Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Test Riding the New Schindelhauer ThinBike

A couple months ago, we checked out the new ThinBike by Schindelhauer. Last week this author got to ride it. Here are my impressions:

  • Good: The bike looks great. I brought it to my local bike shop and the guys were swooning over it. Every detail seemed considered: The proportions, the white powdercoat, the shape of the frame, etc. People on the street kept stopping me to find out what type of bike it was. It’s a great conversation piece.
  • Bad: The bike looks great. We wonder how much of a thief magnet this beauty queen would be.
  • The Gates Carbon Drive chainless drivetrain rocks: Quiet, clean, pretty. It does require that the rear triangle has an entry point for the belt (i.e. you cannot loop it through the frame like a conventional chain). Schindelhauer did an amazing job of concealing the entry point.
  • We really liked a number of details such as the integrated bell on the brake lever and LED light on the seatpost. Having both of these city-bike staples as integral parts of the bike creates a cleaner look and eliminates the need to remove them when leaving the bike.
  • There is a new, one-stage Speedlifter, the quick release on the steering tube that enables the bars to turn. It was simple to use and cleaner looking than the old version.
  • Unfortunately, the one-size-fits-all ThinBike does not fit all. I had to max out the seatpost to accommodate my 6’3″ body. The reach was fine and handling predictable. With its generous stand-over height, I would guess the bike would be ideal for anyone between 5’5″ and 6’1″, which ain’t a bad range.
  • The gearing was a bit steep for hillier places. I live a little bit outside NYC, where there are quite a few hills. The chainring and cog mated to the SRAM two-speed internal gear hub were a bit too high for my liking (and I’m relatively fit). These can be changed easily, though Changing the gear requires a new cog and/or chainring and a new belt if it’s a significant change in gearing. Also note that the low gear will always be 30% easier than the high. In other words, you can’t pick and choose your gearing–the high gear will always be proportional to the low.
  • The brakes work great. While I haven’t used a coaster brake since I was six, I quickly reacquainted myself. For the most part, I used the front disk brake, which stopped powerfully (70% of braking power comes from the front brake anyway).
  • Though I didn’t install it, the proprietary rack that comes with the bike looks great. The wood wedge where the frame sits protects the frame from scratching.

Conclusion: The Schindelhauer is the perfect bike for average-height city dwellers who keep their bikes in their house or at work. Also, makes a solid piece of wall art.

If you’re interested in seeing the bike itself and you’re in New York City, check out PSFK’s Future of Home Living exhibit in Chelsea, where the bike is in display through August 15th.

  • Steve Stearns

    David, this is an very insightful review. I have been wanting to test drive the ThinBike. What size is the wheel set? It’s hard to tell from the photos, but they don’t look like standard 700cc. I appreciate your insights about the one size fits all not necessarily fitting all sizes perfectly. I am am 6’1″ and typically am fitted to the largest frame size.

    • David Friedlander

      the wheels are actually 24″, which is why the bike looks so tiny. it doesn’t seem nearly as small in person. the wheels handled commendably–no squirreliness.

  • Joe Maki

    Changing gear ratios will not be simple. I love belt drive (I have 2 BD bikes), but it limits gearing changes. There are only a few front/rear pulley options available and if you change more than a few teeth you will also need to change the belt (not adjustable).

    • David Friedlander

      thanks for the feedback. makes total sense.

  • Upset Voter

    I wonder if they could have a version with a 3 speed hub which is simple and compact.

  • David, I noticed that you updated the review on the Schindelhauser ThinBike with respect to the gearing for steeper terrains. Have you had a chance to get in some good usage and rides in the last year? If so, do you have any other observations to share?