My bicycle


My bicycle is a silver Skeppshult STC Basic from 2005 or so. I don't remember exactly when I bought it, but I think it was around that time. Skeppshult is a Swedish manufacturer of bicycles founded in 1911. They've been making bicycles at the same location without interruption since then, and they're the only Swedish manufacturer that makes frames in-house. Iron, and later steel, has been very important resources in Sweden for centuries, and Swedish steel is world-famous for its strength and quality. It feels pretty cool then that the frame of my bike and the entire supply chain of raw materials needed to make it are extracted, refined, and produced within the borders of our little country. I'm sure pretty much all the other parts on the bike are made in China though, that's pretty much unavoidable these days.

A silver bicycle standing against a yellow brick wall

The bike is probably best described as a "city bike", and has a pretty upright riding position. It has a Shimano Nexus 7 internally geared rear hub, a Shimano dynamo front hub with internal breaks, and pretty narrow, straight handlebars. It doesn't have any rack, which gives it a very clean look, but it does have mudguards on both wheels. Removing those would give the bike an even cleaner profile, but in this case practicality wins.

The hub dynamo was not part of the bike as presented in the catalog, but was custom made for me at the factory. Skeppshult assemble their wheels in-house, so I could get the correct rim, matching the rear one, but with a hub dynamo instead of the original one. I also asked for a metal chain guard instead of the ghastly transparent plastic one the bike was supposed to come with. I was pleasantly surprised that this level of customization was possible directly from the factory, and even more so that the man at the bicycle shop didn't seem to think it was anything out of the ordinary. The customizations were surprisingly cheap as well as I recall it, so the whole ordering process was a very positive experience.

I've been very happy with the bike since the day I got it. A difference I noticed from other bikes I've had was that it didn't make any sounds running on uneven surfaces like cobbled streets (of which we have plenty in the area). No rattling and no squeaking, very pleasant. Nowadays I get the occasional clank from the chain if I run over a bigger bump, but putting a little more tension on it would solve that. The rest of the bike is still rattle-free even after all these years.

I've ridden it to work from time to time and used it to get some exercise here and there, but I can't deny that it's mostly been stainding still. During a majority of the years I've had the bike, I've kept it outdoors, exposed to the elements. A few parts have gotten a bit of surface rust, but all in all it seems to cope pretty well with the Swedish climate. I've replaced the saddle, and when the original chain started getting rusty I replaced it with a stainless steel one. I've also replaced the tiny, cheap rear light a couple of times, but that's it for major maintenance I think. At least up until this year.

Recent modifications

Ahead of my bicycle commuting premiere I replaced the old, broken, halogen front-light with a new LED one. If I were to just order one online I would most likely have gone for a Busch + Müller one, as they have a wide range of high-quality dynamo lights in various designs, made in Germany. This time I had a city gift card that I got from work for Christmas that I wanted to use, and ended up buying a Spanninga Axendo 40 from a local shop. It certainly isn't the best looking light I've ever seen, and I did hesitate a bit before giving in and letting destiny guide me.

When it was time to buy the rear light I didn't have any gift card limiting me to certain shops. Instead the biggest constraint was my bike's lack of a rack. The vast majority of rear lights available are made to be mounted on the back of a rack. With that option removed, ideally I would have liked a light mounted to the saddle post or even saddle rails, but I couldn't think of any good looking way of routing a cable up there. After a bit of digging around I ordered a Busch + Müller Secula designed to be mounted on the wheel strut.

Both lights were easy to install on the bike, and they also seem to work well together. My dynamo is a bit underpowered at 2,4 W, but they shine steadily even at very low riding speeds.

In addition to installing the lights, I also replaced the gear-shift cable and its housing, which was cracked and rusty.

I might add a rack to the bike in the future, but I'll probably go for a minimal low-rider front pannier rack or something, to make sure the bike is still as impractical as possible. We've lived in a house for a couple of years now, with a nice and comfy garage for the bike to sleep in, so I hope we have many years (and kilometers) together ahead of us.