derailleur hanger should you ever wish to change away from hub gears. Horizontal dropouts cater for chain tension adjustment. And as well as proper mounting points for rear rack and full mudguards, there are front low rider rack mounts on the forks and a mounting plate for the side stand. The drivetrain is fully enclosed within the Chainglider chaincase, which simply ‘floats’ loosely around the chain. The various plastic sections simply snap together, so it’s easy enough to remove if that’s ever necessary. At the front is a single steel 38T chainring, with a smooth cover on the drive-side cranks to keep trousers extra-clean. It drives a 16T sprocket on the Shimano Nexus Premium 8-speed hub gear, giving ratios of around 34" to 104" with the 700c wheels: perhaps a little higher than necessary for this type of bike. A larger sprocket would be a cheap way to drop the gears (for hilly terrain, for example) and anything up to 22T should fit with the Chainglider.
The 700c wheels are built with nice black-coloured rims, with smooth machined braking surfaces. They’re fitted with 42 mm wide Continental Townride tyres, with wide reflective sidewalls. The front hub is the Shimano DH3 N30 hub dynamo, a relatively recent model with low rolling resistance – like all I’ve tried, too low for my legs to detect! It’s wired neatly to a Lumotec halogen front light, and from there twin wires run unobtrusively to the Busch&Muller rear light, which includes a standlight for continued light once you’ve stopped. An obvious possible upgrade is a newer LED headlight with higher light output, but for riding on lit city streets the halogen one provided is perfectly adequate. The rear light is mounted beneath the load bed of the rear carrier, which is an interesting design from Pletscher. It has an elaborate top plate, with recesses designed to attach accessories from their ‘Mercur system’ range, including baskets, bags and childseats. There’s also a built-in spring clip, useful
for attaching small loads, and a lower attachment rail for panniers. Hidden under the rack are pegs to mount the small minipump which comes with the bike. It’s rated to 25 kg capacity, which is quite respectable, but I did find it a rather strange design. It’s hardly triangulated at all, so it’s not very stiff sideways. The fairly thin legs don’t help, and also the way that the rack parts are bolted together, presumably so it flat-packs for more cost-effective shipping. The ‘V’ legs give little support for the backs of your panniers, and the thin sheet metal plates at the bottom of the legs don’t look exceptionally solid either. None of this is a problem unless you’re in the habit of carrying really heavy panniers – and it would again be an easy upgrade to another model of rear rack if you wish. Braking is via Shimano V-brakes, operated by good quality metal levers. The cable routing is as good as it gets on an open-frame bike, with the back brake run having a generous curve up to the brake itself.
Mudguards are proper SKS models, with safety quick-releases for the front stays. The side-stand is also a neat and effective unit, bolted to the purpose-made plate behind the bottom bracket. Finally, to the contact points, and the S-300 is equipped with a nice wide Selle Royal saddle on a decent alloy seatpost. The handlebars are comfortably swept back, and the grips have a lovely ergonomic shape, which really supports the hand well. The handlebar height can be quickly altered thanks to the NVO stem system, a surprising inclusion perhaps. It lets the stem slide up and down the steerer tube without losing alignment, and then an angle adjustment on the stem itself gives further adjustment of height and reach, both adjusted by Allen key. Nice to have, anyway. And a final finishing touch is the bright red bell, offering a happy flash of colour on the otherwise sober bike. Weight as reviewed was around 15.91 kg.
The Pletscher rear rack comes complete with low-level pannier rails, spring clip and 'system' attachment sockets, but it's not the most rigid model around.
VELOVISION ISSUE 32 DECEMBER 2008
Hub dynamo and halogen light (I forgot to remove the sticker!) are neatly installed. Note also the front low rider bosses on the forks.
The bell adds a splash of vibrant colour to the swept-back handlebars, which also feature very nicely shaped ergonomic grips.