some slippage or be a bit revealing if you tend to ride in a more aggressive position. A very decent pair of jeans for those that like the big-name brands.

Check out our selection here.

RYB Women's Specific JeansRYB

RYB or Ride Your Bike is a brand new company (so new they don’t currently have a website!) who provide jeans specifically for female bike riders. They offer a number of technical improvements over many current cycling specific brands, not just in regards to fit but also construction.

One of the main ones (and in my opinion one of the most interesting!) is that they do away with the common center stitch, this has been done by previous brands but the RYB offering features a double reinforced seat gusset designed to eliminate or at least diminish seat wear as much as possible. The design of the gusset provides a comfortable seat regardless of your riding style. As a point of comparison, the two jeans here which feature gussets, Swrve and RYB differ quite a lot in their design. Swrve jeans feature a lateral gusset, whereas RYB features a gusset running from front to back, what effect these differences have depends heavily on your fit and the seat/pant contact points. Suffice to say it is worth trying both.

RYB jeans also feature a ‘swooping’ waistband with a higher rear and lower front to facilitate a more aggressive riding style without putting the cyclist at risk of exposing themselves! In addition to this the RYB jeans also feature a u-lock holster, reinforced belt loops and reflective seam piping.

With jeans made specifically for women there is a lot of work done on establishing the correct fit, correctly fitting jeans is a little beyond the remit of this small blog post, however it would be remiss of me not to link to RYB’s own video on getting the right fit for their jeans. These are excellent jeans with great production values and the attention to detail you’d expect from a small outfit like this, well worth a look!

Check out their jeans here!

SombrioSombrio Riff Jeans

The Sombrio Riff Skinny Jeans are the closest thing to ‘Classic’ jeans in regards to the stitching style. It does feature sturdier seam construction throughout plus bar tack stitching (a method of stitching used to add strength to areas, basically  a really tight line of stitching) to ‘stress areas’.

The jeans do feature some classic additions that we’ve come to expect from cycling specific jeans, namely a built in u-lock holster and reflective on the inside of the jean leg.The rear zip pocket is a slight departure from the other jeans in this list, providing a secure stashing place for loose items which stays safe regardless of how many curbs you hop!

Sombrio have built a solid, basic cycling jean, though the center crotch stitching may cause uncomfortable issues for some these jeans do look good both on and off the bike!

Check out our range here!

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