It’s inherent—no matter the bike, I am always curious to see what’s around the next corner or at the top of the next rise. And when I’m on a townie, wearing flip-flops and a skirt, I’m especially grateful for some gearing as I crank up the next hill.
What’s also nice about the Raleigh Detour City Sport DLX, however, is that the gearing is not overdone and it’s crazy quiet. Equipped with a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hubset and a Gates Carbon Belt Drive, the Detour City Sport makes for a versatile townie that lets you crank up and down steep streets and paths at the right speed.
At first, I wasn’t convinced. Why put gearing on a townie that has the simplest, smoothest, lowest-of-maintenance belt drive system? Consisting of two lightweight metal sprockets and a high-strength belt embedded with carbon fiber cords, Gates Carbon Drive is known for being low-maintenance, quiet and smooth. It shouldn’t be muddled with gears.
But as I put more miles on the Detour City Sport (commuting, running errands, and exploring my new home city), I became convinced that the belt drive and the internal hub is a great marriage of technologies, especially for commuter bikes.
Raleigh began offering the Gates/Shimano Alfine combo on this bike in late 2012. Like all internal gear hubs (IGH), Shimano’s Alfine uses a planetary gear system. The 8-speed Alfine is particularly suited to the noise-free Gates drivetrain because the hub is also remarkably quiet. A double roller clutch inside the Alfine is used in place of two pawls to reduce noise. This little contraption blew me away with its silence; it’s a buttery smooth system. The drivetrain is rounded out with a 50-tooth Gates chainring up front, a sealed cartridge 68/119mm threaded bottom bracket, and Shimano Alfine SL-S500 Rapidfire shifters.
Internally geared hubs are low maintenance, which has made them popular in Europe for city commuting. If you’re so inclined, you can clean the unit at home by pulling out the internal mechanism, dipping it into a Shimano-supplied oil and “drip-drying” it for a few minutes.
But this feature-filled bike is not intended to be wrenched on. The Detour City Sport is a city/path bike in Raleigh’s “Lifestyle” family that’s meant to be stress free. The frame is made of Raleigh’s Atomic 13 aluminum and has Shimano M416 160-mm disc brakes. It has double-walled Weinmann DP30 rims with reflective Kenda K-1053 (700x32c) tires.
It’s ideal for commuting and running errands around town. Like the other bikes in this line, it has a comfy upright geometry and low standover. The Detour City Sport features other fun “trimmings,” including a 3-watt LED light, rack, suspension seatpost, waterproof saddle, chain guard and fenders that keep the corporate casual rider (or the gal zipping around in flip flops) clean and tidy.
This low-maintenance city commuter is for those of us who would rather spend every extra moment exploring the next rise and discovering what’s around the next corner, whether it’s on a mountain bike or a super quiet Raleigh townie.
Detour City Sport DLX